So there I was: standing in some empty corner of Bushwick, blood soaking through my green shirt, crazy-eyed without so much as a cigarette or a clue to what the fuck just happened. I had a pink NYPD citation slip in my hand, which I put into my pocket to keep it from getting bloody. My hands didn’t hurt at all, but exuded varying amounts of blood from the half-dozen cuts and tears I had sustained. I didn’t know if I was still drunk, and my wrists were sore, as from handcuffs too tight.
I walked back to my friend’s birthday party, where I was greeted with a chorus of “what-the-fuck”s. I proceeded to explain, some people high-fived me, others turned away when I tried to say hello. This is what I recalled:
After spending the better part of the day drinking, I arrived too early and began drinking a Ballantine’s 40 immediately. I briefly talked to a very pretty girl with dyed red hair that looked like she was from The Great Gatsby or something. I was rather underdressed for this party, wearing a mint green button down like some sort of sitcom extra from the mid-nineties.
More people came and I found myself sitting next to this girl, talking and bumming cigarettes from each other and shit like that. Long story short, we went outside for a walk. She began telling me about London, about having voyeuristic sex in public with her boyfriend. I saw an empty lot, some abortive construction site, an, without even mentioning it, we both climbed over. We explored this strange environment: weeds, gravel, plywood… it was lightly drizzling and we were both already wet. We had sex and it was most excellent; as soon as we finished we saw flashlights shining through the fence.
“Alright, put your clothes on and come over to the sidewalk now.”
“Fuck,” I thought; some of the cops were giggling.
There turned out to be six police officers… six. The girl squeezed through a gap in the fence, but I’m pretty tall so I was forced to climb over. Very drunk and flying like a cokefiend off of all these adrenaline explosions going on, I just tried to keep my cool and be polite. I cut my hand on the top of the chain-link fence, a barb fucking impaled itself into my wrist. When my feet hit the ground I was bleeding profusely, freaking the cops out a little.
“Nah it’s cool, I just got this now, I…”
They put gloves on and asked me if I need an ambulance, which I may very well have. The girl and I were handcuffed, asked for ID (only I had one), and questioned. Now, It might have been the blood or booze or some divine lightning strike of inspiration, but this is when my survival instinct kicked in.
I asked if I could smoke a cigarette, which the officers obliged. I contorted myself into lighting it with hands cuffed behind my back, and like some real Houdini shit I started talking us out of the handcuffs. I joked, I kissed ass, and I tried my best to make myself seem not worth arresting.
“Seriously though, no hard feelings, I know you guys are just doing your job. This is a dangerous neighborhood, etc.”
“So where were you guys? Where’s the party at?”
Fuck no asshole, you’re not busting this shindig.
“Oh a couple blocks away like over there somewhere… would you like a smoke? Ah, got it, can’t do that on the job, it’s cool.”
“If she keeps crying, we’re gonna have to take you guys in. She doesn’t have ID? Well,”
I looked over: there was ten cops now and this felt fucking surreal: like some Kafka-esque trial for attempting to find novelty and meaning in life, like some parody… These bastards really don’t have anything better to do, do they?
They did start talking to me so, I struck up a coherent, legitimate conversation with one cop. I looked down as his nametag: KIELTYKA.
Oh fuck yes.
I looked at his face and recognized the Polish in him immediately, how could I not have noticed this earlier? Polish people have a sixth-sense for finding ourselves in a crowd; it has to do with a very specific head shape and pattern of facial expressions, it’s hard to explain.
“Siema bracie, kurwa wrobili mnie no? Troche wypilismy I kurwa takie cos sie stalo, no powiedz…”
Knowing smiles were exchanged and even patted me on the shoulder without wearing a glove, though my shirt was revoltingly bloody. He took a key out, uncuffed E. and myself, and we talked some more. The girl I was with wasn’t crying anymore, she looked up at me and I flicked out my cigarette like the smoothest motherfucker who’s ever existed.
Yes, I just Polaked the two of us out of handcuffs and out of a long night spent in central booking. Officer Kieltyka, that bodhisattva of law enforcement, went to talk with his supervisor by the van which had been haunting us for a good couple of minutes. He came back a couple of minutes with the citation booklet cops carry around. E. didn’t have any form of identification on her, and the rare specimen of a police officer took her name down on faith. We were checked for outstanding records and sent off with $25 fines and optional court appearances, I guess in case we wanted to really push our luck.
The violation read,
“Section 245-01: Exposure over person.”
I looked it up; “public lewdness” is an alternate Title of Offense. I remember when my roommate O. was cited for public urination (admittedly, onto a police station); he got a mandatory court appearance and was given a 6-month ACD and a $100 fine; I got off with next to nothing.
By nature, I can’t really sleep well after I drink, I usually wake up at seven and writhe around in my bed until I throw the towel in and take a shower. I guess it’s good cause I’m usually not late for shit I need to do, but it’s a real pain sometimes. Last Sunday I woke up as usual, looked over at the iconic pink NYPD citation slip lying next to me and immediately felt a searing pain in my hands. I knew I must have really been doing the lord’s work the night before, and so I smoked a cigarette and laid back down.
I had to think about my life, about where it was going and what I wanted out of it. And that’s why I missed your BBQ.