So yeah, sorry I never posted about what happened last Thursday. I've been captivated by a good book, various football related things, the fallout from the smelly lady, and playing music. But I promised you a story that involved the cops, so a story about the cops is what you're going to get.

Early Friday morning, like around 4 AM, I take a call to pick up at the Hot Cake House, a 24 hour greasy spoon at the foot of the Ross Island Bridge. I pull up, and a white guy at the jukebox waves to me, but takes his time coming out. Then we have to wait for his two extremely drunk friends to get in.

They're all prototypical middle-class white guys - golf appropriate casual wear and baseball caps. It strikes me as odd that men of their profile are out as late, and as drunk as they are, but at this point I wouldn't be surprised if I showed up to a call at 5 AM on a Tuesday to be greeted by a shitfaced Bill Gates. People of all races and socio-economic statuses (stati?) be gettin' drunk, that's why I have a job.

There's much discussion between the two friends about what they're going to do - one of them's very interested in going over to a woman's house, and proceeds to have a loud, clumsily flirtatious conversation with her on his cell phone. The original guy's adamant that he's going home, however, so I drive to his place in Southwest, near the Burlingame Fred Meyer.

The trip isn't particularly pleasant. After the cell phone conversation ends in a "no go," the two drunk friends proceed to do a lot of very loud, very drunken, good-natured yelling at each other. Mostly along the lines of calling each other "dumb Mick" and "stupid Kraut." When we roll up to the first guy's house, I have high hopes for them all getting out.

The guy who lives there leaves, doesn't offer me any money. The other two stay in the backseat and try to figure out what their next move's going to be. It seems to me like the obvious answer for anyone as drunk as they are is "go to bed" - how they have any energy at all is astounding to me. Eventually, their conversation works its way around to two options:

Option A: Go into their friend's house, play blackjack, and drink his beer.


Option B: Go to La Center!

I'm very excited option B. La Center's a small town about 15-20 miles into Washington with a bunch of Indian casinos. The meter's already at $15, and it would be a very good trip for me.

The question arises: would I do it for a flat rate of $80?

I'd never driven to La Center in the cab, and tell them that I'd have to do it for the meter, as I didn't remember how long the drive was. More discussion. They decide to go inside and talk to their friend. While they're inside, I look up the mileage and estimate that a trip out to La Center, given where the meter already is and where we are in Portland, would probably cost about $70. I'll make a show of insisting on the meter, given the possibility of their being the kind of drunks who would insist on taking a scenic route, but will do it for $80 if that's they only way they'll do it.

After a few minutes, they stumble back out to the car. Will I do it for $80? No, I'll do it for the meter. Would I do it for $100? Hop in, fellas!

And we're off. The cab has a tapedeck, and I'm listening to something weird and spacy that I've turned down low. They ask if we can listen to music, and what kinds I like. I respond with "blues & jazz" - genres I figure we'll all be able to tolerate, but also mention that I like hip-hop and more experimental stuff.

Much commentary about how they love hip-hop, but old stuff. Really old stuff - Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Cold Crush Brothers, etc. Much lamentation of how no one had even heard of it these days. I try to explain that I can play them some, but there's adamant refusal that such a thing is possible. I reach into my bag and pull out an old bootleg mix-tape of excellent old school hip-hop I'd bought on a street corner in Greenwich Village, and put it on.

Suddenly I'm the shit. What's my name? What am I? A Kraut? Awesome! Much discussion of Krauts, Swedes, Pollacks, blacks, and Irish, as well as how awesome my music is. Eventually the conversation somehow turns to Tupac and Biggie, and who might have killed them. The guy sitting behind me is going on at great length about Suge Knight and Jerry Heller, and how Suge Knight has done more to hurt black people than just about anyone else in history except maybe Jessie Jackson. I actually have a lot to say about the murders of Tupac and Biggie, but it's not possible to get a word in edgewise, and I eventually cease trying.

Eventually they start talking to one another again, and it comes up that they're cops with 4 straight days off. Suddenly everything makes complete sense. I hear beers crack in the backseat and don't care. At a pause in their conversation, I tell them that a friend gave me a switchblade, and ask if they're legal in Oregon.

Depends. Do I have it on me? Can they see?

They can.
It's legal. Single-edged, unconcealed blade, basically just a really nice pocket-knife with push-button convenience. Pretty much as I'd suspected, but it's good to have confirmation.

Unfortunately, the conversation until we get to La Center will now be about how I need, absolutely need to get a concealed carry license. I need to get a handgun and carry it with me at all times. But if I ever brandish it, I need to use it.

The 'Pac and Biggie guy is harping on what a dangerous job I have, he wouldn't do it without a gun. His Irish friend is talking simultaneously, and loudly, about how the real reason I need a concealed carry is that the second Amendment will be taken away any day now, and that when it happens, the license will be valuable. The causes his friend to talk even more loudly about how it's really about safety, and between that and the stereo they had me crank it up, it's a very loud scene as we take the off-ramp.

I have two drunk off-duty cops yelling at me about how I need to get a gun. This is extremely amusing to me, even ludicrous when considering the attitude policemen have had toward me for the vast majority of my life, but I keep my delight private.

They interrupt the "Crabbie needs to get a gun" chorus long enough to tell me to slow down, La Center cops are dicks. They then pick it up again, and it's still going on even after I drop them in the casino lot and the Suge Knight fan has handed me a C note.

They seem like nice guys, and if they weren't so drunk, I'd really enjoy going into the casino, getting a free coke or two, and playing blackjack with them. But they're too loud and obnoxious, and I don't want to be placed in the position of having to explain them.

As I pull off, the Kraut is in a four-point defensive lineman's stance, ready to launch himself across the asphalt at his Irish friend. I get out of there as quickly as possible.


Blogger MJ06 said...

I like that $100.00 bucks hop on in those are the best.

September 30, 2006 7:18 PM  
Anonymous johnny said...

glad to hear the switchblade is legal. sorry to hear you didn't use it to stab those coppers.

October 06, 2006 11:53 AM  
Blogger jeepgirl said...

The conversationn sounds about par for most off-duty cops. Most are absolutely fucking nuts.... thats why they do the job they do. Mine has been having the conceal and carry conversation with me for a while. If I get it as a christmas present I'm gonna be pissed!!!!!

Funny how knowing they were cops changed your perspective. Very few people are happy to be a car with the po-lice!

October 07, 2006 12:47 AM  

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