I'm not saying the kid was dumb and drunk, but I got a look at his chart and his blood-alcohol level and IQ were just a few digits apart.
It was early evening on Bates Street. There was a minor scuffle and a lot of yelling and police were sent to shoo people away. Most of those people went gladly. Who wants to stick around and deal with cops when you can be scuffling and yelling a few blocks away?
Drunky McStupid, though, he didn't want to go, choosing instead to remain on Bates Street clarifying his position to the remaining cop.
"I wasn't even doing nothing," he mumbled. "You don't got to yell at me."
"That's fine. Move along."
He started away a few steps, thought some more (bad idea, thinking) and then loped his way back over to pontificate some more on this imbroglio.
"You don't need to be shouting at me. I know you got a job to do, but you don't got to be mean about it."
The cop sighed over his notebook. Sometimes breaking up mobs is like trying to drink coffee out of your hands.
"Last warning," the cop said. "Move along or you're going to jail."
The kid was at that terrible place of drunkenness where common sense is passed out in the back seat of a car. It was there but it wasn't helping out in any meaningful way. He started away, thought some more, and then turned back.
"I'm just saying, why do you have to be such a jerk when al'll I did was ..."
The rest of it was lost in the sound of clanking handcuffs and slamming car doors. Before Joe Einstein could finish the thought, he was in the back seat of a cruiser and bound for the county clink. And so ended a night of freedom for another member of the Demands To Be Arrested Tribe, a class of people who might stay out of trouble if they'd just lose their voices every once in a while.
The lad could also be classified as the Sybil type because he underwent a half dozen personality switches on the short ride to the lockup.
"I'm sorry," he bawled, as the cruiser turned from Ash Street onto Lisbon. "Please don't take me to jail."
As they crossed the Longley Bridge and the kid could actually see the brick fortress that was his future home, he underwent a weird duality. He kicked the back of the officer's seat in protest, but also wept and offered words of love, however slurred.
"Can't you jus' lemme go? I have nothing but ressspect for copsss. I love you guysss."
Into the gray bar hotel he went, another poor fool who might be out there drinking and carousing still if only he could master the forgotten philosophy of Shut Upitude.
In my experience, no two arrests are alike. Some choose to weep helplessly on the sidewalk as the cop prepares the handcuffs. Some scream about their rights, many threaten to sue, a few wet themselves like dogs who have been scolded for messing on the rug.
There are the Fight or Flight types who will resist arrest no matter what. It's a principal, apparently. Doesn't matter if they are being charged with a tri-state killing spree or with jaywalking. Doesn't matter if there is one cop or 10. Fight or Flight is going to do battle regardless, because they have apparently fallen in love with the sweet taste of chemical spray and the delightful tingle of the Taser.
"My favorite," a veteran cop tells me, "are the handcuffed heroes. Those are the ones who want to fight everyone AFTER they are in handcuffs."
Another variety of arrestee will go the other way. These are the Ouchies, who will complain at once that the handcuffs are too tight. A few moments ago, they jumped through a plate glass window, punched a fire hydrant and challenged nine cops to a fight. Now they are shrieking like men on fire because their wrists hurt.
Don't forget the Suddenly Sickly, who can drink 60 beers a day and smoke stuff found under their sofa cushions, but the moment you have them in cuffs, they suddenly have a bellyache. Or dental distress. Or shooting pains in their uvula. As long as they happen to be in custody, medical care is free and that, my friends, is making lemonade when life hands you an arrest warrant.
When I finally get taken down (I've done things. Horrible things) I fully intend to go as a member of the Steely Gaze group. These are the men and women who handle themselves with grim dignity and quiet determination as they are hauled off for things such as armored car robberies or fishing over the legal limit. They don't say anything. They don't mumble a word of protest. They just stare off into nothing with looks of unshakable will, like Rambo, who fished over the legal limit, in the final scene of "First Blood."
Of course, it's easy to say that you'll maintain your pride when you're still free and reasonably sober.
"If I was to get arrested for something I did or didn't do," said 35-year-old Todd Ouellette, who demanded to be quoted, I'd keep my head high and make a good example for anyone watching. I wouldn't fight them. I'd kill 'em with a smile. Never stop smiling; never let the man keep you down. They might have won that battle but I will be free to fight again."
Elegant, sound and solid advice. Yet, not 20 minutes later, the poor fool was arrested for jaywalking with illegal fish.
He went down screaming.