My Cancer Story Ch. 66 “That Time We Almost Got Arrested”

Chapter 66: “That Time We Almost Got Arrested”

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“This summer couldn’t have been more fun!” I thought the weekend that I was almost arrested for I was about to experience the most stressful NON-cancer related moment in my young life…


…All two days before my first days at UMaine Orono.


Aside from my orientation at the college, (which we’ll get to later) we spent the summer like it was cocaine-covered hundred dollar bills. We threw that shit everywhere and didn’t even think to balance a single checkbook.


It all began with my birthday. I made it another year. This time, I was twenty-one, the hallowed age for myriad wannabe drunk teens. Normally, those freshly minted “adults” go overboard at the bars and wind up hugging the Porcelain Gods but as a non-drinker, I just wanted to hang out with friends at my apartment. Naturally, my friends drank all the alcohol in sight on my behalf.

During these parties, I loved to make an ass of myself. It was much easier to get my friends to laugh when they were drunk and most times they wouldn’t even remember it the next morning. Plus, if they needed a ride I was still able to drive for them; it was a great place to be.


The Fourth of July celebration quickly followed and Bangor proved their devotion to the Holiday by setting off enough fireworks to lighten the night sky. We walked downtown to the Seadog Brewing Company to watch the show by the river. I had never seen these many fireworks in one show anywhere else up to this point.


The summer fun continued as we were allowed the time to learn the ins and outs of the area and yes, I was still be called “Mr. Bangor.”


We spent a lot of time scoping out local swimming holes. We found this small lake in Brewer that we would frequent and once we snuck over to our friend Nikki’s parents’ house to swim in their pool.










One Saturday afternoon, Dan, Nikki, Shawn, and I stopped at this small landing off of a lake on the way to Bar Harbor. We made a fire and cooked some hot dogs. They drank beer, while I drank Sunkist. We took some photos and had a blast.










It got so hot that summer that any swimming was a welcomed respite. I was so desperate to cool down that I even shaved my head to stave off potential heatstroke.










My eye for photography was slowly coming into focus despite no professional training. I had taken so many videos and pictures over the past two years that a feel for style and rule of thirds had come naturally.










Shawn’s Dad came up to visit us, driving up in a gorgeous classic car.










All of the fun we were enjoying couldn’t have prevented the impending school semester and with it, the unnerving school orientation. I was going to a completely new school in an area where I hadn’t known a single person – and like clockwork – I got lost on the campus (I TOLD you it was big!). When I found the building and sat down to hear the faculty speak, I noticed Kyle, the guy who worked with Shawn and Keith at Paradis. This may not be so bad after all. We sat together like giggling schoolboys (within earshot of everyone nearby) making fun of how boring the orientation had proved to be. Some students gave us dirty looks; others didn’t care. Nor did we.


By this time, Kyle was over frequently anyway, but it was at this point that we formed a sort of kinship and bonded. Once I heard he loved playing Smash Brothers, I knew we were to be fast friends.








As the summer wound down, “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley became the anthem for the season and we took the meaning to heart. So much so, that our last big summer party proved to be one of the most stressful moments of my entire life.


It all began when some former co-workers of Shawn’s from Paradis in Fort Kent, John and a few others had come down to Bangor to go to the American Folk Festival. This Festival was an annual event that the town had hosted that welcomed thousands of musicians and artists from all over the world to celebrate art and its effect on life.


Most of us decided to hang out at the apartment and have a great time instead of attending this festival (as we did the night before). A few people had invited some of their friends and the number of people in our apartment was getting out of hand. Luckily, we had an empty apartment under us, our friends as our nearest neighbors, and a brick wall separating us from the other apartments on the left side of the duplex. So we were in a great spot for parties. We never got too out of hand to warrant any trouble, which was good because we had many underage people drinking including my brother and my cousin (down from Caribou) and Kyle to name a few out of the twenty or so there.


After a few eventless hours, a couple and their male friend came to the party. I asked around and no one knew these people. Surely, someone knew them! The girl was TRASHY. She hopped up on her boyfriend – who was sitting on the couch – and began to grind on him, gyrating her nasty crotch over his. She looked like an airhead model crossed with a crack whore. It was NOT a good scene. The other females at the party – people we knew – were giving her dirty looks as this lap dance unfolded.


She grew angry and exclaimed to her boyfriend “Let’s go, I don’t need all of these bitches giving me shit!” As they left, they forgot the other guy who was too drunk to take care of himself. At least this guy was respectful of our apartment– he even put the toilet seat down for the ladies!


Later, this same guy got a call from the aforementioned tramp. She asked to talk to the “bitches” that had “done her wrong.” He reluctantly handed the phone over to one of our friends and they began to yell at each other. The girlfriend quickly hung up and one of my other female friends decides she hasn’t had enough. She calls her back and continues the fight where the other woman left off.


The girlfriend threatened to call the cops. Now, at this point, the three tenants of the apartment (myself included) had literally nothing to do with this spat. We didn’t interact with them and they with us. The friend begged her not to as he didn’t have anywhere to go. What a friend SHE was. She plainly said, “Just leave then,” But she failed to realize logistically how this inebriated fellow could do such a thing on his own.


He spent the next half hour sobering up on the chair in the living room. I had given him some water and he was feeling much better. One of our invited guests left to smoke a cigarette and a second later there was a knock on the door. I assumed the door got locked as they left and I went to let them in.


There stood a Bangor Police Officer who was about six-foot, five. He looked me down – the ONLY sober person at this party – and asked if I lived in the apartment. I nodded then he proceeded to explain that there was a noise complaint. That stupid bitch! What was she trying to do, get back at those girls who DON’T live here?!


