Sunday, March 28, 2010

How to Avoid a Light Rail Ticket

How to Avoid a Light Rail Ticket

I had been drinking the night before and was sipping off the hair-of-the-dog on the light rail this morning, killing time and takin' naps, when two police officers approach me asking for proof of fare. I hadn't drank in two months. Thankfully, I'd thought ahead and did not pocket my wallet. I'd been warned about the $180 fine, but thought little of it in my inebriated state.

One officer questioned me while the other stood in the isle to block my escape, which I thought was amusing. Where was I going to go? There are no handles on a speeding train. To the best of my knowledge, the conversation went something like this:

The officer woke me with, “May I see your ticket?”
“Sure,” I said while I fumbled for the non-existent boarding pass. “I'm sorry, I must have dropped it.”
“May I see your Minnesota ID please?,” He asked.
“I'm sorry. My wallet was just stolen,” I replied, not far from the truth. It was stolen months ago, and I'd just gotten my ID back, but I wasn't going to show them that.
“What's your name?,” he asked.
I've never given a police officer an alias before, and always wondered what path this would lead me down. I had one ready, “Brad Clark.”
“What's your middle name?,” he quickly asked.
Off the top of my head, I used my dad's middle name, “Joseph”.
He phoned in my name. “You know there's a fine for riding the rail without a ticket.”
I nodded, “I know. I must've dropped it,” I repeated.
“Where did you purchase it?”
“Mall of America.”
“Where do you live?”
“Homeless,” I mumbled.
“...No Brad Joseph Clark on file,” the radio squawked.
“We don't have you on file, sir,” the officer stated.
“I just moved here,” I replied.
“From where?”
“How long ago?”
“About a month ago.”
He rolled his eyes, then called to stop the train. “Step out!” Officer two stepped aside to let me pass.
I got up and stepped out of the train.
Looking me straight in the eye, he said, “Don't get back on this train!”
“Yes sir,” I said withholding my inner-smirk.
They left me within walking distance of where I wanted to go, but didn't really want to walk. I had an errand to do, so I took a look at the fare machine and said, “Why not?” I bought a ticket and got back on the train. What was he going to do?
If he would have arrested me, I would've replied, “Oh good, three hots and a cot.” I think he knew that. If he had, however, I'm sure he'd have search my backpack and found my wallet and ID. I plaid the homeless poker bluff.
But, I really wonder why he didn't give me a ticket in my alias?

-- Without Wax

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