Although I’d have to wait until I was 27 for my second interrogation by the police, my first interrogation happened on my 21st birthday. This is remarkable because my 21st birthday took place on a Tuesday and, quite frankly, it’s hard to get into trouble on a Tuesday.
I don’t remember why I didn’t advertise my 21st birthday in my fraternity, but I suspect it had something to do with going out drinking being not that big of a deal at the time (I acquired a fake ID soon after I arrived at Kansas State) combined with my introversion and lack of interest in being on display combined with Tuesday. Also, age 20 had been quite a time (long story; let’s just say it involved alcohol and a particular woman) and I actually felt kind of tired.
As a result, I went out by myself and enjoyed a few free beers, although I was still pretty shy about announcing my birthday and reaping the rewards. I ended up at Kite’s, which at the time was one of the best bars in Aggieville, the three blocks of bars and restaurants near Kansas State’s campus. After a few free beers there, I decided to head home. That involved cutting down an alley and walking a few blocks through dark streets.
As I cut down the alley, the alcohol in my system reminded me that Kite’s had a back door that was often left open and often used to smuggle underage friends into the bar. I saw the door and, out of curiosity, pulled on it, but it was locked. Out of further curiosity, I pulled on the door next to it. Out of even further curiosity, I pulled on a third door. As I came out from testing that door, I saw a pair of police officers walking out of the alley across the street. The next door was too far out of my way, so I passed it by and started home.
As I reached the end of the alley, by what used to be, and may still be, the Espresso Royale coffee shop, the part of my brain that still maintained a vague sense of awareness, wondered what had happened to those two police officers. I glanced around and saw that they were closer, and had moved to opposite sides of the alley. I remember thinking that was kind of unusual, but the vague sense of awareness quickly clicked off. I crossed the street, and then right in front of what used to be known as Bushwackers, I heard the jangling of keys and handcuffs, and the cops came up on either side of me and asked me for my ID.
While Cop A was calling in my vitals, Cop B began interrogating me. The, um, conversation went something like:
Cop B–Why were you checking out those doors back there?
Me–Curiosity. (If you’ve been paying attention, that was a truthful answer not sarcasm.)
Cop B–(Unimpressed and angry) Well what would you have done if one had been open?
Me–Been surprised and gone on to the next one. (Again this was the truth.)
Cop B–(sensing sarcasm/not being able to handle the truth) Hands up. Spread your legs.
He then proceeded to frisk me with the only issue being a brief concern the fountain pen in my pocket might be a weapon (Yeah, I know. I know. That’s what she said. Now shut up, I’m being frisked.) At this point Cop A commented that it appeared as if they had a 21st birthday celebration on their hands. He also pointed out that they’d put several people in jail on their 21st birthdays. My mom’s curse about my mouth getting me in trouble reared it’s ugly, um, vocal cords and said “It wasn’t on my list of things to do.”
They both got angry and cautioned me about being a moron and then sent me on my way.
I laughed all the way home. And yes, that was the alcohol talking.