Fortunate One

Cookie
Taken from ICanWriteFunny – Blogspot

 

So, here’s the thing. Every once in a while, I like Chinese food. Last night, I indulged in some chicken General Tso’s style. One of the many excitements of said indulgence is the Fortune Cookie. These fabulous fortunes are for the sheer entertainment of the spin some Chinese cookie maker might put on your fortune, not necessarily to be taken seriously.

However, this morning when I finished the last of my Gen Tso’s leftovers, I realized I had not opened my fortune yet. I was at first disconcerted of what I saw in the cookie. Then I started thinking this to be a cosmic sign. There on the inside of this cookie where that positive, uplifting, often cryptic fortune would lie, there was nothing. No little fortune paper whatsoever!

I thought of all the information we as a society, heck, as the world, now, with the internet, how we are bombarded with stimuli from all sides. Literally everywhere. Everywhere we look there is information. Street signs, car bumper stickers, and don’t get me started on all the crap we see here on the net, wanted and unwanted.

At first, I thought I got cheated. Then I took this having no fortune as a very positive sign. Do what you want with your future, Robert. Do what pleases you. Do what excites you. Do what you never thought you would do with your God-given years left.

So, I am. I’m not going to wait around for that publishing contract that may screw me over for all the rights to my novel anyway. I am going to (with some paid professional help) self-publish my novel. It’s time my novel was seen. It’s time it’s read by people whether I receive any kudos or not. Whether, sink or swim, it’s accepted by the literary world or not, I’m publishing.

So, look for my novel – Down, But Never Out – around the first of 2020. It should be out by then.

Here’s to your future. And all its fortune!

Take care, and until my next post . . .

Search Me? Like I Have a Choice!

stock-photo-possum-sitting-in-a-tree-744352270
Lonny Garris on Shutterstock

I don’t understand. People get all up in arms about the second amendment when gun law reform is mentioned yet they totally ignore what’s been done to their freedoms already.

Well, Congress has already gutted the fourth amendment against illegal search and seizure to beyond a laughable point. If you’re convicted of drug charges you can have your property taken from you – cars, houses, etc. That property will be sold at auction and the money put back into the system to “get more drugs off the streets” and put more people in prison. In turn, more property will be taken which will be sold to the public and the cycle continues.

Now, this all may sound all well and good, but what the authorities don’t tell you is that they don’t have to serve warrants on the correct person. They don’t have fail safes like social security numbers on warrants. Hell, they don’t even need a middle name!

An excerpt from my memoir I’ve been writing tells how the Blount County and Maryville Police, on my first and last names alone, put me in jail. A case of mistaken identity. Here goes:

 

One night, my brother was driving my car and we’d been drinking heavily. A cop pulled us over for a blown headlight. This was the first time I’d ever seen the inside of the drunk tank. Jail didn’t look good on me at all. I was pissed and belligerent. They let me out four hours later after I’d sobered.The next day, I went to get my car from the impound where they’d taken such good care of it. The guard told me I needed to get a paper signed at Maryville City Police Department before I could get my car back.

So, at the police department office, I iterated to the officer what the guard had told me. About this time, an officer came out of an office and had me to sign a paper. This unknowingly was a warrant for my arrest for possession, sale, and delivery of marijuana. They had a warrant for little ole me? Yes. And apparently, an entire investigation case against Robert S. Gregory of Maryville as a pot dealer.

 My mom always told me if I got locked up for drugs, don’t call her. I took this to heart the day I was taken to jail. They didn’t tell me at first what I was being arrested for. My ex-step-mother Sue, my younger brother Keith’s mom, worked there at the jail. She came to my cell and told me that I’d sold weed to an undercover cop. I told her that wasn’t possible. I didn’t sell weed that I bought because I was too busy smoking it.

I was bailed out by my friends – Jamie, his girlfriend Deanna, and my friend Sam. I couldn’t thank them enough for the two-hundred fifty dollars they raised between them to get me out of jail. The next morning Sue called. She told my mom something about their charges and the whole thing was wrong and that I needed a lawyer.

