“Hey man, why are you pulling over?” Joe asks from the passenger seat of the Ford pick-up as Luke pulls into the emergency lane off Interstate 65 and slows down. Trucks scream by in the dark as heavy snowflakes fill the air.

“I gotta pull this barbed wire off,” Luke says. “It’s fucking up the windshield wipers and I think I got some of it wrapped around the rear axle.”

“Well,” I say, “you said you wanted to fuck up your truck tonight.”

“Yeah,” he says, smiling in the dim light as he opens his door. “Mission accomplished.”

I’m in the middle seat and look over at Joe. “Aren’t we going to help him?” I ask. “Fuck that, look at all this fucking snow,” he says and we watch the wet snow pile up on the windshield and feel the truck shake as Luke pulls a piece of wire out from the axle.

Earlier, we had been at Lisa’s house for a little get together and when Lisa got tired and kicked us all out Luke decided to go muddin’ through the back roads of Fort Knox. Joe was up for it and I didn’t have anything to do the next day so I went along too.

We stopped by the gas station to fuel up and pick up a lot more beer. Rich, leaving the same party, was at the station too picking up snacks for the night. His eyes sparkled with excitement when we told him about our plan and asked him to come along, but he looked up at the rain/snow mix falling and looked down at all the beer we carried, and thought better of it. He gave us his number in case we got stuck, or arrested, and went back to his room.

“Fuck,” Luke says as he gets back into the truck, bringing the cold with him.

“Did you get all the wire?” Joe asks.

“I got all I’m gonna get,” Luke says. “Why are we out on this interstate anyway?”

“Because you mother fuckers don’t listen,” I answer. “That’s why.”

We were lost and out of beer and at an intersection. A state highway ran next to us, perpendicular to the road that, if we had turned right, would have led us back home. But Joe thought we were on the other side of post and urged Luke to turn left and run through the gate and that’s what Luke did. “How are we going to be on the other side of post if we never went over 313 to begin with?” I asked Joe weeks later. “Yeah,” he answered. “Never listen to me when I’m drunk.”

“Hey,” Joe says. “I know where we are.”

“I know where we are too,” Luke says. “But how are we going to get back on post without getting arrested.”

We sat in silence thinking about this. “Hey,” Joe speaks again. “I have a friend around here, you guys want to get high?”

“Fuck yeah,” Luke answers. “But I don’t want to get caught.” They look at me because I’ve been in the army the longest. “What do you think Herring, will there be a piss test coming up?” There won’t be. Christmas exodus is just around the corner and as the name implies, nobody will be around for the next four weeks except us dumb-ass military police soldiers.

People usually get a little freaked out when they find out I had been in law enforcement for eight years. Their guard instantly comes up, they think “Once a cop, always a cop.” And then I tell them about the first time I got stoned and how it was with a bunch of cops. They usually laugh, move one step closer to a world without assumptions, and pass the bowl.

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