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Ben vs The Denville Police

Article By: Ben - 2/25/04

Theater practice got out around 9:30 p.m., but I hung out with some friends at the Randolph Diner on Rt. 10, so obviously I wasn't on my way home until 12:50. I had hurried along on my way to try and get home at a reasonable hour, and was about 5 minutes from home when I hit a red light at the corner of Franklin Rd. and Rt. 46 in Denville. Now I was trying to turn right, but there's a "No Right On Red" sign staring me in the face. No one's around, so I decide to reverse about 50 feet and cut through the parking lot of Charlie Brown's (a restaurant) and to hop on 46. Well, no sooner did I do this than a cop from the opposite side of the highway immediately goes through a red light to chase me down. He puts his lights on and I pull over. Then another cop car pulls behind him, and I quietly sigh to myself.

As he walks up to me, I have my license in hand, along with my registration and insurance card. He asks for the proper ID's and I hand them to him. I tell him the current insurance card is lost and we have a new one coming in the mail. I know this because I had gotten pulled over about a month before this and had discovered that sad fact to my dismay. But the cop looks at me and says, "This insurance card is up to date," with a puzzled glance on his face.

I merely reply, "Ok, great then." Apparently my dad had fixed the situation over the weekend and received the up-to-date card in the mail without telling me. And just as this is happening the second cop is peering in through my side windows to view the utter monstrosity and dismal mess that is my car. By the way, I drive a Chevy Suburban, and for those of you who know: that thing is huge, so it holds a lot of crap.

Anyway, the second cop catches a glimpse of something shiny and says, "Hey, Doug, are those weapons?" And indeed they were, for a week earlier I had put a pair of sai in my car to show some friends. For those completely uneducated people reading this, the sai are the weapons Raphael used in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

So getting back to answering the cops' questions about why there are weapons in my car, I lie a little. I say that I had just gotten back from Boston (which was true) and that it had been my birthday just the previous week (which was true) and that a friend in Boston had given them to me (which was a lie) and that I had them in my backpack on my way home from Boston (which was another lie) and that I had merely tossed my backpack containing my books, my clothing, and the sai in the car to hurry off to Theatre Practice (which was, yet again, another lie).

The cops ask me to step out and stand in front of my vehicle, which I do very agreeably. They inspect the sai, and ask me if there's anything else in the car that they should know about. My mind is already running at a million miles an hour, and I can't really think of anything, so I say no. The cops start rummaging through the car again, and then one pulls out a bottle of rum (a bottle of rum which had been previously opened and consumed from, so therefore is considered an open container). The exact second I see the bottle of rum I say, "Oh yeah," while my mind is saying, "Oh shit." I explain the rum, only this time I don't lie, not in the least bit. I explain that I had turned 21 a week ago, and then while in Boston my sister and I had gone out drinking. I decided to take the remainder of the rum home with me because no one in her house drank it, to which the cops nod their heads and continue searching.
In an attempt to make a long story short (too late I know), they find:

- A whole lot of lumber, which isn't illegal but looks suspicious

- 1 walking cane with a brass knob on the handle (which they think is another weapon and search the handle for some spot to press to reveal a sword, but my cane is not that cool, it's just a cane)

- 16 feet of 5/8 chain, which I use as a tow chain in the winter time in case I need to help anyone

- 1"boffer" weapon (which is a fake weapon used in role playing, and for any further clarification log onto

- 1 crow bar (which I use at work; I work at a Lowe's hardware store, don't judge me)

After about 20 minutes of shivering in front of my car, the cops make notes of everything that's in my car and let me get back in my driver's seat to warm up a bit while they run checks and things back at their squad cars. And while I'm sitting there I'm thinking to myself, "Oh shit.' This is it.


They found booze, weapons, tons of crap that is so random and circumstantial, and I'm gonna get arrested and put into handcuffs and I'll have to call my parents from jail and get bailed out and never get accepted into acting school and I'm gonna spend the rest of my life a failure who just wanted to get home and never emptied his car."

Finally, the cop walks back up to my window, hands me my ID's, and says, "Well son, we seem to have a strange situation here. You were found with an open container of alcohol, weapons within reach of the driver's seat, and quite a few strange objects in your vehicle. . ."

"OK," I manage to say without pleading for my life.
". . . So" the cop continues, "you need to go home, take the alcohol and weapons out of your car, and for God's sake, clean out your car. Now go on home." And the cop presumes to walk back to his squad car.

You have to understand: I'm in such a state of shock I can barely drive. I could have been arrested. They found booze. They found weapons. I even reversed on a road to cut through a parking lot to skip a traffic light, which is really illegal, and they didn't do anything. No ticket. Not even a warning.

So I came to this conclusion after discussing it with some friends. Everyone gets one time in their life where something could really fuck you over, and for some reason it just slides past you like it was nothing. So I'm not taking anymore chances like that ever again. I am never, ever going to pull something like that unless I'm SURE no one's fucking watching me.


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