I come home to my Dad in between the two twin beds I have jammed together to make one bed. I am at the age where I am out growing everything even my bed doesn’t fit me. In slow motion I see my Dad pulling out my bowls and my bong from between the two twin beds. There are four bowls, one bong and my Dad is enraged. I’m in the tenth grade and one of the bowls I handmade in wood shop is in jeopardy of being in my fathers possession.
In the back of my mind I’m thinking I spent a lot of time on that bowl. Planning it out, sanding it and hiding it from the wood shop teacher. There was getting the fitting so the bowl on the pipe could be changed for a different bowl at any time. I liked that bowl a lot but Dad was pissed and I was starting to fear for my life.
My Dad a cop of 26 years was not happy to see that his son was smoking weed. This was the first time he had ever come across a storage of my paraphernalia. I’m busted and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it but like any tenth grader I try the “They’re my buddies” excuse and I even make up a fake buddy name. But my Dad cuts me off with the simple fact that my homemade bowl has my nickname painted on its side. I spend a month on punishment, meaning I can’t go out after school or on weekends. I have to go straight home.
To add to the punishment Dad also takes me into the Bronx’s and drives me around the ghettoes he works in, attempting to show me what I may become. He is convinced that because I like to smoke weed I am going to become a heroin addict or a junkie of some kind. He drives me through the shittest parts of town hoping it will scare me straight but what I see is poor people. I’m in tenth grade so he can’t push me out on the street but he tells me that when I turn 18 he won’t tolerate this behavior and I will be on my own if I don’t play by his rules. He threatens me with military school, even leaves pamphlets on my pillow at night.
We are not driving around in a police car, we are undercover and its kind of fun. Dad has his gun with him, he is an old school Irish cop and about as tough as they come. He works out more than me. Jogs and generally loves being a cop. He sees himself as Dirty Harry and has a reputation to match. Dad can tell the scare ride through the ghetto isn’t scaring me so he pushes it further and tells me I have to stay in the car while he goes into work.
He parks his car a few blocks from the police station on the streets, in the Bronx’s, during the 80’s, leaves me in it and goes into work. I open the door, walk to the Jamaican deli, get a few beef patties and smoke a bowl of weed around the corner from the station. I make my way back to the car and wait for my Dad to come back. He does. He brings me lunch and I eat it. No sense in letting him know about the beef patties besides I have the munchies.
The ride around the city is more fun than it’s punishment. Dad realizes the “scare tour” is hopeless, he changes tactics. He knows he has time. A cop always has time to wait a junkie out and he tells me this fact all the time.
From the tenth grade on I get busted on and off by my super cop Dad. Dad relentlessly pursues my every move. He retires his last year on the force number 26 as I am graduating High School. I become his main case.
Aware that I am the main case I become better about hiding my stuff and not letting him catch me. I clean my room of all weed, seeds and even twigs. I know Dad is looking to bust me once and for all. He is convinced only tough love will get me off “the pot”. Super cop is on a mission.
This isn’t like tenth grade, now. I am 18 in college, working and paying for my own education, books, car, car insurance and most of the clothes on my back. I can’t afford the expense of an apartment. If I am going to be able to afford my tuition, books, car insurance I need to stay home.
My education, my goals, it all depended on having a roof over my head. But Dad couldn’t afford to have me walking in red eyed on the weekends. So he went looking for evidence. DNA if need be, he would find something. He did. Four pot seeds in the radiator.
I argued illegal search and seizure without probable cause. Dad simply stated that it was his house and he didn’t need probable cause or a search warrant to check my room.
He held four pots seeds up and with a dead straight face told me I was busted and kicked out of the house.
It was harsh.
It wasn’t like it was a bong or a pipe with my name on it. This wasn’t like a Briar pipe, with an interchangeable bowl, sanded to a glass finish, with a poem in honor of it painted on the back and little greenish clouds. This wasn’t like finding that work of art my bowl from tenth grade. I was getting kicked out for four pot seeds found in the radiator.
For the next month I went from one friend’s house to the next crashing on what ever couches I could find. After a little more than four weeks I broke down, went home and talked to my Mom. She got me back in the house right before a big paper was due in school. I was under strict orders not to bring any pot into the house, so I didn’t. I left it in my car.
Between full time school and a full time job I was working my ass off. I had my first day off in little under a month and I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to smoke a joint.
I had no buds left but I had two fat roaches in my car ashtray. I removed the two half joints from the car so I could roll them into one joint. I was going to smoke the joint outside but I needed papers. I put the roaches down on the kitchen counter and went down stairs to my room to find some rolling papers. I reached across the bed for my nightstand and the down pillow felt cool, comfortable. I kicked off my shoes, my shirt and my pants when I realized I had not gone to the Laundromat. I didn’t have a change of clothes. I stretched across the blankets and fell asleep. I must have locked the door behind me out of habit. Growing up in a big family you learn to flip a lock with a thumb motion as you shut the door.
During my sleep Dad and Mom come home, a day early, in a good mood and pleased to see my car in the driveway. They know I have been working hard and doing the right thing.
They open the door to the house, walk in and find two fat roaches of some of the best weed money can buy on their kitchen counter. Dad goes into a fit. On the way down stairs Mom tries to calm him down. I am of course sound asleep dreaming of a girl in photography class.
My Dad starts pounding on my door with his fists and screaming my name. In a deep unexpected sleep I really have no idea where I am at or when I fell asleep. This is the type of sleep you wake out of feeling you are late for something or like it’s the next day.
I hear through the fog of the long hours and the deep darkness of my slumber my father shouting my name. I hear him screaming for me over the dream landscape. He is in the distance. There is a loud pounding. Still half dreaming I can’t figure out why my Dad is shouting in my photography class.
I wake up in my windowless basement bedroom, confused, I quickly jump to my feet and in the darkness try to focus on my Dad’s voice. My head snaps in several directions. I hear him. I am come to the conclusion that he is in trouble.
I screamed back out to him “DADDDDDDDDDDDDDDD” as I lowered my shoulders and run full steam into the darkness towards his voice. I hit the door in full stride busting it off the hinges sending splinters flying. My Dad standing behind the door takes a massive hit. I stand on the door in my underwear all 6 feet two hundred pounds of me, the door beneath me, my father beneath the door. Dad is staring up at me.
“What’s the matter? DAD? What?” I am screaming.
I have no idea what’s going on.
“DAD. YOU ALRIGHT” I frantically repeat?
Puzzled about why my Dad is under the door everything starts to come into focus.
“You alright Dad? You scared the hell out of me. I thought you were in trouble”.
He reaches up with his hand. I thought he was asking for a hand up. I reached out to help. But I don’t hear him say “thanks for trying to save me”. Instead he says “I found these” I look at his hand and I see almost two half joints. I am too tired in my half sleep I thought my Dad was getting murdered or something. Two roaches, four pot seeds, I could care less at this point. I just ran into the dark, half nude, through a door to safe him.
I turn back to the bed, exhausted, willing to accept my fate and with bigger worries on my mind than my Dad’s feelings about what kind of a person I am. At that moment I was a force heading in a direction that not even my father could stop.
Dad goes back upstairs realizing that I would put my life on the line for him, that I would break through any door or wall for what I believed in. I was putting myself through college and doing the right thing. I had grown up to be a man. Either that or his head really hurt. In light of the harsh punishment I had received for the four pot seeds he reduces these charges and lets me go with community service.
Community service means I have to do yard work and fix the door. I get put on parole as well, meaning I can’t get in trouble again for the next six months.