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Off my bike


What makes a person want to be a cop?

I was taken down by a policeman the other evening, pulled off my bike and brought to the ground. He didn't hold me down, and he didn't bring me in, but he did keep me for a while, at the side of the road, and he did call in an accomplice — I mean, a colleague — who asked me the same questions again.

On Friday I'd gotten the first paycheck that was substantial enough to allow me a drink out on the town, and there was a show at the Horned Hand that one of the owners there had recommended. After a few beers at home I cycled on down there. Not highly sociable, I still found it a comfortable atmosphere, and even met a similarly unsociable young woman I enjoyed talking to.

I got good and drunk, switching from PBR to Lagunitas IPA — I had some money, dammit — and found myself later embarrassed to remember shouting encouragements to the band, especially the trumpet player, although I can't remember why he was particularly impressive. Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy. They're good.

On my way home, I wound my way this way and that (I don't mean I swerved; I mean I picked an "a la carte" route across town.) I came out to Greenwood, and heading east I cut across a 100-meter section going the "wrong way," for convenience — just as little Johnnie Law was coming down the mountain. Lights came on. I kept moving.

I know there are those who stop and freeze in their tracks as soon as they see that cops want to talk to them. I'm sorry if it offends anybody that I just don't feel that. What I see is a boy with a gun and a badge and a badass car — and what makes a person want to be a cop?

Anyhow, he circled back, and waited. Lights on, he was shouting to me. When I tried to ride past him, he grabbed me and pulled me to the ground.

He and his odd-looking robocop buddy figured out before too long that I was not the criminal they are left stuck on the night-shift looking for, so they let me go. He told me to walk my bike.

I didn't. Fuck the police.

(In all fairness, though, I could have been done for riding drunk, and they didn't even talk about that.)

  — August 2012, Bend Oregon


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