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A bomb just went by our house.
Well, maybe not a bomb, but something close.
We’d just turned out of our driveway and eased into a stop at the intersection. A big white mack truck was at our left. A police car stopped at the intersection ahead. The policeman in the car suddenly boomed out with his loudspeaker, “Truck, get back!” all big and booming.
Suddenly, we were all alert.
Was it us?
“It’s probably construction,” Daddy said.
Daddy wondered if it was the U-turn he’d made from a driveway just a few moments before. I slipped under the seat belt that suppose to go across one’s body; I’d always only used the lap section of the belt. Of course, the law requires both sections.
I looked behind me. Another police car stopped at our back. Three or four people had just come out of a diner to the left and had stopped to gaze at the oddity, hands shading their eyes from the setting sun.
The truck didn’t move. “Truck, back up!” the policeman repeated, all the more threatening. The mighty mack churned backwards. Then, “You, get to the side of the road. … Pull over!”
“He’s talking to you,” Rowena said. We jumped. Daddy pulled over.
The police car zoomed past us. Then a truck marked with a yellow “oversize” passed by. I looked at the driver; he was middle aged and pleasant-looking, maybe gray-haired. So unlike the faceless, masculine threats of the policeman. What was the big secret here?
Finally, a mack truck inched forward. It had a red cab. My eyes jumped from the driver to the side of his door, trying to remember each. The man wasn’t much younger than the previous one, with darker hair. The company was some name I can’t remember now. All I caught was “Salt Lake City, Utah.” Didn’t all trucking come from there?
“It’s probably a bomb!” The theory suddenly came out. And no wonder. The mack truck was hauling a huge faceless cylinder, gray and metal. “Siemens” marked the loose fabric hiding the ends. We oohed and awed as it passed. A police SUV took up the rear. We turned back and looked. The diner folks gestured to each other excitedly.
“With that kind of police escort, it had to be a bomb or something.”
“Siemens does do missiles.”
“They’re going to that laboratory.”
“They have to bring bombs somehow. And this is a more rural road.”
“Man, that was exciting – once we figured out it wasn’t about us.”
“No wonder people become policemen. They get to lord over everybody. Without giving a reason!”
“What a sneak.”
The latter exchange, between me and my sister.
Yes, it was decided, that was a bomb of some sort. On the freeway, we saw a similar truck, similarly escorted. It’s carry was enormously long, but was a tapering cylinder. So a concealed missile.
I kept inside the upper section of the seat belt. I wasn’t going back to my old design. I sure felt dumb that first time I snuck under it, policemen in front and behind. If it’s one thing I learned, don’t chance the law.
And the other thing, missiles have to be transported from one place to another somehow. They have to use roads. And if we hadn’t made that U-turn to check if our garage was closed, we’d never experience such a thrill.

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