A lawyer used by my brother Clutch before was who I retained. Well, weeks expired, and, with one motion of discovery, their evidence was somewhat clear. They gave me an audio tape of their meeting with someone who was supposedly me. The guy on the tape sounded nothing like me. The informant who bought the weed from the dealer on the tape read the dealer’s tag number off. My mom, who should’ve been an investigator and probably was in another life, went to the registration office and obtained a copy of the dealer’s tag registration. The guy’s name, ironically – Robert Steven Gregory of Little Dug Gap Road. My middle name is Shannon. And with this little piece of exonerating evidence, we didn’t understand how the cops couldn’t have put the pieces together themselves.

Before the discovery of the audio tape, my hapless lawyer questioned me and my answer about whether I’d ever been to the Shamrock motel – where the buying and selling of the drugs went down. I assured him I never had. Ten times or so I assured him I never had.

When my mother, the investigator, found the evidence that blew the case wide open, the district attorney agreed to dismiss the charges without prejudice and my hapless lawyer advised me to get a Knoxville attorney for a possible lawsuit. He recommended a certain lawyer. Yes, I still remember that shyster’s name but for reasons of forgiveness I will not name her. Keep in mind I was twenty-four years old at the time and a naïve, scatterbrained, extremely gullible pothead who was not only stoned all the time, but also assumed this lawyer would have my best interests at heart. And she might have if she’d had a heart. Also keep in mind that every time I visited this shyster, I was stoned. The best advice I can give anyone from the lesson that came from this is never trust a shyster, especially when money’s involved.

Now, the deal with this lawyer was that she would get thirty percent of the damages – none up front. After a few meetings, she came back with an offer from the City of Maryville. She told me that they didn’t believe I was innocent. That, in fact, if their informant – a guy nicknamed Possum, at least I hope it was a nickname – was currently missing. If Possum wound up dead, they would charge me with murder. This made to me absolutely no sense, but I was stoned most of the time, so I didn’t connect the dots. Or even try to. They offered me five thousand dollars, of which Ms. Shyster would get thirty percent, but she said since she’d done most of the work for my case, she deserved three thousand, if I could take two. Well, of course she did the work! That’s what I was paying her thirty percent for. So, if I was guilty and they didn’t believe my innocence, why were they even offering anything? Basically, I realized after I took the deal that this lawyer must have been lying to me about a missing Possum.

The moral of that little story – when someone’s playing possum, get a better lawyer. Or at least one that’s honest.

 

 

That’s the story. Now, it wouldn’t be so bad if this were an isolated or bound-to-never-happen type case, but it’s not. Mistaken identity happens much more than we’re willing to acknowledge as a society. People are constantly being exonerated from prison, sometimes from death row, for crimes they never committed.

Do you have a similar story? Or maybe an opinion on anti-gun lobby and laws? Share it!

Walk Circumspectly

Cultural differences. They are as infinite as the amount of nations on the earth. When it comes to culture, some things one might not even think of in one culture may be strictly taboo in another.

For instance, in India it is uncouth to show the soles of your feet. The feet are considered dirty and are to be kept hidden and on the ground. This is according to a few different websites on culture so I may have that off the mark a bit. But that’s the idea.

Also, apparently, in some cultures (this may just be in any culture and a part of female human nature), it is a slippery slope to compliment a woman. Especially when the compliment an obvious given. I recently was conversing with someone a world away culturally from my own. I complimented her from a picture of her I’d seen. This obviously didn’t go over well because she has not responded since. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was how I complimented her, or to the degree of my compliment.

At any rate, cultural difference is an oddity to me. May be because of the supposed melting pot of America that I live in. Heck, some cultures start wars over differences. “You show me your foot? I’ll show you my shovel with which I’ll dig your grave, you nerf herder!” Now, with the Star Wars herding reference, you can see how my sarcasm is a bit over the top.

All I’m saying, the next time you’re talking with someone from another land, take a small modicum of time maybe to find beforehand what makes them tick. And what ticks them off! You may get further without a resulting international incident.

Take care. And until my next installment . . .