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Traffic Stop with Annie Kim
by Jerry Guarino

“And those are the headlines. Let’s check in with Annie Kim and Traffic Stop.” The readers should imagine themselves in front of a large screen television where Annie Kim is driving the traffic stop reporters car.

“Thanks Bob. Well, here on the 405 it’s a typical LA drive time adventure. Some kids in a mustang speeding down the emergency lane and my producer Juan and I are trying to avoid some motorcycles weaving in and out of the fast lanes.”

A two-way camera is mounted in front of the traffic stop van providing a unique perspective as viewers at home see both Annie driving and the road ahead. These live traffic reports have bumped their news ratings up five points.

Bob, back at the anchor desk voices over the live feed. “Looks like you’re giving us a front row seat Annie.”

“That’s right Bob. You can almost feel what we’re…” Annie screams and slams on the brakes. Annie and Juan lunge forward and the inside windshield is sprayed with a take out menu, some Mexican food leftovers, soft drinks and reporter notes. Hip-hop music blares from a nearby El Camino low rider. “I think we’re all right Bob, but that was close.” The traffic stop van continues down the freeway.

Normally, traffic reporters hitch a ride with a news helicopter or report from the studio while watching camera feeds. Helicopters are often grounded by weather and their perspective is from a mile off the ground. Reporting from a studio is even more remote and lacks the sounds of the road. Traffic Stop had revolutionized traffic reporting, even making it interesting and no other station had it.

“I’m telling you at home. If you don’t have to drive, don’t. There must be a full moon, eh Juan.” The viewers see Juan nod in agreement. “As I was going to say, we’re approaching the 10 in Culver City and we’re just getting back up to cruising speed.” A farm vehicle cuts the van off. Annie screams again, slams on the brakes. Annie and Juan are sent forward again. The inside windshield is sprayed with donuts, plastic utensils and a hairbrush. Outside, a chicken bounces off the windshield and we hear squawks and panicked chicken sounds. Some mariachis band music comes up from a pickup truck on their left.

Bob interjects from the studio. “Annie, maybe it’s time you called it a day.”

Annie composes herself and they continue driving. “No way, Bob, but this does remind me of driving in Rome. We just passed the 10, heading towards the Marina freeway and Inglewood. Things are starting to calm down ahead of us. We can see the farmer in our rear view mirror picking up poultry and some pigs running in between cars, holding up traffic behind them.” Juan takes some notes and shakes his head. “Three’s the charm Juan?”

We see a picture in picture pop up box for the weather reporter. “Annie, you won’t believe this, but we are hearing that strong cross winds are headed right for you. Maybe you should call it a day.”

Annie hits the accelerator. “Not now. I think our viewers at home would like to see how this ends.”

But the traffic lightened and there were no more incidents for the moment. “False alarm, Bob. We don’t see anything that would indicate strong cross winds. You might as well go to a commercial.” As Annie and Juan continued down the freeway, an ambulance siren is heard from behind them.

Coming out of commercial, Bob throws it back to the traffic reporter. “Folks, we’re going to rejoin Annie in Traffic Stop, just to make sure they’re all right.”

The television screen flips back. “Bob, I think we have an ambulance coming up on our left. We’re going to pull over. We’ll see if we can catch up to give you a first hand report.”

The traffic stop van eventually caught up to the accident. A semi-tractor truck had spun off the road, blocking the two right hand lanes. The back doors were open and you could almost see what was falling out, slowly jamming traffic. Suddenly, something flew up in front of their van. It was a super ball; in fact it was hundreds of super balls. “We’re almost there Bob. It looks like.” Annie screamed and slammed on the brakes. Annie and Juan were thrown forward again. The inside of the windshield was sprayed with burger wrappers, French fries and water bottles. Outside, the front of the windshield was pelted with dozens of super balls. You could hear metal music loud and clear from a motorcycle sliding by, trying to avoid the rubber obstacles. The van now looked like it had been through some sort of Halloween prank. The camera shot returned to Annie.

“And that’s the way the way the ball bounces. This is Annie Kim with Traffic Stop for KOOK in Los Angeles. Back to you Bob.”