Thursday, July 8, 2010
March 22, 2004, Marin County Sheriff, Marin City Sub-Station On 3/22/04, at 0252 hours, I was driving a marked Sheriff’s patrol vehicle on Shoreline Highway in Mill Valley. I observed a purple sedan driving on Shoreline Highway. The license plate light of the sedan was not working, which is a violation of CVC 24601. I initiated a traffic stop on the sedan and approached the driver.
A few days before this arrest report began I was in Los Angeles trying to force life to happen and just not getting the desired results. I wanted to be planting a new crop back up in Marin County, but I was trying to tie up loose ends that just wouldn’t tie up or end well no matter how I tied them. I was coming back into consciousness in Venice Beach, in a backyard bungalow at 7th and Brooks, laying out on a futon with two naked young ladies. They were both still passed out and barely breathing, so there was a near stillness and the only sound was a lone, buzzing fly trapped near the skylight and birds chirping outside the window. I wiggled my toes to test my reflexes and slowly maneuvered to get out of the entanglement of sheets and bodies. The young ladies and myself had been in each others company for 3 days straight, going on the 4th, and I was not having any luck with any of my pursuits, which I knew was due in part to my lack of focus. On the other hand, I knew that I was in a holding pattern and that I had to do something to take the edge off of the endless waiting and inherent risk in my moment to moment existence.
I was finishing a script doctoring, dialog fixing job for this low budget concern that wanted to make a compelling crime drama. I had always wanted to be a real script writer, but could never make the inroad despite my best efforts. Mainly due to the fact that all my best efforts in life, in general, were devoted to procuring, producing, transporting and selling of what society deemed “narcotics”. Some of which were actual narcotics, but mostly what I dealt with was wrongly labeled as such and this was the basis for the existence of the infamous “War On Drugs”, which meant I was leading a life somewhat similar to that of a refugee war criminal in my own homeland. Hustling bags of contraband around for profit was the only way I could stay ahead of the curve as it bent against me more and more over the years. The more I reaped, the more I sowed. I had avoided serious prison time and death on many occasions, settling for serious wounds and months to a couple of years of incarceration instead. The reality of this world was you are only as good as your last deal, and my last couple of deals weren’t that good. Sometimes you make the low-profit, quick deal to keep it moving, but I had been doing more of that than the large cash and carry deals for a while. I was getting worn down and the thing about it is, the risk is the same no matter what the profit margin is. That thought alone was enough to drive me into purposeful moments of temporary madness. The only treatment I knew of was a self-prescribed regimen of drugs, alcohol, sex and gambling. Along with some retail therapy, usually in stolen goods that different provocateurs I had business relationships with had on hand. The thing was this madness caused a hole in my world that was getting bigger by the moment and was rapidly harder to fill no matter how much I attempted to satiate its demand. I was really worried about it. It was interfering with my edge, my trained nerves, my ability to conduct business and, most importantly, my intuitive judgment ability. I was coming undone as I looked at my reflection in the window pane outside the bungalow and let a long flow of piss shoot into the Bougainvillea that grew up the side of the wall and past the roof. Its thin and thorny branches framing my raggedy features and deepened eye sockets. I was shaken by the vision and I knew I had to get it together. I had to take stock of my situation and pull the trigger on whatever decision I could to get me back in a better position. I had to make a move now.
As I quietly crept back inside, trying not to disturb the girls so I could have a moment of quiet meditation with which to assess my circumstances, I began by carefully noticing the wreckage at my feet and immediate area. My eyes were moving slowly about the room as I gently lowered myself into the papasan chair with a multi-colored blanket from Tijuana wrapped around my nakedness. There were overflowing ashtrays, empty and half empty beer can and bottles of several different brands, some spilled out on their sides. There were fast food bags overflowing with garbage that I could see little freeways of ants coming and going into. There were baggies, cups, folds of wax paper and folds cut out of porn mags as well as those smaller “coin” bags strewn all about. There was an M5 mini oxygen tank that had been full of 162 liters of nitrous the day before. In the middle of the floor was a futon and laying quietly on the futon, in such deep of a sleep that you could barely see their bellies rise and fall, were Wanda and Candy. Both were blonde girls with physical features that screamed a lifetime at the beach, lifetime in this case being 23 and 20 respectively. Candy was more pale, since she had driven down from Northern California with me a week earlier and was not an aggressive tanner like Wanda, who lived in Huntington Beach with one of my old employees, who resembled Wanda when she was 23, and who had turned her life in the Southern California sex industry into an Orange County Republican real estate wet dream. She liked having Wanda stay in her overpriced HB tract home to keep her company and augment the cost of hair and nail salons, bikinis con waxing, tanning beds and shoes with sunglasses as accessories. These two girls could not be more different in lifestyle and beliefs, but yet they had never argued or disagreed once in the last 3 days. Like they were best friends forever. Everything has its expiration date, though, and I knew that this carton of milk had the potential to go sour real quick. I had to make a move to avoid any dull drama that might have young girls raise their voice in public. It was time to make that move, definitely.
