Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Indiana Wants Me Part 2

I found out later that Mr. ZZ was a law student at Notre Dame.

He bailed me out that night and became my new best friend. I asked him how he came up with the $5000. He told me that a few years ago one of the rock bands (I think it was The Grateful Dead) was busted in South Bend after a concert. Apparently, they had a bad experience with the police and, before they left the area, set up a "drug fund" to use for desperate criminals such as me. The fund was replenished when "us cons" went to trial.

I said farewell to my new friends who were still clinging to their mattresses and ZZ dropped us off at the triple wide (and what a beautiful sight it was). Carol told me how she happened upon ZZ. She called some kind of convict hotline. He answered the phone (it was his part time job) and told her that he would personally handle the case. Of course, Carol was desperate for anyone to help in the middle of the night and he actually had cash.

So here I was ... a week to go before my classes were to start (if I didn't appear on the front page of the Michigan City Star or Gazette or whatever it was) and wondering when I would have to go to court represented by a first year law student.

What a great year this was.

The next day, ZZ sat down with me and planned out my defense. He wasn't keen on using the excuse that the pot belonged to my brother ... even though it was true ... because it would not have held up on a possession charge.So he went with "illegal search and seizure". He then proceeded to pull out his trusty polaroid camera and took 50 pictures of my car from every angle inside and out. For some reason this really cracked me up. After each shot he'd look at his watch for the exact development time and looked so serious with his dinky little camera (again ... shades of Arlo Guthrie). Why I remember that ... through all the stress of the whole event ... is beyond me.

The next two months were torture.

I taught the course at La Lumiere ... miraculously ... without anyone finding out about the whole incident. Almost every day I would talk to ZZ about the case and how he had gotten the judge to push back the date of my hearing. I'm  not sure how he did it ... perhaps he needed to take more polaroids or maybe he was hoping to actually graduate and get his degree before we went to trial. Either way I became more nervous every day.

My course was ending and I was going to have to move on ... but I couldn't leave the state. ZZ finally set the date and told me I didn't have to appear. This made me more nervous. I didn't have to appear? What if ZZ never talked to anyone this whole time? What if the authorities have been looking for me? What did I really know about ZZ?

My answer came within a week when ZZ presented a hand delivered letter to me. It said ...

"Dear Mr. Momberg .... one of the principals of this case (the Fire Chief) recently passed away .... this case has been postponed indefinitely." Your guess is as good as mine ... but I haven't been back to Indiana in 35 years.

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