Firebird, Jailbird, and a really big fork.
It was my first real experience living away from my parents. I was young, virile, and of legal drinking age. Well, across the border in Minnesota I was anyway since it was 18 then. I was living in Grand Forks, North Dakota attending the University of North Dakota (what a coincidence) and enjoying the life of a single college student. And all that implies.
However, all was not sunshine and roses in the land of, well, wheat mostly... and snow. Lots and lots of snow. My past motorized indiscretions had caused and accumulation of points against my license that was the envy of any scoff-law. Of this I was blissfully unaware at the time of course. Not that it would have caused me a great loss of sleep you understand since I was possessed of a very strong sense of denial at the time. And sometimes even now.
All that would return to haunt me on a brisk October evening as I was driving home from my girlfriends place. I was driving my 1967 Firebird which sadly had a burned out headlight on the passenger side. To temporarily fix this problem I would drive with my high beams on since that would give me lights on boths sides. Hey, I'm a fucking genius. The problem however arose when, on my journey home, I was forced to pull in behind a police car.
An internal debate began to rage inside my mind. Do I leave the high-beams on and possibly get a ticket for not dimming my highs or do I dim them now and risk the headlight out ticket? Well, there are lots of cars out there with only one working headlight, I'll dim my highs and take my chances. BZZZZZZZZZTTT!!!! Wrong answer.
The light turned green and I followed him through the intersection. Once through he slowed waaaaay down and motioned for me to pass. "But I don't wanna pass you," I'm thinking as I go by him. Sure enough, as soon as I get ahead of him he kicks on his strobes. Sigh. I just can't catch a break.
I pull over and he pulls in behind me. He gets out and walks back to my car and goes through the usual license, registration, insurance spiel. I hand over the aforementioned documents and he informs me that he pulled me over for having a busted headlight. During this brief conversation, I have witnessed no less than three cars go by missing a headlight, taillight, or both. God hates me.
Further proof of divine fuckery comes when he runs my license and discovers a bit of information of which I had previously been unaware. He swaggers back to my car and asks me, "did you know that your license was suspended?"
"Well, it was suspended for one week due to an accumulation of points." Now I'm thinking, I haven't had a ticket in months, why wasn't I informed of this?
"How long ago was it suspended?" I ask.
"About a year and a half ago according to this."
"Oh, well, I think my week is up by now."
Why oh why can't I learn to keep my big fucking mouth shut. He informs me that I need to send in my lisence to the DMV at the state capitol and they'll hold it for the week and then send it back. He also informs me that the reason I was never notified was because I never bothered to update the address on my license. Ooops. (the address on my license is at least two addresses old)
He hands back my license and other info and tells me to drive straight home and send off my license ASAP. "Will do officer," says I. I'm also thinking, Cool, he didn't give me the ticket for the headlight.
So, I drive home and the next day send in my license to the DMV for the required 7 days.
Flash forward a week and a half and I now have my drivers license back. Hooray!! BZZZZZTTT!! Wrong answer, again.
Two days later I get a message from the DMV stating that my license has been suspended for one week for accumulating a point for "Driving on a Suspended License" Aw shit. Well, I'll just send it back, again, and I'll be ok after that. Right? right? nope.
Seems that all this trouble with the constabulatory doesn't sit well with my folks, who are footing the school/rent bills, and they are none too pleased. They call me up and inform me in no uncertain terms, "You are getting into too much trouble with that car. So we sold it."
Yes, it was true. They ripped my heart out and sold my beautiful muscle car to one of mom's co-workers for the paltry sum of $900. My spirit broken and my will sapped, I meekly handed over the keys to my father when he came to take my car away. "You need to buy yourself a less conspicuous vehicle that won't get you into so much trouble," he advised before driving away with my most singularly prized possesion.
Taking his advice, and the money from the sale, I begged a ride to a local car dealer from a friend so that I could car shop. My friend drove me to the part of town where most of the car dealerships were and dropped me off on his way to work. It didn't take long before I spotted a car that was a) within my price range and b) something I would not be emberrased to drive. I quickly purchased a 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme as my next vehicle.
Problems arose however when I realised that I couldn't legally drive it home since my license was still suspended. (You didn't need to show a license when purchasing a car back then, you just had to show your checkbook.) Well, I figured I would just drive the car home and park it until I got my lisence back. What could possibly happen?
Apparently, I had completely forgotten that I was fates bitch. And she was pissed.