My stomach was not well and neither was my head. I took a deep breath through my nose after assessing the immediate situation and I felt a bit dizzy from the stench of all the different smells invading my nostrils. The booze spilled out everywhere, the different kinds of smoke and gas, the smell of prolonged sexual sweat and emissions. It was the binge smorgasbord and it was heavy in the air of the room. I reached down to the nearest ashtray and fished around until I found a blunt roach that was about the size of the last joint on my pinky finger. I also retrieved one of the several lighters strewn across the floor and then remembered how many times I couldn’t find a lighter in the haze of the previous evening. The paradox of the errant lighter is never ending. I spark the roach and take a big, coughing hit and do my best to hold it. Candy stirred first, like I had figured she would. She had grown up around weed deals and hippies north of the Golden Gate and she physically craved marijuana upon waking worse than anyone I had ever met. Her long, slender 5’8” was sprawled out in a twist of limbs that hid pubic and breast area well enough to photograph for a fashion magazine. I had no film in my camera, but I put it up to my eye and pulled focus on her in the early morning light just to see what it might look like. Just as I put the camera down, Wanda slowly rolled on her back, still completely comatose, but exposing her muscular abdomen to a ray of sunlight that jutted into the room. I look through the SLR and just focus on her belly, which had a cursive “Featherwood” tattoo across it. She had been with a guy who was doing time and she got the ink before he went in to show her commitment to him. Both of these girls had an appetite for a hedonistic release that matched my own and that was our conspiracy for the last couple of days together. For me, though, it was time to get back in action and make something happen. I got up and moved over to the bed. I stood over the girls for a moment and then bent down to move my pillow to the side. Underneath it was my Para-Ordnance .45 which I quickly scooped up and took over to my backpack by the papasan. I check the magazine and the round in the chamber before I slip the pistol into its hidden compartment in the backpack. As I zip it up, Candy sits up with a slight moan. I reach in the backpack and pull out a green tin that has bud in it. I toss the tin next to her on the futon and then I throw a Swisher Sweet that bounces of the top of the tin and practically in her lap. She quickly snatches it up and begins peeling it and preparing it to make a proper blunt. She is barely awake, but the actions are second nature to her.
I contacted the driver and identified him with his California driver’s license. As I spoke with the driver I could immediately smell the strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. I asked him if he had a medicinal medical card. He said he used to have one, but could not find it. He said it might even be expired. I asked him if he had any marijuana in the car. He said yes. I asked him how much marijuana was in the car. He said about a half an ounce. I asked where it was. He said it was in his shirt pocket. I asked if I could see it. He reached into the left breast pocket of his shirt and pulled out a clear plastic baggie with appeared to be marijuana in it. I inspected the baggie and discovered it contained 5 individually packaged baggies. Three were sandwich sized baggies with each containing 3.6 grams of marijuana. Two were 2 inch by 2 inch and each of these contained 1.3 grams of marijuana each. See property sheet for evidence items BC1-BC1E1. A DMV check revealed he had a suspended license. I asked him if he knew his license had been suspended. He said yes. I arrested him and placed him in the back of my patrol car.
While Candy rolled the blunt I began to check my cell phones. The 415 phone had 6 missed calls, the 213 phone had none. My 718 phone had a text message, but no calls. This was frustrating. There was 25,000 dollars that I needed to nail down, but it just wasn’t coming together. I couldn’t wait it out anymore, I had to go back up north and begin the planting. The previous harvest had been plagued with problems and this was a do or die year. I had to bust ass to get the plants in the ground that were ready and get another battery of clones rooted. I had 5 pounds left to sell here in LA, but I couldn’t wait any longer. I was going to have to leave Candy with the 5 pack and hope for the best. She was loyal to a point, but she was a lifetime stoner raised by Deadhead drug smugglers. She had a tendency to be flakey and slow when it suited her. Wanda had to work the weekend at 4 Play and she was not going to be any help at all since she had just re-upped on GHB and was planning on losing herself in debacle to hopefully come out of it on Sunday morning with a pile of cash. I had made enough money at the beginning of the week on a couple of ounces of pure MDMA that I had pressed into about a thousand pills and sold the rest or did it with the girls. It was lucrative, but a pain in the ass dealing with these petty house party idiots. I had some other irons in the fire, but all for amounts that didn’t add to much more than a G here and a G there. I needed more cash to put a shipment of mids together for New York and pay rent on my compound in Marin County. I had to keep it moving. I was avoiding selling blow, but if I had to go to the cokeheads for money then it was just what I would have to do. Fuck it.
