Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I was incarcerated this past weekend. FCPD proved to be my nemesis yet again. Not that I didn’t deserve it but damn, cut a brother some slack! I guess I’ve no one to blame really so I just have to roll with the punches, what can I say. I’ll tell you what though – if you’ve never been in
I might’ve mentioned earlier I was going to traffic court this past Friday. A couple of months back while driving to work one morning this punk-ass FCPD cop stopped me. Granted I was stepping on it but I’d just received bad news from home and my mind was a thousand miles away. It was at and I was driving from
Anyway, his approach was by the book. Flashlight in left hand, right hand hovering over the 9-millimeter, beam focused on my hands the whole time. I did everything by the book too and my hands were on the wheel the whole time. He tapped on the glass and I rolled the window down.
“Do you know how fast you were driving?” he asked.
“No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me,” I said. I didn’t actually say that, are you crazy?! “No” is all I said.
“I caught you doing 90, and the speed limit is 55.”
No kidding, I thought. I didn’t say a thing though. After asking for the license and registration he went around the car and came back to the window.
“Do you know your performance muffler is illegal in the State of
“No it isn’t,” I said. “When I bought it I made sure it was DOT approved.” This much is true. He paused.
“Well, I still say it’s illegal,” he persisted. Now you see why I dislike them punks? I’m already branded as the enemy coz I’m the wrong color. Strike one. Strike two, I’m driving a sport compact. Strike three, I’m driving fast. F_ck the police, I say.
He then proceeded to go around the car looking for anything he could get me on. Only thing he didn’t do was ask me to pop the hood, and I’m not kidding. Fortunately, dear reader, I realized the importance of keeping my $hit straight a long time ago. I’m always insured, registered and everything. All the lights work, coz they always stop you about that, looking for an excuse to. Black people, keep your $hit straight. You can’t afford not to, trust me on this. Anyway, I didn’t say a word when he handed me the ticket and asked me to sign it. Most tickets are pre-payable but this cat told me I “had no choice but to appear in court.” I didn’t say anything; just signed the damn thing, got back to driving and spat gravel at him getting out of there. That pissed him off more and he followed me for about 5 miles. He was trying to be sneaky while following me but I’m not a complete idiot. He gave up after a while and I proceeded to work. Before I got into the building I SMS-ed my brother back home. He too has a ‘speed problem.’ You think I’m fast? He’s damn near suicidal. He’s pro tho, so he knows how to handle his. People don’t think so though. In the SMS I was like:
What is it about you and me and speed? I just got another ticket.
He replied right away and was like:
I know bro, I know. No one over here enjoys my driving except me. Oh so true. I seem to be the only one that enjoys his driving.
And that, dear reader, is how I found myself in the courtroom this past Friday. For once I decided not to dress up coz I usually wear dress pants, shirt, shoes & socks. No tie, nosir. Feels like a noose every time I wear one. This time around I wore jeans, sneakers and a ‘dressy’ shirt. As it were, this turned out to be a great idea. I got there in good time, parked in an indoor garage and was at the courtroom well before the judge started doing his thing. I was chillin’, really. I’d read about the maximum penalty for my type of offense and worst case scenario, I was gonna lose my license for up to 3 months and/or pay up to $1,500 in fines. I had the cash [for once] and was ready to minimize my driving for the duration of the suspension of the license. I was OK and had few, if at all, of the usual butterflies when I stood behind the stand. I was good this time, really, and ready to put on my best performance.
Court is all about appearances and a show of remorse. As long as you show remorse you’re good to go, or so I thought.
I was giving the judge the wide-eyed, innocent stare with my hands clasped in front of me, the very picture of innocence, or so I thought.
I was speaking loudly and clearly and even allowed a slight tremor to get into my voice when I was professing how ‘I’d never driven that fast, before or since.’ What I was saying was mostly true but like I said, it’s all about the delivery. [I can’t very well confess I’ve done 130 MPH in the Lancer more than once, can I?] Granted, it was a performance worthy of an Oscar, or so I thought.
Apparently the judge had heard it all and didn’t let himself be moved by my heart-wrenching monologue. [Not that I blame him. I don’t dislike judges really. I don’t even dislike cops – it’s only the high-and-mighty ones I intensely dislike, the ones who look for people that ‘fit the profile.’ Anyhow, let me proceed before I get sidetracked.]
He looked at me long and hard and, to the cop, was like:
“Officer, what’s his record?”
Punk-ass was like:“He has a minus-8, your honor.”
“Most of my tickets are from years ago, your honor,” I pleaded. “I’ve only had one other ticket this year.”
“Actually, your honor,” punk-ass persisted. “most of his points are within the past 2 years.” Notice he said points. I only have one other ticket, but that was another reckless driving one with mega-points. Most of my other tickets were in 2001-2002. I even got 2 tickets in one week one time. Yes, I was a bad boy. The judge looked at me, looked at the paperwork, then back at me and finally broke the silence.
“Where do you work?”
“******, your honor,” I said, all the while maintaining the innocent look. Trying to, anyway.
“And you are 2* years old?” he asked.
“Do you have any kids?”
“Are you married?”
“What do you do?”
“I’m a graphic designer, sir.” Another long silence. This was nerve-wracking. I’d almost started biting on my fingernails when, with obvious resolve in his voice, he declared.
“With minus-8 points it seems you have little regard for the law. I therefore impose a fine of $1,000 and 30 days in jail.”
“However,” he continued. "I will suspend $700 of the $1,000 and 29 of the 30 days in jail. You therefore have to pay $300 in fines and spend 1 day in jail.”
I could not believe it. Me? In jail?! An inmate? In a jumpsuit? In the same confined space as the rejects of society? [I guess that makes me one, right?] Before I could think the sheriff was behind me cuffing my hands behind my back and I was literally shoved through a door right by the stand which led to a temporary jail right by the courtroom, though the décor was starkly different. In the place of the wood paneling in the courtroom was cold, hard concrete covered by dirty white paint with obscene graffiti scratched into the paintwork.
I simply have too much to describe so I’ll split the ‘Incarceration’ post in two. Consider this part one. Keep it right here.