A Cop and a New Immigrant without English

This is a true story. A new immigrant got a job of truck driver. His English vocabulary was limited to ‘yes’ and ‘no’. How he managed to get from Toronto to California is anybody’s guess. Not far from San Fransisco a policeman stopped his truck. That’s how the driver negotiated with the policeman.

“Your documents,” the policeman said sternly.  The driver took his papers from the glove compartment and handed them over.

“Where are you going?” the policeman asked.

“From Toronto,” the driver answered with a thick accent. This exhausted his English vocabulary.

“I am asking where,” the policeman insisted.

“From Toronto,” repeated driver. And then clarified: “Little English.”

“Oh, I see,” the policeman said politely. “What language do you speak?”

“From Toronto,” said the driver. “Little English.”

“Dam it,” grunted the policeman. “Do you understand at least something?”

The driver nodded in agreement.

“Yes,” he said. “From Toronto. Little English.”

“German?” asked the policeman. “French? Italian? We have policemen that speak some.”

The driver understood at last.

“Russian,” he declared.

“Nobody here speaks Russian,” said the disappointed policeman. “Some Spanish?”

“Spanish?” repeated the driver and the sparkle of joy lit his eyes. “Oh, yes, Spanish. Yes, yes.”

The policeman said something in fluent Spanish, expecting a lively conversation. He looked like Mexican: not tall, with distinctive features of Spaniard. His hopes died as soon as the driver opened his mouth. All of a sudden he began to sing.

“Bessa me,” he was singing. “Bessa me moo-oo-cho.” Here his Spanish was exhausted as well, but not enthusiasm.

“Lala, lalala, lalala, lalala, lala-a-a,” he continued to sing the well-known tune. A broad smile appeared on the dull face of the policeman.

“Bessa me,” started the driver the next round. “Bes-sa me moo-oo-cho.”

“OK,” gave up the policeman. “Enough.” But the driver was not able to stop.

“Lala, lalala, lalala, lalala, lala,” he continued.

“Would you bloody stop?” suggested the policeman with a note of irritation. In response the driver set off to another cycle.

“Bessa me, Bessa me moocho,” he kept on singing. The policeman stretched his hand to the driver, returning the documents.

“Go to hell, bessa me moocho” he said, unable to suppress a smile. The driver started the engine and went off, his song muffled by the roaring engine.



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