When we’re younger we’re dumber. It just comes and goes with the situation, the problem at hand, or the time we have to make a good decision. So this story starts when I wasn’t so smart, you might say. Everyone in my circle of dummies drank a little beer once in a while; like if we had any money left over after we bought gas for our vehicle. And everyone knew 3.2 beer is awful and 5% was the da bomb. Now Kansas only sold 3.2 % and you could drink it when you turn 18 but the good stuff was in Missouri (5%) and you’re suppose to be 21 but with out any fear of the law the Kansas boys and girls would go over to Mo. (just a few miles away) to get the good stuff, so Mo. passed a law that if you get caught in their state drinking their beer under the required age, you go to jail.
That night the law went into effect but we didn’t know that, so on our way over to “The Coke Bar”( a dance hall for dummies) in behind Truman Corners shopping center, we (Me Joe and Eddie) stopped and bought a couple six packs just across the Mo. line. Pulling up to the place we can see a cop car and a policeman in the drive way and someone (not me) had a beer setting on the dash of the car. Eddie grabbed the beer and dropped it out the window. The rest was in the trunk safe and sound. I pull in….he stopped us…..you boys got any beer….we say no sir…..he says pop the trunk. I look at Joe, Joe looks at Eddie, Eddie looks at me. I get out put the key in the lock and say “uh it’s jammed” he says back up… and the rest you know….there’s the beer and he says let’s see yer ID.
Eddie had just turned 21 ….contributing to the delinquency of a minor..Joe and I were 18… we were the Minors. They took us to the police station and after a very embarrassing cavity search they took us to the Jackson Co. jail.
My cellmate seemed like a nice fellow so I asked him,” how long you been in” ( it sounded like a movie script for Humphrey Boggart). He said “Felony” said I been waitin’ trial 3 yrs. The color drained out of my face and I said oh as casually as I could. After I told him why I got pinched we decided to go to sleep and maybe tomorrow would be better.
Morning came and I was wakened by a guard who was making enough racket to wake the whole down town area and pushing oatmeal thru a hole in the cell wall. My cell mate took his and sat down on his bunk to eat. I took mine and tasted it. with out thinking I said hey this stuff is cold……..the guard with the voice that woke everyone as far Topeka says….why you punk I’ll come in there pull yer head off and %$3*7 in the hole. So I sat down and started eating it like it was ice cream. My cell mate said ahhh leave the kid alone Frank “he don’t mean nothin’ by it”. A few hours later we made bail and they let us go.
We walked down the street and saw a lawyers office and we all agreed we better get one. The lawyer was a nice guy and after hearing the story he said he would take the case for 50 bucks apiece. A few months later we were standing before his honor and we all pleaded not guilty. After the arresting officer gave his testimony our young sharp as tack lawyer says so you stopped these young men because you say you saw the beer on the dash, is that right. He says that’s right. And how could you tell it was beer and not just a soft drink in the dark being 9pm…. because of the street light…..Your honor he says “what we have here is a clear case of illegal search and seizure” that street light is over 100ft. from where the officer was standing and this officer could not have read the letters on that can from a distance of 100 feet away at night. His honor looked down at the young sharp as a tack lawyer and said GUILTY……
Out in the hallway our defense attorney was mad as hell and wasn’t gonna take it anymore… I’ll get a new trail he’s wrong and he knows it and it won’t cost you anything. Joe looked at me, I looked at Eddie, who just looked at the floor. I said ok we’ll take it I don’t want to go back to jail and have to eat any more of that oat meal. a few months later we went back to trial but the arresting officer never showed up and the Judge threw it out and I was a little smarter.