Les stood in the cigar store regretting the spat he had with his wife over names for their unborn child. He favored “Jack” in honor of his late father, but she wanted “Gregory.” No one on her side of the family had that name. She denied it was an old boyfriend.
His cell phone rang. “My water broke.”
Les had never been exposed to the anxiety and pain of giving birth. His normally calm wife sounded angry—“What the ‘F’ are you doing in a cigar store?”
The usual 10-minute drive to the house took 11 minutes. Les kept under the speed limit and made complete stops.
At home he guided his wife to the back seat of the car.
“Jesus, Les, put it into high gear.”
Les had mapped out the route to the hospital. “Can you wait ten more minutes, honey?”
“I’ve never had a baby before…how would I know… hurry.”
The drive went well until they hit bumper-to-bumper traffic.
His wife glared at his hands tight on the steering wheel.
“Drive on the shoulder!”
Her answer was a loud scream. He jerked the car onto the shoulder.
“Here goes my license.”
He raised his speed to 20 mph, passing dozens of stopped vehicles in the process until he saw the flashing red light of a police car in the rear view mirror.
A few minutes later Les trailed the police car and its wailing siren.
After his wife gave birth on the gurney, Les turned to the officer standing nearby.
“Thank you officer…?”