Hola, amigos. I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but things have been pretty fucked up. The starter on my Festiva finally burned out. The thing is that most Festivas are beyond junked, so I can't find a replacement starter at a scrapyard. Now, every time I need to drive, I have to park on a hill so I can pop-start it.
If there's no hill, I have to get a push, or if no one is around, I have to do it myself. I'm getting pretty good at pushing my car with one hand on the wheel.
I can't even afford a rebuilt one because I ain't really had much in the line of work lately. It's got to be the economy, because someone's always hiring dishwashers, only no one is hiring dishwashers. I've picked up some odd jobs here and there, helping unload trucks or working with landscapers, but that's about it.
I tried selling some of my CDs at some of the music stores, only no one was buying them for any more than a buck or so apiece. I'm like, "Hey, this is Bachman-Turner Overdrive. 'Taking Care Of Business'? And you're only going to give me a buck?" It didn't do nothing to get the price up, though, so I took 'em home. I mean, I could have sold them and bought a six-pack, but what would I have listened to while I was drinking?
As if all that weren't enough, there's the small matter of me having to check in to the hotel for a while. See, I got pulled over last month on my way home from the bar because they said I blew a stop sign. I say I slowed down enough to see that there wasn't anyone coming, so it wasn't like I was being reckless, because I can't afford an accident.
Now, I ain't been pulled over by the pigs in a long time, but Jim Anchower still knows the score. Keep your head down and don't get smart. Pigs hate a smart guy, especially if they're wrong and you're right. Just say, "Sorry, officer," let 'em talk down to you for a while, then, if you do it right, you get a warning.
Sure enough, he came over and asked if I knew why he pulled me over. I said I did, and I just wasn't thinking and it will never happen again. Then he asks if I've been drinking, and I say yeah, because I was, and you could smell it, but I only had like two beers, which was totally true because happy hour ended and that's all I could buy.
He asks me to step out of the car and do a couple tests. Shit, I practice saying the alphabet backwards and touching my nose just for such an occasion, so I get out and run his little tests. Walking a straight line, standing on one foot, and, yeah, the alphabet test. I pass 'em all. Then he takes my license back to run it.
Right about then, I start to worry. The last time I got pulled over was for a speeding ticket about five years ago, and I was going to fight it so I could get the amount reduced, but I kind of forgot to go to my court date, then I kind of forgot to pay it. When I remembered, I figured I would lay low and there would be some kind of statute of limitations or whatever they call it. And I was totally doing that, but this dick cop had to be a dick and pull me over for nothing.
Sure enough, he comes back and asks me to step out of the car again and wait in the back of his cruiser. Well, I figure he'd just give me another ticket and I could start over again. I head back and watch him look over my car, then I see him reach in and pull something out of the driver's side seat.
He walks back to the car and holds up a baggy of weed and asks if it's mine. I say no, I have no idea how it got there, and someone must have put it there. He says yeah, not likely, so we're going to have to run downtown because of this and the unpaid ticket.
That totally pissed me off. I mean, yeah, it was my eighth of weed, but I lost it two years ago. It probably wasn't even any good anymore. If I knew where it was, it would have been smoked by now, and I wouldn't be in the back of a cop car.
So now, because I didn't pay that first ticket, I had a bench warrant for my arrest, plus the new ticket, plus the possession. It all adds up to like $1,500. Where the hell am I supposed to get $1,500? I tried calling everyone I know, but either they were broke or they weren't picking up their phones.
So, it looks like I'm going away for a while. My court-appointed lawyer said it would be like a year, but I might get out in six months or something like that.
I got a hold of Ron and asked him to look after my car while I was gone, but he says he don't have no place to put it, so I guess I'll have to call the old man and leave it with him. Shit, won't make no difference there, since there's already like eight or nine cars out there on his lawn already. I may as well get in touch with him now, since I'm going to have to go back there to live when I get out of the clink.
So it looks like this is it for now. Jim Anchower is going away for a while, and who knows what's going to happen when he gets out? Not me. Six months is a long fucking time.
Jim Anchower joined The Onion's editorial writing staff in 1993 after several distinguished years on The Come Back Inn dishwashing staff. He comments on community-affairs, automotive, and employment issues. He attended LaFollette High School in Madison, WI.