The baggie was empty.
Its contents, an M'n'M sized ball of black hashish, had fallen out onto the street. It was dark out and the cops never found it. They never really knew what to look for in the first place. I didn't offer them help. I occasionally do know when to shut up.
I still can't believe that I remembered that it was in my coat pocket in the first place. I mean, I was in shock. My new car was a heap of mangled metal and glass and my hand was hurt bad. But somewhere in the back of my head a voice said, "You've got a few minutes before the cops get here, eat the baggie with the hash. You could get in a lot of trouble if they find it." Trouble? Trouble? Are you kidding little voice in my head? I think that's taken care of. But if you really think I should attempt to choke on my own paraphernalia...
"Spit it out!" "Spit whatever is in your mouth out NOW!" Said the paramedics.
My left hand was bleeding pretty badly and the EMT's quickly wrapped it with a towel. As we rode to the hospital I asked them what happened. They weren't in a talkative mood so I just shut up. It turns out that I had drifted into the left lane and a car in front of me was stopped to make a left turn. I had hit it, flipped over, and spun around on the roof a couple of times. Thankfully no one was seriously injured in the car I hit. I was in trouble alright, but I could have been in it a lot deeper. I was lucky. Stupid, but lucky.
At the hospital I remember almost everything. A car crash has a way of sobering up a person pretty quickly. I remember the feeling of the scissors as they skipped along my legs when the nurse cut my pants from the pocket down to the cuff. Cold, sharp, and precise. RRRRRRRIIIIIPPP!!! I can picture it in my head as if I was watching them do it from three feet away. They picked as much glass out of my hand as they could find. I would find out later on that they hadn't got it all. But I was wrapped up and sent into a waiting room. There I sat cuffed and alone for a good long while.
Enter the officer.
He told me to pee in a cup.
I walked into the bathroom with my pants legs flapping beside me like some kind of mummy costume on Halloween. It was more than a little humiliating. They were nice jeans to boot. I had gotten them for my birthday. I had asked for them.
I peed a little in the cup and filled the rest up with water. "This ought to fool 'em" I thought.
The officer said he would have to observe me while I did it again. Damn!
Into the john we marched and he stood right there. I couldn't go. I was still in shock and had already relieved myself once. With Mr. policeman standing there it was impossible.
So they took a blood test. They would eventually find everything. Even a couple of things I had forgotten about. I was going to need a good lawyer. But this part was already taken care of.
I posted my own bail and the cops drove me home. I don't think that kind of thing happens anymore but this was the eighties. Life was different then.
I remember the feeling of walking up the stairs in the middle of the night to the floor my Mom and I lived on and opening the door. The dogs barked a couple of times and I quickly calmed them down.
"ZZZZzzzzzzz..." She was still asleep. What a bastard I was about to be exposed as. A stupid, still drunk, selfish, bloody bastard. Her son. Her angel.
I woke her up and asked her to come sit with me, that I had done something awful. She nearly fainted when she saw my bandaged hand and my ripped pants. I'm sure I smelled like a still.
We both cried for a good long time.
But she didn't yell at me. She hugged me and told me to go to bed and we'd deal with it in the morning. I remember waking up several times in the night as I rolled over onto my left hand. I'm lucky I still have it. You kind of need both hands for the job I have. Or any job for that matter.
In the morning we went to see what was left of my new car. It was completely caved in on the passenger's side. Thank god I was alone.
That afternoon we went to see my lawyer. I remember how quiet both my Mother and I were as we got in the elevator in the Art Deco style building on Main St. It beeped, the doors opened, and we walked down the hall to the office. The secretary said she'd let him know we were there. It was a stately looking room with dark walls and huge bookcases filled with important looking books. Handsomely framed art hung next to calligraphy covered parchments embossed with raised seals of approval. Someone was doing alright.
I remember the way the beautiful dark maroon Italian leather chair felt as I squirmed in it. We sat there as he silently read the police report. Each time I moved, the shiny leather bubbles of upholstery breathed air as if it were sighing. He told me I was probably going to get off with a continuance without a finding. Because that's what they gave kids who fucked up so they could have a semi-clean record and maybe get a good job. This he was pretty sure of. This did eventually happen.
I remember getting up and shaking my lawyer's hand. I remember walking towards the door and taking a mint from the translucent Depression glass bowl on the table. I remember offering one to my Mother and her taking it and putting it in her pocket book and hearing it snap closed.
I remember all of these things because I had been in his office before. I had taken a mint from the bowl and offered it to my Mom in 1987 when he first represented me. I had been in trouble for something else I wasn't proud of. Something I managed to get kept off my record. Something I did because of alcohol. Something I can almost chalk up to being a stupid adolescent.
And when I spoke to him on the phone yesterday to discuss the OUI from '89 and how it will reflect on my current one, it all came back to me and I felt like crying.
Yes, I have been in a lot of trouble.
PS: Let it be known that I am not publishing this for the world to see as entertainment. This is an effort on my part to draw up a very real and very legible blueprint. It is an attempt at a printed instruction manual for myself in an effort to make sure I never assemble the parts of my life incorrectly again. I am not proud of what I have done but I am proud of what I am doing. Time will tell what my future holds. But as I prepare to click on the "Publish Post" button, I know that tonight I will go to bed a sober man. Twenty four days and counting. See you tomorrow.
Thanks for reading. ~F.A.J.