Sunday, February 14, 2010

Philip Roth (Part 3)

When we reach the precinct, the supervising sergeant appears to be in a particularly peevish mood. Nothing is going right for him that evening, and he's not going to put up with a whole lot of nonsense. As I begin to tell my story, it strikes him as pretty trivial and he cuts me off.

"Ah, I don't really give a fuck about the tickets you say you lost. All I know is you became abusive and the theater had no choice but to throw you out. Now you're doing the same thing again, which may very well land you in jail for a few days." Utterly baffled, I inquire how that could possibly happen, and the sergeant replies, "easily, very easily."

But when I say that I will cooperate in every way I can, the sergeant takes this as a sarcastic affront. "I am not going to take any shit from you, got it? Either you cooperate with me or I really will book you."

I whine, "What have I done? I understand that you won't accept any more objections. I'm cooperating. I don't want to be a nuisance. At this point, I just want to go home."

"Well, don't count on it, buster," the sergeant retorts. "As far as I'm concerned you are a nuisance and a quick trip back home is not an option."

"This can't be happening," I groan. "Can I at least make that one phone call I'm entitled to."

"Oh, right, that one phone call. You mean the one the Miranda decision guarantees. Well, my dear fuck, guess what, there is no such right to a phone call. It is a privilege sometimes extended to the well behaved. But by bringing it up in such a disrespectful manner, you have just sacrificed that privilege. Maybe tomorrow we'll give you a private moment to contact your loved one or a lawyer. How's that?"

"Frankly," I interject, "I would characterize what's happened to me as official abuse. If there were a recording of this conversation, you would be found guilty."

"Of what, asshole?" The sergeant swears again and then repeats with disgust, "Found guilty! You really are dumber than you look. Oh, and by the way, we turned off the recording machine for this little encounter. There is no record of it, so it's your word against ours. Go ahead and guess which party has more credibility in this particular case."

The sergeant guffaws and then adds with special scorn, "Ever spent a night in jail. Well, tonight you will. It's the perfect little experience to be able to add to your precious little Life List." (To be Continued)

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