~ journal ~

A Trip to Boston

1. Mike and I leave Burlington at 9:30 and arrive in Brookline at 1:00 am. Searching for Sharron's house, we finally turn into Wellman Street, in violation of the one-way. "Don't worry," I say, "the street's only 30 feet long. We'll just pull out at the other end and make a U-turn..." As we come to a stop at the corner of Winchester and Wellman, we notice a police car just up the street. Seconds after we pull out onto the street, the flashers begin to blaze.

"Did you know you were going the wrong way on a one-way street?" "We didn't know it was a one-way street... we were lost... we just drove from Burlington, VT..." "Can I see your license and registration?"

As the cop checks the info, Mike and I joke about how silly it is to get pulled over mere feet from our destination. "Now if we lived in one of those terror countries, we'd be dragged away and imprisoned until middle age for crimes against the state..."

Then: "Can you step out of the car?"

Mike climbs out. After a brief exchange with the grim looking fuzz, he places his hands on the truck and submits to frisking. More squad cars arrive. A policeman on the other side of the truck tells me to climb out as well; minutes later, the first, zealous cop searches through the cab of the truck, taking an exhaustive inventory of my weekend bag and tugging vainly at the back of the seat. "Are you looking for something?" I ask the policeman next to me. "I'm not looking for anything, ma'am." "Well, is HE looking for something?!" "I haven't the faintest idea, ma'am."

Mike is about to be taken away. He barely has time to tell me that there's some problem with his license -- "it's SUSPENDED," a cop helpfully clarifies -- before he is bundled into a squad car and taken down to the station. After he is gone, Mr. Crusader finally manages to pull the seat forward in the cab and discovers that, amazingly, there's nothing back there! Since I have no license, Mike's truck is now going to be impounded. I gather up my scattered belongings, stuff them back into my bag and trudge to 9 Wellman to tell Sharron the news.

2. Sharron is amazed. She laughs. Then, we decide to go down to the station to wait for Mike's release, since we're not sure he has enough money for bail. When we return to the scene of the crime, there is only one car left, driven by Sergeant Stine, a supernaturally helpful middle aged man with the proverbial bowling ball body and toothpick legs. He agrees to give us a ride down to the station to wait for our friend. Before driving a single inch, however, he must radio to the dispatcher and report his position, planned activity and exact mileage. Along the way, Sharron poses the usual ice-breaking questions: "So, what do you think of the LA police department?" and, "What's your opinion on the OJ trial? Do you think he did it?" His answers are beyond circumspect: "I'm not in a position to judge my fellow police officers, but I can say that they seem to have done some things that would not be condoned in our precinct." "His guilt or innocence will be determined by the jury."

We arrive at the police station and are escorted into the bare and uninviting reception area. Estimated time of Mike's release is 45 minutes, so Sharron decides to order pizza. Twenty minutes later we get the news that in fact Mike could be in the slammer for hours yet; the bail bondsman isn't home or expected until 4:00 at the earliest. Hm. The pizza arrives and the Greek delivery man says, "$8.80, half off for employees, so that's $4.40. You work here, right?" "No!" I say. "Yes!" Sharron says. $6.00 and he's on his way.

After we have eaten two-thirds of the pizza, each of us swilling from a different 2-liter bottle of Pepsi and joking about what varieties of torture Mike is undergoing, we decide to head back to Sharron's apartment to wait. "Can't we see our friend?" Sharron wheedles the barely-tolerant lieutenant. "No, you can't see him." "Can't we give him some of this pizza? He's probably really hungry." "No, that's against regulations." "Can we write him a note??" "...Yes, you can write him a note." Leaving instructions to call us when he gets out, we seal the note with a plethora of staples and Sharron dashes off a skull and crossbones on the front flap. The lieutenant looks at us as if we just stepped off a flying saucer, but takes the note and disappears into the inner recesses of the station.

Now we face the trip home, across town at 2:00am. Walking is out of the question. A cab seems silly. So once again Sharron approaches the counter and addresses the lieutenant: "Well, we're going to go home and wait for Mike to get out -- there's really only one bail bondsman you can call? -- and, well, we don't have a car." "There's always cabs," he tersely replies. "Well, we figured we would probably have to pay for our friend's cab as well since he might not have any money left, so we were wondering maybe, if it's not too much trouble, if we could get a ride back the same way we came -- that is, if you're not too busy." "Well.... we might be able to do that." "Of course, it would really help us out if one of you could drop Mike off when he gets out..." The lieutenant has had enough. "Your friend can take a CAB. We aren't in the habit of chauffuring defendants who've just been released!"

3. Driven home by the jolly Sergeant Stine, we collapse on the living room sofas and drowse.

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