So I’ve learned that much of the humor and pathos that happens surrounding comedy shows occurs before or after the actual show itself (Read: failed attempt to sound wise and reflective when I clearly have not learned anything from the experience I am about to relate).
This past Thursday was no exception! I write this dispatch as a changed woman, one who has now lived through the confluence of fickle fate, Murphy’s Law (and by law, I mean THE LAW), and escalation of a hijinks-prone situation!
You see, ladies and gentlemuppets, that fated night, half of the fantasterrific group Mythical Newsroom (myself included) did an improv show in Frederick, Maryland along with two other illustrious groups, White Phosphorus and Blue Bunny, plus the esteemed king of funny Mr. Doug Powell was hosting (you should check out any and all of these performers at any and all times).
Now say what you want about Freddy-Rick, Maryland, it may be far away from both Baltimore and D.C. (equilateral triangularly so) but the place has all the nooks and crannies (as opposed to the big city crooks and nannies) of small town charm: one-way streets, cozy shops, and friendly denizens (for the most part…this is what you call foreshadowing).
The show was super fun, and the audience was one of the nicest and most gracious I’ve ever known!!! But the real pieces of firework started after we left the show to head home.
THAT’S ME IN THE CORNER, LOSIN’ MY DIRECTIONS
We got a bit turned around because of some of those one-way streets I was telling you about.
I was lucky to be traveling with my cohort and superbly hilarious pal, Jenny, and we were first en route to DC to drop her off. Just drop her off. Drop off nothing else anywhere at any point (more foreshadowboxing). Jenny will be providing colorful co-commentary from here on out as denoted by brackets in red [as such].
So we make enough little loops around the comfy curbs of Froddlenok enough times to decide that we might need to ask someone for directions (not just home, but also in life). Luckily for us, there were many cop cars parked all over Fridnick (keeping the township safe as is their wont, or is it?!?!) so Jenny suggested getting some friendly and legal geographical advice. I am generally suspicious of the po-po due to some previous traumatic experiences.
But finally, I gave in (I wasn’t about to play the stereotypical male role of refusing to stop and ask for directions as it had previously been noted between the two of us that neither of us had any navigational sense whatsoever).
[Beyond being a horrible navigator, I am also severely resistant toward responsibility in any given situation (especially when I’m having such a good time chatting with my hilarious gal pal, Aparna). Indeed perhaps any other combination of travelers would certainly have sought out assistance long before we did.]
So we see two cop car choices: one cop idling on the side of the road we’re on and one straight ahead of us parked in a little alley cove, so I pull over to the side and turn my blinkers on. And we ask the first cop for help. Guess what? He is a real honest-to-goodness nice guy. He carefully thinks to give us the best directions he knows plus some complimentary hat tips and badge wiggles. Then he bids us a good night and twirls his avuncular mustache right in our faces.
[I provided probably two too many thank yous to this nice officer, which I hope didn’t come across as disingenuous because I was truly delighted to once again be able to sit passively and enjoy the ride.]
photo courtesy of Flickr and D.C.Atty
We pull away, happily recharged, but still tentative. It was at this point that the other cop who was parked nearby pulls out and starts following us. Not the best of feelings when that happens, but hey, it’s Fredrock. What’s the worse thing that could happen?! (Famous last shrugs.)
[At this point I am still glowing from the charming officer who provided such thorough direction that I am not the least bit concerned about the trailing officer. They’re all so nice here in Friendlick, right?!]
So I wouldn’t say I’m the greatest driver of all time on the best of days, but I am definitely not even a passable human being when a cop is tailgating me. Immediately, my body goes into stick shift mode even if I’m driving manual transmission and I freeze up and do silly things like forget what directions we were given and go 26 mph instead of 25 and slow my roll to a stop at a red light too slowly so that I am slightly a few feet in front of the white line. Which is enough for a cop that is tailgating to you turn his sirens on and TAKE YOU DOWN.
Because that, benevolent and patient folks, is exactly what happened.