“Ok, daddy, ready to smoke, should I wake up big sis?” asked Candy in her most perverse little girl voice. “Nah, she finished off a lot of booze with her G after a lot of nitrous. She needs to be left alone. Look, I have to go up north for a few days and I need you to babysit the herb until the Armo gets his bread together. You have to placate this producer for me too. He likes you, so let him take you out to dinner. He is low budget, though, so don’t go blowing him or anything. Just keep him on ice til I get back so I can maybe get him to cut me in on this movie deal. I got to try to get some legitimate hustle going and if I can get a screen credit for the work I am doing, well, it might help.”
Candy looks up at me like every word was a foreign language, which is her demeanor most of the time, but I know there is an evil machine of revenge working beneath that faux hippie exterior. As she passes me the blunt and I take in the chocolate skunkiness of it she blurts out “If you leave me behind then I don’t get to give you road head on the ride back.” She does a fake pout to exaggerate the statement. I take a big hit of the blunt and almost choke on the comedy. When I pass it back to her she looks like a greedy kid taking the last of the candy. They named her perfectly. “I can’t have everything, princess. I gotta go now. Let Wanda sleep as long as she can. She has a big weekend. Don’t do anymore E, just stick to weed. I don’t want to come back and you are all tweaked out and useless.” I raise up and put on pants and hoodie with a t-shirt in it. As I slip on my chanclas I say, “It wouldn’t hurt to clean this place up, either.” As I head out the door she jumps up and runs to give me a kiss. As I walk to the car I figure that if I make the Grapevine before noon, I’ll be alright.
I requested a tow truck to store the vehicle per CVC 22651(h) and performed n inventory search of the vehicle. I found three cell phones and a marijuana pipe in the passenger compartment. I found a paper grocery bag in the trunk with approximately 124 grams of marijuana in it. I also found a black backpack. Upon opening the backpack I discovered three large baggies of marijuana, two of which contained approximately 28.6 grams of marijuana each. The other bag contained five smaller baggies which contained approximately 3.5 grams of marijuana each. See property sheet evidence items BC-3-BC4A and BC6-BC6E1. I also found and electronic scale, approximately 50 two inch by two inch baggies, one box of zip top baggies, one vial that contained black liquid, one film canister containing approximately 2.5 grams of marijuana, a knit hat containing a marijuana pipe, and one small baggie containing approximately 1.1 grams of marijuana, (see property sheet evidence item BC7-BC7A), and a binder containing correspondence addressed to the suspect. The majority of the small baggies had the same logo printed n them as the baggies removed from the suspects pocket. Also in the trunk was a black ski mask and back gloves. I secure the evidence in the trunk of my patrol car and transported the suspect to the Marin City Sub-Station. The suspect vehicle was towed by Quality Tow.
Driving past all the fields and the cattle yards, stopping in Coalinga, then back on the 5 heading north, the whole time I have numbers dancing in my head, how much for this and who would pay what for it, what is my overhead, I should stop partying so much. Maybe I should settle down with one girl. Fuck that, I can’t take another divorce, the last one almost killed me. I have to get these plants in the ground and get some more going indoor. Fuck those Canadians and their cheap garbage that ruined the market. I will sell rocks in the street again if I have to. Fucking ravers are ratting everyone, they can’t be trusted. That and those fucking hyphy idiots. I wish the wise old wizard would bless me with some crystal LSD, it’s been too long. I wonder if one of these cartels is ever gone find out that I do business with the other one. If I ever get my hands on that asshole that smoked my partner I got to get him. If I ever find my other partner that brought the Feds on me, I got to get him, too. I hope my son still loves me. I wonder where my daughter is? What happened to that dream of being a writer/director? Will my ex-wife testify against me now that the divorce is final? Shit, I got to stop asking questions, back to what I got to do.
It was just a constant circle of thoughts feeding on themselves with differentiating variations, but always running into a self-questioning that I knew would never lead anywhere but trouble. I had to keep it together, there was much work to be done. I was tired from the road by the time I hit Oakland and it was after 9pm. I called my friend and she said they were going to a club in Frisco to see Tanya Stephens perform, my favorite dancehall gal with nice roots to her soul. I felt like some rude gal vibes from Jamaica was what I needed to unwind and relax. Tomorrow I could water the plants out in Marin County and deal with the work that has to be done to the spot. Most of the prep work has been done for the plants to be planted, its just getting them out into the holes and getting them the start that they need. It is still plenty cold and a bad frost can wreak havoc on them, but if the first set of 100 don’t go in the ground now, there will be a longer wait for first harvest. Setting the plants in the ground is meticulous and difficult because every plant has to be pulled into a thicket of Blackberry and Poison Oak, one at a time, as I crawl on my belly through a small tunnel in the thicket. I had already carved a space in the thicket where I had dug holes in previous years. I occupied my mind by mentally navigating the tunnel and rooting plants one at a time, always trying to avoid contact with the thorns and itchy poison. It was like a stoner game of Operation with herb plants. By the time I crossed the Bay Bridge and got to the SOMA part of San Fran, I was pretty happily mindless for a change. I was brought into the show by the promoter and saw many heads I recognized. I went to post up with some folks after I grabbed a Red Stripe from the bar and was greeted by a baseball bat shaped spliff of the best Nor-Cal kush. It was as close to home as I have known in a while.
