when he opened his eyes again, he saw he was not alone.
two people were standing over him.
two uniformed police officers. a man and a woman, both young, both white.
jerry smiled up at them. “good morning.”
“good morning,” the male officer answered.
jerry held his hand up. “think you could give me a hand?”
the officer pulled jerry to his feet.
jerry felt in his pockets. whew! his wallet was there. and his keys. and his phone. he looked in the wallet and his cards were there, and a few bills.
jerry shook his head and showed the wallet and keys and phone to the cops and smiled at them again. “well, thank you very much, officers.” he looked down at the concrete of the alley and laughed. “i like to sleep till noon, but maybe not on that. bad for the bones.”
neither of the two officers smiled back at jerry. “mind telling us how you got here., sir?” the man asked.
“well, there isn’t much to tell. as you may have guessed, i had a little too much to drink.”
“where?” the male cop asked.
“where did you have this too much to drink?”
“oh - grady’s. grady’s, up on fourth street.”
“were you alone?”
“no, i was with some friends. we were having a bachelor party! “ jerry tried to laugh again. “i was getting totally hammered, and that’s the last thing i remember.”
“how many friends?” the female cop asked.
“how many? what difference does that make?”
“how many friends were with you?” she repeated.
“three. what has that got to do with anything?”
“three? you were with three friends?”
the two cops looked at each other. the young woman took out a phone and moved out of the alley into the street and began talking into it.
“you are going to have to come with us, sir,” the male cop told jerry.
“you will find out. just come with us.”
“what … what… do i need a lawyer?’
“that is not for me to say, sir. you have a right to remain silent, as i am sure you know. just come along with us.”
at the police station, jerry found himself in a room with detectives baker and collins.
the room was pretty bare, but bigger and less intimidating than jerry would have thought from watching tv and the movies.
the detectives asked him to repeat what he had told the two uniformed officers.
“i don’t know what this is about,” said jerry. “but i think i want a lawyer.”
“you can have a lawyer if you want”, detective collins told him. “why don’t you tell us what you remember about last night, and then we will tell you what this is about, and then you can decide if you want a lawyer.”
jerry hesitated. “all right.” he repeated his story about drinking with his friends but not remembering anything after about twelve or thirteen drinks.
“and that is all you remember?”
“yes. so what is this about?”
“what this is about is a young woman reported being assaulted by four men in colby park last night. colby park is the park right across from grady’s bar and grill.”
“oh. we - my friends and i wouldn’t do something like that.”
“no, we all have girl friends of our own. and we’re white men.”
“you do not say so?”
for the first time it registered on jerry that detective collins was somewhat dark-complected.
“i think i want a lawyer.”
jerry and keith got their own lawyers, and lionel’s and dean’s families got lawyers for them.
after an investigation of six weeks, the district attorney's office decided it did not have sufficient physical evidence against any of the four friends.
there were no witnesses to the reported assault, except for the accuser herself.
who had prior convictions for shoplifting and soliciting.
no charges were filed.
but things were never the same for any of the four funlovers.
keith’s fiancee canceled the wedding, and then broke off the engagement.
the four drifted apart, with all except dean moving to other cities.
jerry, keith, and dean all abandoned their secret lives.
jerry and dean threw their secret notebooks in the trash and moved on.
keith took to heroin, and to violent pornography, and his wholesome sound of music fantasies were forgotten.
lionel found more solace in his secret life than ever, but kept it more of a secret than ever.
when the sun goes down, and the world is dark, he can be found somewhere in the city, sitting on his mat, seeking nirvana.