Thursday, July 15, 2010

In Which I Suddenly Remember What I Forgot

by Bill

I woke up yesterday and thought, "Yes, today I will get X, Y, and Z done." I then proceeded to get halfway through X before I wandered off to eavesdrop on criminals and their lawyers outside the county courthouse downtown. We all have those days. Some of us have those days every day. I tend to have those days every day.

But here's the thing. I got to overhear some cool stuff. For example:

Guy dressed like Snoop Dog: "Hell, yes, I stabbed him. Fucker took my beer."
Guy dressed like Harried Public Defender: "You really shouldn't have told me that."
Me (out of earshot, I hope): *laughs*


Guy Who Looks Like Smug Frat Rat (shouting into cell phone): "So I show up at the Gresham P.D. to turn myself in, but they're all, 'Dude, your warrant isn't active.' And I'm all, 'Dude, I'm turning myself in and shit.' And they're all, 'You have to go down to the county courthouse. They can activate your warrant and shit.' So I'm thinking, Jesus, what does it take to get arrested in this town? But I figure what the hell, so I come down here to the courthouse, and it takes me like five days or something to find someone who can help me." [pause to smoke vigorously and, presumably, let his conversant get a word in edgewise] "Exactly, man. So anyway, they're all, 'We have to get a judge to sign this. Sit over there.' So I go sit down for like a hundred hours or something. I'm freezing to death because they keep the courthouse like one degrees or something and I'm only wearing flip-flops. I think a couple of my toes fell off and shit." [He's wearing Nikes] "So finally some suit comes up to me and asks me why I want to be arrested and I'm all, 'Dude, you tell me. It's your warrant!' So I guess I have to come back tomorrow or something."

You cannot make this stuff up. I mean, think about it. If I put this in a book I would get so many, "That would NEVER happen in a million years" emails my computer would explode. Still, you can see why this would be late. I've been so busy contemplating my eavesdrops I totally forgot to write a blog post.

You buying this?

My favorite Saturday morning cartoons? Tons of them.

As a kid, my life revolved around the tube. Saturday morning? Duh. Bugs Bunny, check. Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, check. Jonny Quest, check. But I also watched TV before and after school, and at times, even during school. in 3rd and 4th grade, I'd run home for lunch to watch Bullwinkle and Underdog.


Yes, I read too, and plenty. We didn't watch primetime television, except for The Waltons, which I was forced to watch at gunpoint because "it was good for me." Yeah, whatever. (Today, I am a writer in spite of John Boy Walton—definitely not because of him, the sanctimonious dingbat.) So I read in the evenings. But days were for cartoons!

I know television is bad for you and stuff. It probably makes you into the kind of people I eavesdropped on outside the courthouse yesterday. But I liked it, and I think I learned a few things about story structure and suspense from many of the shows I obsessed over. And about the dramatic reveal. I mean, remember in Speed Racer when Speed had the accident and Racer X took him home to care for him, and Speed almost got to find out that Racer X was actually his brother?! OMG. Yes. I loved that stuff.

And I still love that kind of thing, though mostly in book form now. Though, man, isn't Spongebob awesome? And now that I think about it, the guy who couldn't get arrested isn't nearly as weird. So maybe there's hope for him in print after all.


Patty Blount said...

Really? You can't get arrested when you try? Who'da thunk it...

Love that you go down and eavesdrop.


OMG, hysterical! So did you ever figure out what the guy who couldn't get arrested had actually done? Too funny.


Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Too funny!People. People are why I can't get anything done it public places. There's just way too much to *learn.*

Giggles and Guns

JohnO said...

Hah. I am cringing at your description of the bottom-feeders, but also sort of laughing. Mostly laughing.

Bill Cameron said...

One way to get arrested around here is to say a meanish thing to a cop. That will often do it.

Terry Stonecrop said...

Hilarious! The courthouse:)

But it's good to know it's not that easy to get arrested.

Michael Wiley said...

Great post, Bill. Funny -- and sad, too. I'm more and more intrigued by moments like this when people say things that are so much against their self-interest. The thing is, I do believe them as dialogue -- though the guy in the flipflops/Nikes must be out of his mind.

Shane Gericke said...

Am still laughing my ass off at "Fucker took my beer." Brilliant post, Bill. But, why do you hang out at the courthouse every day? Not that you shouldn't, cause I want more great stories like this. But, howcum?

Bill Cameron said...

Terry, I think it's all about commitment. ;)

Michael, the thing which comes out again and again when you spend any time around law enforcement is that most people who get into real trouble do so because they're simply not too bright. Other issues come into play too, like impulse control problems, but I think in the end, there's just a lot of dumb out there.

Shane, the courthouse is more a place to write near than anything else. I set up with my laptop, and if the words aren't coming I eavesdrop. Of course, I eavesdrop anywhere, but it turns out the courthouse is a great source of raw material!

Sophie Littlefield said...

wow do i love your guy who can't get arrested. but i just keep thinking about his mom.

my boy's been off at camp all week - jumping off cliffs, building fires - and i can't wait for him to come home, stupid impulses and all!

Kelli Stanley said...

Wow, Bill-Bill--you've uncovered a treasure-trove of dialog for anybody with writer's block!! :) Had no idea courthouses could be like a pick-u-pull ... I wonder if it's just Portland or if SF would yield any results. Maybe we should all do a CM experiment and see what we come up with! ;)

Speed Racer is inseparable from Tang in my mind, because I used to drink a glass of it (carefully prepared by an older lady who was baby-sitting me) while sitting down in front of the TV singing "Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer, he's a demon on wheels."

Sigh. I wanted to be a demon on wheels. And an astronaut, which is why I was drinking Tang.

And, fyi, Tang with milk is a weird combination that tastes like a creamsicle. Just so you know. ;)