I am lost in a wild rush of music, dancing and escaped thoughts that run away like convicts through a swamp at night with the sound of barking bloodhounds in the distance. Afterwards, I decline the invitations to go to other clubs and parties, even a call from two girls who get off work at O’Farrell Street Theater and who want to “roll around naked and fuck like rabbits”. I roll up Market St. towards Van Ness and turn right to head for Lombard. I consider the girls offer as I pass O’Farrell, but I let it go. Been allowing myself too much of that lately. I keep it moving. I am feeling a little bit woozy so I stop at Mel’s Diner after I have made a left turn at Lombard. I get some grub and a shake. I am pretty done in, but the food makes it so much better. As I roll out into the parking lot I see a girl with a suitcase and mascara smeared all over he face. She has recently been hysterical, as they say. I avoid eye contact and move towards the car. Something snaps me into clarity for a moment. I need to pull it together and cross the Golden Gate Bridge and exit at the Stinson Beach, Pacific Coast Highway 1 off ramp at nearly 3am in a ruddy condition and driving a car that has multiple felonies everywhere. I have been driving this route for nearly 20 years and never once have I been pulled over. The goal is simple, make it off the 101, head past the Dipsea Café and approach the signal light that is Tam Junction. Execute a left hand turn from a left hand turn lane there and proceed past the 7-11 toward Mt. Tamalpais.
A hard, upward left is the sign of being pretty much home free. There is a fork up ahead were you can pick the coast road or the mountain road. The mountain rolls quicker and drops you down in a series of switchbacks that give you a view of Stinson Beach, Sea Drift and across the channel of the lagoon into Bolinas. The coast road winds around and down into Muir Beach and then up again for a winding ride along a dramatic sea cliff that drops into the churning waters Drake’s Bay. The coast road is the official Highway 1 and it steams down straight into downtown Stinson Beach, where it is joined by the descending mountain road just before it approaches the Stinson Beach fire house. Steady driving is required through Stinson Beach and around the lagoon as Highway 1 curls around it with the mountainside at your right and the lagoon at your left. Sherriff or CHP vehicles will sit at turnouts with their lights off waiting for the obvious traffic stop. As the road rounds the lagoon and keeps on its way to Olema, a small opening to the left appears like a bat cave. Hit that with no patrol cars in sight and you are home free.
I calm my fears with a puff on a fat dank roach as I roll over the Golden Gate. Fog is rolling across in a solid thickness that obscures the water and Marin County on the other side. I hoe fore fog all the way to the mountain, but tit breaks up as I come out the other side of the tunnel that is on the Marin side once you cross the bridge. I have done this in worse condition many times, with worse felonies on board and driving a more obvious vehicle. There should not be any problems. As I come down the 101 toward the exit, I begin to feel more at ease, but the weed I smoked on the bridge has me a bit more stoned than I care for. I roll down the driver side window and let some cool headlands wind hit my face. The sensation is immediately refreshing. I am rolling off of the freeway at the exit, no other cars in sight, cool breeze in my face, blasting a Mad Professor dub plate. As I round the turn near the Dipsea Café, I notice some headlights just before the intersection up ahead where I am preparing to make my left turn. As I put on my signal and begin to slow I drive through the wash of the other car headlights and look to my left, right into the eyes of two deputy Sheriff’s sitting in their vehicle looking right back into my eyes. I know in that second I have driven into trouble, but that I have to remain calm. I realize I need to piss badly at the worst possible moment. I stop at the red in the left turn lane, looking in my rear view at the headlights to see if they move. The light turns green for me and make my left. As soon as I have executed the turn, red and blue lights begin to flash behind me and headlights pull into view from my right. I begin to pull over and I can see that there are two Sheriff’s vehicles now, the one I passed on my left that had its headlights on, and the one that is closest behind me now that came from my right. I consider the distance ahead and stepping on the gas. My heart speeds up and adrenaline hits my blood. I know if I can make it to the mountain that my vehicle can out perform the patrol cars on the twisting road. There only hope would be to have a vehicle intercept me from Pt. Reyes. I could ditch the car by the Mt. Home Inn and walk back down to Mill Valley. Every muscle tenses and I grab the wheel. I am too stoned, I will wreck and it will be game over. I might just be able to talk my way out. I have a medical marijuana card, but its expired. Still, I should be able to just agree to being cited out and go on my way. I didn’t break any traffic laws, so I know that they don’t have probable cause to search. I know my rights and I know these deputies will know my lawyer’s name. I can bluff this round. Worst case, they tow the car and I get cited out of the station and pick the car up before the tow yard guys steal anything from the trunk. I take a deep breath and let it out. My window is already down and I have turned off the music. A third patrol vehicle pulls into the front of my car with its high beams on. Good thing I didn’t run and gun. Shit, I am armed and the trunk is pretty bad. I have got to get as jedi as possible, and quick.
