The car fishtails onto a dusty roadside to a grinding halt. I am in a foreign European country. It is 7am. It is thirty four degrees Centegrade. The dust settles around us. In the the rear view mirror I see the Carabinieri. The dust settles around them I don't know if they have guns so I keep my hands on the steering Wheel. “stay still” I say to le journaliste. A swirl of sweat sweeps its way down the side of my forehead as all their car doors open. This is not good. This is not good at all.
Three hours earlier we are traveling to Alghero airport. a four hour drive through the darkness into light: a perfect way to say goodbye to Sardinia. I drive across the peninsula bathed in moonlight and skim through picaresque hillsides as the morning sun rises. We stop for coffee at the roadside cafes. After three hours driving we see a police car ahead of us. My relationship with the police and driving in England relates to being constantly charged under the DWBB law: Driving While Being Black. So we hunker behind the police car, careful not to overtake, but they seem to be going slower and slower. A sick trick. And by now it was getting ridiculous. They are doing about thirty kilometres an hour.
Carful not to over take I get ladjacent and and the journalist peers into the police car . She gesticulates is it okay if we overtake and they gesticulate. They are telling us to pull over. she says. So I speed up to pull over in front of them. But the police speed up. So I speed faster. And they speed faster. I am trying to get in front of them so I can pull over. We are now travelling at 100km per hour: neck and neck. I am screaming at le journalist “what what” Finally I pass them and our hire car fishtails onto the roadside in a furious cloud of dust
Four tall Caribanieri saunter over. One opens my door. He is chewing a matchstick. He leans his elbow on the roof and stares down at me. I stare at him pleadingly. He nods his head. I nod my head. After doing this for a while the penny drops for le journaliste who speaks to an officer on the other side. “lemn they think you've pulled them over they think we were requesting some kind of help from them.” I replay the events in my had. I was so busy thinking they were about to harass me that I had forgotten any other possibilities.