No, you won’t find me tweeting from the back of a police car. You’ll find me using the same nineteenth-century technology that Alexander Graham Bell would use when he got arrested.
“Who/what” will I call? Well, I’ll make a list, which, Alexander Graham Bell be damned, I can do on my twenty-first-century phone.
- First, I’ll call my wife and tell her that no matter how bad it looks, I didn’t do it. Yes, the photographs suggest otherwise, and the eye witnesses might be a problem, and as for the fingerprints, well, as they say, no two snowflakes are exactly alike. But I was elsewhere when it happened and I didn’t even know her or him or them or it.
- Next, I’ll want to call my lawyer, but I won’t have one, so I’ll look through the side window of the police car and dial the number of the law firm advertising on the roadside billboard – the one that says, “ARRESTED?” in enormous red letters and includes a picture of a lawyer who looks like he (not I) should be shackled to a metal ring in the back of a cruiser.
When he comes to the phone, I’ll say, in my calmest, most professional voice, Help.
- Third, I’ll call Sushi Café, which makes the best sushi in town, though it’s been slipping a bit since the guy who managed the restaurant got busted for harboring illegal aliens, though the food still is a hell of a lot better than anything I can expect from the jailhouse kitchen. If the manager from Sushi Café occupies the cell next to mine, I’ll share my dinner with him.
I like sushi enough that while eating I might forget my need for help.
- I’ll call my wife again. Just checking in, I’ll say. I’m still innocent, I’ll say. Help! I’ll say. Help!Help!Help!
She’ll promise to pay bail – if I promise to take her out for sushi as soon as I’m released. I’ll promise.
- I’ll calm down. I’ll get to thinking. Thinking will be dangerous – it’s what has landed me in the back of the police car to begin with. Caution be damned, Alexander Graham Bell be damned, I’ll think anyway. I’ll come up with an idea.
The idea: I’ll call my agent and pitch a new book. It’ll be true crime, I’ll say, and will include a scene with a middle-aged guy panicking in the back of a police car. If I do a good enough job pitching it, my agent might tell me he thinks he can help.