A few weeks ago I got caught barefoot in Prospect Park with a pineapple, two Asian pears and a carving knife. It was pretty embarrassing. Luckily the cops didn't check the bag I was holding and I only got a summons for being in the park after closing.
Recently I got another summons for once again flouting society's conventions in a freewheeling yet laid-back fashion (think the Fonz with better hair), which brought to mind the first summons, causing me to realize I had missed the court date. I called the courts system. The woman there warned me SIR report to court right away THERE IS A WARRANT OUR FOR YOUR ARREST and I floated along the rest of the day on the kind of whimsical jetstream that only comes with being a fugitive from justice.
I was to report to the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Besides housing the Justice Center and some very large stores Red Hook is famous for :
a) existing as a total void of subway transportation
b) smelling kind of weird
c) being the last place murder victims stop before being dumped in the East River.
Also there's an IKEA there now if you're interested in buying a couch and carrying it on a special shuttle bus and then onto the subway and then back to your shitty apartment.
Since I don't clean bathrooms for a living I don't take the bus which means I had to walk a mile through Red Hook to the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Here I sat on a hard bench, commingling with the dregs of society and learning curse words in various inferior languages. You woulnd't believe some of the crimes these guys were here for. Trespassing in a park. Being in a park past closing time. Failure to show ID when asked by an officer (pretty sure this also happened in a park). Seriously, from what I glimpsed here about 90% of the city's crime is people hanging out in the park after dark, just havin' a time. The other 10% is traffic violations and Chinese women creating disturbances.
Eventually I had my five seconds with the judge where my summons was immediately dismissed and I realized that the real punishment was having to walk to the court. I hope they have realized this and put the court here (there's another court in Downtown Brooklyn which is a lot easier to get to, so I assume that one is reserved for actual crimes) as a tricky means of easily punishing people rather than another grand municipal failure (have you ever been to the Brooklyn Navy Yard? Sheesh).
Finally, on the way home I wrote a blues song about having to walk to court so in the end it was all kind of worth it. Here it is:
PARK CITATION BLUES
*sung to the tune of every other blues song ever written*
Oh lawd i've been cursed with unrest and strife
LAWD I' BEEN CURSED WITH UNREST AND STRIFE
caught in tha park wit' a pineapple and a knife
Policeman said now what you doin' hea'
POLICEMAN SAID NOW WHATCHU DOIN HEA'
found myself a'trembalin' with fea'
The Parks Commission dey put me ahn trial
AHH THE PAAKS COMMISSION DEY PUT ME AHN TRIAL
Gotta fold my slip and walk that lonely mile
I combed mah hair put on mah sunday shoes
AH COMBED MAH HAIR PUT ON MAH SUNDAY SHOES
Lawd you know me I got them po' boy blues.
The sun so hot, citations on mah mind
SUN SO HOT CITATIONS ON MY MIND
Ask mahself why this city so unkind
The judge he say "boy that park done close at nine"
THAT JUDGE HE SAY THAT PARK IT CLOSE AT NINE
He say 'you understand this now?' and I say fine
Oh no fines lawd and I'm free at last
AH NO FINES LAWD AND I AM FREE AT LAST
Get into work at eleven and thirty past