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Library: The Jailbird

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Author: skol
Date:Oct 7 2021

This is a story of youth and stupidity.  You can decide for yourself what is
true and what is fiction in this tale.  It all started during my freshman year
in college.  Craving comradery as well as a hunger for sport, joining the
rugby team seemed like the best bet to satisfy both needs.   It was the 2nd
week of school, Thursday night after practice the team was going to have a
party.  To set the stage a little, hazing was a normal occurrence 25 years
ago.  As a new player on the team, a Rookie, you can imagine there was all
sorts of hazing for new players.  My favorite was having my hands tied behind
my back, put on my knees next to 2 other rookies where we alternated bonging
beer and Yukon Jack, nobody could stop or leave until all three had puked. 
Sure, in hindsight this might not have been the healthiest activity but it
does create a bond and in that way was very effective.  So back to this
Thursday evening?  I had mentioned that this was my 2nd week at the University
and I didn?t know many people yet.  I walked into the party and the hazing
began quickly.  This was a pretty tame party at this point, around 8pm, so
really a bunch of dudes pre-partying in preparation for the night out at the
bar.  I was one of a few rookies that came out so I was given preferential
treatment? more drinks for me!  I was enjoying myself and decided I would
leave the party to see if my roommate wanted to come with.  This is before
cell phones so I jogged back to the dormatories to see if he wanted to come
by.  He was studying? what?  But it wasn?t a difficult pitch talking him into
free beer and booze (we were both 18 so even with our fake IDs, free and
hassle free alcohol is always welcomed).  We started to walk back to the party
and as we got to the nearest streetcorner, we saw the flashing lights? there
were two squad cars outside.  At this point, we could have just bailed? the
police were inside the house, we were both underage, I was hammered (roommate
was sober)? But instead of leaving, we both watched from some nearby bus
hes.  I saw one of the policemen walk out of the house with a couple of
streetsigns that I had seen inside of the house earlier and put them into the
back of one of the squadcars.  After the officer went back up to the house, I
turned to my roommate and said ?I?ll be right back?.  I jogged up to the
police car, opened the door and grabbed one of the street signs and ran back
to the bushes.  My roommate had a strange look on his face when I got back. 
He had known me for a week and here I have pulled him from his studies to make
him an accomplice to stealing contraband from a police car.  He asked what I
planned to do with it and I wasn?t really sure, this wasn?t a well planned out
event.  We decided to hang low and after a few minutes the police officers
came out of the house, climbed into their cars and left.  My roommate and I
just looked at each other like, wow, okay? got away with it.  So I grabbed the
sign and walked up to the house and knocked on the door leaving my roommate at
the corner.  The owner of the house opened the door, saw who I was and let me
know the party was over, but they would be headed to the bar soon.  That is
when I presented them the sign the police had stolen from them.  He smiled but
looked around and telling me they had just got ticketed for having those so he
didn?t want it back in the house.  So I turned around with the plan to dump
the streetsign somewhere and right as I got down the front door steps, two
squad cars peeled around the corner with lights flashing and sirens blaring. 
Three cops get out of the cars , one drew his gun, pointed at me and in a
thick Asian accent yelled ?DROP THE SIGN?  I looked around, saw my room mate
who was about 100 feet to my left and the police was about 25 feet in front of
me and to my right.  I gave him a look like, ?get the fuck outta here? and I
walked a few steps towards the officer with my arms extended and then dropped
the sign.  At this point I was handcuffed and put into the car for the drive
to the Ramsey County jail in downtown St. Paul
.  I arrived, was checked in, finger printed and put into a cell with 2 bunks
a metal toilet that was about 3 inches from the bed and a cellmate that was
passed out on the bottom bunk.  I was still hammered so wasn?t really panicked
yet was curious how long I would be there.  After a couple of hours and not
hearing anything, I figured I might as well get comfortable, but first things
first, I HAD TO PISS.  I had held off so far since I had a passed out cellmate
whose face was inches from the toilet but it was time?   I went up to the
toilet and for the first time, my cellmate showed a sign of life.  He opened
his eyes, looked at me like an injured puppy and said passively, ?please don?t
piss on me?.?.  I was careful, didn?t piss on him, climbed up onto the top
bunk and relaxed for a bit.  I don?t remember if I fell asleep or exactly how
long it was, but it seemed about an hour before an officer came up and told me
somebody was there to get me.  I was a little shocked, it must be my mom, I
don?t know many people at the school and most I knew were hammered.  The
officer escorted me to a waiting area and after 10 mins the door opened.  I
expected my mother to step through the door with only a look of disapproval
and parental failure on her face.  Instead it was one of the guys from he
rugby team, Butteater (all had nicknames).  I didn?t know him well but all I
could do was smile and holler the only name I knew him by, BUTTEATER! along
with a heavy sigh of relief?  So on the drive home, Butteater told me that he
heard what happened (he was not at the party) so he figured I could use a hand
and he got me out of jail.  We got back to the dorms, I went to my room and my
roommate couldn?t stop laughing? even decades later he still tells me that at
that point he didn?t know what he had got himself into, living with an
alcoholic with no regard for law?  That ends the Thursday night, but not the
story.  I had my court case early the next week as I was charged with
Obstructing the Legal Process (the sign was evidence).  I go
t a ride to the court with my mom since I didn?t know if I would be going to
jail afterwards and didn?t want my car there.  Additionally I didn?t have any
money as my job was enough to cover my books and living expenses so when I
arrived I asked for the public defender.  I waited patiently for my case to be
called but about 30 mins before my case was to be called the public defender
called me into a room not much bigger than a broom closet to get my story. 
Before he asked me anything, he read my last name outloud and cocked his head.
 Then he asked, hey, you don?t know Kevin XXXX by chance, do you?  Well, Kevin
is my uncle so I let him know that.  Now Mpls/St. Paul isn?t a small area,
with nearly 2m people in the area, so having somebody who knew a relative is
extremely random.  He said he went to highschool with my uncle, who was a good
dude.  So the lawyer heard my side of the story and left for about 15 minutes.
 He came back and said I would be up soon, the Judge would ask me some
questions, he just coached me to be very respectful acknowledge that I messed
up and it was a college prank.  In a few minutes, the bailiff came over and
brought me into the Judge?s office in private.  I was a little intimidated
since I expected to be out in public like I saw from others that morning.  The
judge asked me where I went to school, I told him where I went, he asked me if
I regretted what I had done.  I said sincerely that I did.  He asked me if
this was a college prank, and I said yes and was against my best judgement. 
He stared at me for a minute said ?don?t do it again?.  I am going to dismiss
your case, with $2.00 in court costs.  It was everything I had in me to not
burst out laughing, but I was so gracious.  Thanked him and apologized again. 
Paid my $2 to the court clerk and was on my way.  It didn?t take long for my
rugby nickname to be ?Jailbird?.  This was a day that could or should have
gone terribly wrong, but through multiple strings of luck ended up simply
being a tale that only few know about me.  My old
 college roommate (best friends to this day), my wife, butteater, my brother
and now you?
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