There’s a first time for everything – your first kiss, the first time you shave (your face for guys, your vagine for the ladies) the first time you get laid and of course, the first time you land your ass in prison.
There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as not passing ‘Go’, not collecting 200 and going directly to jail. Sure, at the time it’s not fucking funny. At the time you pray that it’s all just a bad dream and you’re going to wake up any second and everything’s going to be fine, but (provided you survive with your anal virginity intact) afterwards it makes for a great story.
Me, I was 13 the first time I got arrested. I had a patchy adolescence because at around about 11 I became hellbent on doing everything I wasn’t supposed / allowed to, more so than normal kids I’d wager.
As a result I got into a lot of fucked up situations and was forced to grow up a lot faster than other kids who were playing cricket on the lawn and drinking lemonade with their parents while I was running away from home and getting fucked up on whatever I could get my hands on with my buddy Stikey in a Formula1 Hotel.
But that’s a story for another time
Where was I? Oh yeah – so back in 1997 we had this buddy, we’ll call him Lardass, who was always telling us these big stories about how tough he was and all the crazy, fucked up shit he got up to (it was 95% lies, the truth was he spent a lot of time reading comic books, eating junk food and whacking off).
After a long weekend he comes back to school with this crazy story about how he spent an entire afternoon at his parents time share at the Vaal Dam smashing windows with rocks. He’d found this old rondawel (pronounced ron-dar-vel, it means a kind of circular bar / entertainment area) that had two stories and was made up entirely of windows on the one side and so, naturally, he decided to smash as many windows as possible.
None of us bought it at all. I mean seriously, how abandoned was this place that no one came running the second the first window was smashed? Didn’t the people who owned the rondawel get pissed off?
‘Nope,’ Lardass said, ‘there was no one for miles. I must have broken about 50 windows, just smashed them with rocks.’
‘Cool!’ we all chimed in.
‘Yeah, and some of them I just kicked in with my boot, I was wearing my Docs.’
A couple of weeks go past and as we start approaching half term, Lardass invites myself and another buddy of ours, Millerkie, to go to his parents time share and smoke cigarettes and smash some windows, which sounded like the best idea any of us had ever had EVER.
When the big day finally arrived it was boiling hot. I remember making our way through the wild, dry veldt along a dusty path toward the abandoned rondawel, all of us wearing our black 12-hole Doc Martins with red laces, jeans and black T-shirts.
Yeah, we were those kids.
We lit a cigarette each as we surveyed the rondawel and sure enough, half the windows had been smashed so we figured it was fair game.
We armed ourselves with a few rocks and started pelting the windows. Lardass encouraged us to kick a few in, and it was while we were doing this that we heard someone shouting and looked up to see a black dude sprinting down the path behind the rondawel toward us.
We panicked and scrambled through the broken windows into the rondawel, which was probably the most retarded thing to do under the circumstances. It’s like running towards a burning building to escape the fire inside it.
Once inside we sprinted towards the opposite side of the rondawel and into the bathroom there. I figured the best way out of the pickle we were in would be to wait for the dude chasing us to run around the rondawel to the opposite side and then slip out the bathroom window and make a run for it.
Problem was my timing was completely fucking off. I hoisted myself out the window thinking the dude had already run behind the rondawel only to find him basically waiting right outside the bathroom window.
I tried to sprint off but the dude caught me and made me call Lardass and Millerkie out of the rondawel. The gig was up, we were royally screwed.
The black dude took us up to a nearby cafe and made us sit on the cold cement floor inside while he called the police.
As luck would have it, the cafe we were sitting inside had been broken into the night before and completely cleaned out and so naturally they pinned it all on us. Plus it turned out they were pretty steamed about all the windows Lardass has broken previously and (rightfully so) pinned that on us as well.
We waited for about an hour (pretty standard when dealing with our country’s finest) for the police to arrive, all of us crapping ourselves and envisioning criminal records, expulsion from high school and a slow and steady decline into drug addiction and male prostitution on the streets of Hilbrow.
This was in the time before any of us had cell phones and so the only opportunity we got to call Lardasses folks was after we’d already been hauled off to the police station in the back of a police van that smelt like something had puked itself to death inside it.
Luckily Lardasses mom was a really soft touch and was at the police station in under 10 minutes. After arguing for about an hour with various police officials, she finally got them to believe that it wasn’t us who broke into the cafe or smashed all the windows previously.
So basically all they could charge us for was breaking about six windows, which wasn’t really worth the effort.
However, this didn’t stop them from locking us in the most god awful cell I’ve ever seen in my life with a bunch of unwashed ogres that looked like they’d stab your eyes out for your shoes.
Luckily they pulled us out after about an hour. All I remember was squatting against the wall with Millerkie and Lardass while Lardass kept whispering how ‘this [was] exactly like Beavis and Butthead!’ and we kept telling him to shut the fuck up.
After they let us go, they asked us if we’d learned our lesson and we all swore that we had, but time has since proven that no, we hadn’t.
I’ve had at least four run-ins with the law since that day, but thankfully that’s the only time I’ve ever been hauled off. The rest of my ‘conversations’ with the fuzz have always been amicable even though in all four cases I was guilty as sin and had I actually been arrested, would have been in deep, life-changing shit.
The rule is simple. Be as polite with cops as possible. Come out all smiles and ‘evening officer’ and ‘yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir’ and in most cases you can get by with a few hundred bucks and a ‘I swear to god, I’ve learned my lesson officer, thank you’.
It’s not a ‘bribe’, it’s a ‘spot fine’ or an ‘admission of guilt fee’.
It’s all in the semantics I tell ya, never forget that. Obviously, first prize goes to never engaging in any kind of wrong-doing in the first place, but you know, and I know, that we’re only human and that rules were made to be learnt well and broken properly.
Words to live by