December 1980 – II

bufordtjustice-01I was studying on the bed in Lou’s single dorm room one evening, and noticed strobe lights flashing through the window coming from the parking lot below.  The campus security guard and a town police cruiser had blocked in Lou’s Grand Prix. I threw on my sister’s hand-me-down red ski jacket, and we raced down the several flights of stairs to see what was going on. The security guard, whom Lou calls “Beuford T. Justice”, from Smokey and the Bandit, had noticed that the tags and stickers on the car were expired. Then, he looked through the car window and saw the repo tools on the back seat; I guess he called the cops thinking he had found a car thief.

What a mess.  They actually wanted to arrest Lou for possession of the tools.  I don’t see how it can be illegal to have possession a slaphammer and a slim jim. A slaphammer is used for pulling out auto body dents, and a slim jim is just a piece of aluminum with some notches in it. Anyway, Lou explained that he worked for the local repossession company, and had the officer call his boss at home to vouch for Lou. His boss wasn’t happy about the situation, and Lou told him that I had left the tools in sight by mistake, which I may have done.  They couldn’t prove that the car had been driven on the road without valid registration, inspection and insurance, so there was nothing they could do about that, but apparently Union College has a regulation that all cars on the campus property have to be properly registered and insured.  So they radioed for a tow truck to haul the car away.  Louie freaked on that, saying that Beuford had no right to call the cops on him in the first place, and no right to tow the car.  Lou claimed that the guard should have just put a ticket on the car, and he would have moved it on his own.  It turned into an angry yelling match between Lou and the security guard; the police officer futilely tried to keep everyone calm, and the tow truck driver stood looking annoyed that he couldn’t hook up and get going.  The guard dug in his heels, insisting the car be moved off the lot right away.  I ended up calling my parents and asking them to come over with their van and a rope so we could tow it ourselves.  We just needed to get the car far enough out of sight of the officer and campus cop, and then we could drive it to my house. A few days later, Lou sold the car for scrap and got next to nothing because he didn’t have the title.  We bought a second bicycle with the money from the car.

I used to ride my bike or take the bus and walk during the day and Lou would drive me home from the fraternity house at night. Now, I always take my bike to school and to work and to the frat house, and Lou bikes home with me at night.  It’s good exercise, I guess, but it is a pain in the neck getting over the bridge through the slushy snow.  I have a raincoat that I wear on top of my warm coat and my backpack to cover everything.  It has a permanent line of mud splashes up the entire back and hood. When the weather is really bad, I call for a big yellow checker cab and my bike and me both ride home in the huge back seat.

Leave a Reply