Sunday, March 19, 2006


All names here have been changed, to protect the ignorant.

Lemme tell you about a guy named .... we'll call him Red. Back in the dark ages of my career, I was a parole officer. In Louisiana, parole officers are peace officers, with powers of arrest and wide-ranging power over a parolee. A parole officer doesn't need a warrant to search a parolee's house. Neither does he need a warrant to arrest and incarcerate a parolee. There are few things closer to God than a general on a battlefield, or a parole officer in a rural parish.

I was a parole officer. Red was a parolee. Physically distinctive, Red was a big ole redneck with an unruly mass of red hair. His IQ approached room temperature in August. He was tatoo'ed on both arms down to the wrist. His teeth, from a combination of losing them in barfights and poor dental hygiene, looked like an unmaintained picket fence. He drove a ratty-assed blue pickup truck with whiskey dents all over it.

Red had a fondness for the weed. Cannabis sativa. Marijuana. Only problem was, the local constabulary had pretty much shut down the marijuana trade in Chinquapin Parish, in Northwest Louisiana. Good weed was a precious commodity. Red lived on the western end of the parish, and the lure of the Texas trade was hot in Red's heart. He figured he could slip across the Pendleton Bridge, score some good Texas weed, and be back across the line before anyone missed him. He was wrong.

Red told his Dad he was going to Texas, and climbed in his pickup truck late one afternoon. He'd be back after dark. As luck would have it, I happened to make a home visit that afternoon, and Dad told me Red had gone to Texas, but would be back tonight. Red's dad had forgotten that parolees are prohibited from traveling across state lines without permission. I hadn't forgotten, so I told my brethren in the local constabulary that Red had materially violated the conditions of his parole and if seen, they had a clean reason to arrest him.

Red came back into Lousiana that night, headed for the streets of Chinquapin. It is a smallish town of about 10,000 people. Red was spotted coming back into town at about midnight. Sheriff's deputies gave chase. Red knew that he had to ditch his marijuana, so he turned off the main drag into a residential area, the better to get some space between he and deputies, so that he could throw his dope out the window. Red twisted and turned that pickup through the subdivision, finally able to throw the half-pound of marijuana from the truck. He surrendered shortly thereafter, knowing that the evidence was gone in the darkness.

The deputies searched Red's truck without sucess, until a city police officer rolled up on the scene. The city officer was somewhat startled at the activity around him and fairly perplexed to be in possession of a half-pound of weed. He had been doing paperwork at the side of a quiet residential street, and had dozed off in the balmy evening. He heard sirens and awoke to see Red's truck flash past his hiding spot. He was even more surprised when the gallon baggie of marijuana had plopped down on his hood, directly in front of the windshield.

It just wasn't Red's night.

1 comment:

Gunny John said...

"It just wasn't Red's night."

Now if that's not an understatement, I don't know what is.