On March 24, the Orlando Sentinel reported that St. Cloud City Council member Mike Wetzel had been charged with driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. An Osceola County deputy sheriff who was quoted said that Wetzel had been "polite but argumentative" when he was stopped.
"Polite but argumentative?" At first, we assumed it was some newfangled terminology our area's power players had whipped up among themselves to take the sting off that old ghetto pejorative, "resisting arrest." But then we wised up, pulled the lint of cynicism out of our navels and hit on a better explanation: Osceola County deputies are the nicest in the world!
That got us wondering what a typical arrest in St. Cloud might sound like. The answer, we decided, might go something like this:
DEPUTY: Good evening, citizen! Delighted to make your acquaintance. Might I trouble you for your license and registration? I hate to ask, but you know how these radar guns are … always reading 95 when they mean 30.
MOTORIST: Not a bother in the least, my good man. Will just the license and reg do? Or should I fish around for my Barnes & Noble card and concealed-weapons permit as well? Oops! So sorry; think I got a fleck of vomit on your shoes there.
DEPUTY: These old things? Don't give it a second's thought. Been meaning to give them the heave-ho for weeks. It's Payless all the way for this tired civil servant.
(They share a chuckle.)
MOTORIST (wiping lips): I shouldn't doubt it, old bean. Here's the ID; now, if you don't mind my asking, which one of you should I hand it to? The girlfriend tidied up a bit this morning, and I think she spilled some Toilet Duck into the meth lab. Been seeing the strangest things ever since.
DEPUTY: It's our little secret. Just thank God you don't have to take these diet pills the wife has me on. (He takes the license and holds it up for inspection, keeping his pinky extended.) Say, that's one handsome headshot! Not everybody can come out of the DMV looking this good. I always have an expression like I'm smelling something six weeks past the expiration date. While we're on the subject, might I perhaps get you to step out of the car? Just for a moment.
MOTORIST: Certainly. (He stumbles out of the vehicle and collapses into the DEPUTY's arms.) Oh, dearie me! I am making a complete ass of myself tonight, aren't I?
DEPUTY (pulling the MOTORIST to his feet and then steadying him with the palm of one hand): Perfectly all right. Happens to the best of us. Now, if you don't think I'm being too forward, is there any way I could get you to walk along that white line there? Just for a moment or two.
MOTORIST:: Hate to be a stick-in-the-mud, ducks, but all things being equal, I'd really rather not.
DEPUTY: Loud and clear. It's just a standard question we have to ask. How about you lie down there by the side of the road and try to get your strength back while I root around a little in your glove compartment? That'll buy us some time, and then maybe we can go find us a nice flan.
MOTORIST: Well, I …
DEPUTY: Forgive me if I've crossed a line.
MOTORIST: Oh, nonono. It's just that and it positively kills me to say this, I hope you understand but if my lawyer found out I let you look in there without a peep of protest, I'd never hear the end of it.
DEPUTY (grins wickedly): Lawyers, don't ya love 'em? Don't worry, I won't write anything down. Taking the caps off these pens dries them out faster than a fellow can say Jack Robinson. We'll just have ourselves a quick look-see off the record and … hello, what's this?
MOTORIST: Um … big old bag of basil. Sunday's pizza night back at the house. Yep.
DEPUTY: Gotcha. See, that wasn't so bad. Speaking of basil, what say we spice things up a bit and make our way over to Mr. Trunk? Or do you think you're up for that flan run yet?
MOTORIST (eyes bulging, a gurgling noise building in his throat): Oh, now I really think I have to ob … ob …
MOTORIST: Thanks. Don't get me wrong, this has been thoroughly pleasant. But a man's trunk is his castle, and …
(The DEPUTY opens the trunk. A human carcass tumbles out, riddled with bullet holes and in an advanced stage of decomposition.)
DEPUTY: Wow. This changes everything.
DEPUTY: Up to now, I thought we were just having fun and making friends. Little did I know I was talking to an actual taxidermist! (His eyes begin to well with tears.) The things you people can do with a budgie … well, let's just say that there's a 9-year-old who never forgot.
DEPUTY: We're going to get you home right away. And not in that old beater of yours not with that broken taillight. (Breaks taillight.) You're getting an official escort, and right through the longest string of red lights this town has ever seen!
MOTORIST: Can we listen to DBO?
DEPUTY: Oh, firstname.lastname@example.org