Thursday, January 04, 2007

Book 'em Dougo.

Last night at around 7:00pm me and three other young men wanted by the police sat around a long library table trading stories. The remnants of an ad-hoc cop dinner lay strewn about: salt and pepper packets, a box of disposable forks, and several mostly unused napkins littered the wooden landscape. The other three men wanted by the cops, let's call them Joey, Chandler, and Ross, they were all about my age and uniformly uncomfortable.

Joey, though he probably wouldn't admit this, had a receding hairline and sat across from me fiddling with his backpack. Chandler sat to my right in large emo-black glasses and an embryonic pompadour. Give it time and it will grow. Chandler also had a penchant for bad jokes, mostly of the law enforcement variety, good-cop, bad-cop, you get the idea. Ross sat to my right on a diagonal wearing a baseball cap low on his head. He slouched and though I wouldn't be able to tell you how I know this, he easily made more money than the other three of us combined. We had all been sequestered in this tiny community-college-esque room to wait for an improbably long amount of time before viewing a police line-up of potential muggers.

The ride to the courthouse-cum-police-station had been eventful enough. With many a hair-pin turn Mapquest guided us through the night, depositing us on Western just before Belmont where several overpasses fought to see which one could arc higher than the rest. Shady alleys and shadier 'business establishments' marked the street corners but across the highway Croftie and I could see a large parking lot with a smattering of cop cars. I wore my black hoodie and fingerless gloves, not because i wanted to be confused with some punk hoodlum but because there was a chill in the air--that, and i had just come from work and was exhausted. Croftie and I exited Jeepie Jeepie and made our way toward a building which could only be described as 'government'.

Inside I threw my weight around, barking out "I'm here to see Detective Hanson." That's not the real detective's name you see but we may as well continue the silly pseudonyms. Hanson was up a long flight of stairs and inside a large open room which looked exactly like every stereotypical cop teevee show that ever lived. I fought the urge to sing the theme from 21 Jumpstreet. Untidy desks. Youngish ladies grasping important loose-leaf documents in their waving hands scampered about the open aisles. Off duty cops lounged and leaned and looked generally bored. That's when Hanson, an elderly gent with snowy hair and a amiable face, sat me down with my aforementioned Friends.

After trading mug stories we were called away one by one to look at the line-up. I, of course, was last. I believe this was because the detective didn't want Croftie to have to sit and make small talk with Joey or Ross. It was all very dramatic. Hanson came in and put his arm around my shoulders, leading me away like a pitching coach trying to advise a prospect who'd gotten himself into one helluva jam. He told me:

"Now I wanna sleep well tonight, and I know you do too. This here ain't no eenie-meenie-miney-moe. If you don't see your guy, don't pick one just because. Now in a second I'm gonna have you walk down this hall and at the end there'll be a blind. We'll kill the lights and raise the blind. There'll be 5 guys sitting on a bench behind one-way glass. You'll be able to see them and they will be looking into a mirror. If your guy is there point him out, but only if you're sure."

We stepped out into the main-room and suddenly every eye was on me. It was spectacularly surreal. It went down just as Hanson had said. The lights were 'killed' and there on the bench were a bunch of bored looking middle-aged African-American men with surprisingly different styles of facial hair ranging from impeccably trim to non-existent to not even trying to be presentable. The man second from the right looked particuarly rugged, his face over-sized like a comic-book supervillian. But I knew right off the bat that none of them were my guy. I told Hanson I was 80% sure of this. My Friends and I filled out some silly forms and were unceremoniously swept on out.

Sushi and some Reckless Records finished off a rather bizarre day that began with textbook rush and ended with me, exhausted and bewildered, in bed before 10pm.



At 10:46 PM , Blogger oline said...

i'd heard rumors through the trusty editor pipeline that there was a great piratical tale a-comin'- a tale so great that only the pirate could tell it. so i checked the thunderclap obsessively all day long. like a teeny-bopper and on the jake gyllaanhauwll watch. and finally in a feeble late-night (we're old and rise early so 10.46 is justifiably late-ish) last ditch effort, i gave the thunderclap a half-assed cursory glance. and lo!

you never disappoint, pirate.

At 11:06 AM , Blogger nick said...

has anyone ever seen the episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show where Rob (played by DVD) goes in to view a lineup? Laura (played by the lovely MTM) is petrified (or since they're Rob & Laura Petrie would it be Petriefied?) that some hoodlum will act out revenge on her beloved. meanwhile all Rob can do is ask to see the cop's gun & handcuffs, and use phrases like "10-4, Sergeant," even though he's talking to a Detective. somehow i'm envisioning something like that playing out. and thus, somehow the Crofts can be both the Huxtibles & the Petries. amazing.

At 5:35 PM , Blogger croftie said...

Oh Ferd, this was quite the day. It really was as surreal as you said. I was definitely expecting something much more formal and scary and dark and dreary and dingy and criminally. But I'm proud of you for both your aid to the Chicago police force and your writing skills. Well done, DougO!

At 11:46 AM , Blogger Bombsy said...

It sounds oddly like this was the best possible outcome! You didn't have to be responsible for some guy's incarceration, and you have the satisfaction of knowing that karma, not the tax payer, is taking care of your guy right now.


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