I started writing this following a family trip to Chelan one summer. I never got pulled over, and I wasn't there to attend a family wedding, but there was a casino where I met a rather likeable man called George. He fought in Ko-rea and  told me not to smoke next to his oxygen tank...

Allow me to introduce you to Rosalind Rees:

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Eastern Washington: home of apples, Republicans, and barrel-chested cops like the one sidling up alongside my car. I watched him in the rearview mirror as my nephew James started to whimper in the passenger seat.

God help me, the only way to survive a road trip through Eastern Washington is to map out where the best bakeries are on the route, and then race like hell between them. We’d already stopped for maple bars in Cle Elum, and I wasn’t above driving to Wenatchee for apricot Danish if James was up for it. Plus, there was the Aplets & Cotlets factory in Cashmere that we could still hit, providing barrel chest kept his stop efficient.

“Aunt Rosalind, is he taking us to jail?” James looked close to tears.

“Nah, he probably saw the donut you were eating and wants to know if we’ve got one for him.”

I grinned at the little boy, and thanked the Jesus when he visibly relaxed. At least one of us could. I’d tucked a wad of hundreds in my bra in case of emergencies, though, so I wasn’t too nervous.

But I was annoyed. My brother was supposed to be bringing James east, but one of his clients had gone into full security meltdown, and the computer wiz couldn’t get away from Seattle for a minute, let alone a five-hour road trip to the sticks. Since I’m not above a little charity work, I’d agreed (after a few threats from my mother) to drive James to Lake Chelan so he could be the ring bearer in a family wedding. At a casino.

Fucking Eastern Washington.

Barrel chest finally reached the window, and I could see his eyes fall on my chest. A grin split his beefy face, but I didn’t return it.

“Ma’am, does your boyfriend know you’re in this car?”

So it was going to be one of those stops.

I’d opted to drive James in my brand new Ferrari F12, which guaranteed the shortest possible trip with the maximum amount of fun. Strapping a four-year-old into a well-padded front seat was highly illegal, but I hadn’t exceeded the speed limit that much, and there wasn’t a lot of traffic in this direction anyway. No, the cop was one of those guys who assumed that his dick made him more qualified than I was to drive my car. Since I was almost certain that the dick in question had never studied under a Formula One pro, I was pretty sure I could outrace him blindfolded. “No.”

The cop sighed and hitched up his belt. “Ma’am, this car pulls about 700 horses and can send you up to 60 in less than five seconds. That’s a lot of muscle for a lady to handle on her own.”

“I know, that’s the beauty of a V-12, even if it does weigh more than 3,700 pounds. The steering’s light enough, though, that someone with my tiny hands can still miraculously drive it. And since I don’t currently have a boyfriend, I should come clean about the fact that not only is my name on the pink slip, I also paid for the car with my very own money that I went ahead and earned. By myself.” I neglected to add that I'd traded up from a Zonda Tricolore.

“Oh.” He hitched his belt again.

“Is that all? Because we’ve got a wedding to get to and they can’t start without the world’s best ring bearer over here.”

The cop leaned over and appeared to notice James for the first time.

My nephew promptly shook the bag at barrel chest and asked with all innocence, “Donut?”

#

We pulled up in front of the hotel an hour late, and my mom was outside pacing a rut between the front door and the sidewalk. Her face went purple as James and I came to a stop.

My nephew giggled. “Can I ride home with you, Aunt Rosalind? That was awesome.”

“Sure, just remember that when I’m old and somebody needs to visit me in the nursing home.”

My mom yanked open the passenger door and unstrapped him with a grim look on her face. Luckily, my dad was just coming out of the hotel, so James didn’t have to witness his grandma lose her shit. She propelled the kid inside with the astonished old man and then turned to focus her fury on me.

“You drove halfway across the state with a four-year-old strapped into the front seat of a Ferrari?”

“He’s too short to drive, so where else would he sit in a Ferrari? The trunk’s not big enough for him and my suitcase. Besides, I had a note from my mechanic.”

My mother blinked rapidly. “A note stipulating what exactly?”

“That I’m a super good driver.” When I say stuff like this, my mom has a hard time deciding whether she should laugh or punch me in the throat. To date, she’s never actually done either of those things.

“Does Enzo know?”

“He’s the one who sprang this trip to the boonies on me at the last possible minute. Besides, James was safer with me in a supercar than he is with his dad in a Volvo. Enzo’s not a careful driver, Mom, he’s timid.”

“Rosalind, this is Lake Chelan, not the Riviera. You don’t drive a Ferrari here.”

“It’s not allowed, huh? Racists.” I almost took a punch to the throat for that one. “Honestly, Mom, we’re fine. In one piece. James got a donut out of the deal, and the cops only pulled us over once.”

#

My dad set to work shaking up the first of four chocolate martinis for my mom while James and I splashed around the pool for an hour. We headed into the hotel room just in time for Mom to hustle James into a quick shower. My dad took the opportunity to join me in a grown-up drink. The man mixes one hell of an old-fashioned.

“Is she okay?” I asked. We could hear Mom yelling at James not to run around the bathroom naked.

“You know how she gets around the family.”

I nodded in understanding. I strapped a four-year-old into the front seat of a car that goes from zero to sixty in less than four seconds, and I’m one of the normal ones in our family.

“You want something stronger than whiskey?” I asked.

“Sure do, but I don’t want to hallucinate purple clowns again.”

I grinned at the memory. “Coward.”

Mom made a dramatic entrance, silencing any sharp retort my dad might have come up with. She looked flustered, and I imagined that James had probably eluded her more than once between the moment she stripped off his swim trunks and tucked him into his formal shorts.

“Rosalind, we’re heading over to the casino with James for the wedding rehearsal and dinner. I need you there no later than 8:00.” Mom bustled around the hotel room straightening up nonexistent messes while scrupulously not meeting my eye.

“Great. That gives me plenty of time for a shower.” She nodded and refolded James’s blanket. Nerves like that are visible from space. “Why do you need me there by 8:00?” I asked casually.

“Oh, the rest of the family will be joining in for some fun, and it would be nice to have you there to help with traffic flow, that sort of thing. Besides, you know how rowdy some of the family likes to get.”

Mom refusing to look me in the face while simultaneously mentioning the need to corale our batshit extended family led me to one nasty conclusion.

“You put me on pervy Uncle Lou detail, didn’t you? Are you kidding?” Surely a joyride with the four-year-old didn’t merit this sort of punishment.

Lou is my grandmother’s stepbrother, and he’s always been kind of off in the head. And gross. I’m sure he wasn’t invited to the weekend’s shindig, but like any rodent, he was good at sniffing out crumbs of information from the more gullible members of the family. No doubt he’d already inserted his awkward self into some of the day’s earlier festivities, and most people in our family were too kind to tell him how to get back home.

“Look at my face and ask me again if I’m kidding. You’re the only one who can keep him in line, Rosalind, and I need that for the next 24 hours. After that, you’re free.”

I crossed my arms over my chest and shook my head at her in disappointment. “If the rest of you had the guts to kick him in the face just once, he’d listen to you, too.”

#