As I sit here waiting for my court appointment, I am reminded of all the trouble you helped get me into over the years. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not blaming you entirely. After all, I was a willing accomplice, and most of the criminal activities we engaged in satiated a permeating selfishness that I had honed to perfection over the years. However, even if I don’t lay blame squarely on your sordid shoulders, I still feel as if you should be listed as codefendant on the docket, Dionysus.
But you are nowhere to be found. Alas, it’s not the first time you’ve left me high and dry (after getting me high and wet) to face the consequences of our crimes, Dionysus; it will, I assure you, be the last, though.
It wasn’t always so deadly serious was it, mate? I remember when I used to scoff at handcuffs and laugh at legalities. We were invincible, you and I, and possibilities like probation and jail and prison were humorous, nothing more than a punch line to a judicial joke that would never be delivered. There are many, many things that I wish I had taken more seriously, Dionysus, but I must say that legal ramifications top the list.
But I was brazen and brash and beguiled by your beauty. What was man’s law to me, a boy divinely inspired and protected? Because if you were anything to me in those days, it was divine, Dionysus.
I tell myself today that I deserve every bit of what I got. I don’t blame you or anybody else for my woes, legal or otherwise. I should have been smarter, stronger than getting mixed up in all that. But I wasn’t, and here I am.
The piper must always be paid, Dionysus. How much just depends on how long you wanna spread that vig and watch the odds grow increasingly against your favor. I, for one, am making my payments on time these days, my dear.
When I think of all the things I did, all the times I got away with petty crimes and avoided doing time, it makes paying for the minor things I got popped for easier. Not to mention that it’s a miracle I didn’t wind up dead, Dionysus. Remember that game we used to play? Red Lights? Where we’d go driving and every time we stopped at a red light I’d give you a kiss and get a little bit further gone? I was still a teenager then, and I wasn’t in the least bit concerned about the fact that it was dangerous or illegal or immoral, because you were such a seductive little thing and I was lost in my own delusional daydreams.
As a kid, before I knew you, I was more or less a law-abiding citizen. The only contact I ever had with police was getting tickets at the skate park for not wearing a helmet (it messed up my hair, man). And even those bothered me. But they also made me feel excited in a strange way, because no matter how small or inconsequential the act, it was one that I wasn’t supposed to be doing. And that thrilled me.
Of course, once I started drinking, I had no regard for the legal status of my actions at all. It mattered not that I was too young to have alcohol or that I wasn’t supposed to drink in parked cars or public places. What the fuck did I care? I hated society and their rules, and I especially resented anybody or anything trying to tell me that you and I couldn’t be together.
I remember the first time I ever got in trouble for drinking in public. I had been bringing beers to the skate park for about a year by this point, and my logic was that because I hadn’t gotten in trouble yet, that I never would. Because that’s how I used to think, Dionysus: if I can get away with something just one time, then I will get away with it forever, no matter how often I do it.
But I’d always get caught inevitably, wouldn’t I? I would have made a terrible serial killer, I’m sure.
So there I was at the skate park drinking a few beers with some friends in the back of a yellow van. The Banana Van, we called it, which belonged to The Banana Man. It was Saint Patrick’s Day, which didn’t really make too much of a difference as this was standard practice for any day, except that maybe we felt just a little bit more entitled to our behavior.
None of us even had any green on except the Mickey’s malt liquor we were drinking. It was a rather enjoyable time until the fête was fucked up by the fuzz knocking on the window of the Banana Van.
The cop pulled us all out of the van and lined our forties on the curb. None of us were twenty-one, and open containers are a big no-no at any age. So we were all looking at tickets for Minor In Possesion Of A Controlled Substance (Business And Professions Code Section 25662). But I tried my best to salvage the situation.
“It’s Saint Patrick’s Day though,” I explained calmly to the officer.
He didn’t care at all, and even though he was wearing green, he didn’t seem to be feeling very festive.
I wasn’t even that mad, Dionysus. I was more concerned about the fact that he took my beer than that he wrote me a ticket. The penalties were a small fine and an eight hour class on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. The class was a joke. The instructor herself said that it was ludicrous that I had gotten a ticket for having one beer on the beer-drinking holiday. I took this as all the justification I needed for my actions, and was determined that I had been grievously wronged. She also asked me why I drank.
“I just like to party.”
And how true that was, but the party wouldn’t last forever, Dionysus.
</3 Sir Rateval Hurtlinge
P.S. The Banana Van met its demise after The Banana Man flipped it on the five freeway. He should have died, but he walked away clean. I have been surrounded by near-death experiences (both my own and those of friends) so often that it defies explanation.
P.P.S. I still have that first ticket somewhere and, someday, just might frame it along with all the others I've received as mementos from my misadventurous past and encouragement not to get any in the future.