These aforementioned parking spaces were fairly close to one of my fellow Van Damme fan’s house. So after some time procrastinating he finally mustered up the courage & energy to go and grab whatever of the action star’s movies he had at his abode. No more than a second after he decided this, just as he begins to open the door, we see a police car casually turn into the street and head towards our lone, suspiciously-parked car. As you could imagine, being the teenagers we were, we passed bricks though our bowels. I for one was terrified; I’ve always hated the sight of cops, even if I was as innocent as a newborn lamb. As soon as we noticed them we immediately suggested hiding the DVD; it was only the short, but, nevertheless, it was rare and we didn’t want it confiscated. There was a faulty compartment in the car that could be removed and we hid it in there. At the time I imagined it being the ideal hiding place; somewhere they would never imagine to look. I’ve since seen the T.V show cops and understand the lengths they go to in search of drugs.
They pulled up beside us and headed toward the car; at this point I had no idea what our reasoning for being there would be, if they were to inquire. How could three teenagers sitting alone in a car, parked in an empty lot, late at night, not look odd? They went through the customary formalities: asking the driver for his license and if he’s consumed any alcohol. One went and checked out the license for a moment or two, whilst the other stayed back and continued the official procedure. “What are you boys doing parked here?”, the younger officer, who was on the passenger’s side, asked. “Just chillin’”, I hesitantly replied, which was apparently the best thing I could come up with on the spare of the moment.
I grew up around this area, and now I’ve learnt that parked cars in empty lots are usually associated with drug deals, so, rightfully so, they had something to be wary over. “You boys got any drugs on your body, or in the car”, the older, sterner officer asked. I could already see the good cop/bad cop act being played out. “No”, we all reply, overlapping each other. There’s nothing suspicious about that, right?
I was talking to an admired acquaintance who personally knew an officer and said that usually when people get pulled over it’s usually the most suspicious-looking that are typically the most innocent. That’s something I can understand, but, in the moment, you fear your overlapping responses will be all they need to find you guilty. Now we’ve given ourselves away, I thought. It was just about then when the younger/good cop, who was still on my side of the car, noticed the T-shirt I was wearing. “You like The Vines, do you?”. Thank god, I thought. Thank god I’m not one of those thousands of people who wear, say, The Ramones T-Shirts but couldn’t name you three of their songs. It was something I didn’t have to lie about. “Yeah, I love ‘em”, I replied. It’s always a relief when you have something to relate to with an officer. “Oh, yeah? well, I was at the infamous Annandale gig”, he said, amicably. I sensed he wanted to finish his sentence, but, knowing what infamous Annandale gig he was talking about, I wanted to show my awareness of the bands history, proving I’m not a hack, and jumped in to respond. “No way; when he kicked the photographer and Patrick Mathews quit the band!?” I asked, knowing full well that that was indeed the gig he was referring to. “Yeah, it was quite crazy”, he confirmed. My two companions & I expressed our excitement exuberantly, making sure he knew, that we knew, that that was an iconic gig - in terms of The Vines - to have attended. There was a pause before the same friendly officer opened his mouth again. “You know we have the authority to search your car?”.
We froze; three racing heart beats where the only sounds to be heard in that moment that lasted a lifetime. “But…… we’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt here”, he said, and we all simultaneously let out sighs of relief… well, in our heads, at least. “You best be heading home now, said the older/bad cop, almost disappointedly, as if he was all set for a good car strip & search. They drove off first and we sat stunned for a moment, all a few pounds thinner from nervously sweating. That was too close for comfort, I thought. Of course, at the time, we didn’t know that for being in possession of just one pirated DVD, and a short at that, isn’t even worth bothering doing the paper work about. But, still, to this day, I believe the only reason we dodged a full car search that auspicious night, was because of my T-shirt.