Doc, come quick! (part 2)
By Bill Stork, DVM
Driving was out of the question, even if they could have found their car. Instead, Naish made his way back to Florida Avenue Residence Hall to “sleep it off” in his brother’s room. Under the circumstances the numbers and doors all looked the same, and no one answered a polite knock on his first guess. Having exhausted his options and with an impaired ability to navigate, he chose to harmlessly curl up on the couch in the student lounge. Or so he thought.
When the Residence Advisor on night patrol discovered the unidentified Indian, he asked for an explanation. Incapable, or consciously choosing to take the 5th rather than implicate his brother, protocol required campus police be called.
Betty White would have been a greater physical threat, so they opted not to summon the SWAT team. Still, the campus boys lacked detention facilities and called in the city police. Experienced and trained in the ways of random vagrants and leaving nothing to chance, they took him and they booked him and gave him a quarter to use the telephone. (Name that song quote and win a prize. Arlin Rodgers is not eligible.)
Once he had been “processed,” printed and stripped of his belongings, he found himself standing next to a payphone holding twenty-five cents. Use it wisely, else a first time offending engineer risk the fate of Rubin Hurricane Carter.
Which brings us back to the phone call, twenty five years ago.
“What do you need Naish?” I asked, ready to leap into action.
“Eighty dollars!” he begged.
I remember the conversation as if it were yesterday. “No problem, Naish, I’ll be right there.”
As if I had so much as the proverbial “pot,” and knew where “there” was. I was a junior in college who bought his clothes from a store a store called Huey's that looked like Farm and Fleet meets Goodwill, and drove a 1974 Plymouth Valiant with plastic seats and an AM Radio.
Recall the thing about Storks and their sleep: just as I promised my friend I would be right there, the telephone receiver hit the cradle, and my head hit the pillow.
It could have been hours or seconds later, but the very next thing I heard was the door slam. Kish burst in like a linebacker hitting a blocking sled, “Hick, wake up, Naish is in Jail!”
I sat bolt upright in bed, clueless and shocked at the very notion. “Naish is in jail?! What are we gonna do?”
“We need $80 for bail money,” as he went to douse his head in cold water so as not to end up cellmates. He had been at the same dinner party.
“No problem, Kish” I said. A big Indian at the foot of my bed and a small one using his one call from jail is not the norm for early Sunday morn. Yet, it was not the alarm to which I pledge allegiance.
Kish pulled the door shut, and I hit the pillow with a thud.
In retrospect, the whole scene had to look a bit like my favorite episode of the Dick Van Dyke show. Dick had been hypnotized to fall asleep and wake again, on the ringing of a bill. Woken from a dead sleep by neighbor in need, frantically pushing his doorbell, as he made his way from the bedroom to the front door, the phone began to ring as well.
By the time Kish had toweled from the cold shower, changed clothes and drank a gallon of water, my alarm sounded. I rubbed my eyes and stumbled from my room. Six drunken Indians reads like the lead-in to a politically incorrect joke about a land deal between the Pilgrims and Indigenous Americans. A half-dozen East Asians draped over your St. Vinny’s special dorm furniture is atypical, if not alarming.
“Hick, where’s the money?"
“Sure Kish, I’ve got 6 bucks, what’s up?” I said.
“What the hell do you mean, what’s up?! Naish is in jail!"