The deputy in front of me gets out with his weapon drawn. I keep both my hands on the steering wheel. The other deputy approaches on my left, from behind. I watch him get closer as I look into the eyes of the one in front of me with the weapon pointed at me. I try to size up his commitment to shoot. He looks nervous. I can see another deputy in right hand side mirror. He has the 12 gauge pump at the ready. These guys are not just randomly stopping me, there is something they are all in the vicinity for and I drove into it. I realize there is no unfucking myself at this point, but I have to not make it worse. I focus on trying to talk these guys out of seeing me as the equivalent to whatever threat they are anticipating. I know I was driving below the sped limit and that I signaled and slowed down properly. My seat belts are on and I am not drunk. I might be a little stoned, but I am a medical marijuana patient and I am on my way home. Ready, and…the beam of the flashlight is blinding and he trains it on me as he walks up to the open window. “Can you show me your license, insurance and registration, sir?”
“Certainly, officer, can I ask what I was doing to get pulled over?” I reply quickly, but not in a challenging way and definitely not too quickly. I am just a harmless stoner, not a dangerous junkie tweaker. I have to believe that so I can project it.
“I am a deputy, not and officer”, damn, one of these guys, “and I pulled you over because I noticed you light on your license plate is out.”
This is a bad sign. This is bullshit. My license plate light is not out, but, even if it was, it doesn’t take three vehicles to pull someone over for that offense. Or drawn weapons and a blocking vehicle for that matter. It will take a small miracle to keep me from getting cuffed at this point. My only option is to surrender myself in a way that I don’t provoke a search of the vehicle. I give him the paperwork and my license. I give him my legit license and hide the fake one. I don’t want to bring another charge down if this gets too hairy. It is going to be hard enough on my lawyer as it is. This is going to cost me, but I am sure that if I can keep them out of the trunk, then I have a chance of walking away without any time back in the joint. This is not my first barb-b-que, so I figure even if I get searched in the trunk I can say it is not mine. The car is not registered to me, it is in Candy’s dad’s name. I can just cop to what I have in my pocket and fuck the rest. Reasonable doubt, motherfucker.
“Sir, do you have any marijuana in the vehicle?” he asks. Now is my chance to start deflecting and hopefully calm the situation. “Well, deputy, I am a medical marijuana patient and I do have several small bags of medicinal marijuana.” I say, matter of factly.
“Is it on your person?”,he asks. I slowly pull the bag out of my pocket on my guayabera and hand it to him. He looks at it and asks, “Do you have your card?” I quickly reply, “Not on me, but I should be on the computer. It might be expired, but I still have the doctor’s prescription that I can produce for a judge.” I can tell my willingness to produce things for a judge sets him back a bit. Then he comes with what I was preparing for, “Who is this vehicle registered to?” “This is my girlfriend’s car. She let me borrow to go over the mountain and I am taking it back to Stinson Beach.” I know better than to ever mention Bolinas to a Marin County Sheriff or a CHP. They are antagonistic with the people from there far more than the people of Stinson Beach. “I will be right back,” states the deputy before he moves away.
As he walks back to his unit, I realize that the other two have not backed off and I make sure I don’t make any furtive movements without looking too tense. I have to back them down by my demeanor. I am thinking calming thoughts. I am fucked, no two ways about it, but I am not shot in the head and there is no way to get to my pistol to shoot my way out. The idea of suicide by cop crosses my mind. Am I that fucked? It’s hard to decipher. I have been in prison and have an uncertain amount of felonies. I have also been the focus of many investigations. I have evaded a serious incarceration of more than two years so far, but I have been threatened with life in prison on several occasions and several different jurisdictions. I know I am in trouble and the rush of adrenaline is really clearing my head. I can feel a panic attack shadowing me. I have to keep it together, keep a calm exterior. Fuck, I have never been pulled over here. Driving this road for years and never not once. This fucking sucks, but I have to just crawl into it and own it. Act as if. I can’t let these fuckers see me sweat a drop. I can see the break in the spotlight behind me to indicate that the deputy is returning. It has taken longer than a normal license scan. I am hoping he did not NCIC me. The whole rap sheet would be filing by and there is always the assault on a peace officer charge that raises the ire and turns this into a different set of rules. I am determined to not just let a group of late night deputies shoot me in the back without a fight. I will die fighting. Fuck this, maybe this is as far as I go. Make peace now. People will tell my son I love him. Family will be sad. I will miss everyone. It seemed like I was so close to getting somewhere. I am not sure where, though. “Sir, do you realize your driver’s license is suspended?” the deputy asks. “Well, no, or I wouldn’t be driving…damn it…it’s a registration ticket I got in Berkeley a couple of months ago. I sold that car. I thought the ticket was taken care of.” “I’m sorry to have to do this, sir, but I have to take you in on this offense. And I will have to confiscate the marijuana. You will be able to get it back upon producing the proper documentation as to your medical status, I will cite you out on both the driving on the suspended and the controlled substance. You will be out in just a few hours at the most.”
