To this day I still struggle with authority, but not nearly as much as when I was growing up. My friend Marcus, and I would always get in trouble. We were mischievous youth. We would do whatever we could to get in trouble. We were like the real life, non-redneck, bike riding, and English-speaking version of The Dukes of Hazard. Once we lit a string of fireworks off on a friend’s porch at 2 in the morning. We thought it was hilarious until our friend came to school the next day telling us the crazy story of what had happened at his house the night before. He explained that someone lit fireworks off on his porch, and the gunshot sounds the fireworks made, triggered a war flashback for his dad. His father ended up jumping through a window as he dove for cover. His dad was ok, but we never told our friend who had lit the fireworks.
Naturally, like most of the people you grow up with, over time you loose touch. I had not seen Marcus in about 3 years, or one grateful dead guitar solo. Thanks to the addictive powers of Facebook, I knew he still lived in our hometown, and I was shocked to find out that his occupation was a police officer. I nearly shissed myself (shit and piss at the same time,) but thought it might be a joke; so I e-mailed Marcus. As I was sending the message the same thought kept running through my mind, “There is no way Marcus would become a cop.” That is like the Pope coming out and saying, “Ha, Ha suckers, I’m an atheist.” Or Tom Cruise coming out and saying he was straight; it would confuse the masses, as much as the success of Keanu Reaves does. I guess what I am saying is there is no way that he could have become a cop. This is a man who had a conviction for disestablishmentarianism. This was my accomplice in all of my childhood troubles, and here he was going against everything we hated. He was flip flopping more than a democratic fish out of water.
I waited in anticipation for his response. Sure enough, there sitting in my inbox was his written confession with the title “I am a cop.” It was sad to witness the end to what was truly one of the best masterminds of juvenile delinquency ever. This was the man who provided the bike in the great baseball card heist of 1991. The same man who was the brains behind the stealth operation to rob our school store of all their candy. This was a dark day in the history of mislead youth. He didn’t really say why he became a cop in his e-mail, all he said was that he was trying to right his wrongs and make a difference. I mean, I totally understand. I am not one for breaking the law anymore either. Outside of getting caught masturbating by the Chinese government and having two warrants for my arrest in different states, I haven’t had problems with the law in a long time. I e-mailed him back, wishing him all the best and said to give me a break if he ever had to arrest me. He responded with one sentence that made me smile, “I always got your back.” Note: That statement is the premise for my reasoning of the events below.
It was August of 2008, and I traveled home for a few days to see my new godson. Usually when I am home, I have to borrow a car or have people chauffeur me around like I am Mrs. Daisy. This trip; being in August, I did not want to burden anyone, so I borrowed my friend’s bike to get myself around town. It had been 2 years since my life changing facebook moment with my old friend Marcus. We had not really talked over those 2 years and I had not planned to call him when I was in town. I knew he was doing well from his facebook status updates. He would post stuff like; “Arrested two transients today.” Or, “Man, I love giving tickets to Jaywalkers.”My first night home, I went out drinking with my friends till about two in the morning. I was pretty tipsy and had to ride my bike 25 minutes home. I don’t know if you have ever ridden a bike drunk, but second only to not calling your ex’s, it has got to be the hardest thing to do intoxicated. I am convinced it should be part of the drunk driving test. You get pulled over in your car and instead of running you through a bunch of ridiculous tests, they just hand you a bike and say, “Here try and stay on this.” As I was unintentionally slalom skiing the lanes of the empty roads on my bike, I passed an empty parking lot with two police cars just hanging out in it. Seeing the cops, I decided it was a good time to see if one of them was my old friend Marcus. I didn’t think about calling him or stopping by his house; which is a block from mine, I just decided to ride my drunken ass right up to the cops and see if it was my friend. It was probably the stupidest thing I had done since I paid $50 to see the Barenaked Ladies; not knowing they were a band.
I approached the cars and once I got close to them I gracefully jumped off my bike. I was so graceful; I would make Madonna falling off stage look like a ballerina move in the Nutcracker. I don’t know if you have ever approached a cop car at two in the morning, but they don’t respond so well. They are not used to it. They are used to people bolting at the very site of them, so at the site of me coming, they leaped out of their car. They jumped out of their seats like I was approaching them with a platter of maple bars with bacon on them. I haven’t seen dodging like that since I watched the Republican Presidential Debate. At any rate, I was disappointed to see neither of them were Marcus. I explained to them, the reason I came over and asked if they knew him? They laughed and said that he was a good friend. They told me he was actually working the same shift that night. They asked if I wanted to call him to say hi. It took a good 5 seconds for that information to reach my dehydrated brain, and while I was processing the question the bad idea section of my brain continued to function at levels never seen before. I said, “actually you guys want to play a joke on him?” They lit up like they just won jeopardy and the prize was a lifetime supply of hippies to hassle. They were excited at the notion of playing a prank on their good friend.
