By MIKE VINSON
I'd been warned, over-and-over, about the hazards of going against the 'grain' regarding my journalistic approach. "Mike, you're in too deep with these politically incorrect articles," an attorney friend warned.
"What if I'm telling the truth?" I challenged.
"The truth?!" the attorney wailed. "Are you so guilelessly ignorant that you believe, for a micro second, the System actually stresses over the truth, when a deceptive canard will better serve the collective whole?"
"But I ..."
"Stop, right there!" the attorney demanded, throwing his right hand in the air. "Listen to me, and listen closely: When it comes to historically controversial issues, the truth has consistently played a subordinate role to success. Careers, pensions, luxury homes, Italian sport cars, designer threads, and Grey Goose martinis definitely take priority over divulging to the public the unequivocal truth, if there is enough at stake. Do you think Donald Trump became president of the United States by telling the truth? No, he became president because he is a master of prevarication."
With that, the attorney commenced walking briskly down Main Street towards his office, his Hartman valise swinging in sync with the pace. He halted mid-stride, spun his head around 180-degree-Exorcist style, and hollered, "Don't call me when They handcuff you and spirit you away to parts unknown, never to be seen nor heard from again!"
As I watched my attorney friend disappear around the corner, I backtracked my writing career. True enough, I had touched on sensitive subject matter: the JFK assassination, the Martin Luther King assassination, the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, etc. Could it be that I had dived in headfirst and was in so deep I could no longer see the surface?
Read the following, and you be the judge ...
It was a few days later, a Friday, about dusk, and I was driving down the Bypass in McMinnville, Tennessee. Listening to the popular rock radio station FM 105.9, I lost track of just how fast I was driving. Next thing I knew, blue lights were flashing, a siren roaring. I pulled to the shoulder, came to a stop, and rolled down the driver's side window. A city policeman pulled in behind me, exited his cruiser, and walked up to my driver's side. With a professional tone, the officer asked, "Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?"
"I have no idea, officer."
"You were speeding. Can I see your driver's license and vehicle registration, please."
I handed the policeman my license and registration. He walked back to his cruiser, checked the pertinent data, and walked back to my driver's side.
"Mr. Vinson, everything checks out, but I'm going to have to write you a speeding ticket. First, though, I must ask: Do you have any illegal weapons or drugs in your vehicle?"
"Well, I have an Uzi machine gun in the trunk."
"Anything else?" the policeman asked, eyebrows furrowed.
"Yeah, there's a bag of loot and a female bank clerk bound and gagged in the trunk, also. I just robbed a bank and took the chick hostage, in case I need leverage."
The officer jumped backwards and immediately pulled his Glock 10mm pistol from his holster. "Put your hands on top of the steering wheel, and don't make a move!" he sternly ordered.
I complied, and the policeman, Glock trained on my head, proceeded to call for back-up. In a matter of seconds, an assortment of Dodge Chargers, SUVs, and HUMVEES came sliding in, sirens blaring, blue lights flashing. Approximately 10 law enforcement personnel surrounded my Ford Taurus.
The detective in charge walked up to the driver's side. Coincidentally, I happened to be personally acquainted with the detective. Right hand on his holster, a disturbed expression on his face, he said, "Mike, we received a call that you've robbed a bank, have a machine gun, cash, and a hostage inside your trunk. That true?"
"Nope," I replied.
"Tell you what," the detective continued, "put your left hand through the window, remove the keys from the ignition with your right hand, slowly exit the car, and walk to the rear--I don't want this to end badly!" While I did as ordered, the detective opened my driver's side door. I exited the vehicle and walked to the rear of my car.
"Open the trunk," the detective ordered. As I slid the trunk key inside the slot, highly audible metallic clicks--CA-SHEEK ... CA-SHEEK--collided with the silence induced by the unnerving situation at hand. The trunk lid flew open, and there was nothing there save a spare tire, a hydraulic jack, and a 4-way lug wrench.
The detective turned to the officer who'd pulled me over and angrily spat, "You called in and reported that he'd just robbed a bank and had a weapon, a hostage, and cash in the trunk!"
"That's what he told me!" the junior officer exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air.
I nudged the detective and said, "Next thing you know, he'll claim I was speeding."
I know-I know, I fell headfirst, too, the first time I heard it.