All of a sudden this guy is agreeable as hell. I notice the shotgun wielding deputy is backing off slowly. The deputy in from of me has brought his gun down. “Well, I want to get this taken care of as soon as possible, anyway. I appreciate your tone and that it is your job. Should I just step out of the car and secure my vehicle?” I say calmly in reply. My mind is reeling. There is an outside possibility that just opened up. I give up easily, they take me to the sub-station and book me and release me on citation to clear all this up like a misdemeanor, no one needs to look in the trunk, as its not even my car, I have already been co-operative concerning what I have on me, been clear about the car, the deputies are standing down, I still appear calm, I can retrieve the car after I am released and be on my way. This is starting to go my way, somehow. I roll up the windows. Put the keys in my pocket. Exit the vehicle easily, not too slow, definitely not in a hurry, more like I do this everyday, and it is a little annoying, but hey, it’s just a technicality and we’ll all laugh about this later.
“I appreciate your co-operation, sir, I will need to cuff you, but you won’t need to turn around. Just put your hands out and I won’t do them too tight.” What fucking charm school did this guy go to? I can’t break my composure, I act as if it is the type of consideration I am used to.
“No worries, deputy. I understand.”
“The tow truck will be here in 10 minutes.” The other deputy, sans shotgun, says from behind. Damn it, this means I will have to get the car out of impound as soon as possible, not as neat as I had hoped for, I can't contain my displeasure. “Is there anyway you can just leave the car and I can retrieve it after I get out. My girlfriend is going to be real upset with me as it is. It is not illegally parked or anything.” The deputies shoot each other glances as if they are considering it. I have never really been in this calm of a place during an arrest. I can’t outwardly show how unsettling this is, but I have to act as if this is all an inconvenience that I am just willing to go through at this point. I am just trying to be reasonable and lessen the inconvenience on all of us if I can. I am beginning to buy into the game I am playing. Right at that moment the deputy begins to shake his head. “I have to tow the vehicle and it will most likely be held for 30 days according to the law when you are driving on a suspended.” I act as though I am shocked. “I did not know that that was part of the penalty. She is going to be pissed.” I reply. In my mind I am seeing the tow yard attendants ransacking the trunk. Fucking karma. I have been buying and receiving items from the Oakland tow yard for years. Getting tips on when a good car is up for auction because the driver got busted with so much dope it will be used as evidence until the police release it for auction. Even getting called once to come pick up two kilos of coke that I split with the yard attendant. I was definitely open on this one to lose everything. It could all be replaced except my .45, that was my only sentimental and practical attachment to anything in the trunk, I figured.
I snap out of it as I realize the deputy is approaching me for the keys. I reach in my pocket, with a bit of struggle from the hand cuffs, and I pull out the keys, my expression slightly sad, but I am careful to not give away that I am obsessed with the trunk. The deputy does an about face and walks directly to the trunk. Fuck, I didn’t want to think this was going to happen. Now I am back to real fucked. I have to act like I don’t care about it and in a moment I have to react to his reaction with some kind of front that is not usable as a way to color my defense in court. I can’t give them anymore than what they are about to get in discovery of the trunk contents. This is about to become a bail and trial issue in less than five seconds. “I just have to let you know that I need to inventory your trunk so if anything is missing when you go to the tow yard you will have grounds to file a complaint.” He says over his shoulder. I crack a little bit. This will be last politeness in exchange. “Well, I don’t know what is in there, anyway.” As soon as I have said this, I wish I could take it back. It will be the last incriminating thing I am determined to say. It is not that bad of a thing to say, except for the fact that by omission of knowledge an astute observer would be able to conclude that I admit to a secret knowledge and have given up that I am involved in an attempt to mislead. I have to play smarter. Give up less. As the trunk opens and the deputy reaches in after pausing, I steel myself inside. I have to give up nothing.
