We get goofy calls all the time. It’s the nature of the beast…and quite frequently, the beast is insane.
When I’d been at the Sheriff’s Office like twenty minutes or something, I answered the phone and got this:
“I need to report a robbery.”
It was very exciting. Not quite the first time I picked up the phone but close, and here was a guy reporting a robbery.
“When did it happen?”
He thought for a bit and said, “Well, I’ve been back six months. Lived in Chicago for the better part of probably 18 years.”
I stopped writing.
Then, full of thoughtful analysis, he said, “I’m gonna say just about 19 years ago. About twenty.”
Okay, well, first of all, turns out he wanted to report a residential burglary, not a robbery. And second of all…well…it was twenty years ago.
That call didn’t last much longer. To this day, though, I’m convinced it was a real call and not one of my new co-workers screwing with me…though that has happened on the odd occasion.
The point here is we get strange phone calls.
About a week ago, we get this:
“Yeah, I’ve got some dope.”
“Uh…okay,” the dispatcher said. “And?”
“Well, you should come get it.”
A few minutes after this call, dispatch calls me. “Uh…30?”
“Can you respond to [blah blah blah address]?”
“Ten-four. What’s the problem?”
“Uh…not really sure. But apparently he’s got some dope.”
He chuckled and off I went. I’ve gotten those calls before. Usually, it’s someone who has partaken, along with a ‘friend,’ of said dope stash. Then the ‘friend’ uses more than they’ve paid for and the owner of said stash calls in a huff and wants to file a complaint for theft.
And yes, there is a direct correlation between the amount of drugs you consume and whether or not you’re inclined to call the cops because someone stole your drugs.
So I get there and am quite surprised to see a local, fairly well-known mope. Last time I saw him was last summer when I arrested him for battery. The last time before that was when I arrested him for disorderly conduct. Before that…battery and disorderly conduct. Getting the picture?
“James,” I said. “How’s it shaking?”
“I’ve got some dope.”
“Well, everybody needs something.”
Shaking his head, as though somehow I were the problem, he took me to a strip of land between his and his neighbor’s detached garages. There was a little jungle in there, the kind of strip that always gets forgotten. Weeds and old bags of garbage and rusty beer cans. Sometimes an old license plate or a shirt tossed aside while painting the garage or something.
And sure as shit: dope.
Growing wild. Illinois ditchweed. With just a smidgen more than 0.0% THC. Smoke up, baby!
This crap is everywhere and I say smoke as much as you freakin’ want. You’ll spend three days puking your guts up. But harvesting the herb will beautify drainage ditches all over the state so you’ll have done a good thing.
In James’ case, he had quite the nature preserve: eighteen or twenty plants. The tallest was about 18″ high, while the smallest were less than 6″ tall, but the sheer amount surprised me.
“This ain’t mine.”
He looked askance at me. “Really? You think I’m that stupid? I’d plant a bunch of weed and then call you about it?”
I opened my mouth but chose instead not to speak.
“I got a kid now, Trey. I can’t afford to have this shit around.” His chest puffed a little. “I’m grown up.”
This from a man in his late ’30s.
“A kid, huh?”
“Well, not mine biologically, but my girlfriend’s. I call him mine.”
“Good for you, James, good for you.”
I was serious about that part. James has always been a pain in the ass, but not particularly malicious. His thing has always been getting drunk (with a quick spliff or two, but not much) and then picking a fight with someone. And ten times out of ten, he chose the wrong person with whom to fight. Ten times out of ten, he got his ass beat. What I arrested was usually the left over, bloody mess.
So I started pulling the weed. Who knew where it had come from. Maybe the previous owner had planted it, though there were some plants growing out from between the concrete foundation of the garage and the driveway. Maybe a bird ate up some seeds somewhere and crapped them out under the tree. I took a Wal-Mart bag from James, dumped the plants in, and tossed the bag in my squad trunk.
“You know,” I said. “I’m surprised you didn’t pull it, dry it, roll it, and smoke it.”
He nodded. “I’m grown up.”
“Right. I forgot.”
“Kiss my ass, Trey.”
Then he paused, winked at me, and said, “Dude, you want a beer?”
And suddenly all was right with the world. That was my good old James, always good for a few beers and then a few arrests.