Funny Money

VINCE

Less than a week until the one year mark.  I think that a year ago today was the day I was robbed at knife point.  Man, prison is way better than that.

I had a different kind of scare about a month before that.  I was very nearly arrested for the federal crime of passing counterfeit money.  It was very scary.

I had made a transaction through a friend of a friend.  As a drug dealer, you don’t want to be seen or known, so I set it up so there was a “package” sitting on a car seat.  Later, when I walked by, there was a similar “package” with money in it (we commonly used empty cigarette packages).  Done deal.

When morning came, I made a trip to the gas station.  I gave the clerk a $50 bill.  He used one of those pens and it turned black.  Uh-oh.  He said, “We have to call the police.”  This would be bad.  I was out on bail, my pockets were full of meth, pills, weed, cash, and baggies.  Running would make me look guilty.  I couldn’t empty my pockets in a public place, too risky to lose the $3,000 worth of everything I had (funny we won’t ditch something that could imprison us for years).  All I could do was stand there like I was confused, and be honest (lie like crazy).

I went into the bathroom and ditched all of the small baggies in the toilet.  Then I told the employee I was going out for a smoke.  He didn’t entirely believe me so he told me to write my info down.  Somehow I knew this could help me later on.  I wrote down my real info.

I went out to my truck and I frantically emptied my pockets onto the seats.  The windows were tinted so it would be difficult to make anything out from the outside.

That’s when two squad cars pulled up.  They had been given a description of my vehicle so one came right up to me.  The other officer went into the store.  Officer 1 asked me for my info and I gave him the same as I had given the clerk so when Officer 2 came out, it would match.  Establishing honesty.

Officer 1 asked how I got the bill.  On the spot, I made up a story about drinking with someone I didn’t know at a bar, him winning some money on pull tabs and giving me a $50 bill.  He asked which bar, and I started to choke up a bit, and Officer 2 came up behind me.

He saved the day.  He told Officer 1 what info I had given the clerk, giving me time to think of a bar where I knew a customer of mine who bartended.  So my story was believable enough.  My info checked out.  Then Officer 1 went to the truck and looked through the window.  He cupped his hand to block out the light.  At least four felonies right on the seat.  And one still in my pocket that I had just remembered.

He backed away from the truck, turned toward us, and said he wanted to have a word with the other officer before deciding what to do.

They left me standing in the sun.  So many thoughts: Why am I so stupid?  Why me?  I’m gonna go to prison forever!

I was trying not tremble.  They walked back to me and said that because I was honest with them, they weren’t even going to fill out a report.  I was free to go.  I just stood there, in shock, then turned around and opened the door to the truck, so I could just barely get in, blocking any view of the inside, got in, and drove away.

That incident was scarier to me than any time I was ever arrested.  I’ve been pulled over many times holding substantial amounts of drugs but I always had a good poker face, remained calm, and never got even a ticket.

After a close call, I always began to shake, adrenaline pumping.  Ready to do it all again.  I will not miss those moments.

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