“Look at this.” He says, as he holds up a paper shopping bag to his partner. ”Is this yours?” He asks me as he shoots a look in my direction. I just shake my head. The blocking vehicle driver also comes over. They begin pulling the contents of the trunk apart. I have clothes bags and a duffle bag of dirty clothes. But then I see him pull the backpack and I know it will be changing quickly. I get a momentary reprieve as he only looks over the backpack for a moment, but he determines it will be taken as evidence and hands to the other deputy. I just hang my head down. I am being hit by a wall of exhaustion and the overwhelming need to piss. Plus the crushing demoralization that this is me fucking it up for myself. I could have just gone a little further in SF and crashed with a couple of strippers from O’Farrell Street Theater. I did not have to be here right now. Light of day and no deputy can claim the license plate light is not working. Now it is game over. I am certain I will make bail, somehow, but I can’t imagine how much damage I have done to my cash flow and ability to keep it moving. I know it was being hurt already, but now it’s going to get serious. The other deputy comes over and undoes the cuffs. He turns me around. “Put your hands on top of your head.” It is no longer the friendly, polite arrest it was a few seconds ago. The cuffs are on behind me and tighter. I am put in the back of a patrol car. The deputies say a few words to each other. The first deputy I spoke to gets in the front seat and asks me if I want to tell him who the drugs belong to. I say I don’t know anything about any drugs other than the medical marijuana that I had on my person. He reads me my Miranda at that point. I have nothing to say except may I use a restroom, I need to speak with an attorney and I need to know the amount of my bail so I can call someone. Game over. Tilt.
While enroute to the sub-station I told the suspect his Miranda rights. I asked the suspect if he wanted to talk about what happened. He said yes, that he wanted to cooperate. I asked the suspect who the black backpack belonged to. He said it was his but that he was unsure how it got into the trunk of the sedan.
As I was pulled out of the patrol vehicle in the prisoner bay I realized I had an excruciating piss that I had to take and that booking was never really sympathetic to that affliction. I was put on the footprints on the ground in front of the booking desk once they got me inside. My paperwork was handed to the booking officer and he began entering in the computer. I had never been arrested in Marin County, but I had been arrested in other counties around the state. Orange, Imperial, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Kern, Merced, San Francisco and Alameda counties to be exact. There was a prior record of me, so to speak. I copped to being “that guy”, which actually brought different reactions from the older deputies. They wanted to beat me, I could tell. They were thinking about the not so old days of beating on guys in the back room and saying they posed a threat and were uncooperative. The booking officer called them over to show them where I had already been entered as cooperative by the arresting deputies in their report. “Reports can be changed .” said one of the gray haired, red-necked Sheriffs. “Yeah, sometimes they have to be,” replied a older, black deputy with salt and pepper hair. They all had a good laugh at that one. I was starting to feel like I might piss myself if I didn’t get to go soon. I had to break my silence. “Excuse me, I really need to urinate.” You would think I told a joke with a better punch line, and I suppose, from their perspective, I did, because they howled even louder than they did for the report joke. The red-neck approached me hastily with a terse look on his face. “If I want to hear shit from you, I’ll squeeze your fucking head, you scum fucker.” Obviously, he enjoyed the graveyard shift after all these years of service. He stepped behind me and pulled my arms up by the chain of the cuffs. I didn’t resist, I knew that could injure me. I might need to punch back at somebody soon, so I didn’t want to get hurt fighting these old school tactics. He unlocks the cuffs one at a time, directing me to put each hand in front of me on the counter as he releases them. From where the footprints are painted on the ground this sprawls you forward. It’s the standard booking room set up. I know how to try to anticipate by his position which of my feet he will kick sideways so I can be lighter on that foot and not go down with the first kick. If you do go down, you get the complimentary hair grab and face plant into the counter. I anticipate well and he kicks out the foot so far that he can’t possibly get the other foot out equally as far without dropping me blow the edge of the booking counter. This is the usual set up for the “rabbit” punch at the booking counter. It is a favored attack as it is delivered from behind, so you can’t see it coming, and it contusions the back of the head, which is hard to notice if there is hair there and I have plenty of hair to hide the damage from a punch at that moment. I have been beat down in many booking rooms at this moment. I usually react to the “rabbit” punch, once even anticipating it to the point of catching an officer with a spinning back hand before he could unload it. This time I figure I can take this fuckers best shot and keep going. I really don’t want to piss my self during a multiple deputy beating. I am not going to get out anytime soon. I know I will have to be transported to the main county holding before I can even make bail and that may take a day and sometimes a night as well. I go as near limp as possible without falling down. The red-necked deputy is called away at that point and one of the younger deputies come over to relieve him. No rabbit punch. Strict instructions that I follow to the T. He leads me over to the computer fingerprint machine. The finger prints are knocked out quickly. He is newly trained and I am old hat at it. I ask him if I can urinate and he complies, watching me as I go. That was all I needed. I am led to an interrogation room and the door is left open. I am allowed to hear them inventory my belonging from the trunk. The mood is about to change in there, I know that much.
