I’m in a fictional bike gang; The Road Dogs.
Pony-haired, yogic, London plumber, Tom pre-warned us about Goan cops pulling over tourists to extort them for cash. No helmet. Wrong helmet. No license. Too fast. No paperwork. Drugs. Booze. No ID. Easy pickings.
Over a Kingfisher in Fort Cochin, Tom showed us videos taken from a Go-Pro attached to his bike. He was beckoned to the side of the road by three Goan cops in their trademark beige uniforms. There was nothing legitimate about the interactions at all. Proper shady. The cops were targeting tourists and they wanted cash. Sadly for Tom, he was seized a number of times and taken for a good few rupees ‘n’ all.
Fast forward three weeks. Goa. We’re flying down a hot, back-road on our little rocket. This twenty-year-old, rust-bucket, hair-dryer scooter has only one working brake and has never even ridden within twenty cow’s-arses of a garage. No helmets. We ‘rented’ the scooter from a bent-fingered, toothless man we’d met by the pub for two hundred rupees a day. Paperwork? Hardly. I’m actually banned from driving. So as we near the Goan Police road block we’re grateful for the discussion we’d had the night before.
“Babe, if cops try and stop us, we just fuck ‘em right off, OK?”
“Agreed. No eye contact. Pretend we’ve not seen ‘em and keep drivin.”
“We’re in it together.”
Thelma and Louise eat your fucking hearts out.
The cops have clocked us. Collette is doing her best to be overly interested in a nearby field. One of the cops has his whistle out. I’m squinting. Ultimate faux concentration on both our parts.
Even if there was a police man in the road, Mr Judge, there would be no way I could’ve seen him as I was one hundred percent focused on nothing but the road ahead. I don’t even know what a Goan Police Officer looks like, Mr Judge. They don’t have the same uniforms that we have in the UK, Mr Judge.
He’s blowing the whistle. Now we’re both doing our best to look deaf. His arm is out for us. I steer to the right. It’s now or never for the cop. What’s he going to do? I hold my breath. Collette stairs thoughtfully, as a deaf person does, at her field. Jaws tense. Hearts pounding. Time frozen.
Long low exhalation. And inhale.
“Remember, babe. Don’t look back.”
The next couple of hundred metres down the road is a bit hand-in-mouth. We’re basically fugitives. On the run. Bonnie and Clyde.