Commanded and Uncontrolled
By Justin T. Carreño,
Junto Staff Writer Bio
For a period of time, while living in Arlington, Virginia, my work was located across the street from my apartment. Living in northern Virginia, or NOVA, an outlying base of official Washington, it's common to run across people who are gun-ho military. Arlington, specifically, is crawling with military personnel, as well as government-employed civilians, many of whom are government contractors, known as "govies." It wasn't strange then that I met plenty of them in my apartment building.
Working across the street, I commonly would go home for lunch. During one of these lunch-breaks, I noticed, as I walked out of my building, a blacked out, new, shiny SUV parked in driveway. I didn't think much of it. NOVA is loaded with government cars.
This was different. As I passed the car, red and blue lights began flashing and a voice over an amplifier said ominously, "You, come here. Get in!" This command obviously caught my attention. I was wondering what the police wanted with me. I kept walking past the vehicle, and then turned around to see what this was all about. And a familiar face, a friend, was sticking his head outside the driver-side window. I just looked in wonderment and shook my head.
"For real?" I thought. He said, "Just get in. It's my boss's car."
"Right. OK," I thought. I'll go along with it. I wasn't in a rush to get back to work. I hopped into the luxurious vehicle. It was decked out like a stretch limousine -- plush leather seats, lighting, a glass automated divider between the front driver section and the back passenger section. A heavy armored doors.
My friend said, "Watch this." We raced around Arlington dashing in and out of traffic, going down one-way streets the wrong way, feeling the power. Traffic and red lights were no match for this vehicle. If vehicles or traffic lights blocked our way, our flashing lights and sirens came on. If these didn't work, my friend announced menancingly, "Move out of the way!" on the loud speaker. Vehicle and pedestrian traffic alike were quick to clear the path.
I said, "This is pretty wild, but uh…."
He responded with, "Training."
Then he received what sounded like an important call: "Yes, sir. Roger that."
He had to get going. We raced up to my work. I noticed some people looking, realizing they couldn't see through the tinted windows. He stopped the black beast abruptly. I suppose the spectators were wondering who the VIP was about to exit the vehicle. I slowly opened the door, trying to create suspense, and stepped out.
I'm not sure if they thought I was a boldface name. But I'm sure they were disappointed by not having a clue who I was.
My friend didn't have to time to stick around. "It's a critical mission; have to get my boss to Starbucks," he said.