Written by Hellena Lorenz
Cops are a never-ending scare all around the world. Cops in the former Czechoslovakia, the Eastern Block Communist country everyone thinks is in Russia, are a scare. Although, if one has talent, it is unbelievable what he can get away with.
For example my Dad. He is a Master of Disguise, given the fact he is a University professor, and teaches actors. Now, I am sure anyone can imagine him not only teaching, but also acting. Usually, the skill one perfects at work is not necessarily used in real life. Not so with my father. Realizing very early that acting is a necessity in the Commy era, he quickly stars applying his abilities for personal gain. No, don’t get me wrong, these are little things mostly.
The most memorable ones, that I witness, are with cops. One day, as the whole family is visiting a small town near to our cottage, my dad enters a one-way street. In the wrong direction. Not really concerned about the fact he has cars honking and driving against him, he says, ” I need to visit a friend of mine that works in a hospital that is in this direction.” That, of course, does nothing for my mom, who shrieks, “Can’t you at least watch the road?” Me and my sis just chuckle and announce, ” Daddy, there are cops behind us…” and continue chuckling. “What?” my dad exclaims. My mother proceeds to answer, when the sirens silence everyone in the car. Even my sis and me catch on to the fact this is not funny anymore.
All of the sudden my dad’s face lights up, “I have an idea!” “What!” my mom replies. Turning his head my dad answers:” We need to go to the hospital. The girls are really sick, and we need to see a specialist – my friend!” An evil laugh follows. “Girls, lay down and moan!” my mom orders us. At this point I am really enjoying myself, and with all the inherited acting talent start moaning and groaning. My sis does not want to stay behind, and so by the time the car stops and my dad pulls down the window, he has a couple of really sick kids in the back of his car, suffering in enormous amounts of pain.
When my father gives the officer his papers – please note that a driver’s license in Czechoslovakia at that time is a small booklet, something like a passport these days, the cop seems concerned. “Are you aware of what you did?” he says. “Yes, but my kids are really sick and I could not find the right way to the hospital, I need to see a specialist!”
“What hospital? What specialist? Why are the kids screaming?” the cop asks.
It is my mother who answers:” Don’t you have kids on your own? Don’t you see they are sick? Stop taking our time, we need to get to the hospital now!”
The cop is obviously startled, but remembering the protective instinct of mothers, backs off and very seriously says: “Please follow me.” Than he gets into his car, signals my dad, and the escort takes us all the way into the hospital. In the car everyone is laughing, and once we are in the hospital area, my dad jumps out of the car, calls his friend and in we go. The cop salutes us, apologizes for the inconvenience, and even offers an escort back. “Thank you, that will not be necessary,” my dad says. The cop salutes again, and drives away.
Another time we are in the car again, and my dad drives like crazy on the highway. Back then highways were only 2 lanes each way. He is speeding by about 30 miles, when the cops signal to pull over. “God, I did not see them?”
It is too late though. My dad pulls down the window and the cop asks the obvious question: “Mr. Driver, do you know what you did?” “No, what?” politely asks my dad. “You exceeded the speed limit by more than 30 miles!” the cop says. “No, really? But that is not possible! I have two little children in the back, I would not put them into jeopardy. Don’t you see how cute they are?” The cop ignores my dad’s monologue and precedes to write out the ticket. ” My daughters are really young you see? It takes a lot of money to support them. But I have to tell you something, I am a professor, and I teach actors. You are a good-looking man, where do you live? Well, I teach in Ostrava, that is not far from here, you could come and I could show you around. I can make you a star. Do you want to go to Hollywood? I taught Eva Vejmelkova once, and she made it big. Sure you would like to be famous? I can make you an actor. I can make you famous. All you have to do is say so…”
The cop’s grins, ” You know what? Just buy the kids some chocolate and drive slow next time, OK? Because I don’t want to be an actor, and if I give you a ticket, you would find me, right?” He laughs, waves at us, nods to my dad, and goes back to his car.
After about 5 minutes of hard laughter, I decide for a change in my career. ” I want to be an actress!”
Written by Hellenka for Expats.cz
Hellenka is a Czech Native, living in the USA.