I've made a bit of progress on "The Sequel"; Camp NaNoWriMo really did get me going! And I'm still going! Perhaps I will finish it after all. I mean, it's only been 13 years since I started it.
Anyway, I decided I'd fiction up another episode from my sordid circus history -- the time I almost got busted on the way to Natchez, Mississippi. I was sure, absolutely sure, that I must have written about this occasion, either in this blog or in another ill-fated NaNoWriMo circus story draft.
So I looked. No sense in starting from scratch, right?
Well. It appears that I have not written about this little scrape with the law, unless it's one of the entries in my long-lost Diary-X online journal. (They weren't called "blogs" back in the olden days.)
So, off we go!
The show was going from Amite, Louisiana to Natchez, Mississippi. My boyfriend the Canvas Boss got tagged to post the arrows; I accompanied him. It was late at night when we got pulled over by a Mississippi State Trooper for a burnt-out tail light.
Think about this for a second:
- Southern Mississippi
- Ford Econoline van -- model year 1968, with a 1967 engine
- A 2x8 plank instead of a bumper
- California plates
It's almost like the van was screaming "PULL ME OVER! HIPPIES INSIDE! LOOK -- BURNT-OUT TAIL LIGHT!"
Keep in mind that my boyfriend had already served a stint in prison for possession of hashish, which didn't bode well.
Anyway, as soon as he pulled over, he pushed the baggie of pot further into the hiding place at the top of the window and hopped out of the van. As he was talking to one of the officers, the other came up to the passenger side and looked at me.
"Who are you?" he asked; I told him.
He told to get out of the van; I did.
Then he started rooting around in the glove compartment. It didn't have a door, so he could legally do that. He pulled out a pack of rolling papers.
And then things got interesting.
The officers spun my boyfriend around so that his hands were on the trunk of the cruiser and proceeded to search him. He was wearing cutoffs and a tank top so it didn't take long, and he didn't have anything except his wallet on him. Then the officer who had talked to me searched the van. When he picked up my backpack, I said, "That's mine." He put it down, quite reluctantly. (It wouldn't have mattered; there was no contraband in it.) I stood there, thinking furiously to myself, "Don't look at the hiding place. Don't look at the hiding place. Don't look at the hiding place."
I didn't look at the hiding place.
Good-guy cop tried to sweet talk me.
- "Do your parents know what you're doing?" "Yes, they do." (And Officer? I'm 24 years old -- you know, grown?)
- "What does your father do for a living?" "He's an attorney." (A real-estate attorney.)
- "You seem like a nice girl. Why are you with the circus?" "I'm a clown; it's my job." (What, only sluts join the circus?)
And more stuff along the lines of "what's a nice girl like you doing with a guy like this?"
Bad-guy cop said, "You know, I could have this van hauled to the station. We have people who could take it apart. If we don't find anything, we'll put it back together. If we do find something, you'll put it back together. After you get out of prison."
My guts turned to water at that point, but my boyfriend kept his cool. "I know you can, sir. There's nothing there."
The bad guy cop waved the rolling papers at him. "Then why did I find these in the glove compartment?"
My boyfriend remained cool. "Sir, this van sits unlocked on a circus lot all day. People are always hanging out in it. I guess someone left them there."
Silence. Finally, bad-cop said, "All right. I'm giving you a warning to get that tail light fixed. If I see you again and it isn't, I'm arresting you."
We hung a few more arrows. Then we stopped at the next open gas station, bought a fuse, and fixed the tail light.