[I am going to shoot straight here with you, I noticed the slight line roll-over and thought it was ballsy. But we were riding high in a new direction so what the hell? Also, I cannot see street signs in the dark so the closer the better. After we notice the lights ablaze, I’m thinking, “Damn that officer is so nice, he is probably just letting us know that we’re going the wrong way so he wants to do us a solid and right our path. Whatta town!]
Now, let me just take this moment to say that there are two kinds of cops—cops that do their jobs and cops that proudly announce whenever possible and no matter who’s listening, “Hey, I’m just trying to do my JOB! So excuuuuuuuse me.” (But they shout the J-word, and you’re all like “Stop yelling! We’re in a libary!”)
I would wager to say the cop that pulled us over was in the latter group. I don’t know how best to describe him except to say that Michael Clarke Duncan would probably play him in the TV movie based on the events about to transpire, but only if you made MCD look a lot less Hollywoodsy and lot more backwoodsy. For instance, this guy’s teeth were a bit jumbled and he spoke with something of a stutter-lisp.[Dude couldn’t get words out to save himself. It was painful to witness. But then, the pain was just starting.] Now, before you get all offended, realize that I am not painting him as having a stutter-lisp and being a big, black man. That’s just what he happened to be. So unfortunately, we had to rule being racially profiled out (Jenny as a ginger and me as a curry) because he was a fellow minority in more ways than one. Let’s call him Cletus.
First, Cletus gave us a long, rather tedious (not just because of the stuttering, and plus I’m confident you’ll be on our side by the time this is over) explanation on how rolling in front of the white line at a stop sign even by two feet is illegal under Maryland law. Then he asked for my license and registration, which I gave him after some nervous fumbling. And he goes, “McLean, Virginia?!(where I live) What are you doing all the way out in Frederick?” So then we explain we were at a comedy show, we were trying to go home, we got lost, and so we stopped to ask the other cop for directions.
This is when the logic train went off the rails.
“What other cop?” Cletus says bluntly.
“The cop right near you who was giving us directions,” insists Jenny.
“Where was that?” (THE CAD!!!)
“I don’t know! Back there where you pulled out after us.” (The truth sometimes works.)
Then, OMG, you guys, Cletus puts out a radio signal to all of Frebberick to ask if any cops gave two girls directions. The gumption. The nerve. The swerve. The WTFudge.
[He must be kidding. That’s all. Sure, he knows we’re in comedy and he wants in. Ha! Maybe we’re just a part of the local Candid Camera? Ok, cool.]
Here’s the best/worst part. NOBODY said they gave us directions. The first guy who answered the call didn’t even sound anything like the guy who gave us help anyway, but after that (in two minutes, he had contacted the entire county of Freetrick, the Green Berets, and Mars), still no dice. But it was at this point that some back up showed up with a barking animal. [I’m crushed. Where is our mustached miracle man? Was he a mirage? WTF is happening here?!]
Then there was some muffled talking while Jenny and I sat in the car and pondered our fates. Finally, after about as much time as it takes to catch a real criminal had passed, he came back to the car and said, “Ladies, is there anything I should know about in the car?” [Uh oh, the ginger rage; it cannot lie dormant much longer.]
(Yes, a ginger and a curry!)
At this point, Jenny lost her cool a little bit in the sense that she knew her rights. I know my rights, but I prefer to express them as silent wrongs that I shouldn’t be allowed to possess. She goes, “I don’t understand what is going on. You pulled us over for going across the line at a red light. Why do you need to know what’s in the car?!”
And this is the best exposition of the story: “I’m going to be honest, ladies, your story doesn’t add up. (I think this is an expression still used in places like Freggle Rock!) [Pardon? This story? You mean the entire sequence of events that YOU witnessed?! You were right there! Are you well? Oh no, are you impersonating a cop or something? These are all my thoughts at this point cause I am actually speechless.] The place where you were pulled over is a high-traffic drug area (imagine the most putty-faced cop in the smallest town ever saying this with a stutter-lisp), and nobody says they gave you girls directions so we’re going to need to search the car.”
