The StorySLAM is a live storytelling competition in the vein of poetry slams organized since 2001 by The Moth, a non-profit literary society from New York City. Storytellers (called “slammers”) get 5 minutes each to tell a story based on a theme chosen for the event. No notes are allowed, and the stories must be told and not read. The events take place in cities across the US, and I found one in New Orleans, LA.
So, last week, after work, I drove down to New Orleans and signed up for the show. The theme for this show was Adventure. My story title was The Adventure of Officer Taylor.
And this is how it went….
The past sixteen years of my life has been one big Adventure. Narrowing it down to one story is hard, so, I would do so in two stories.
At age 19, I joined the Army, when I was 22 I got married and at 23 I became a Police Officer in Jackson, MS If I put a title on my story, it would be called “The Adventure of Officer Taylor.” In Jackson, I worked in a high-crime area. One night, while working the midnight shift, my shift decided to carry out an administrative checkpoint - in other words, we had a roadblock. So, at about 2am, we stopped cars on this one street asking for driver’s license and insurance. I noticed a car pull into a driveway right down from our roadblock. Now my policing style is called Community Policing, so I like to get to know the people I serve. I decided to walk down to the house and introduce myself.
“Hi, my name is Officer Taylor. We are checking driver’s licenses, trying to keep the neighborhood safe,” is what I planned to say. But as I was walking down, I realized the person wasn’t getting out of their car. So, I got to the window and asked him if he lived at the house. “Yes, Sir,” he said. Then I asked him for the address. “Hmmmmmmmm,” he replied. In the Police World, we call that a clue. I asked him to step out of the car, and as he opened the door, I could smell a very strong odor of marijuana coming from the car. I asked him to step to the rear of the vehicle.
“You are not under arrest, but I need to pat you down for your safety and mine,” I said. As I was patting him down, I noticed a digital scale in his front right pocket. I removed the scale, placed it on the car, and asked him to put his hands behind his back. At this time, a few other officers came down. One of the officers who was a Defensive End in College, and about 6ft 3ins and 275lbs, stood behind me and said, “I think you’ve got a good bust.” At that point, the suspect turned around and reached over my head and punched the other officer in the face; then, he ran. He struck the officer so hard, that he almost blacked out. I asked the officer if he was ok to which he said, “Yes! Go catch him!” With my handcuffs still in my hands, I took chase. I put the handcuffs back in my holder, grabbed my flashlight and ran into the night. The suspect was moving pretty fast and he was about 15 yards in front of me but I kept him in sight. We ran about a quarter of a mile, then he ran behind a house. I learned a long time ago, never run right behind someone when you lose sight of them in an unknown location. So, I stayed on the street and listened for where he was. I heard a fence shake and a thump on the ground and I can tell he was jumping the fence. So, as he jumped the fence, I just follow the noise on the street. After 3 or 4 houses, I didn’t hear any movement. I drew my weapon with my flashlight in my other hand and walked to the back of the house. There, I spotted the suspect on his hands and feet breathing extremely hard trying to crawl under a car. I told him to show me his hands and put them behind his back and I placed him in handcuffs. We found out that he had over $75,000 worth of crack cocaine in the vehicle and some extremely high-grade marijuana. He was arrested and taken to jail.
That was part one of my story at The Moth - Story Slam. I will tell you the second story in my next post.
As I told my story in a club called Café Istanbul in New Orleans on a Tuesday night, I learned that…
You Find Wisdom when you step out of your Comfort Zone.