Alaska has mild consequences for minors caught consuming and possessing controlled substances, or at least that was the case in the mid-nineties, during which whiskey and weed were my primary vocation. As I wrapped up a particularly busy summer of cannery work, beach bonfires and camping, I recall starting the school year with a tidy twenty hours of community service.
|St. Monica and St. Augustine, Mother and Son|
The magnet hummed against the silence of the room, soon giving way to a stilted rhythm of plastic and metal: I'd grab a tape, flip it against the flat surface of the magnet and then into the tape deck, where its blank status was announced with an even louder hum. The ominous boredom droned on for less than a half hour before I reversed the order of these steps. And skipped the last two. Now, rather than erasing tapes, I listened to hours of police evidence and shoved a dozen of the best ones into the waistband of my (no-doubt high waisted, 1990s) jeans. I then set off like Miss America, waving goodbye to the policemen as I sought out my equally delinquent friends to bask in the awe of such ill-gotten treasures.
At least two years later, my desk phone rang and the chief of police asked for an appointment. My life had taken some turns, and he was by then a professional contact of sorts. No instinct alerted me to the personal nature of the call until it was too late. He calmly asked about 'the issue of some tapes'. My bravado and dishonesty had been left in my teenage years, and I did not pretend an interest in recreating the juvenile standoffs I had once enjoyed in that building. I also had more to lose and sensed the possibility of mercy. After I admitted my brazen theft, he explained his reticence in pursuing the matter. Since it was unlikely the evidence could be recovered from my long estranged lover who now faced a moderate prison sentence for our activities, the matter of the tapes was let go.