Cad Bop had me alone now. I was, in the literal and figurative sense of the term, his captive audience. He was truly relishing the ordeal, Dionysus. Either he had truly convinced himself that I was a calculating sexual predator or he was merely another sadist with a badge who got off on making other people squirm. And squirming in handcuffs ain’t comfortable, love.
I could see his nefarious eyes in the center rear view mirror every time he addressed me with a question. The entire thing was a set up, and his queries were no exception.
Cad Bop: You know, I know your kind. I deal with them all the time. You think you’re real cool, a tough guy. And sometimes the girls fall for it, sure. But when they don’t, it doesn’t matter anyways because you have other ways of getting what you want, don’t you?
The Arrested: What girls? Isadora is the only girl I’ve ever been with, and the only thing I wanted was to be with her.
Cad Bop: (derisive laughter) Oh I’m sure she is! I’ll bet she feels real special, dating a stoned high school drop out. Because I can tell you never graduated high school just by looking at you! And there’s no just no way that you’re employed. Nobody would be dumb enough to hire a guy like you!
The Arrested: Actually, I don’t get stoned and I was valedictorian* and I’ve had a steady job for over two years.
Cad Bop: (more gross chortling) Oh, I’m sure you have! That’s a laugh! Looks like we’ve got a regular professor back here!
The Arrested: Well, not yet, but actually–
Cad Bop: (turning scarlet from laughing so hard) Don’t tell me you think you’re going to become a professor? Or go to college! This is just too much. The only place you’re going is prison! Do you know what they do to guys like you in prison?
The Arrested: Guys like what? Like teenagers that only sleep with their teenaged girlfriends? I don’t know. Pick me first for softball?
Cad Bop: (stops laughing suddenly) Just quiet down back there. We’re almost to the station.
So I did, Dionyus. It certainly wasn’t the best conversation I’ve ever had, that’s for sure.
We pulled into the station, which had an adjoining jail. I had never been in a police station before, Dionysus. It reminded me of a hospital, though: everything was blank and cold and echoey. It gave the impression of being simultaneously really large and really small.
Cad Bop got me out of the backseat and led me into a holding cell. I was told to sit down on the concrete slab and wait. The officer then left through a door into an office, which I could see through a sheet of plexiglas. He was talking to another younger officer who couldn’t have been out of his twenties yet. I remember looking at that guy with his crewcut and his badge and his holstered gun and his features that didn’t look much older than my own and thinking that there was no greater waste of youth than becoming a fucking cop.
But of course, sitting in a cold holding cell without shoes in a sleeveless Screeching Weasel T shirt (punk points +1) wasn’t a waste of youth at all, Dionysus. It was all a big misunderstanding, really. I was sure it would all be sorted out in due time, that I’d be awarded a pardon and given a gift certificate for Dunkin’ Donuts or something for my troubles. I thought that I might be able to convince this younger cop what a huge mistake this all was; perhaps he could relate to my youth (despite the fact that he was a cop and I was a punk and therefore natural enemies) and help me out.
After an hour or so of shivering and shaking in that holding cell, the door opened and the younger cop came out. Officer Crewcut, Jr. spoke.
“Stand up! Walk towards the door and stop before you get to the doorway.”
I thought that I did as he said, but I must have done something wrong.
“I told you to stop! Are you too stupid to follow directions?”
I realized that I had misjudged this young officer and that I was, contrary to my prior optimism, probably fucked.
This was my first booking experience, and therefore had no idea what to expect. Officer Crewcut, Jr. started by taking off all my jewelry and putting it in a bag: necklaces, bracelets, earrings, nose ring, buttons, badges, etc.
“What’s with all the accessories? Pretty cute.”
What can I say? I’ve always been into accessorizing, Dionysus.
Next I was fingerprinted and forced to sign a paper that stated that I understood what my charges were (pretty hard not to understand considering I was staring at STATUTORY RAPE in big block letters) and another that listed all of my property (including 50 cents that I had in my pocket).
Next, I had to watch as Officer Crewcut, Jr. ran my prints through a database to check for prior arrests and outstanding warrants. He smiled sickly as he did so.
“I’ll bet you have a warrant or two, don’t you?”
I didn’t have any warrants, love, because I had never been arrested for anything before. I suppose Officer Crewcut Jr. had a hard time believing that, because he ran my prints three times before giving up.
“I know you’ve been arrested for something! This machine must be malfunctioning!”
It wasn’t malfunctioning, but he was. This guy was a total lunatic. He seemed hellbent on making my first jail experience as difficult as possible. I didn’t really get it: I had never met this guy before or done anything to him, and yet by the way he conducted himself, it was as if he had just caught me boning his wife.
But you and I know that it wasn’t his wife I was caught boning, which I suppose was the main problem.
He finally threw me back in the holding cell. I spent the remainder of the night there alone, although I could see officers moving about through the plexiglas. I tried to avoid eye contact, but when I would occasionally make the mistake of looking at one, I would always get a look of contempt thrown my way.
I suppose that part of the purpose of jail is to give the criminal time to think about what he’s done. But I didn’t fancy myself a criminal and I didn’t think I had done anything wrong and I wasn’t in the mood for contemplation. My buzz was long gone by this time and, in typical fashion, I tried to sleep off what was left of it, although I don’t think I got even a minute’s rest that night.
After some hours had passed, I heard the door open and looked up to see Cood Gop, whom had been absent in the station during my stay as far as I could tell. He told me that it was time to go. I didn’t know what he meant. Where was I to be going now? Court? Prison? Dunkin’ Donuts?
It turns out I was getting released. He handed me a bunch of ugly paperwork for my records and a brown bag with all of my belongings and told me I was free to go. I looked at him like a traumatized puppy must look at an abusive master holding out a treat. Was it a trick? I turned and began to walk towards the door.
“Wait a second, son. There’s just one more thing.”
Oh Jesus Christ, I thought, what now? It was all a trick after all, wasn’t it? It was off to the big house for me, Dionysus. Farewell, Isadora! Forget me not!
I turned around to face him.
“Do you really care about that girl?”
He was staring me straight in the face and, for that brief moment, he wasn’t a cop interrogating a criminal, he was a man asking a boy a question. I spoke.
“I’ve never cared about anybody so much in my entire life.”
“That’s all I wanted to know. Take care of yourself, son.”
And I walked out of the police station into the brisk early morning dawn, with bare feet and a bared soul to match, Dionysus.
</3 Sir Rateval Hurtlinge
P.S. Before I was released, I asked Cad Bop where my shoes were. He said they were in my truck, which had been towed. When I asked where, he told me that he had no idea, and that I could just call all of the thirty or so tow places nearby until I found it. Which I did the next day. When I went to pick up my truck, all of the booze had been confiscated except a bottle of vodka, a forty ounce of malt liquor, and two Sparks. There is absolutely no way that the cops simply overlooked these items. I believe that they were intentionally left, perhaps by Cood Gop, because somebody recognized that I would probably need a drink after that ordeal. And I did indeed, Dionysus.
P.P.S. When I was released, I had just enough money for one phone call. I called a close female friend, who came to pick me up and made fun of me the entire ride home. This person will figure very prominently in later letters, love, but I'll leave it at that for now.
P.P.P.S. Years later, I would run into Cood Gop again when I was skateboarding with a friend. He told me I looked familiar and asked if we had ever met before. Of course I said no, Dionysus.
*I had the grades, so technically this was true. But I believe that valedictorians typically attend their high school graduation, which I definitely hadn't.