Love and Death In Charlottesville

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Photographs of Old Cville by Paul Whitehead

True Stories by Jamie Dyer

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Agent 13

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Once upon a time, 1981 or so, you could drink for free in Charlottesville but you had to wait until after 3am or thereabouts and not mind a little petty larceny. The frat boys would pass out and my small crew and I would tour Fratville and enjoy their unfinished bottles and kegs. Being poor and white in a land of privilege had its occasional benefits for a teenager. Only once that I recall were we confronted. We were sitting on the back porch of a frathouse drinking purloined pre-dawn beer and a fratdude walked through. He saw what we were doing and said, "Just don't steal anything".

One early morning after yet another frutiful raid on Fort McDadsmoney, Lawson and I were stumbling down Chancellor Street near UVa. It must've been 4am. Lawson was the oldest hippie in captivity in Cville and lived in his parents' basement off Park Street. He was good at smoking my weed and not much else.

Lawson and I were near the corner of University Avenue and Chancellor Street, next to the bank. Without warning or provocation, I was attacked and accosted by a raving maniac.

"I'm Agent 13 of the ABC Board and you're under arrest!", he screamed.

While he was yelling, he grabbed me and threw me to the ground. It wasn't hard to do in my state. Scale of one to ten, I was a seven or an eight. Motor functions impaired yet still able to process the external world's input and retain some or many of the results.

Agent 13 grabbed me again and tried to pick me up off the ground. I was throwing as many drunken punches as I could, aiming for his face. Seemingly out of nowhere, a cop showed up and subdued and arrested Agent 13 but he had to untangle Agent 13 from me first. Lawson knew that discretion was the better part of valor and he exercised this discretion whenever necessary so he was nowhere to be seen. After a not very graceful few minutes, Agent 13 was in cuffs and the cop was telling me that he'd had an eye on Agent 13 all night. My attacker had gone into the police station earlier in the evening and told them that he was Agent 13 from the ABC Board and he needed a walkie-talkie. They sent him on his way without the walkie-talkie but spread the word to other cops about him. Apparently, the first worthwhile arrestable offense Agent 13 had committed was attacking me in the street.

The officer was urging me to go to the magistrate and file the complaint myself. I should have been arrested for being drunk in public but I went. The cop gave me a ride. I was really angry at Agent 13. I stood before the magistrate, conscious of the fact that I wasn't fit for sober society at that moment, and signed, filed and swore that a crime had indeed been committed upon my person.

Nothing ever came of it. I heard that Agent 13 ended up in a psych facility somewhere and I had the impression that his family had means and made it go away. I didn't pursue it. I got over being mad at Agent 13. We all go crazy sometimes.

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