I drove off the lot with my (relatively) new '80 Cutlass and proceeded at a sedate pace towards home. Not wishing to attract any police attention I drove right at the speed limit, came to complete stops when necessary, and signaled every turn and lane change. All that would avail me not as I neared my home. And my doom.
As I crossed the last intersection before home and with my driveway within site, I broadsided a Buick that had failed to stop at the stop sign. Un-fucking-believable!! This asshole runs a stop sign and now I'm gonna be the one to get reamed over this deal. Sure enough, somebody witnessed the accident and phoned it in. Cops came from all directions and were on scene within minutes.
One of the first officers on the scene proceeded to ask for the usual documentation from the drivers involved. "Can I see your drivers license?"
I could only meekly reply, "You'll have to go down to the state capitol building if you want to see mine."
"So your license is suspended then?"
"Turn around and place your hands behind your back."
I couldn't believe it. I was actually being arrested. He read me my rights and then placed me in the back of his cruiser. Cuffed and stuffed like some robber or rapist. It didn't take long for them to clean up the scene and park my new (smashed) car off on a side street. They then drove me to the police station and proceeded to process me. Fingerprints. Pictures. Delousing. (WTF?) The whole bit. Shit, they even took the laces out of my tennis shoes. Why? They think I'm gonna hang myself over a fucking suspended license?
I was allowed to make my phone call which I placed to my friend that had dropped me off at the dealer. I begged him to come up with the $250 to bail me out. He said it'd have to wait until he got off of work. Oh, yeah, great. Cuz' flipping burgers is so much more fucking important than this.
They then placed me in a cell. Clang!! It's always so cliched in the movies but fuck if that doesn't just add a note of finality when it happens to you. I tried to sleep but it was 11:30 in the morning so that wasn't happening. I entertained myself by watching a cockroach crawl up the wall. He later commited suicide out of sheer boredom. Or maybe I dreamed that part.
I was startled awake by a commotion outside my cell. I quickly ran to the door and peered through the tiny window to see what was happening. To my surprise I witnessed six cops carrying/dragging a guy towards the cell block as he was screaming wildly and trying to kick/punch/bite the cops that had hold of him. "Oh God," I think. "They can't be planning to put him in MY cell! There's at least eight empty cells down this row."
They kept getting closer until it was obvious they planned to put him in with me. "Oh Christ, this guy is gonna use my ass as his private playground. He's gonna butt-dart me until the wee hours of the morning." At this point, my sphincter closed up so tight I couldn't have shit a BB.
The cops unlocked the door to my cell and literally threw the guy into the cell and quickly slammed the door shut. I could only back away as my new cell mate jumped up and charged the door slamming into it with his shoulder. When the door refused to budge, he started punching the door (big steel door) and the cell walls (thick concrete walls) and screaming, "FUCKING COPS!!! I'LL KILL ALL OF YOU!!! I'LL TAKE YOU ON ONE AT A TIME OR ALL AT ONCE!! I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU!!"
By now my bunghole has closed in so tightly on itself that it's in danger of becoming the first quantum anal singularity. I examine this fine specimen of trailer trash a little closer (so I can describe him to my therapist later, I'm sure) and discover that this scraggly bearded, unkempt, village-people throwback, biker wannabe freak has a purple birthmark covering fully 50% of his face. "Ewwwwww" is my first thought. Followed quickly by, "this muther must have learned to fight a loooong time ago with a face like that."
He must have noticed my staring because he stops trying to punch his way through the wall and whirls on my, eyes blazing, and asks me, "What are you in for?"
"I killed a biker with my bare hands," is my first thought. Oh hell no. He'd never buy that.
Trying to sound much tougher than I felt I mumble, "driving under suspension." I so badly wanted to follow it up with a snarl and "I'll do it again too, PUNK!!"
I didn't think that would work either though.
He only nods and then asks me, "which bunk do you want?"
A nightmare vision of me on my stomach with my underwear on backwards quickly flashes before my eyes and is mercifully gone just as quick. "Umm, I was using the top one but you can have it if you want."
He answers by way of crawling into the lower bunk and quickly passing out. Phew!
I use this opportunity to make my way to the cell door and quietly but sincerely beg, "help! help! somebody get me out of this cell before this guy kills me!"
But nobody came.
My cellmate never regained consciousness during the rest of my stay in the cell. For that I am eternally grateful. Hours later my friend shows up with the bail money and bails me out. He drives me back to the scene of the accident and follows me home as I drive my now wrecked car to my driveway.
Three days later I got my license back.
Two days after that I got a notice that it had been suspended. Again.