Saturday, October 23, 2010

On the Right Side of the Law

By Michael

Joe Kozmarski, my fictional PI, is good hearted and good souled, but he screws up in almost every way imaginable. He drinks too much and crashes his car into newsstands. He aims his camera into private citizens’ windows. He drives over a cop’s foot. If PI Associations offered such awards, they would name him “Most Likely to Land in Prison for Ten to Fifteen.”

But Joe has limits. He never commits sexual violence and does nothing sordid with children or animals. His transgressions are those that could happen to . . . well, not to anyone, but to any guy who, like Joe, constantly throws himself into the middle of messes and then tries to fight his way out.

Deep in his desk drawer, Joe keeps a list of laws that (along with laws prohibiting sexual violence and depravity with children or animals) he hold more or less sacred. These are real laws, on the books in Illinois, where Joe works. As long as he lives, so help him God, Joe will never break . . .

(1) The Champaign-Urbana law against peeing in one’s neighbor’s mouth.

Note: To tell the truth, Joe finds the idea of peeing in his neighbor’s mouth unappealing and dislikes the idea of his neighbor peeing in his mouth even more. Joe is tolerant: he respects others’ lifestyle choices, whether sexual, religious, or urinary. But his neighbor on one side is a three-hundred pound man who rides his Harley in a short-sleeved t-shirt even in the middle of the harshest Chicago winters, and his neighbor on the other side is a nice older woman who once baked cookies for Joe’s eleven-year-old nephew and Joe doesn’t like even thinking about her needing to pee.

(2) The Cicero law against humming on public streets on Sundays.

Note: On Sundays, Joe prefers to whistle.

(3) The Chicago law against fishing while sitting on a giraffe’s neck.

Note: Joe would love to try this except for his aversion to depraved acts involving animals.

(4) The Chicago law against getting a dog drunk on whiskey.

Note: Joe wonders (a) whether mojitos are okay and (b) whether it’s legal for dogs to get their owners drunk on whiskey and, if so, where he could find a willing dog.

That’s it. Anything else goes. Or almost anything. Joe does have limits. He just sometimes has a hard time finding them.

(Additional note: I’ve drawn my list of laws from the Dumb Laws website:


Rebecca Cantrell said...

You gotta wonder about the party that went so bad that they had to pass a law against fishing from the neck of a giraffe.

Makes Shane's gin smoothie and black eye look tame in comparison...

Michael Wiley said...

I'm just trying to imagine the logistics: hold onto the giraffe's neck while casting? And how do you get the giraffe to approach the water? Or to climb into your fishing boat?

If we'd convinced Shane to have a couple more gin smoothies, we might have gotten him onto a giraffe.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

There's always next year!

Meredith Cole said...

It's against the law to get a dog drunk? They better start locking up those frat boys... Or maybe they did already.

Funny post Michael!

Michael Wiley said...

In Chicago, it's apparently against the law only to get a dog drunk on whiskey . . . though I wonder why the law specifies.

Thanks, Meredith.