Put me in the motorcade
put me in the death parade
dress me up and take me
dress me up and make me
your dying god
(Marilyn Manson, “A Place In The Dirt”)
Running through the possible scenarios in my head that would explain the fact that this lone police officer was holding up traffic on a weekday morning in September along this scenic but busy parkway, a motorcade was not in the mix. Clearly I am not psychic. (I never for a moment thought I was, or even that such things are possible: I’m just saying.) Another motorcycle was parked down the street to my right, just where the ramp came off the main road up to downtown from the airport. I have been watching too many cop shows; I speculated that it must be an early morning drug bust. (I mean, I know it’s Canada, but I assume they can’t turn a blind eye to all the illicit drugs going on here.)
At regular intervals more motorcycles roared up from that direction, turned up the parkway that was closed to us, and gunned it toward downtown. The cop assigned to keep us in line was having no nonsense from anyone. More than one motorist seemed inclined to turn off, inching out of line toward the right-turn lane; they were all halted with a sharp shout and upraised hand. “Stay where you are!” was the mantra of the hour. So we stayed. This was the second morning I had taken this route, and it had not gone smoothly yet. Maybe I should go back to my old route tomorrow.
I wouldn’t have had much of a shot from my position anyway. On my bike I certainly couldn’t have pulled out anything more than a pistol, and as exposed as I was, the cop would have probably dropped me before I got more than two or three shots off. If I was going to do anything, I would have been across the road on the bike path, maybe even with a Zodiac tied up on the canal for a getaway. I have no idea who was in procession of marked and unmarked police cars that came roaring up from the direction of the airport at speeds far in excess of the posted limits for this particular parkway and headed north, surrounded by motorcycles, toward the embassy district. Maybe it was nobody (I certainly didn’t see anyone sitting in the back seats of any of the six cars); maybe it was all just an exercise, or something to amuse the pasty American on the rusted Schwinn.