Old Mike Hits Bottom - A CriMemoir by Mike Miner
This was Old Mike. He has since retired. My memories of that morning are vivid. That familiar sensation, fuzzy brained, but certain that I was in big trouble and in no particular hurry to find out exactly how much.
Other memories, less pleasant.
A cop's flashlight in my face.
I knew the drill by now. Forward and backward.
This was my third DUI. Second within the past year. I remember because my probation had just ended on the last one.
As the police cruiser pulled away, with me handcuffed in the back seat, I considered the likely consequences.
Fines. Lawyers. Probation. Suspended license. Court ordered rehab. Shit. Shit. SHIT.
And worst of all, the wrath of my lovely wife.
This is about me hitting bottom. I hadn't yet, not quite.
First, I needed to get processed out. They gave me back my watch, my shoes, my wedding ring. For some reason they needed another thumb print even though they took all my prints the night before.
I made bail, apparently.
I knew who paid it. Again.
I was free to go, they told me. She was waiting in the lobby. I walked down a lonely hallway, up a staircase, kept company by the sound of my footsteps and my own guilty thoughts. The door to the lobby had a window in it and I saw my pathetic reflection and thought, how on earth could anyone be here, ready to pick me up and take me home again. I looked at myself and wondered, not for the first time, what the hell she possibly saw in me worth staying for.
This wasn't the first time. Or the second. Five years of this, give or take.
A deep breath before I pushed open the door. In the glass, I could see the scar above my left eye where I sliced it open in a drunken car accident on an icy road. I spent the night getting stitched up in an emergency room. Guess who was there to take me home?
And here she was again.
In the movie version, no doubt Tammy Wynette's voice would sing in the background, “Stand By Your Man.”
In the lobby of the Beverly Hills Police Department, she said, “What am I gonna do with you?”
I said, “I'm all done, babe.” And I was. I didn't ever want to see that look on her face again.
She had no reason to believe me. But so far, so good.
Do I miss it? The bright lights and the big city? Sometimes. When my kids are howling at each other like wolves or my wife's handing me another honey do list. Sure. I remember the soothing bite of an ice cold martini at Musso & Frank's. The burn of a Maker's Mark, neat, at Bar Marmont. The sting of rum in a mai tai from the Formosa Café. I could go on. But I've been there. Done that.
I don't miss waking up in jail. Don't miss the hangovers, the lawyers, the rehab.