(Right because if we were buying or selling drugs, the exact place we would pick them up or drop them off would be at the corner of Cop Car and Cop Car. Yes. Of course. I’ve seen The Wire. I know how everything works.)
“Fine, fine,” Jenny and I say, tired of using logic against madness, “Go ahead. We don’t have anything.” [I wanted to make sure he was aware that I knew what he was doing was illegal so I think I spewed some incoherent screeches and threw in a few fist pumps to accentuate my indignation. . . but if it would get us outta there, carry on.]
THE DOG BUST
Cue the dog, specifically a fine looking vintage World War II-edition German Shepherd, rebuffed and still in its plastic packaging, but salivating to get out of it. The thing was going crazy, having what seemed like several panic attacks and a few epiphanies at the same time (stirring realizations as to his thankless 9-to-5 life, for instance).
We were told to roll up our windows and with good cause, because despite being on a leash, the creature came charging at my Volvo (which no longer felt like the safest car on the road) and hurled himself at my face, which was luckily protected by a thin coating of glass known as a window. Then he went to Jenny’s side and did the same thing. Then he just charged the back doors for awhile, getting nosemarks and pawprints on everything. At first, I thought he was reacting to something, but no, I think this was just his base state. I’m pretty sure the dog was on drugs though. After further research, I’m told the dogs are very quiet and still if there are actually drugs present. But I think that would only be if the drugs were downers and not uppers. Too soon!
Jenny and I decided secretly that it was just a regular dog, and not a drug dog at all, and furthermore, it was just excited to have genuine human contact after months of hanging around with the worst cops in the world! [In retrospect, the dog was probably rabid.] Oh, and also, during this time, a third cop showed up (Asian cop! Yay diversity!) and then got bored quickly and left. I have a feeling Cletus tends to be the Cop Who Cried Dog Search on the ol’ squad.
THE PATHETIC TRUTH
So nothing was lost except a Thursday night, and nothing was gained, especially not common sense. Cletus decided he had cracked our case and went back to his car to do some final write-ups on the situation. This mainly involved issuing a 90 dollar ticket for crossing the white line in front of a red light by two feet and giving us begrudging directions home (don’t forget the stutter-lisp). [Seriously, the stutter was even more pronounced at this point. I think he was trying to speed through his words so he could go arrest a jay-walker, but his attempt to speak quickly only highlighted his disability and prolonged the ordeal. Hey, don’t start feeling bad for him! Sure, he has a disability, but he is a Grade A douche.] He didn’t get to catch any crooks, we didn’t get to keep our dignity, and basically, the world went to poop.
LOST: NOT JUST A TV SHOW
Then sadly, after we drove away, guess what?! Yeah, we totally didn’t remember the directions that well (who knows if they were even real ones) because of our mind-addling experience (more powerful than using drugs, one could and should say). So we basically took the long way home. How long? Perhaps a picture worth a thousand curse words might do the story some vigilante justice.
photo courtesy of Google Maps
Yes. We took The Family Circus route. [The 1.5 hour out of our way allowed Aparna and I to relive the story about 30 times. “We have to keep talking about it or I might just think it was a weird dream…remember the part when he said the story didn’t add up?! That was crazy. And the stutter. Wow. Also, I might cry but I’m still in this with you! Hey, Ellicott City! That looks like a good place to buy drugs…”] But then, after I dropped off Jenny, I got way too excited and hysterical again and missed my exit going home. PERFECTION.
THE END (Or is it?) (No, seriously, it’s done for real this time. Enough is enough.)
P.S. My super sleuth friend Nancy discovered some hawt, hawt finds using her crime dog web-browsing skills. Here is mos def a picture of the dog that attacked us (I’m extrapolating here). And here is a Fredreek police squad recruitment video. They take it serious up in that hotbed of crime boasting less than 100,000 inhabitants. Also check out their Meth360 program if you dare. I think Jenny and I were considered people who could use its saving touch, or maybe we were past hope!