I was out of Sudafed, and the last few nights I've had some sinus congestion that was making it a bit challenging to breathe at bedtime. So I decided I'd better head over to Wal-Mart before the pharmacy closed at 9:00 and get some more.
Everything went smoothly inside the store. I got my drugs, picked up a couple bananas, had no wait in line, and then walked out the door toward my car. I had a really great parking spot very close to the door, and on the way I saw a couple cars, one of which was a police car, coming down the next lane where a tall man was waving his hand up above his head, trying to get someone's attention. It quickly became clear that the man wanted the cop.
He walked around to my lane with the police cruiser following him, and by that time I was at my car. The man pointed to another car two spots over, and the cop got out of his car while I got into mine and settled my stuff on the passenger seat. I wasn't overly filled with curiosity as I started up the car, but when I looked in the rearview mirror, the cop car was blocking me.
Okaaaaay. I stayed put.
After a little bit, I got out of the car to see if the policeman was nearly finished, just in time to see him shining a small flashlight in the car with his left hand while he held his cocked gun in his right. He said, "All of you in the car, put your hands up and keep them there."
I was stunned into motionlessness. Then the cop straightened further, pointed his gun more menacingly at the windshield and said, "If you put your hands down one more time, I will shoot you."
I got back in my car.
The police officer stayed there with his flashlight and gun pointed at the car until another officer, also with flashlight and drawn weapon, arrived at the front of the car and then moved out of my view, which was partially blocked by the car next to me and by the reflection of one of the parking lot trees in all the side windows of the suspects' car. But not long after that I saw in my mirror that the second cop was cuffing and frisking someone, who he led away to one of the (now) two police vehicles.
When the second cop came back, the first one had the driver get out of his car, which he did by sliding out the window. Police #1 proceeded to search and cuff the driver and then lead him away, presumably to police car #1. The second cop was talking to someone who was still in the suspect car, and I rolled down my window a bit and heard him saying there had been a report of one of the people in that vehicle having a weapon, so they were being arrested and he really appreciated the suspect's cooperation. This conversation happened with the gun still trained on the car.
After cop #1 came back, a third suspect was taken out of the car, cuffed, searched, and made to sit on the curb next to the rear of my car. Finally, the fourth person was arrested, and as he was led away, the other two officers (a third had arrived by then) searched the interior of the empty car with their flashlights as best they could through the windows.
Then one of them saw me watching, and I gave him a smile that I hoped conveyed appreciation without any exasperation. He walked away from the car and said to the first cop, "I'm going to move this vehicle (police car #1) so she can get out." Before he did, he apologized to me, and I said, "No, no. I'm fine."
As soon as it was clear, I backed out of my really great parking spot very close to the door and stopped when I was alongside where the police car had been moved. I told the officer, "Thank you. And thank you for what you do."
I drove home with my Sudafed and my bananas and a shifting sense of the world I live in.