I arrived at the sub-station and performed a more detailed search of the backpack. I found a loaded .45 caliber pistol in a black holster that was built into the backpack to conceal the pistol. The pistol had a full, 15 round magazine and one cartridge in the chamber. The black case also contained an additional full, 15 round magazine. I also found a small whit box that contained three pills of suspected ecstasy. A NIK test of the suspected ecstasy came up positive. I also found a small vial containing an unknown white powder, 2 baggies with approximately 2 grams of white powder each that NIK tested positive for methamphetamine, 10 clear capsules with a white powder in each that NIK tested positive for ecstasy and dried leaves. I asked the suspect what the leaves were and he said they were tea. Also in the backpack was an “Altoids” tin that had approximately 1 gram of marijuana and approximately 1 gram of concentrated cannabis. The black liquid was determined to be approximately 4 oz. of concentrated cannabis. Another electronic scale was found inside a pocket of the black backpack. Based on the way the marijuana was packaged, the amount of marijuana, the additional packaging material, electronic scales, cell phones and the loaded pistol, I believe the suspect possessed marijuana for sales. Deputy XXXX transported the suspect to the Marin County Jail where he was booked on PC 12025, PC 12031(a), HS 11359, HS 11357(a), HS 11360(a), HS 11357(c), HS 11370.1.
As I was escorted down the hallway to the elevator at Marin County Jail, one of the deputies laughed and told the other, “We caught the Al Capone of wacky-tobacky last night. He’s not getting out anytime soon, either.” I’ll make bail soon enough, I thought to myself. It will take a while for it to come together, but I have to make it. I’ll make the the collect call to get the wheels in motion. Candy will come back up north, although I rather she just stay til the deal went through. Always thinking about the deal. It is all I have at the end of it all. Once the word is out I just need to get to a steel bunk with a plastic mattress and rest my head. I am exhausted beyond reason now. It is sometime near noon. I get to the “pod” and am led to my cell. Men are watching television and playing cards in the common area. I am not interested in any new friends right now. I go into the two man cell and introduce myself to my cellie. He gives me the bottom bunk and I make it up haphazardly. I sit for a moment before I drift off to the afternoon sounds of the men shouting their chaotic chorus before the guards shout for lockdown. Everyone moving to their cells and the televisions go off and the modern doors electronically lock. It is somewhat quiet, except for the echoes in the vents of the men in their cells.
Something seems different this time. I am not sure exactly what it is, but I am not able to shake it. I think back to the first time I was approached by men with badges and I knew I was in trouble. They were San Bernardino Police Officers and I was 11 years old. I had taken a broken broom handle and cut it into two pieces, wrapping each piece with spiraling, black electrical tape and affixing a short chain from the screen door on the back porch to each end of the two pieces with eye screws. They were nun chuks like I had seen in the kung fu movies. The police officers took me home and told my mother that I had made a deadly weapon, not a toy. They were illegal and if I was caught with them again I would have to be arrested. My mother felt like the cops were over reacting. She told me I had to not be so ignorant of things as to attract the attention of the police in broad daylight. I was told once again to get my head out of my ass. The next time the cops had me a couple of years later for trying to rob a 7-11, she was hurt with a deep shame. I never got over seeing her like that. We were never close again. I thought over my adult life of arrest and capture. The Mexicali-Calexico crossing, the aftermath of a gunfight in an after hours club in downtown LA. The raid of the house in Venice beach, the traffic stop in Beverly Hills, the arrest on the Venice boardwalk right after getting released from the Beverly Hills incident, the detainment in San Quintin, Baja California, the arrest in Tompkins Square, NYC for inciting a riot, the arrest in San Louis Obispo while sleeping in my car, the arrest in Iowa for driving weed and mushrooms cross country, the arrest in New Orleans at Mardi Gras, the arrest in Minneapolis for fighting with the skinheads, the detainment in Bangkok for conspiring to smuggle, the drunk in publics while homeless in the Tenderloin of San Francisco, the arrest in Oakland when I appeared in court without my lawyer, the arrest at JFK in NYC for boarding a plane with a firearm, all the near misses, detainments. The questioning in other cases that I was connected to. The lawyers and dirty cops warning me that I was under investigation or that someone was trying to ascertain my real identity. It had finally become too much. It had finally been the metaphoric straw that broke the metaphoric camel’s back. It had all come to this moment where I felt like I was tired of being locked up like an animal every so often. I wanted something different, I was not sure what it was, but there had to be something different than this. I knew there were three strikes to be brought against me now. I suddenly knew that I could not survive in here anymore. I would die in here if I did not get out. I was finally not uncertain about wanting to live. I was very much wanting to live in that moment. More so than I had in a long time. I just needed to sleep some and figure it out. I just needed some rest and then to see what was going to happen with bail. I wanted out, but I wasn’t sure what out meant. I just knew that I wanted out of more than just that jail cell. And, more importantly, I wanted to live. I actually wanted to live in a way that I had never felt before. I knew I needed to change, I just didn’t know if it was too late.