Friday, January 28, 2011

“. . . I Just Feel Better When They're Not Around.”

One night I was on my way to a rock show downtown when I saw a car with its hood up at an intersection. Having been raised properly in a small town, I circled the block and stopped to lend a hand. I soon learned one of the myriad reasons why many city dwellers wouldn't have bothered.

I helped out the nice lady with the radiator problem and sent her on her way. Feeling pretty good about myself, I bid adieu to another fellow who had also stopped to help. I got into my car and . . . it wouldn't start. Dead battery. No big deal, I thought. It's a standard, I'll just get a push from buddy and start it up on the fly. Which woulda worked just fine. Except . . .

As we started to push the car, we heard a siren whoop and lights began flashing behind us.

Here we go again . . .

Constable Constipated immediately took charge of the situation. “WhoaWhoaWhoaWhatAreYouDoingHere?!” he panicked. “You can't just push a car through an intersection! It's too dangerous.” I looked at him like he was an idiot. Which he clearly was, because he showed no indication of recognizing that I was looking at him like he was an idiot. I explained to him that if the light was green that everything should go okay. He had difficulty with this concept, and decided that I was either drunk, on drugs, or had mental problems. Surprisingly, I was not under the influence of anything, and more qualified professionals than this guy had failed to confirm the latter. I wondered what they would have had to say about him.

I had apparently decided to once again abandon my policy of polite interaction with powerful douchebags, as after only a short conversation I found him spraying spittle frosted nonsense at me and pointing his finger in my face. And that's when things took a sharper downturn. It was a little like a scene in a film, where things kind of slow down, and you can't really hear what buddy is saying anymore, and you're looking bemusedly at the finger jabbing at your eye in slow motion and a little thought enters your head and you just act on it . . . I looked at the finger. I looked at him. I looked down at my own finger, which was at the ready, like I had just pulled out a switchblade . . . my hand rose up, slowly, as though guided by otherworldly forces, and with comic exaggeration, the finger pointed into his face.

Officer DoAsISayNotAsIDo lost his mind.

He grabbed me with both hands on my jacket front, lifted me off the ground, and slammed me up against a tree. “That's it!” he exploded. “We're going downtown!” I couldn't resist: “Um . . . we ARE downtown. Douglas and Yates is about as downtown as you can get . . .” My material was not going over with this guy. He dumped me unceremoniously into the back seat of his squad car and left me there to Think Things Over.

He returned a short time later, presumably to give me an opportunity to “play ball”. I wasn't interested. He asked me again if I was “on anything”. I said "no." I guessed he must have been really, really popular everywhere he went, because he just couldn't seem to fathom why we hadn't become the best of friends. “Then what's with the attitude?” he asked. I considered the possible answers. I was in no mood to pretend I was sorry for whatever hadn't happened to get things to this point, but explaining to him that he was one of the biggest assholes I'd ever met probably wouldn't smooth things over, either. I went with the admittedly flaccid “I guess it's just my attitude.” He sighed, shrugged his shoulders, and closed the door.

On the way to the station, I guess I was muttering to myself about what a stupid piece of shit he was, because he interjected: “Who are you talking to?” I replied that I guessed I was talking to myself. “And you haven't been drinking or taking drugs?” He just couldn't believe it. “And you say you don't have any mental problems?” I guess to a cop standing up to bullies appears crazy.

After some short thought on this last one I answered, “A guy like you would probably think I do.”

When we drove into the parking garage at the station and the door slowly closed behind us, I felt certain that a savage beating was looming near, but, showing surprising restraint for such an anger management disaster, Officer Clusterfuck got me to the front desk unharmed. During our time there, I was compelled to make a few corrections to some statements made by my captor. Not surprisingly, he was less than receptive. He angrily berated me for something or other. “Sounds like somebody needs a vacation.” I offered. “SOUNDS LIKE SOMEBODY NEEDS AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT!!” he expelled, apoplectically. “I guess that makes two of us,” I cheerfully replied. The officer behind the desk seemed to silently concur. Officer Prickles continued on a lengthy tirade of authoritarian cliches culminating with me being placed me in a cell. I was released later that evening with just enough time to make it to the pub for a beer and regale the local drunks with the saga of my misadventure.

The next day, a friend of mine informed me that I could rightfully request the notes of my arresting officer. I decided to do so. I went down to the station and made my claim. “Oh, you can't have those.” the attending officer assured me. Confident in my university educated associate's knowledge of our rights, I assured him that I could. “You won't get them.” he insisted. I insisted otherwise. He informed me that I could request them but that they didn't have to, and wouldn't, hand them over. I informed him that that was what were now in the process of discussing, and that they did, and would. He returned wordlessly to his previous task of standing there looking stupid.

About two weeks later, a photocopy of the notes arrived in the mail. There are two great things about these notes. Firstly, everything in the notes was printed neatly between the margins, (just the way I assume what little goes on inside Officer DumDum's skull is arranged) except the words 'pushed' and 'hand'; in this context: “Mr. Lake then poked/pushed Officer LiarLiarPantsOnFire in the chest with his finger/hand.” I'm fairly certain that if I was testifying as a witness in a court of law about pokepushing people about with my fingerhands, my credibility as a witness would be considered dubious, to say the least. “Which is it, you borderline retard?” I imagine the judge would ask. The other great thing was that the officer's name rhymed neatly with Bad Liars.

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