Friday, July 20, 2007

The Intoxicated Rat

#270 The Intoxicated Rat

That was a song sung by such as Cisco Houston, and later, the New Lost City Ramblers and still later by Doc Watson. This column, though, maybe should be called the Intoxicated Brat.

In the song, the singer comes home three sheets to the wind, gets tangled up in the door mat, falls over. His bottle of rum falls with him, slips out of his coat. The cap comes off and the rat comes out of the woodwork for a drink.

Along comes the cat who “makes a pass…” sending the rat scurrying back into the woodwork.

Same with the intoxicated brat. He’s maybe 22, 23. Charged with Driving Under the Influence. The Hon. Judge I. Hardley Shutzup is presiding. And in comes the I-B and his girlfriend Salacia Grimm.

She walks. He kind of strolls and limps. Sits down. Wavers. Sits down. Still limping, even seated. This raises some concern among the court officers, the guys who keep order in the court. They notify the probation department, which sends a guy down to look things over.

“Any you guys have a breathalyzer?” says the guy from probation. One materializes. The reading is 0/37. In these parts, you’re considered drunk with an 0.08.

From the bench, Judge Shutzup asks what should be done with the I-B, who is now slumped in the seat, but still seems to stagger. No one answers, the His Honor declares that they can take the I-B to jail, or hold him in the courthouse until he sobers up. The jail rep doesn’t want him, so the guy from probation puts him in cuffs, and frisks him. It takes a long, long time.

Understand that in order to get into the building, the I-B has to go through a metal detector and whatever he’s carrying has to go through an x-ray machine, and he’s in the building, so what could he be carrying?

Maybe a bottle, like the guy in the song who got “tangled” in the doormat. Maybe contraband narcotics. Maybe the key to the mystery of life.

None of this stuff shows up.

In the meantime, the I-B has slipped his left hand out of the cuff, but doesn’t seem to realize it.

One of the court officers does, however, and he’s quickly returned to prisoner status and led off.

The guy was supposed to get released in his own custody… or that of the ever so serious Ms. Grimm. The Assistant District Attorney informs “..all who have business before this court…” that the deal is off the table.


Judge Shutzup takes about ten minutes of uninterrupted verbiage that someone with an instantaneous translation machine says “…that means he’s going to lunch.”

The probation guy is politely berating Ms. Grimm about her pal’s drinking problem. She has one of those allergic-to-reality problems and denies he’s been drinking.

But the I-B is so deep in the bag he couldn’t climb out with the help of a tank full of helium.

In the song, the encounter with the cat makes the rat sober up, pronto. The encounter with the justice system did not have the same effect on the brat.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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