We started brainstorming about different ideas to prank him. They were so into the idea of coming up with an elaborate plan, they completely didn’t notice I was hammered. Anyone in his or her right mind would have known my drunkenness just off of my brainstorming suggestions. One idea was to rob a taco bell drive thru and call it in to Marcus. Another, I wanted to take the cop car for a spin, causing a high speed police chase and when they caught me, I would say, “Ha, ha, Marcus! I got you.” My ideas were so ridiculous; I was shocked when I came up with the one we were eventually going to use. I said we should call Marcus on the radio, and say, “ we just arrested a man named Matt Baker for public indecency (nudity) and he claims he knows you.” The two cops were convinced that it would work.
So the call went in to Marcus’s car, and I listened in on the radio. They told him exactly what we had scripted 3 minutes earlier. All you could hear is silence and then Marcus yelled out, “Alright! I will be right there.” The click of the radio went off and the three of us erupted into a fit of laughter, which quickly subsided because we realized we needed to make the prank even more extreme. 5,6,7 minutes went by, all of which were filled with the three us coming up with ways to dupe Marcus even more. Being more drunk than a frat guy at a football game, I did not hesitate when they proposed to handcuff me and throw me in the back of the car. So there I was, handcuffed, in the back seat, when a cop car; lights blaring, came crashing into the parking lot like every Starsky and Hutch episode I had ever seen. Out jumped Marcus, and I almost lost it right there. Maybe it was the fact I am a performer, or I was so drunk I couldn’t spell my own name right (Matt,) but at the sight of Marcus I took it upon myself to add to the realness of the prank; and started flipping out. I started squirming, kicking the doors and freaking out like I was Michael Richards performing at the Apollo. The two officers could barely keep themselves from laughing. They looked like every Jimmy Fallon skit ever on SNL. They were on the verge of loosing it at the panicked look on Marcus’s face. Marcus walks directly up to the door opens it and asks, “Matt, are you alright?” I started to yell at him about the injustice of my arrest and started throwing out words that sober I don’t even know there meanings; let a lone drunk. Things that I thought sounded good at the time. I yelled, “Your friends are egotistical narcissists. They are capitalist Marxist bastards. They are the reason for all the problems in our society.”
Marcus responded, “I am glad you are alright. Let me take care of this.” He walked calmly over to his fellow officers, and asked, “what happened?” The officer (Officer Davis) told him the story about me riding my bike naked and drunk down the street. He started taking artistic liberties, and explained how I was belligerent, and tried head butting him. He had a conviction in his voice that would have made Bill Clinton blush. It was so believable I was almost convinced it was a true story. Marcus was falling for it too. It was like we were professional actors and we had been practicing this moment for months. We were nailing it, even Jesus would say, “now that’s how you nail something.” As they were talking I noticed that Marcus had left the door open. When I saw the door open, my creative juices started flowing. The prank was going so well; I decided to keep it going and kicked the door wide open. I started running, hands still tied behind my back and all I hear behind me is Marcus yelling, “Matt don’t, Matt stop!” I heard the other cops yell, “Tackle him.” I looked back and there was Marcus, right behind me. He grabbed me by the shoulders and stopped me. He looked me in the eye and said, “Matt, you are making this worse for yourself.”He walked me back to the car and I almost forgot this was a prank until the other two cops just burst into laughter. They were howling like dogs in heat and Marcus had a look on his face that MasterCard would call, “Priceless.” Once I started laughing, Marcus knew it was a joke and started laughing like he had just done a month load of whippets. I yelled, “We got you” and he pushed me over like he was Elaine from Seinfeld.
Every time the laughter would start to die down, it would just start back up again. We laughed for a good 5 minutes. After our stomachs and throats had settled one of the officers un-cuffed me, while the other was busy radioing the other cops on the force to tell them the story. Marcus threw my bike in the trunk of his car and gave me a ride home. We did some catching up on the drive home and he made me promise I would not do something like that again. We parted ways with a hug and I thought that might be the last time I would see him for a while. I was wrong, because the next night, there was a knock on my parent’s door. I almost shissed myself again, when I saw it was the police chief himself. I was speechless, while he explained to me that Marcus and the other two officers had been suspended for playing such a prank. He explained that he needed me to come down to the station and prepare a statement. I obliged and followed him downtown. The whole time I was driving, I was kicking myself for being a drunken idiot. I never intended for those guys to get in trouble. Once I got down to the station, they took me into a little room. They had me write a description of what happened and made me fill out 5 pages of questions pertaining to the “Incident.” After about 90 minutes I finally reached the final question, which read, “Thank you for your time Mr. Baker. It is frustrating when people waste your time for no good reason. That is why we hope you won’t do it again! Payback rocks. Your friend, Marcus.”
I walked out of the room and saw the police chief, his secretary, the two officers and Marcus just standing there laughing at the look on my face. So, as you read this doesn’t it make you feel good that your tax dollars are going towards such wonderful pranks.