Let me be clear about this: all I did was run a stop sign in this stupid little backwater town. That’s it. I ran a stop sign. I mean, I guess I’d also had a few beers. Sure. How many? I don’t know. But apparently the cops here don’t have much to do. And believe me, I’m sorry if I didn’t notice the lights flashing and just kept going a few blocks, maybe even speeding a little. But so what? I would had stopped like the good citizen I am if I’d seen them. And of course, just my luck, or maybe theirs, I lost the back end of the Lincoln around a tight corner, and the car skidded off the road and lightly bumped into an ice cream truck, making all this ice cream spill out on the hot asphalt and start melting—which was kind of funny in a way, but was also a big fat Destruction-of-Property charge, on top of Reckless Endangerment, DWI, running a stop sign, etc, etc.

Anyway, I didn’t have any pants on—apparently illegal in this county, but not Skagit County, where I’d just come from. Another ticket there. That and the car didn’t have tabs, and I had no insurance to drive it, but you wouldn’t think that mattered since the car was stolen, but you know these cops, no tabs or insurance is a cash cow, and they’re gonna go ahead and write the ticket. If I could have afforded a good lawyer, I could have gotten off on that one, but suddenly the cop pulls his gun all Dirty Harry-style and tells me that dispatch tells him that the car was used in a bank robbery a couple states away just the week before, and I’m like, Whaaat?

Then they bring the dogs in and it didn’t help my story that they found ten grand in marked bills and a brick of Mexican weed stuffed beneath the passenger seat. I made a good point that if I’d known about all that cash I’d sure as hell be drinking better beer than Hamm’s, which I proved to him I’d been drinking by showing off my empties in the glove box, and I regretted that decision immediately because out of the glove box falls an unlicensed handgun that was, in fact, mine, and a stack of dirty Polaroids that I don’t want to talk about.

The cops, who look like they’ve filled up their ticket book and need another, figure out about some unpaid parking citation or something from ten years ago in San Francisco that they could still legally bust me for—even though, I mention again, the car was stolen, meaning the ticket was not technically mine — but damned if they care. They’re just plain giddy writing tickets like kids heaping sprinkles on ice cream. Then there comes this thumping from the trunk and a couple minutes later they’ve wrenched the trunk open and out comes this bank teller who’s apparently been tied up back there.

I mean, shit. What are you gonna do?

Anyway, the bank teller is this close to death from exhaustion and dehydration, and as they’re putting him on the ambulance gurney, he (of course) looks at yours truly and says: “That’s the guy,” which could have meant anything, really—it could have meant that I was just a nice guy, but before he can clarify he looks up to heaven and dies, and so then the cops start debating if it’s homicide or manslaughter I’m in for, which made me furious. First off: I wasn’t the guy. All I did was run a stop sign. A stop sign partially obscured by an overgrown bush. Second—and a good lawyer could have pointed this out to the judge—how could someone who’s been hogtied in a trunk for a week, no food, no water, sit right up and know the face of the guy who put him there?

It just doesn’t add up. Not that anyone cares. Legal system is fucked, man, that’s just the way it goes. You gonna eat that cookie?