One Adam Twelve, 10-103 In Progress
It's not often I get involved in altercations involving the local constabulary. In fact, to call it a rarity would be a gross understatement. But, when you live in a reasonably large city, eventually the odds are that you will find yourself talking to a police officer, and this evening evidentally was my turn.
I'd just left local sketch comedy geniuses Bald Faced Lie's (PLEASE update that website kids!) "Brown Derby Series" production of "Showgirls" (yes the Paul Verhoeven trash-o-rama extravaganza), a sort of anarchic, Marx Brothers inspired rendition of the film script performed at a local bar, and drove up "the hill" to Dick's Drive-In, a local hamburger joint of no small repute.
I drive into the parking lot, and the first thing that should have warned me things were not to proceed according to the normal sequence was that a late model Mercedes Benz was cross-parked in the lot, having obviously entered via the exit, and was now taking up three parking slots in front of the place. And next to which naturally I parked, it being the closest stall to the order windows.
I get out, get in line, and am standing there for all of about ten seconds when one of the occupants of said Benzo, presumably the driver, since there were only two and the co-pilot was clearly snoozing in the passenger seat, staggers over to the line of people waiting to order, and loudly requests the use of a cellphone. Now, normally this wouldn't be all that unusual, except for the fact that this person was packing two cellphones in one of his rather largish hands to begin with.
Okay, thinks I, either he's joking, he's really drunk or he's just lifted two phones that don't work -- any of which could be a likely scenario.
"C'mon! Anybody got a cellphone?"
A wag in line points out the obvious: "You've got two phones dude."
To which Mr. Cellphone Guy responds, "Yeah, but both the batteries are dead!"
A brief scene ensues, in which Cellphone Guy becomes the object of various and sundry smartassed retorts from line-standers asking why he needs a phone so bad, and doesn't he have a charger in that late-model Benzo (which has a number of major dings in the front end, so it's not exactly this guy's cherished baby -- another clue), and what, he's never heard of a payphone, etc., etc.
Cellphone Guy tries to maintain a jocular banter with the trash-talking customers, but he's obviously in no condition to rise to their level of late night badinage, and so mid-stream switches tactics from requesting assistance to somewhat belligerently insisting that he's gonna "kick someone's ass if they don't provide him with a cellphone right now", which just sets the crowd off even more, seeing as pretty much everyone can tell that this guy is in no shape to initiate an attack, and that even the 15-something junior high school girls in line can probably take him out without mussing their laboriously applied make up. But, in his alcohol-infused single-mindedness, nothing will deter him from securing the object of his desire.
Cellphone Guy focusses on a single figure, a rather slight-looking gentleman who up to now has pretty much been ignoring the entire episode. CG proceeds to accost Slight Looking Gentleman, demanding a cellphone, telling him he's going to kick his ass if he doesn't produce one forthwith and generally making an ineffectual nuisance of himself. After two decidedly hostile, yet altogether pathetic attempts to physicially intimidate SLG by attempting to grab his throat (which SLG easily fends off), CG wanders back to his car, mumbles something to his Shotgun (who is either completely passed out or blatantly ignoring his driver), then wades back into the crowd to repeat the process, having completely forgotten that he just pulled this same stunt no more than 20 seconds ago. AND he goes back for SLG's throat, having also evidentally blocked out the fact that he just for all intents-and-purposes battaried this guy already.
Needless to say, after the second attempted throttling, SLG leans into the counter, whispers to the burger attendant, and bruskly slaps off the insistent CG, who aparently perplexed at his inability to force someone to do his bidding weaves his way back to the side of his trusty Benzo.
Within thirty seconds, four Seattle Police Department squad cars descend on the parking lot, the first containing two female officers, one of whom jumps out before the car has come to a complete stop, grabs CG (who is in the process of making yet another attempt on the crowd), swings him around, neatly taking him down to the pavement. Handcuffs are produced, words are exchanged and before you can say, "Deluxe, fries and a chocolate shake", CG is whisked into the back of the patrol car.
At which point co-pilot, having missed the last six or seven minutes of his partner's schenanigans wakes from his passenger seat slumber just in time to get out of the car and get grabbed by another SPD following close on the heels of the first.
It's all over in about thirty seconds, apart from the statement-taking, which goes on for roughly thirty minutes. I give my $0.02, along with pertinent personal information, but am prevented from leaving the scene due to the fact that one of the police cars has parked directly behing me, blocking my exit. During the ensuing wait, I casually make an inspection of the Benzo, and notice that it has Oregon plates which expired in April.
These boys are not going to have a fun evening, I surmise, since at one point one of the officers speaks to an employee about their tow away policy, indicating that CG and his sidekick are probably not going to be released anytime soon enough to retrieve their vehicle from the lot before somebody decides to call the towing company.
Still, despite everything, I'm really curious who Cellphone Guy was planning to call, and what -- if anything -- he hoped they would do to extricate him out of whatever precarious situation required calling them in the first place. I mean, things would have gone MUCH easier if he'd just done what all the other panhandlers do in front of Dick's Drive-In and simply asked for some change to buy a burger -- that we can deal with graciously.
But, these out-of-towners, they just don't know not to come in and try to muscle our turf.
So, let this be a lesson to those of you who live under the mistaken impression that people in Seattle are just a passel of passive-aggressives who won't lift a finger to deal with an unpleasant situation.
Live and learn.
on 11:52 PM