Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Brush with the law, ver 2.1

When we left off, our (not quite) hero had been booted from college by the local law enforcement peoples. I didn't have to work that day, so I moped around my house where I lived alone, wearing dark clothing and wondering how my high intelligence had failed me. At that point I just felt remorse for my actions and not angry about anything that happened. I fell asleep about six the next morning.

At nine, two city detectives appeared at my front door, a sergeant guy and lieutenant lady (both incredibly fat). They asked to come in and speak to me. I thought about demanding to see a warrant, but decided I should just cooperate. They came in and asked to check my pistol permit, which they refused to return (they said I could have it back if their investigation proved fruitless). I explained to them that I couldn't work without it, so they helpfully suggested that I take a week's vacation. I further explained that, as a minimum wage worker, I had no benefits like paid vacation and couldn't afford the time off. They shrugged and started the interrogation.

We sat and chatted for awhile and I tried to explain to them that I wasn't a psycho, just a college student who made up a story for various reasons (couldn't come up with a real problem, couldn't afford another text book, just cuz, etc.), but they obviously didn’t believe a word I said. When I asked why, they informed me that I fit their profile (for what they didn't say) because I lived alone, wore dark clothing, and was highly intelligent. I didn’t feel highly intelligent at that moment, but decided not to correct them.

As part of their interrogation, they pulled out a copy of my essay and read sentences at me. After each one, they asked where I got it from. Every time I reiterated that I just made it all up. After we danced that dance a few times, they interrupted and gave me my options. According to their law enforcement training, it’s impossible for anyone to make anything up – I had either stolen it from a book I read, or experienced the feelings first-hand. I wonder if Stephen King is aware of this? He’s either had a very diverse life, or he’s the undisputed lord of plagiarism.

Anyway, they stopped questioning me after an hour and asked to look around my house. I stayed in compliance mode and gave them the grand tour. They took special note of my library, writing down the titles of the Stephen King and Anne Rice novels while ignoring the other books, such as the bible. The lieutenant lady remarked that she also liked Tom Robbins (I had several of his books on my shelves), but didn’t add that to their investigation notes. They inspected my closets and wrote down the number of dark articles of clothing, conveniently skipping over the Hawaiian shirts and other colorful pieces.

They informed me that they had already shown my essay to the DA, who claimed he wouldn’t hesitate to convict based upon that alone (of what crime, they never mentioned). They ordered me not to leave town and said they would contact me when the investigation was finished.

In the meantime, I continued to work my post as an armed guard. I felt nervous as hell carrying my piece without the permit (I felt sure they would show up at work and bust me), but I didn’t know what else I could do. I talked to a defense lawyer who, after hearing my story and reading my essay, burst into laughter. He said he would defend me, but didn’t think they would press charges since I hadn’t actually broken the law. He recommended me to a civil lawyer to look into my case, some high-priced avenger working from a cheap office filled with posters about the atrocities Jews faced in Israel (I didn’t ask).

I explained to my lawyer that I basically had no money, and that he would have to work on contingency if he expected to get paid. He offered to write a letter for $50 (I wish I could get that much for writing - $50 per page), and I agreed. Over the next couple of weeks, he corresponded with the college’s attorneys (they had a lot more people on their letterhead) and found that I had already been expelled before my essay had been returned, and that they listed me as voluntarily withdrawing which meant I had to pay back the funds disbursed from the Army (that wasn’t free money – I served four years and paid into the account in order to collect).

A couple of weeks later, the pigs called me down to the station. They said they had completed their investigation and wanted me to review their final report before submitting it. By this time, I knew better than to believe them, but I didn’t see an alternative. When I arrived at the station I was escorted into an interrogation room, similar to what’s seen on TV (metal chairs, tape recorder that beeps at regular intervals, two-way mirror). They let me sweat for awhile, then the same pair entered and began another (much longer) interrogation, asking me about everything from my scholastic goals to sexual orientation and experiences to religious beliefs. I answered more or less truthfully, careful not to rant about my disgust with religion. At the end, they seemed to be satisfied and said no further action would be taken against me. I asked for my permit back (as per our agreement) but they said they would be embarrassed if I killed someone and had a legal permit to carry a weapon. I wondered if they thought that about all the other people with permits, but didn’t ask.

On my way out I tried to get a copy of the official report from the desk clerk. She informed me that I wasn’t allowed to have a copy since I wasn’t listed as the victim of the crime. Wasn’t this a victimless crime? Was this even a crime?

Anyway, I quit my job after that and moved into the administrative field where I’m still trapped today. That incident has followed me throughout the years. I tried to return to security, but couldn’t get another permit since the first had been revoked (regardless of the reason). Years later, when the company I worked for promoted and relocated me to Atlanta, I tried to get a permit here (since packing a pistol had once saved my life), but the form included the question “Have you ever had a permit revoked in another state?” I decided to ditch the idea.
There’s a little more, but I’ll save the discussion and aftermath for another post (like the fact that the company that relocated me sent me out the door under armed guard – yet another brush with the law).

1 comment:

Lor said...

"it’s impossible for anyone to make anything up – I had either stolen it from a book I read, or experienced the feelings first-hand"

If that logic's true, then nobody could ever lie, right?Haha... I dunno, random thought. Oh well, at least now you know your writing was convincing. :/