Posted on November 24, 2010



(File this under ‘fiction not conviction.’ Feel me?)

We all seem to go through periods in life when we feel untouchable. Things are going your way, money is lovely, and lately, the ladies just can’t seem to leave you alone. We get a little arrogant; maybe run that extra red light. Sometimes we’ll be cruising along on autopilot when some other element in life makes us come to a full stop. This can come in the form of new legislation, overly-involved strangers, or police officers who catch a funny scent in the car and make us their business.

Keeping a low profile can significantly reduce our need to play by the rules of others. Who among us would PREFER to have police inspecting our home with a fine-tooth comb? Nobody; imagine the shit they’d find! Once you leave the house dirty, your chances of eventually getting caught increase greatly. Sometimes however, the law can be circumvented strictly by luck alone.

Thanksgiving about four years ago, one such incident occurred. I decided to go on a boating trip with my boss and two coworkers. The boss owned the boat; he was a care-free multimillionaire who openly thumbed his nose at authority. He kept a slip in the Sanibel Yacht Club. The boys and I met up with him for a fun day on the open water. We arrived first; the boss was running late as usual. We sat parked in a brand new gold Monte Carlo. The car had all-chrome everything and sat on 22-inch rims. As the windows were completely blacked-out by tint, we decided to smoke a blunt before he arrived. We had that good; orange Southwest Florida hydro with a Kush jacket.

Unfortunately, we were parked in a lot designated for residents of the adjacent gated community. It was sparsely populated;  in hindsight, we must have stuck out like Timberlands at a funeral. Not two minutes after the cigar became a crushed-out roach, I noticed a police cruiser to the left of the lot. We got out of the car fast, hoping to somehow leave the fruit scent inside. We didn’t need the officer to tell us that someone had called on us; residents were now filling their balconies above us.

We explained to John Q. that we were simply waiting for a resident to arrive for a boating trip. “We’re guests.” The cop didn’t even ask us for ID. I was shocked! He swallowed our story at face value and drove away. No matter that the car was bought with drug money, there were still drugs in the car, open containers, and we had four loaded pistols between us. He simply left us inside a restricted area. We could have had a rocket launcher in the trunk! Lucky for him and the residents, our intentions were good. We were dope boys, not terrorists. Within the next ten minutes, our fourth had arrived and we were boarding the boat. We bid farewell to the dock hand and did wake speed toward the channel.

We immediately noticed a row of Coast Guard and police boats docked in a row to our right. It made sense that they would have a post there, but the boats were all heavily manned; cops everywhere. As we navigated through the channel, our captain was careful to observe the posted manatee zone.

We were nearly into open Gulf when we realized there was now a small armada behind us. There were no other boats in the area, so we knew we were about to be stopped.

As the law approached, we began hearing sirens and commands being barked into bullhorns. Upon reaching us, a Coast Guard ship was tied to us, and we were informed that we were about to be boarded. Only three law enforcement agents of the roughly ten present came aboard. The first question they asked us was, “Does anybody here have a weapon?” I raised my hand, then put the other above chest-level with it. Everyone else had left theirs in the car, and I had a permit to carry mine.

Next, I turned around, allowing them to take the custom Glock from my inside-the-waistband holster. I glanced down and mentally photographed the well-worn leather holster the cop was wearing. He carried a janky-ass blue Beretta 92F on his left side. I thought to myself, “Look at that rickety shit; rust in the screw holes…” This prompted me to shout, “Hey, could you be careful with that? I just got it back from the chrome shop!” The officer cleared my weapon and gently set it on the seat across from me. The lead cop conducted a search; cabin, dash, and bathroom. The two jacked-up flat tops in the rear of the boat just stood tall to make sure nobody was making any quick moves. When they found no contraband, they had no choice but to give up. They even made a comment about how well-prepared we were, as we had more than enough life vests aboard. During the search, they had also noticed the bottle of Hennessy we had brought with us.

An officer asked, “Kind of early to be drinking, isn’t it?” I replied with a smirk, “Well, it’s a holiday.” We assured them that the man behind the wheel was not drinking. This was good enough for them. Other than removing the gun I’d offered up, they didn’t search us! As they climbed single file from the boat, I was instructed not to retrieve the Glock until they had left the area. I smiled and waved, telling them to be safe. I looked down at the rear deck just in time to see the last officer’s boot lift up. As his treads rose, I saw a clear blue dime bag containing five 1mg. Xanax pills lying on the carpet.

This cop had literally been standing on it throughout the entire search without realizing it. My heart sunk. I looked at my friend who was sitting in front of the baggie. I knew it was his, I knew damn well where he got it, and I knew how much he had paid for them.  I motioned, suggesting that maybe he had dropped something. His face froze when he realized what was was on the floor, and processed just who had been standing on it seconds earlier.  By now, the police were turned around and headed back to their base. As a rich Egyptian muslim, our boss was a bit spiteful over the encounter.

He ordered us to fill his Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cup with liquor; we obliged. As he sipped his cognac, our captain toasted the Coast Guard, who was still watching us through binoculars. The boys and I poured ourselves drinks. I soon learned that another blunt in a cigar tube had also made it past inspection.

As we roared out into the Gulf of Mexico, we puffed on more of Southwest Florida’s Finest and laughed about our good luck. We spent the next five hours fishing, swimming, and tubing. Life was good, and it was only because a shakedown my local cops was not thorough enough.

Lady Luck was the only thing that kept us out of jail that day. But luck runs out; never let it trick you into thinking that keeping a pipe in your vehicle is ever acceptable. Eventually, you will get caught, probably while you’re doing something more serious. Roll blunts; they’re easy to toss and won’t fetch you a paraphernalia charge. No matter what it is, don’t drive with more than you can eat. Obviously, there will be exceptions. Just be smart and minimize your chances of ending up in one of their privately-owned prisons.


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