Sunday, February 15, 2009
Considering the habits and behaviour of the rake, it is inevitable that one will eventually cross paths with some branch of law enforcement. For Alisdair and me, that time was last night on the feast of St. Valentine. We had just re-entered the borough of Manhattan after a misinformed foray into Brooklyn and were briskly striding towards a late-night club of ill repute. We were singing some old German drinking songs we had picked up on our last trip to München and swigging quite freely from a bottle of Canadian whiskey when we were blocked by an undercover squadcar and accosted by the local constabulary.
I was asked to provide identification and questioned about any possible outstanding warrants for my arrest. Fortunately, most of my debts had been settled at the New York City courthouse before the new year, and after receiving a summons to appear before a judge in two weeks, we were on our way.
Although this encounter was relatively insignificant, it reminded me of a few points of advice that I would like to share with you.
First, in the event that an arresting officer is female, it is wise to refrain from mentioning to your partners in crime that she looks "passably attractive" while she is exiting her car. It is still wiser to refrain from asking when women were allowed onto the police force. Although this line of questioning may seem to you like a polite and interested way of getting to know someone, these members of the force seem to take offense at such queries. Keep the conversation to a minimum. A simple "yes, officer" or "no, officer" should suffice to such questions as, "Are you wearing a German Hussar's Busby?" or "Did you really think it was a good idea to be shouting so loudly at 3:30 in the morning in a residential neighborhood?" and "Aren't you cold wearing only trousers, suspenders and a side cap?" (The correct answers, of course, being yes, yes and no.)
Second, when drinking in public, it is a good idea to be discreet when trying to avoid arrest. Instead of carrying a 2 liter bottle of whiskey, try a simple hip flask instead. Although you will only be able to carry around at most only a few ounces of the sweet nectar, it should be enough to hold you over on the walk from pub to club. A flask is essential to the rakes arsenal of gadgets. I myself use a half glass, half brass model with my family's name engraved on the leather case. It is a bit bulky, but can carry almost a full pint of a liquor of my choosing. Alisdair on the other hand opts for a smaller, rectangular Sterling model that is shaped discreetly like a cigarette case. An English chum of ours called Sigmund who was with us at the time of said encounter uses a steel tube that is capable of holding not only 5 ounces of liquor (always Mezcal or Navy Rum in his case) but a fairly sizable cigar as well.
Third, if receiving a summons for an "Open Container" as the ticket so ineloquently stated, one is allowed to finish the contents of his beverage. In our case, we were lucky enough to have half the bottle left after the bobbies went on their way. In accordance with a brilliant Double Jeopardy law, I could not be charged twice for holding the same bottle, so as long as I held it and poured it into the awaiting gullets of my 2 fellow cads, we were committing no error in the eyes of Johnny Law. If you happen to receive such a ticket, don't become discouraged and leave your drink on the street - instead walk proudly down the parkway holding it high, knowing that you are completely immune from any prosecution, as you have already been charged with the crime!
Posted by Gaspard Lerâteau at 11:39 PM