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Rockwall, Teaxs 6:35pm 9/30/1996

I am sitting in the turn lane, northbound, in the center of Goliad, en route to photographing my manager's wedding. I have just missed my turn, and am waiting to turn around in a church parking lot when the cruiser passes by the other way. I notice his head turn as he passes. Was it the long hair, or the inspection sticker he noticed? If it was the long hair, then did he think I was a woman, and was just checking me out? I know, I know, I really should have gotten the car inspected.

I get into the church parking lot and turn around quickly, as I am waiting to head south on Goliad, he pulls up behind me. The lights are enough, really, I do not need the siren, thanks.

I pull back into the parking lot, find he does not think i am a woman, and discuss my 9 month out of date inspection sticker. Driver's license and insurance rituals are performed. I stand by my car in the heat and wait while my credentials are checked.

When the cop returns, I find that Dallas really does issue warrants for tickets that you do not pay. He puts the handcuffs on tightly, but not too tight. At least the cop car is air conditioned. And my manager did not really want to have her wedding photographed anyway. She felt obliged to have photographs, so she hired me for cheap. The cop returns to my car to "lock it up", and inspect anything he can without moving or opening anything. Ahh, the probable cause game, the one time I have lost it in 14 years of driving.

It is a seed that allows him to win. It gives him the oppourtunity to open and move anything he likes. He returns to the car, tells me he has called a dog, and it would be much easier if I told him if I had anything else in the car. I tell him about the bag and pipe, and find it makes no difference. The dog will search the car anyway, and finds dope I wish I knew I had.

The next time he returns I get asked the stupidest question ever asked someone caught with a small amount of weed:

"So, who did you buy this from?"

Most people purchase this drug from someone they know. They will fall much harder than you will, and you will not be saved much trouble. Besides, it works more like a big Amway cult than an organized effort to distribute drugs, next time the "seller" in question could be me. I sit and look back at him blankly. If i could pick my nose, I would.

He quickly understands that this is not a productive use of his time, and decides to take me to my lodgings for the night. I call my sister, my fingerprints are taken, an orange jumpsuit is issued, and a flashlight is shined up my butt. 6 hours later I am escorted into the general population.

This is not so bad. I get to lose at chess over and over to a guy that has a lot more free time than I do to perfect his game, so I do not mind. Soylent Green is on the T.V., we get to watch how the people of the future will be prisonsers just like we are, so it is kind of comforting. The one disconcerting thing about this place is, everyone that I ask what they are in for, replies that thier charge is assault. Except the one guy who did not pay his fine for fishing without a license. Well, at least none of them did it.

My sister arranges bail before sunrise, so I am a free man the next day. I spend the next six months on probation. My probation officer is not really interested in much other than if I have been arrested recently, and the 90 dollar payment I make each month. I am drug tested once. I get a psychological evaluatuion that in three hours can diagnose me as being manic depressive! A drug rehab course is required. It consists of 4 saturdays of ridiculous misinformation, and complaints from the psychyatrist that this has not been the get rich quick scheme she thought it would be.

All in all, a bag of weed that would have cost me 25 dollars, ended up costing me about 2,600 dollars in fines, court fees and probation payments, 12 hours of freedom, and one morning a month for six months. In return for this, I do get into the habit of giving blood, and I have a rare blood type ( I did it in lieu of picking up trash for community service). So I suppose even though the price was high, I did benefit from the drug laws of the United States at least once.

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