Friday, July 10, 2009

Folks of Our Persuasion

What’d you find on Lexis-Nexis, Frank?

The driver's a black male, age 28. No warrants, no priors. Resident of a decent neighborhood … Ugh, registered Democrat.

First red flag.

Uuugh, and the last pizza he ordered was … vegetarian!


And thin crust!

Red flag number two.

Has four overdue library books: Two by Cornel West, one by Eric Jerome Dickey, and one by … “Zane???

Trust me, Frank. That’s a definite strike three … Let’s roll this perp ... How do you want to do this?

First off, no more of this Peacefully Undertaken Resistance and Restraint horse crap. We’re taking law enforcement back to the old school.


You cover the rear of the vehicle, Charley, keep an eye on the passenger. I’ll engage the driver.

Cool, and I’ll hold down camp here in the back of the squad car.

… Let’s roll.

Radio if you need me!

Moments later ...

License and registration.

Yes, officer … I am slowly lowering my left hand toward my jeans pocket to retrieve my wallet.

... I am now—by methodically unfolding my hands—opening the billfold.

... I am now—with the thumb and index finger of my left hand—removing my operator’s license from the clear plastic viewing windo—

Ah, forget it … Just gimme it.

My registration’s slipped in behind my license.

Beau, honey, is he allowed to just rifle through your wallet like that?

I heard her say “rifle,” Frank … They’ve got a firearm!

Keep me covered, Chuck … Hmm …

Huh, huh, Heart donor, eh?

That … that’s correct, officer.

You think anyone’s gonna want your worn out, hypertension-ravaged, cholesterol-clogged—

Actually, despite the stereotypes about black men, I’m fairly healthy, officer. My PCP tells me that I have a “runner’s pulse.”

“PCP”??? So you admit to having both controlled substances AND a firearm in your vehicle?

No! I was referring to my “Primary Care Physician”—

I am going to have to ask you to step out of the vehicle.

Sigh … Really?? Alright.

Beau, what are they going to—?

Just hold tight, honey bun.

… I am now moving my left hand toward the door handle.

... I am now—with the knuckle of my left forefinger—unlocking the car door.

... I will now—with my left forearm—gently and methodically nudge the driver’s side door ajar.

Beau, babe, what are you doing? Why do you keep narrating—?

Silence, ma’am!! He’s doing just fine.

Just fine.

Barbara, the boys in blue here in America are, at times, a bit trigger-happy when it comes to folks of our persuasion.

I must make each movement—no matter how minute—deliberately so that the officer isn’t compelled to—

“Folks of our persuasion”??? You mean, what? … NPR listeners?

Yes … yes, exactly, Barbara. NPR listeners.

Speaking of, should I turn down the volume on the radio?

No need, love muffin ... Because NPR transmits its signal at so low a volume, striving to be the broadcast embodiment of subtlety, I can barely make out the Fresh Air interview with Shia LaBeouf, myself, even with the radio jacked up to full blast!

Surely, to a police officer standing right outside the open driver's side window, the murmur of Terry Gross' trademark nasal, perpetually stopped-up-sounding intonation must be virtually inperceptible.

They must keep it coooold in those WHYY studios in Philadelphia ... So very, very cold.

Just get out of the car, already! Yank

Book ‘im, Frank! I’ve got the passenger cov—


… ered …


... Beau??

You have the “right” to remain black and disenfranchised.



Anything you say can and will be twisted and used against you in the court of law.



If you choose to give up this “right”—

Frank, I, uh …

We've made a mistake.

… What in the blazes are you talking about, Charley?

… They … they haven’t done anything wrong. You folks have a nice day.


Let’s go, Frank.



You’re going soft, Chuck. You’re really going soft.

Beau, honey, get back in the car.


What was that all about, babe? Nothing like this ever happens in the Islands!


Why did he decide to let us go all of a sudden, Beau?

… He, uh … he, uh …

He—the younger officer …

... He’s ... he's an NPR listener, too.


Shawna said...

I loved the "rights." That's what my God-sisters get, except it's more you have the right to be "handled." Ahem.

Funny but so close to true it kind of made my throat hurt.

Jackson Brown said...