Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The day's Tuesday. I wear a badge.

Adventures in shopping.
So I’m walking home from the Mom n’ Pop in my neighborhood, that one that has frozen spinach and pepper jack cheese. I’m a little unkempt, in my paint-spattered sneakers, brown pants, and outsized green coat. I'm carrying a large canvas bag somewhat the worse for wear.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a cop car come to a stop beside me.

“Hey you,” says the cop, pointing. I look around. Uh-oh. He’s pointing at me.

“Come over here and keep your hands where I can see them.”

It’s been my experience that it’s best to obey the orders of men who have both uniform and gun, until other options reveal themselves. I walk over to him.

He asks, “Been in a fight?”

“A fight?”

“Let me see your hands.”

I show him my hands.

“What were you fighting about?”

“I wasn’t in a fight.”

“You got in a fight with a young woman in a red car.”

“No, I didn’t.”

Nervously, I put my hands in my pockets, as I am wont to do.

“Keep your hands where I can see them!”

Nervously, I take my hands back out again.

“You carrying a weapon?”

“No. Frozen spinach,” I tell him.

“Let me see your i.d.”

I reach for my back pocket.

“Careful,” he says.

I hand him my driver’s license.

“Sir, would you lean against the back of the car, please?”

Part of the problem is, that despite having viewed several episodes of COPS, I am not entirely sure of the protocol here. Do I put my hands behind my head? Do I brace myself against the car? I lean with my back against the trunk of the car, with my hands held loosely at my sides.

He opens the trunk, takes out some form or other, goes to the front of the car, and starts writing down my license number.

“Have you ever been arrested in San Francisco?”


Another cop car pulls up. My first cop is a young guy with an earring and one of those hiply shaved heads. My second cop is slightly older, maybe thirty, bulky, with shaved head. He looks like a pro wrestler, while the first cop looks like he should be wrangling code.

Second cop, who may or may not be the bad cop, asks me, “What were you fighting about?”

“I wasn’t fighting,” I say. “I was getting dinner.”

“You can tell me,” he says. “Tell the truth.”

“I wasn’t in a fight.”

“She says you were involved in an altercation with her.”

“She’s mistaken me for somebody else.”

“Do you have any, ah…?”

Weapons, drugs?

“Are you carrying…?”

Drugs, weapons.

I shake my head. “I have a shopping list,” I say.

“Do you want to get in the back seat?”

No, I don’t. But I do.

"Have you ever been arrested?"


There is no seat, per se, just a hard metal surface. I start to slide onto it, visions of handcuffs, a holding cell smelling of urine, filled to the brim with un-lawyered-up perps, dancing in my head.

“You don’t have to go all the way in,” the second cop tells me.

I swivel, put my feet on the street. Another cop car has pulled up, on my right, with a woman cop this time. She’s in her early forties, short iron-colored hair with blonde tips.

She says something.

The frst cop says, “He says no. And he doesn’t have a car.”

She makes some wisecrack sotto voce. The first cop laughs, and the woman cops drives on.

Second cop says to me: “The young woman says you were fighting with her.”

“I wasn’t fighting.”

The first cop rejoins us: “You seem very nervous.”

Well, yeah, I think. “Yeah,” I say.

A fourth cop car pulls up. This one’s a guy my age, maybe a little younger, with all his hair, unnaturally brown. He gets out of the car, walks up to us.

He asks, “What were you fighting about?”

“I wasn’t fighting,” I say. “I was getting groceries.”

The weirdest thing about this experience is it doesn’t seem like I’m necessary to it. I’m just there because the cops need somebody for their questions. It could be anybody.

Just as I am preparing myself mentally for a trip to the stony lonesome, the first cop hands me my driver’s license.

‘She pointed at you,” he said. “She said you were the guy. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

As I put the driver’s license back in my wallet, I say, “Is this going to show up in Police Blotter?”

The second cop says, “Don’t worry about that.”

The first cop laughs and says, “I don’t think so.”

“Too bad,” I tell them. “That would have been cool.”

Duck’s Breath DVD
I’m sorry. I’m just too traumatized to talk about that right now. Buy one! Calm me down! Cheer me up!


Blogger - r@fink said...

So, seriously, what were you fighting about?

11:02 AM  

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