93: The Getaway

93: The Getaway

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

The Getaway

Things do not pass for what they are, but for what they seem. Most things are judged by their jackets.

~Baltasar Gracian

With three cops aiming two pistols and a shotgun at my bride, her hands shaking uncontrollably, I came to the realization that my groomsmen were right: Marriage would be tough.

Brittney and I had barely begun our lives together, and we were already targeted as Bonnie and Clyde.

Welcome to the Friday night of our honeymoon.

It all started at 5:00 P.M. on January 18, 2008, when I pulled into the GaPac Community Federal Credit Union parking lot on Alabama and James streets to deposit our wedding checks. I’d been a member there ever since I saved $20 to open an account. I knew most of the tellers, and my aunt was the manager. Every visit was cozy.

Except for this one.

After a smiling teller congratulated me for tying the knot, I strolled out of the bank and plopped into my 2003 yellow Ford Mustang decorated by a buddy of mine in white letters on both doors with “Caleb & Britt.”

Then I picked up my bride of six days at Bellis Fair Mall and headed toward northbound Interstate 5. That’s when I saw red and blue lights flicker in my rearview mirror.

I went through the mental checklist:

Speedometer? Fine.

Lights? On.

Windshield? No cracks.

Full and bright, the lights now filled my rearview mirror. I pulled over. My journalist instincts kicked in as I began thinking what I’d need: license, registration...

“Put your hands where I can see them!” the officer shouted.

My checklist vaporized as the officer barked: “Roll down the window. Turn off the car. Put the keys on the roof. Open the door — slowly.”

I did. All of this has to be a mistake, I told myself.

“Drop to your knees. Hands on head. Crawl backwards.”

“Can I ask what this is about?” I said, turning my head toward him.

“Look forward!” the officer snapped.

He then told me, in a Bruce Willis Die Hard sort of way, that we’d talk later.

Cuffs clicked into place, and the officer searched me: Pens. Reporter’s tape recorder. Gum. Wallet. Cell phone.

Oh, no, not the inside pocket of my jacket, I thought.

Yes, the inside pocket. The officer pulled out a two-by-two-inch booklet: Sex for Dummies.

“Bachelor party,” I said.

The officer chuckled, and I shared a nervous laugh with him.

So, we’re cool, right? I thought.

Ha. No.

I noticed a second officer to my left and two more to my right. And, to my horror, three drawn guns pointed at my eighteen-year-old bride, who had been homeschooled until college, had never lived away from her parents, and still covers her eyes when the flying monkeys appear in The Wizard of Oz.

I needed air. Quickly. To yell. To jump high or grow green skin and break the cuffs.

But, instead, I exhaled, and as the air squeezed through my trachea, I said, “This is our honeymoon.”

I would like to say it came out clearly with some bite. Truth is, though, I sounded more like Rex in Toy Story. I don’t like confrontation.

One of the officers escorted me to the hard backseat of a squad car. Over the radio, I heard myself referred to as “suspect” three times. An officer then took my handcuffed Brittney to one of the six other squad cars that had responded.

After some time, an officer opened the door. He told me a bank had been robbed and that the suspect got away in a yellow Mustang... one decorated with white letters on both doors.

I asked him which bank had been robbed, and then told him I had just been to GaPac. The officer reached for his radio and relayed that the “suspect” had just confirmed that he had been at the GaPac Community Federal Credit Union.

“My aunt is the bank manager there,” I said.

Hope! I thought. They can’t honestly believe I’d rip off my aunt’s bank and make a get away in a YELLOW Mustang, right?

The officer slammed the door shut. My face drooped.

Through the squad car’s front window, I watched as a handful of lawmen eased up to my Mustang’s trunk with their weapons locked and loaded. They flipped the trunk open and crept back.

Surprise, I thought.

The trunk revealed one duffle, two toiletry bags, and some clothes I had bought from the Aeropostale clearance rack.

The officer opened the door to talk to me again. Before he could say anything, I asked him if he knew an officer friend of mine, whose daughters happened to be the flower girls at my wedding just days ago.

The officer’s eyes said he did know him. Then he looked down at a piece of paper in his hand and read me my rights. Shut the door again.

I felt like punching myself in the face.

Finally, after several minutes, I was asked to step out of the squad car. A witness had come from the bank. I walked with an officer past several red and blue lights until he asked me to look toward a particular vehicle with tinted windows.

I stood for about a minute, observing the congested traffic around me. Oh, and the people in the cars. I thought some might nose plant in a ditch, what with their faces plastered to their windows.

Caleb Breakey was one bad dude, I thought.

For a brief time, anyway.

Apparently, “Tinted Windows” was satisfied. An officer unlocked my cuffs, reunited me with my bride, and jotted down our names and dates of birth. He then asked if we had any questions.

I couldn’t resist. “Can I take some pictures for our honeymoon?” The officer said to knock myself out, so I grabbed the digital camera out of my car and had a lawman snap three quick photos.

So for all of you folks out there planning an extravagant getaway after your wedding, think twice. Just go deposit your wedding checks at your local bank and walk out.

Who knows? Your bank receipt might show — as mine did with a transaction time of 16:48:43 — that you were within thirty feet of a bank robbery that remains unresolved to this day.

Just make sure you take Sex for Dummies out of your inside pocket.

~Caleb Jennings Breakey

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