On the lamb
It was just before ten o’clock on the night of October 17, 1999, and I was probably two hours past guzzling my dozen’th beer and who-can-remember’th shot of whisk’ at a local bar. [It had also easily been three hours since my last moment as an obedient member of society on that day.] Loud and rowdy, I had just watched the Mets defeat the Braves in an epic 15-inning playoff game that ended on Robin Ventura’s walk-off “grand single” in a cold, heavy October rainstorm.
Obviously, it was time to celebrate with more beer and more shots. Rounds of Red Dog bottles and Jager shots evolved to pints of High Life […it is the “The Champagne of Beers” after all] and Wild Turkey shots.
Finally, shortly after midnight, someone had the sense to say enough’s enough, no more drinking! [Hint: It wasn’t me.] Sooo, the bartenders kicked me out. [I was tired anyway.] I had driven to the bar almost nine hours earlier, but even in my altered state, I knew I wasn’t driving home. I walked. It was only a couple of miles, and my friend was with me, so I’d be fine. [“I’ll be fine”…How many stupidly drunk people tell themselves this before doing something they soon regret?]
There I was, exhaustively focused on just keeping myself upright and walking forward…left, right, left, left, no, right! And then there it was at my feet. Not my front door. [Damn.] Not another round of shots. [Double damn!] A street sign – ‘Dead End’. [In my defense, as a drunk dope, finding a downed street sign on a dark road that you’re stumbling along is like finding $100 on the floor of a Toys R Us as a 9-year-old boy.] “Hey! Check it out. Yeeeeeah!,” I yelled with the sign held high above my head to my buddy who I could barely see off ahead of me through the rain and night. Wait, what? What’s…why…how come I can’t see? Who’s shining that damn light in my eyes?
[Cue Styx’s “Renegade”] Oh momma I’m in fear for my life from the long arm of the law…
A police cruiser, not thirty-feet away, had its spotlight locked on me. Frozen, I stood there still holding the sign above my head. “Put. It. Down,” the officer bellowed thru the loudspeaker. [FML] There I was bellied up to the cruiser’s hood, spreadeagle, trying to e-nun-ci-ate e-ve-ry syl-la-ble of an explanation: “Sir, I’m being responsible, doing this community a service by not driving home drunk. I’m walking home. I’m walking!!,” I explained. No dice, he wasn’t in the mood to listen.
“Where’s my friend?,” I asked the officer. “Friend? Who? You’re alone,” he said. And now I’m angry. Not because my buddy darted off and left me, but because this officer clearly wasn’t interested in my side of the story, and the more I spoke, the deeper and deeper of a hole I was digging myself. Cuffed and stuffed, I was on my way “downtown.”
…Lawman has put an end to my running and I’m so far from my home.
Fingerprinted, photographed and charged with “possession of stolen property,” “drunken disorderly conduct” and “resisting arrest,” I was asked to have a seat and offered a cup of coffee by the officer. “Sober up and we’ll drive you home,” the officer said. Really? They’re just going to sit me in a chair and pour coffee down my throat until I’m sober enough to go home? No way, I wanted the full criminal treatment. After all, who knows when my next opportunity might be, right? [Obviously, I was still shithoused.] I insisted that they put me in a cell. “And I want a tin cup to run along the bars!,” I shouted. Finally, after a bit of a temper tantrum, they granted me my wish and tossed me in a cage. [WIN!] However, they only had paper coffee cups, and as you might imagine it didn’t make quite the sound on the steel bars that I had hoped for. [FAIL!]
I was sentenced to, like, twenty-something hours of community service. Not bad, right? Well, I never served it. Not one lousy, undeserving minute. Shortly after this all went down, I got a job out in California and off I went. I’ve never received a call or letter regarding the matter. I escaped.