Let me tell you a story. This happened a little more than 3 years ago. It might sound like fiction, but I assure you, it is most unfortunately not.
I had a bad week. That's putting it lightly. I had broken off an engagement, tried to get my money back with the ring (successfully, but not without stepping on some toes), got a concussion iceskating, and was accused of stalking by mall security because I was in and out of the jewelry store so much. So I had it with Provo. On Sunday I just got in my car after church and started driving south. After I made it to about Cedar City I called my grandmother in Pasadena and said, "I just need to get out of here to cool off. Can I stay with you for the week?" Thankfully she obliged. We went to the Huntington Gardens, talked politics, strolled around the beautiful suburban LA scene, and had a jolly time. It was a much needed break.
But I was not that far away from Murphy's law and the age old adage that says, "When it rains it pours." I couldn't just cover up all my baggage with a brief SoCal vacation.
So I decided to take highway 50 across Nevada to get back home. For the record, most of northern Nevada is open, flat, lifeless desert. And, route 50 is probably one of the least traveled, most boring highways in America. So, I decided to make my trip as quick as possible (clearly a bad idea). I set the cruise control a 100mph. Well that was well and good until I saw the unmistakable outline of a cop cruiser coming towards me from the other direction. I knew it was going to turn around and follow me, but by the time he turned his lights on in pursuit he was about 2 miles behind me given my velocity. So, I reasoned with myself that he was probably chasing a jackrabbit or someone else, or that he'd stop after he realized how far behind he was. Bad move. All the while I was listening to Dishwalla (the Opaline CD on my iPod-product placement plug in the story). Well, after about 20 minutes I decided I'd humor him and pull over.
Pulling over was the right thing to do, but my next move was stupid. Not thinking very clearly I got out of the car. At the time I was wearing khaki pants, a black polo shirt and was barefoot. So immediately the cop is thinking, "DRUG LORD!" And the first things that came out of his mouth weren't pretty. They were along the lines of "F- you, I'm gonna shoot you! You f-ing stupid bleep! I hate your grandma and the jews! Blah blah blah, ethnic slur... you gypped me, yada, yada" It was the typical brash cop intimidation tactics. But I was pretty stoic and unphased, which probably pissed him off more. Then he said, "You put my your life and my life in danger," to which I thought, "No. You were the one who decided to chase me. You put your own life in danger. When you chase danger, danger gets you." But, fortunately for me I kept my mouth shut. Then another cruiser rolled up.
His partner tells me he was going to get a spike strip to stop me. Right. A honda civic with 218,000 miles on it, and a slightly refurbished engine going a touch over 100mph, and you were going to get a spike strip? So they cuffed me and threw me into the back of the cruiser. As I sat there they both had their guns still cocked and ready, pointing at the trunk of my car as if some little midget was in there ready to jump out with a Tommy gun when they opened it. Then they opened it and found my wetsuit and a scrabble board. Total shocker. The kid eagle scout and former LDS missionary who goes to BYU and just came back from visiting his grandmother doesn't have any drugs or fully armed midgets in his trunk. Just wetsuits and scrabble boards. Maybe they thought I stashed the drugs inside the little scrabble hourglass timer. Who knows.
So they took me down to the precinct and had my car towed. Once we got to the station he stopped lecturing me and took my finger prints and mug shot. Bail was set at 1264 dollars. He asked me if I wanted to pay it and leave or stay the night. So I stayed. But, before I could put on their oh so fine neon orange and white pinstripe jumpsuit I had to give them my clothes and shower. The shower was like a little squirt gun. The soap was as big as my fingernail. So I did the best I could as he watched. Then I got some cute matching neon orange boat shoes and dressed. It wasn't too bad. I could watch March Madness from just outside my cell in the common room, and was in there with only one other guy named Jimenez or something. Apparently he was drunk and had committed some domestic abuse. But, by law I was permitted two hot meals and a third one cold. Carl, a good inmate apparently, was the chef/cart pusher and he would bring the food and books. Things were looking on the up and up.
I managed to get a hold of a couple lawyers and friend and my dad and got the bail covered. But, before I left they had me arraigned. My ankles were shackled and my arms were cuffed as they put me in the back of a police SUV. Then they drove me one block over to the court house. After standing up and sitting down a couple times and getting handed a huge stack of paper with a line on the end with two boxes, one that said guilty, the other innocent, I checked the innocent box. Then they took me back to the jail, gave me my clothes and said I was free to go. But, I didn't have my car. So I asked, "Where is my car?" to which the lady at the desk said, "Oh, it was towed to Ely." Now I was in Eureka. I asked her how far away Ely was and she said an hour and a half east. So I then asked if I could get a ride over there to which she said, "Well if you wait 5-7 hours we could get one of the boys to take you after his shift or you could figure something out," to which I replied, "I'll just figure something out."
And I did. I went to the edge of town and hitchhiked with a rancher in a big truck. Little did he know I just got out of jail. He was nice enough and took me to Ely where he dropped me off at the first gas station per my request. Once I got into the gas station I asked the attendant for a phone book to look up the local tow places. She let me use the phone and I struck gold with the first number. I said:
"So I'm looking for my car."
"What's it look like?" he said, with a thick western drawl.
"It's a blue honda civic."
"Well I jest got me one of them last night."
"Great. So where is your lot?"
"Where are you at? I kin come over and pick you up."
"Oh, the shell gas station."
How nice. Service with a smile and a pick up. I looked out the window and saw a beat up old white pickup truck and knew it was him. I hopped in and we started shooting the breeze. He was a nice guy, and took a liking to me. He said, "I like you so I'm only going to charge you 20 dollars for the lot fee. Usually it's 60." I was thinking, "Wow. Thanks. Maybe this won't turn out to be so expensive after all." Well that dream was shattered. When I came back to settle the bill he charged me 435 dollars and handed me the affidavit so I could make sure everything was still in the car. Turns out I was missing the most important thing. My wallet. I scrounged around but couldn't find it. So I paid him with my card number from memory. Then I asked him if I could use his phone. I knew where my wallet was. I called Eureka county jail and the desk lady answered the phone. I said, "Hey this is Michael....yes I was your guest last night...is my wallet there?" She said, "Sure is, I have it in a nice manilla envelope right here." Then I asked, "Is there any possibility someone might be able to bring it out to Ely," to which I got the pat reply, "Well maybe in the next 5-7 hours when someone gets off their shift." So I went back to the jail, driving without my wallet to get my wallet and get the heck out of Nevada. And I did. But only after having visited Eureka twice, Ely twice, and having paid to run the entire town of Eureka for a month. I later settled with the court and got the evading charge removed after a year of good behavior, but settled for the speeding charge. The lawyer cost me a grand. So the total cost of my indiscretion was about 3000 dollars.
And that's the story of how I got thrown in jail. I wish it was an April fool's joke.