88. Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Ralph and Ilene hadn't been to a baseball game in about five years. They were only 15 miles from the stadium, but the heavy traffic on game day made those 15 miles seem more like 60 miles. It took about an hour to get to the stadium. Then, when the game was over, it took half an hour just to get out of the parking lot. Then the drive home was another hour. In other words, the traveling took longer than the game itself.
"Honey, the Giants are in town," Ilene said. "I want to see Barry Bonds hit a home run. Can we go to the game? We haven't gone in such a long time."
"You're right. It has been a while. OK, I'll go if you don't mind driving," said Ralph.
"Great! Let's get ready. If we get there early enough, I might get his autograph. Maybe he'll hit a foul ball we can catch." Ilene was excited. "We!?" Ralph thought.
An hour later they were in their car. They lived in Pasadena near an old church. They went south on Orange Grove and then south on the 110 freeway. The 110 is California's original freeway, full of twists and turns. Accidents occur daily; California drivers think yellow lights and sharp curves mean the same thing—speed up!
The traffic was lighter than they expected. They arrived at the stadium 40 minutes before game time. They paid the $8 parking fee, parked and locked the car, and walked to the main entrance.
Several individuals were standing around outside the stadium, looking casual but actually selling tickets on the sly. "Are you going to buy from a scalper?" asked Ilene.
"Yes. Just like last time. That one looks honest," Ralph replied.
They walked over to a man in a red cap. Ralph's instincts were correct. The man had tickets for good seats at a fair price. Ralph gave the man $45 and thanked him.
"Don't thank me, my friend. Thank your local police department. Put your hands behind your back, please. You're under arrest."
"What?" Ralph was astonished. "What's going on?"
"Buying scalped tickets is illegal in Los Angeles," said the undercover police officer. "It's been illegal for 25 years. Don't worry. The police station is right outside the park. We'll have you back here right after we book you. You can pay the $150 fine with your credit card." The officer handcuffed Ralph.
"This has got to be a joke. You people have never enforced this law before," said Ralph.
"Well, we've got a new mayor and he wants us to enforce all the laws that bring in money. Come with me, please. I'll have you back here in 20 minutes. Ma'am, you can wait here for him. You might want to buy some legitimate tickets while you're waiting. Have a nice day. Oh, and enjoy the game!"
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