You know what they say, when it rains, it pours. Like I just got pulled over a few weeks ago for speeding. And when I gave the traffic cop my license, he ran in it his computer and came back, “Hey buddy, looks like you have a bunch of outstanding parking tickets.” And I just said to him, “Well, when it rains, it pours.” And he said, “Yep,” and then he impounded my car.
We were on the middle of the highway, and I asked him, “Hey officer, do you think you could give me a ride back into town?” and he said, “Well, I’m really not supposed to, but I guess, yeah, all right, you sure there’s nobody that can come and pick you up?” and I said, “No man, I think I accidentally left my phone in the car. Any way you could call up the tow truck and tell them to come back with my car so I can look for my phone?” And he was like, “No way man, just hop in.”
And he wouldn’t let me sit in the front, which, I guess I can understand, that’s his office, he was doing me a favor, he probably didn’t want to have to share his personal space, having me getting too cozy up front. But still, it felt weird sitting behind that glass partition, like I was some sort of a criminal. And I was just about to say to myself, wow, talk about raining and pouring, but I didn’t have time to coalesce my loose thoughts into a complete sentence, because the police radio started going off, the dispatcher shouting out all of these codes, the cop up front yelled to me, “Hang on!” and he hit it, the sirens, the lights, we made an abrupt U-turn and gunned it.
I could tell something huge was going down, because all of these other cop cars started joining us, all of us headed in pursuit toward the same direction. I wanted to ask what was going on, but the cop was pretty busy, he was talking into his car radio, and then into another walkie-talkie on the side, all of it in this indecipherable police language of letters and numbers. I looked down at my watch. I was supposed to be at work right now, and my boss already gave me a huge speech about showing up on time. Would I even be able to explain something like this? I could already hear him cutting me off halfway, telling me all about how he’s not interested in excuses.
When it rains it pours, right? Right, but even though it felt like it was pouring, this wasn’t even a light drizzle yet. Because we pulled up to this factory warehouse type building far away from any part of the city I’ve ever been to, and there were like a ton of cop cars there, all of them, sirens on, every officer standing by his or her driver’s side door, waiting to make a move.
I guess it could have been worse. By the time we arrived, most of the action must have already gone down. So I’m glad I didn’t have to be there for anything too violent. Still, I did kind of wonder what was taking so long, how much more time I’d have to spend in this backseat. And of course the car door wouldn’t open up from the inside. And finally after like forty or fifty minutes, I started to feel really cooped up in there, like I just wanted to stretch my legs, take a breath of fresh air. I knocked on the window but my cop either couldn’t hear me or he was ignoring me. I kept knocking, and after thirty seconds or so, another cop from another car took out his nightstick and hit it against the window, mouthing me to, “Shut the hell up!”
He had it all wrong, I wasn’t the bad guy here. Sure, I wasn’t completely off the hook, I mean, there was the whole issue of those unpaid parking tickets and my car being in some impound lot somewhere. There was that, yeah. But I wasn’t under arrest. If only I could get that cop’s attention again, maybe I could mouth to him something like, “You’ve got it all wrong.” But when it rains, it pours, you know? But that didn’t work, everybody was ignoring me.
Maybe an hour or so later, all of these cops started coming out of the building leading all of these obviously bad guys with their hands cuffed behind their backs. One after the other, there had to have been close to fifty men. Were they gang members? Was this some sort of a meth lab? I had nothing to go on other than how everyone was dressed, wife-beaters and sleeve-tattoos. They weren’t good guys, that much was obvious.
Finally, the door next to me opened up, but before I had a chance to get out and see if I could maybe borrow a cell phone to call a cab to pick me up from wherever it is that we were, three of those bad guys got shoved in the back with me. So there we were, four of us, it was really way too tight, and then a different cop got into the driver’s seat and started driving.
“Hey!” I tried grabbing this guy’s attention, “I’m not supposed to be in here. Can you let me out? Did you talk to that other cop?” And he just ignored me. But the guys to my right, they looked pissed. One of them just kept glaring at me, like if I had any reservations about these guys being bad guys, that all went out the window when this one guy made eye contact. I was thinking, come on dude, we’re all stuck back here, and you’ve still got to act like a crazy bad guy? Can’t you just give it a rest for like one second?
And then they threw us all in a holding cell, all while I tried to grab anybody’s attention, “Please,” I was begging anybody who passed me in the hallway, “This isn’t right. This is all a huge mistake.” But nobody paid any attention. Not until I got to where they book people. They took everything out of my pockets, my wallet, my cell phone. Fuck. My cell phone was right there the whole time. How did I miss it?
“I’m telling you, I got pulled over, my car got towed, and the officer was giving me a ride back into town. I promise, I had nothing to do with that bust or whatever it was.”
And finally the booking officer at least acknowledged me. He didn’t look at me, but he said to me, “That’s too bad kid. But the judge isn’t back until tomorrow. So you’ve got to hang tight until we can get this all straightened out.”
And it was crazy, this was absolutely nuts. And then when it was my turn to make my phone call, I connected with my boss for like a second, I wanted to tell him to call my wife, to send for help, something. But the line got disconnected right after he said, “Hello?” and I was like, “Hello? Hello?” and I looked to the officer watching the phones and said, “It dropped. The call went dead. I’m not supposed to be here. Can I have another quarter?”
And he just looked at me and said, “Nope.”
And I don’t have to say it again, right? The raining and pouring thing. But it’s true. It’s absolutely true. I can’t think of any other cliché phrase that more accurately describes my totally normal day taken away from me, turned into me sitting in a jail cell, waiting for tomorrow, hoping that I had enough money in my checking account to get my car out of the impound lot.