Monday, October 19, 2009

Indiana Wants Me Part 1

Third time was the charm ... or so I thought.

My course in Gary was a short one and I was reassigned to La Porte, Indiana. Carnal (remember her?) was given a teaching assignment in South Bend just about 20 miles east. My school was La Lumiere Academy ... a very impressive boarding school with top notch students. (Well most were ... I found out that Chris Farley graduated from there).

It was heaven.

My only problem was finding a place to stay. Carol and I had to share a double wide (might have been a triple wide) in a trailer park outside of Michigan City. Wasn't too bad ... as mobile homes go.

But ... my world was about to change dramatically a week before my classes were to start.

One Sunday afternoon, we were driving back to the lovely triple wide when I noticed liquid flames dripping from beneath the steering wheel. I remember slamming on the brakes and telling Carol to jump out of the car. Instantly, the car burst into flames. We stood back helplessly watching as a crowd of trailer park residents gathered. Firefighters got there in minutes and rushed in with foam canisters and hoses ... scrambling inside and outside of the car.

As the fire ebbed, the firefighters were able to look inside the car to try to salvage some of the contents. They popped open the glove compartment ... out popped a neatly rolled plastic baggie with an ounce of pot (my brother's pot). My heart literally stopped for what seemed like 15 minutes. My brother Wayne had visited me in Gary and accidentally left his "stuff" in my car. He called me and asked me to save it for him .... SAVE it for him. Who was gonna save me? The chief looked over his shoulder at me and showed the baggie to the rest of the crew. They ALL looked over their shoulders.

He made a call on his car radio and I knew I was sunk.

The next hour was like the crime scene from Alice's Restaurant. There were policeman and fireman all over the place taking pictures of the car, the glove compartment, me, the pot ... apparently it was the biggest drug bust in Michigan City. I looked around for Carol ... and she was gone. I don't blame her ... no need for both of us to go to the slammer (I always wanted to use that word).

I was watching all this from a police cruiser's back seat. I was hypnotically humming "You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant ...". The door opened and a very serious cop stuck his head in, read me my rights and took me to the local police station where he took mug shots, fingerprinted me, and then drove me to .... I KID YOU NOT ... Indiana State Prison. The same place that held John Dillinger.

Driving through the massive prison gate was the scariest sight I had ever seen in my life.

I was photographed again and fingerprinted again. Apparently they don't trust the local police to capture the best image of their most notorious criminals. There I was ... sitting in the holding cell with two guys who were shackled and carrying their mattresses.( I wondered if they brought these from home because they didn't like the accommodations here).

I was taken into the visitor area which really was a series of chairs separated by a large desk and about a dozen guys in uniform. I was brought over to one of the men in blue as he filled out my paperwork.

He handed me the finished forms. "Okay ... look this over. Is this all correct. "
I looked it over. "Yes sir ... it is."
He took it back and motioned across the desk to the "freedom" side of the room. "You know those people?"
I squinted and saw Carol waving to me on the other side (thank heaven) and there was another guy that I didn't recognize. He looked a little like one of the ZZ Top band members.  " I know her ... not sure about him."
"Says he's your attorney."
I looked at Carol and she motioned with an okay sign and pointed to Mr. Z. "Guess he is."

The guard shook his head and gave a shrug. He handed me a piece of paper and said. "This note is from him ... we read these before we give them to you ... good luck with this one pal."
Hands shaking, I opened the note and started to sweat as I read the note ...

"Joel ... I am your attorney. Don't say a word to these (expletive) pigs they are just a bunch of (expletive) liars ... don't trust anyone."

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