A few nights ago, I was stopped and frisked by the NYPD on the Lower East Side for smoking a hand-rolled tobacco cigarette. I know, I know — all you High Times readers are right now thinking to yourselves that I should have been blazing a joint instead. While I willfully acknowledge the idiocy of my occasional tobacco indulgences, the truth is, had I been hitting a fatty of Sour Diesel, I would have been given a two-day tour of the scenic Manhattan Detention Complex — nicknamed “the Tombs,” assumedly for good reason.
Blame it on too many Bukowski books in my formative years, but sometimes a smoke and a beer will kick loose a few extra thoughts in the course of an evening writing session. Now, I don’t have a backyard, and my wife doesn’t appreciate me turning our apartment into a bar, but there are benches outside my apartment where I sometimes seek a moment’s respite. I’m aware of the city’s open-container law but nonetheless I sometimes stash a beer in my coat, and if some Dick Tracy opts to give me a $25 summons for my infraction, so be it.
With multiple deadlines looming, I was working into the night. Around 9 pm, I popped downstairs to the benches and sparked a rollie. Because of the beer (12 oz.), I was watching for cops, but this guy came out of nowhere, no uniform, and walked purposefully toward me.