#ConversationsWithLeon

Traffic

Officer Holden tweaked a setting on the device tracking the Voight-Kampff test before taking a slow drag on his cigarette. Leon waited with the impatience of a twelve-year old boy, eyeing the detective with a toxic mix of confusion and malice.

“Okay, Leon, just keep looking into the device here. I just have a few more questions.”

“More questions?”

“Yeah, just a few more scenarios.”

“Why? I already answered some questions.”

“You did, Leon, thank you. We want to be sure everything’s squared away so you can head on home. Is that okay?”

“Yeah, sure, I guess.”

“Okay, great. Here we go. You’re driving on a two-lane road—”

“I ain’t got a driver’s license.”

“That’s fine. This is just a hypothetical.”

“What’s a ‘hypothetical’? Is that like a ‘hypodermic’?”

“No, Leon, it’s a hypothetical situation, meaning it’s a—”

“I know what that means. What you said made it seem like a thing, a—what’s it—a noun.”

“Right. Sorry. So, you’re driving on a two-lane road—”

“What about my license? ‘Cause I ain’t got one and if I get pulled over, the cops—.”

“You don’t need a license, don’t worry.” Holden sat back and regarded Leon for a moment, wondering at the big man’s answers, letting the machine click into the silence. He leaned back in and continued. “There’s two lanes and your lane is moving quickly, there’s traffic, but it’s going right along.”

“Where am I going?”

“Excuse me?”

“Where. Am. I. Going?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“It does to me.”

“Fine. You’re going to work. Okay?”

“Okay.”

“There’s traffic in both lanes, but yours is going fast. The other lane’s all stopped. They’re waiting for a truck. It’s stopped with the blinker on, it wants to make a left turn, across your lane.”

“And no one’s letting him go?”

“That’s right, Leon. No one’s letting the truck driver make the turn.”

“That’s being a dick, right there.”

“Yes, it is.”

“I’d let the guy go. Gotta make a living. Right? I mean, he’s probably got a job like mine. What is my job, anyway?”

“Let’s not get into that detail right now. Okay? You said you’d let him turn?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“But if you do, you’re going to be late to work.”

“I’d still let him turn.”

“Even if you’d been chronically late and one more time you get fired?”

“Well… Yeah. ‘Cause I’m not a dick.”

Holden took a few more notes and a few more drags off of his cigarette. Leon watched.

“Is that the right answer?” Leon asked.

“There are no right or wrong answers, Leon.”

“Then what the fuck kind of test is this?”

“It’s just to determine—”

“This is bullshit. How can I pass the test if there’s no right or wrong?”

“Just calm down, Leon, we’ll be done soon.”

“Then I can go?”

“Yes, then you’ll be able to go.”

Leon didn’t believe the cop at all. There was right and wrong and it wasn’t fair to ask him questions that didn’t have answers.