BY JESSE TUESDAY
Now I’ve had a few vans in my time and a few sordid tales that go along with all of them. One story seems to stick in my mind the most. It was the time that me and my pal Ross were tooling down Las Vegas Blvd. in my ratty ’64 VW bus. [Disclaimer: Ok, I figured I’d let this one sneak in, even if it is about a (cough) VW Van˝ed.] The old thing was covered with spray paint and stickers and all the crap a 19-year-old kid with a mohawk would typically adorn his ride with.
It was early afternoon and about 114 degrees out. The kind of day you just want to get to where you’re going and flip on the A.C. We were going to do just that when out of the clear blue sky this cop decides to pull us over. 90 percent of the time there would’ve been just cause. This, however, was one of the rare instances when I was neither hopped up on something - or on my way to or away from trouble. Therefore I was especially outraged at this apparent attack on my good character.
After I pulled my car up to the curb the cop got out and approached my window. I greeted him with a cheerful “What the hell do you want?!!” which promptly landed Ross and I handcuffed outside, sitting on the blistering hot sidewalk.
Now Ross was imploring me under his breath to shut the hell up, but I was on a roll. The only problem was the more I ran my mouth the more backup was called, until there were about seven squad cars surrounding Ross, me and my poor little van.
After awhile all these cops became madder than hornets because we looked like trouble and smelt like trouble but, other than my bad attitude, no real crime had been committed.
Then up comes the sargeant in his shiny new squad car. It seemed as though he wanted to see what the hell his 14 or so underlings were up to. After all, it now looked like they were ready to break up a riot.
So they started to make themselves real busy tearing apart my interior, looking for anything to justify the awesome police presence.
Up came the gold shag carpet. Out came the plywood cabinetry. Junk I didn’t know I had, and even junk the previous owner didn’t know he had, made it out onto the sidewalk. Many strange and sometimes disturbing items were discovered, but, much to the cops dismay, there wasn’t so much as one pot seed or beer tab to be found.
The Sargeant (who was now actually joking with us at the other’s expense!) was about to cut us loose when we heard a shout of joy. One of the officers had discovered my secret stash spot behind the rear seat. And, lo and behold, there was something in it. “Damn!” I thought to myself. “What the hell could it be?” The old bus was a crash pad and club house for untold number of kids, and anything could have been left there. I was to soon find out when, like a happy little kid who found an Easter Egg, the blonde-haired lady cop, followed by her peers, presented her discovery to the Sargent. A glass orange juice bottle filled with a mysterious brown liquid. Obviously a vile concoction of some mindbending substance. “Well open it!” barked the somewhat irritated commander. So, with a very lawful looking twist of the lid ˝ POP! ˝ she had it off. Immediately the smell of aged and sun-baked punk-rock beer piss filtered through the mustaches and into the sensitive drug-detecting sinus’ of some of Las Vegas’ finest. One of my dumb friends was probably too drunk to open the door to take a leak, and now I was going to get bashed in the head for it.
So, as Ross started chuckling and I tensed up waiting for the fallout, the strangest thing happened. The lid was carefully screwed back on the bottle, and, choking back revulsion, the cops began to piece-by-piece put all my stuff carefully back into my van.
That finished, off came the cuffs and the officers wordlessly piled in their cars. And with a fond “Have a safe day!” they all left leaving Ross and I relieved, if not a bit confused.
And wait... there’s MORE! Ross, Jesse’s friend, adds:
To bad that lady cop didn’t take a sip of that stuff in the bottle. Las Vegas was a roll through the windshield of Jesse’s van. We were driving down Twain one afternoon, 114, slow traffic, and Jesse wanted to make a left turn on Maryland Parkway. Stopping us was some bastard in a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow with custom plates, “STOP MD.” Instead of waiting in line, like a natural man, the Roller just slowly cut its way, foot by foot, in front of the van. Causing a long line of motorist to miss the light, what a asshole. Poor acceleration prevented our filling in the gap in time. Let’s just say our mellow was harshed, and a wrong had to be turned into a right. It would be a few minutes before the light changed again, so his goose was cooked. We began hurling junk out the window at his ride. Cans, shoes, thing had an endless supply of garbage. It was brilliant. I kept saying to my self, “Stop MD, where do I know that from????” Just then a small, black haired, beady eyed angry face peered out of the driver’s side window from the Rolls, amidst the flying debris. He was pissed. On fire pissed! We looked at each other and smiled, the war was over at once. It was Jerry Lewis! We waved, and encouraged him to go ahead of us. “Any time Mr. Lewis!” “Please, do be our guest Mr. Lewis!” What an honour. The light changed, Jerry went his way, and we went ours.
PICTURED ABOVE: Jesse back in the 80s.