There's nothing like a DUI to make you take a cold, hard look at your life. For those who haven't had their DUI yet, read this and be warned.
Tequila gold, aka “Satan's urine,” is a very evil and dangerous liquid. This story begins and ends with tequila.
There is no question that I was too drunk to drive home that fateful April '93 evening. But I was very hungry, and Tequila-my nemesis-insisted I drive to Roberto's for a carne asada burrito.
It was 3 a.m.
When the colored lights flashed behind me, I panicked. I liken that terror to what a diver must feel when he sees the silhouette of a shark coming into view from the murky darkness of the ocean floor. I was polite to the officers, as usual, but Tequila was uncouth. He called the male cop a fascist, told the female officer that her gun was a poor substitute for a penis.
As they cuffed me-tightly-and walked me toward the police car, I gazed at the alluring red and yellow tiles of Roberto's shimmering like the walls of the Emerald City only one block away. So close. I had been so close.
They brought me to some special government DUI station where cops were bustling back and forth with their DUI suspects in handcuffs. It was like a sort of DUI anthill. The woman cop asked me whether I wanted to give blood or urine.
Tell her to go fuck herself, said Tequila. And so I did, citing Miranda rights, democracy and Abe Lincoln, and explaining that I would not be giving any such tests as I have a “rightsch to not incrimimate mysshelf.”
The woman cop said my license would be automatically suspended for a year unless I gave them an alcohol test and, because I didn't know what on earth to do, I sighed and rolled up my sleeve and offered them a most potent Bloody Maria (a Bloody Mary with tequila instead of vodka).
Then I was taken back out to the police car and given another joyride that ended at the downtown jail. The male cop went inside while the female officer stayed in the cruiser with me.
She looks good for a cop, said Tequila. You should ask her out.
“Shut up,” I said.
Think about it, insisted Tequila. It would be a historic score. To pick up the cop who arrested you for DUI? You'll be a legend!
They brought me inside and handcuffed me to the outside bars of a cell. Three armed guards entered the room escorting this Manson/Gotti/Ice Cube hybrid into the cell and chained him so that we were facing each other, nose to nose. His jailhouse tattoos, menacing scars, 4-foot jawbone and “I axed my family” scowl made me realize that in the jailhouse food chain, I am plankton. I am an amoeba. I am a baby seal bleeding in a nest of sharks. I see that he sees that I am easy pickings for the anal-raper squadron he no doubt commands over there in Cell Block 666.
“Got a smoke,” he asks in a way that suggests that if I didn't have a smoke he would chew out of his leg chains and take me right then and there.
Tequila wanted me to say something snotty to him. But somewhere inside of me I knew that was a bad idea.
“Sorry, I don't,” I said, and after an hour or so, I was taken away from the scowling family-axer and led to a 15-by-15-foot cubicle.
This was the infamous drunk tank. It stank of urine and mold and was crammed with an assortment of 30 or so drunken drivers, drunken hookers, drunken hobos and various other intoxicated scallywags of the downtown shadow-scape.
I always wanted to spend a night in a drunk tank. You know, get drunk in Mayberry one night and sleep it off in the jail cell while the deputy played solitaire in the other room. But this drunk tank was nothing like the TV drunk tank. There was no cot to lay down on, no deep-voiced “incarceration blues” songs. There is no romance to be had in a real drunk tank, unless you count the homo-eyes I was getting from the drag-queen-hooker-junkie standing in the corner.
The worst part was that it was so crowded, there was nowhere to sit. For hours and hours we stood there with no way to take a load off-unless you were depraved enough to plop your ass down into one of those mystery puddles that formed in various locations on the cement floor. The puddles were rank, and congealing-like Satan's ass juice oozing up from the cracks-and probably infested with various unscrupulous microbes swimming about, searching for new orifices to invade.
But after two hours of upright misery, I began to break down. I couldn't stand another second of standing. To make matters worse, I had Tequila in my ear saying, Do it! Sit in the puddle. Sit in the puddle of despair! So I chose the shallowest, unmurkiest, least disease-ridden puddle I could find and slowly lowered myself into it. Suffice to say that at that moment-the precise moment when the pus of a million street urchins seeped onto my pants, and into my pores and other sacred orifices-is the watermark against which all my future despair will be measured.
After my release some nine hours later, I climbed into a cab, wretched and stinking from Satan's anal moisture. “What the hell happened to you?” the cabbie asked.
“Tequila is what happened to me,” I answered before closing my eyes. “It was Tequila.”
Edwin Decker will return to writing his weekly column sometime between this very moment and the end of time.