Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do ... ?

I was not a bad boy growing up. No angel -- I was there when the po-lice came out of the bowling alley and caught Jimmy Head trying to steal the hubcaps off'n their cruiser, but merely an innocent bystander -- who knew he was that stupid? Just because he had been riding with us ...

My first brush with the law came because my buddy had taught me, the summer we were fourteen, the exciting activity of roof-top running. In downtown Baton Rouge back then, most of the office buildings had fire escapes that were easily accessed, and we did so. Even spent the night in our sleeping bags on one of the taller ones once, just because we could. We had 2X6 boards in strategic places where we could cross from one to another. Several stories up, no net, and, being young and stupid, no fear.

One Sunday, after we were done I was headed home, he went back up on his own. Got spotted and caught when he descended, and arrested for trespassing. To make it worse, he had a BB pistol in his coat pocket, so they threw in a concealed weapons charge. Dumb ass.

I went to juvenile court to testify on his behalf, and him being fifteen, it being a first offense and essentially harmless -- single-shot BB pistol, you could hold your hand in front of it and shoot, wouldn't break the skin -- the judge gave him a few months probation.

Not counting traffic stops, a couple of which were scary because real guns were involved. the next time the law called on me was when I was pulled out of a college sociology class and hauled downtown to answer questions. That same buddy, having decided that Army life wasn't for him after all, went AWOL, and the feds had the local po-lice pick me up, in case I might know where he was.

I didn't, I told them, which was true. At that moment, I did not know. I did have a letter folded up in my back pocket from him which gave a return address in New Orleans where was living, but I didn't that he was there, now did I? My first experience with mendacity fugue ...

I got to see the inside of a jail holding cell, though, and then they cut me loose. Scared the crap out of me.

After that, there were several visits from the FBI looking for my pal, which were nerve-wracking. Seemed the penalty for aiding a federal fugitive was much worse than being busted for going AWOL. Go figure.

Eventually, he turned himself in, did eighteen months at Leavenworth, and life went on. Outside of hippie activities, I was pretty much a law-abiding citizen from then on.

Next time I got visits from the po-lice was when they were looking for that selfsame buddy for stealing a bunch of typewriters from the local high school. Which crime he did.

If you are wondering by this point why I didn't, uh, stop hanging out with this guy, seeing as how he was going to get me in trouble, it's a good question. This last event was the straw, more or less, and shortly thereafter, I stopped taking his calls ...

Been clean and mostly legal since ...

1 comment:

Kai Jones said...

It's different when it's the adults in the household breaking the law, and the kids are told never to trust the police, and never to answer the door. My mother's boyfriend from the time I was 10 until I was 16 was a drug dealer.