This is one of my favorite late-night hangout spots on the Berkeley campus. The balcony alongside the Golden Bear restaurant. Its usually deserted after 10 PM. And it has an awning to protect you against the rain. Plus, there’s a big pillar directly in front of me that mostly blocks me from public view. So I can sit here and quietly sip my Olde English malt liquor while I spew my madness and venom across the Facebook airwaves.
The only time I ever had a problem at this spot was this one time about four years ago. It was around midnight. And I had just finished my last beer. And was smoking my last cigarette. And it starts fucking raining. So I’m doubley pissed. I’m now out of beer. AND I’ve got to deal with the fucking rain. So the party is definitely over for the night
I took the last drag on my last fucking cigarette and tossed the butt over the railing of the balcony. “Fuck it!” I said.
Generally I don’t like to litter. And I pick up all my cigarette butts. But it was one of those dismal moments where you just feel “Fuck it!”
The next thing I know, two cops are in my face. “DID YOU TOSS THIS CIGARETTE BUTT??” said the cop. He was visibly angry. Evidently the two cops had been walking up the trail below me. And the cigarette butt hit the cop on the head.
“Yes,” I admitted. “That was my cigarette butt.” I was guilty of crimes against humanity.
“ARE YOU DRINKING??” said the cop.
“No. I already DRANK it all,” I said, bitterly. Which was the honest to God truth. I was genuinely pissed that I was out of beer. But honesty isn’t necessarily the best policy when dealing with cops.
“ARE YOU BEING A WISE ASS?” said the cop.
“Not consciously,” I said.
I could tell by the cop’s demeanor that I represented everything that was vile and degenerate about our modern America society.
“COULD I SEE YOUR I.D., SIR??” said the cop. And he proceeded to write me up a $450 littering ticket.
“You’re giving me a $450 littering ticket for one cigarette butt?” I said.
“I SURE AS HELL AM!!” said the cop.
To make matters worse, for the next YEAR that particular cop had a personal vendetta against me. It was personal with him. Whenever I was quietly sitting somewhere drinking my beer. He would find me. And write me up a $250 “open container” ticket. He nailed me at least 7 or 8 times. I guess he thought I had thrown the butt on his head on purpose. He even arrested me one night (even though I wasn’t even drunk at the time — I hadn’t even finished my first cup of beer). Shined his flashlight right in my face, made me do the “walk the straight line” test. Which I handled with aplomb. But he arrested me anyways. Handcuffed me and hauled me down to the Berkeley jail where I spent the night in the drunk tank. Which was a weird S&M kind of experience. Being handcuffed and everything.
This went on for a year. Where this cop was constantly on my ass as a nemesis.
But eventually, in the course of all our interactions, I began to wear the cop down with my fabled charm. And he ended up actually really liking me. We practically became friends. “Hey Pete, how ya doing?” he’d say whenever he saw me. Addressing me by my first name. Which is rare when dealing with cops. They generally like to keep it formal and polite while they’re busting your ass. Go figure. So he stopped bothering me.
Which is why I can still hang out at this spot after midnight quietly drinking my malt liquor. THE END