I remember us all being so high afterwards. Natural high. Like we’re together. We can take on the world.
I’m running around handing out new leaflets with Gus and Billy. Joan gave them to us. They’re like the ones at the demo but different. The next step in the struggle. Forming a united front against imperialism, like.
Now’s the time to redouble our efforts, while the demonstration has brought the issues to the forefront, Joan said. There will be a meeting in a few days to organize the new front.
So we spend the rest of the day taking the leaflets all over downtown. My back starts stiffening up and for a lot of the time I’m sitting, holding bags of leaflets, while Gus and Billy pass them out on corners or run through traffic at red lights pushing them through open windows. Most people are great. They take the leaflets. Say good things or say nothing. Only the odd persson says something rude or wants to argue.
We hit the downtown youth hostel and half the kids wanna talk about the demo. They gather round us like we ran the thing instead of just being some guys handing out leaflets. They wanna do something. We’re the only organizers to come around afterwards and they listen to us. We’re not real experienced in this and we can’t talk like Joan and those guys, but I guess we’re okay. Maybe cause we don’t seem like experienced politicos, we’re just like them. They take the leaflets and some of them actually go sit on their beds and read them. Before this I’d hardly seen anyone more than glance at them but these guys are reading them all the way through. They’re gonna come join the front, they say. Though I’d believe it when I saw it.
So we leave a stack there for the kids that come in later and we head over to the beach. It’s sorta the same there except more spaced out. The freaks don’t gather around us, but when we go to their huts or wherever they are, they’re interested and they say, “Right on.”
Billy says let’s go over to Fourth. Gus thinks maybe it isn’t such a good idea. We’re supposed to be hitting all the people in downtown Vancouver, not focusing on the freaks. But Billy and me say freaks are people too and he has to agree with us, so we head across the bridge. And that’s where we saw the bust.
Actually we didn’t see the bust. We got to Fourth and there’s two cop cars in front of this head shop, just pulling away from a group of people. Someone in the crowd banged on the trunk of the second car as it drove off. In the back I thought I saw someone.
“Was that Picket?”
“That’s Roger in the other one,” Gus said.
The crowd still stood in a circle where the cop cars had been. I think the freaks musta been giving the cops a hard time cause some of them had that look on their face, like angry but excited and not wanting it to end.
Billy went up to them. “We know those dudes, man. What happened?”
No one had the whole story.
“Pigs just wheeled up and took them. Weren’t doing nothing.”
“Some narc got them first and the others came outa nowhere.”
“Claimed they were dealing it.”
“Few ounces of weed, man.”
“Hash. A tiny chunk.”
The best we could figure was Picket and Roger had scored some dope, maybe at the demo. They musta smoked some and came back to Fourth to sell the rest. Sold some to a narc.
Someone told us where the nearest police station was, fifteen minutes away, and we hurried over.
We told the cop at the counter our friends had been arrested and he looked it up on a clipboard. “Not here,” he said.
“They woulda just got here,” said Gus.
“May I take your names, gentleman?”
“We just wanna know what’s happening with them.”
“Wait over there. I’ll let you know when I find out.”
We sat on some wooden benches while the cop behind the counter didn’t seem to do much of anything. Why was he making us wait here? I said. To the others. Maybe he was calling some other cops to come and pick us up too. Maybe they already got warrants or things out for our arrests too. Gus of course told me to relax, that was stupid talk.
After twenty minutes, Gus asked the cop again what was going on.
“I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait, sir. There’s paperwork for these things.”
“Can you see if this is the place they were brought?”
“If they were arrested on Fourth, this is it.”
“Can we use a phone?” I asked.
“Pay phone just outside the front door.”
I called the house.
Wesley answered. I didn’t want to get into it with him but Norbert wasn’t there.
“Picket and Roger have been arrested,” I told Wesley. “Possession. Maybe dealing.”
“You see it go down?” Wesley said.
“Just missed it. We’re trying to get in and see them at the cop shop but I dunno, man. These cops.”
“Which cops? Do you know their names? Or which station?”
I told him where we were. “But what does that matter?” I said. “We just wanna know what to do. Like you or Norbert would know. Like should we even stay here or what?”
There was a silence for a few seconds at the other end. Then, “I might be leaving this town.”
I didn’t know what that had to do with anything at the moment.
“For good. It’s an evil life, Mark. Soul-destroying.”
“Yeah, well, right now we just wanna help Picket and Roger.”
“They can only help themselves.”
“Tell Norbert when he comes in what happened,” I said.
Back in the waiting room Gus asked, “What’d Norbert say?”
When Billy went looking for a washroom, I said to Gus, “You think Wesley could have anything to do with this?”
“He’s being kinda strange,” I said.
“Compared to what?”
The cop finally waved us over. “They’ve been booked. Possession of an illegal narcotic, trafficking and vagrancy.”
“Vagrancy?” I said.
“No fixed address.”
“But they live with us.”
“And where would that be, son?”
“Forget it,” said Gus. “Is it illegal not to have an address?”
“That’s basically the definition of vagrancy.”
We couldn’t see them cause they were being processed but we could come to court in the morning when they’d be up before a magistrate. In the meantime they were spending the night in jail.