He asked for my license and inquired if there were any persons under the age of 21 here. “Not that I know of, sir.” I was so full of it. “Well, I know for a fact that there is a nineteen-year-old girl out front, smashed.” My heart dropped and I shat bricks. My fear revealed itself as I began to shake; visibly terrified. There was no hiding it for I knew that not only did we have lots of underage teens drinking on this floor alone but also upstairs in Shawn and Keith’s bedroom, they were smoking lots of weed.


By now, we had a few cops up at our front door. Dan saw the Men in Blue and he and Parker (our neighbors) walked by, on one hand helping us out by shutting the door to Shawn’s room and on the other simply telling the cops that they lived next door. The cops let them go and snuck into their apartment. Right before the door shut, I saw Dan in the crack of the door in front of the cops look at me in shock.


The tall cop said that if we didn’t tell everybody to leave then I was going to prison. I ran around the apartment and told everybody to leave. Slowly, but surely, people in the main floor vacated and I had hoped that this would blow over. But the cops heard laughter from upstairs. “Is there anyone upstairs?”


Before I could answer, the other cop chimed “Let’s go check.” I quickly replied, “I’ll go get them!” I pounded on the door and heard someone tumbling down the stairs. It sounded like a boulder had cascaded down the carpeted staircase. I thought for sure they had heard the cops in the apartment and were justifiably panicking. As soon as I opened the door the guy saw the flashlights and bolted up the stairs. I ran up behind him and shouted, “Guys! Everybody OUT! The COPS ARE HERE!”


No one believed me; they just sat there in disbelief. I continued, “GUYS IF YOU DON’T GET OUT I’M GOING TO JAIL!” This time, it registered. Everybody ran out. The guy who fell downstairs pretended to fall asleep on one bed. The only people left were Shawn and my cousin, Jason. Jason panicked shouting, “What do I do?!” Shawn pushed him on Keith’s bed and he dropped like a rock. Shawn looked around for something to do.


Everybody else left. I followed them to ensure this night would end with me sleeping in my bed and not near some burly bear named Roscoe.


I, again, faced the towering officer. He pushed his hand towards his face in a wafting motion and in the deepest tone he could muster boomed, “You just brought the smell of dope with you, boy.” I played the stupid card, “Really?!” The other cops confirmed it as the group of stoners passed them by. The tall cop listed off our crimes as though we had already been convicted: “Providing a place for minors, possession of marijuana.” He shook his head. “Let’s go upstairs.”


I lead the way up to my arrest. I knew I was fucked. There was no way we were coming out of this one. As we reached the room, all we saw through the thick smoke was Shawn sitting by himself in front of the TV on the lone chair in the room. The cops’ flashlights barely pushed through the thick smoke making the room look like a laser light show. My cousin Jason and the other guy “passed out” on their respective beds. The tall cop (who had to bend over he was so fucking tall) demanded, “I want all of the pot left here, right now.”


Shawn finally paid attention to them (like my trembling was another sign we were guilty). Shawn was quick to assist the officer. “All that is left is in here.” He showed them a smudge on the inside of a garbage can where one of the guys recently put out their blunt. Had the cops searched the guys who just left, they would have found the entirety of the non-used weed they could have ever wanted.


The officer insisted that we searched the dressers for dope. Shawn went into Keith’s dresser and began tearing it apart. I figured, what the hell and began whipping everything out of Shawn’s in a frenzy. We knew we wouldn’t find anything, but it was cathartic to mess up Shawn’s dresser because this group was in his room and I had spent my night playing unofficial host, dealing with drunks and the cops.


Just then, the cops got a call about an erratic driver across the street at Miller Drug. I immediately thought that someone from here had driven home drunk in front of the cops. The cops must have had a similar notion. We were fucked. The giant officer explained the situation to us: “Listen, we’re very busy tonight being the Folk Festival’s on now, so we’re going to give you a warning. We’re going to write a report that this place is for dope smoking and providing a place for minors to drink. I’m going to let you sweat this one out because if anyone is caught driving drunk or gets in an accident you’re going to jail. We will bring you to Windham tonight.”


I finally went outside and witnessed the crime scene everyone else had witnessed while driving by our apartment. Two cop cars flanked our entrance as everyone from our core group scattered. A group of our closest friends walked a few blocks to hang out in one of their parents’ homes. Another group called a cab to circle the block a few times.


My brother was the only one left at the front of the house. They wanted every minor gone; him too but he was staying with us and we couldn’t tell the cops that. So we called him a cab and had him go to McDonald’s on Broadway because it was the only twenty-four hour one in town Our plan was to get him once this all blew over.


As Travis left, the tall cop came downstairs and flipped his Maglite flashlight in his hand and holstered it like a cowboy. “Looks like a job well-done boys.” What a prick.


The cops finally left after what seemed like an hour of heart palpitations. We personally watched the last cruiser leave from my bedroom window. What came next was a mess of housekeeping. We sorted the purses and cell phones left in the mass exodus and at the same time tried to locate all of our close friends. We finally got around to picking up Travis after almost an hour. It was a cooler night and I felt terrible about it especially since we found out that the McDonald’s lobby wasn’t open 24/7. Whoops.


John and the others who made the right choice and attended the Folk Festival were texted earlier and told to hang out until this whole thing blew over and they were finally able to return. Well, maybe it wasn’t a bad thing that I was there. I was the sober one able to get everyone out (and their drugs) before anyone could get busted for it. I suppose my place in this group was the intermediary between jail time and freedom.



When we all regrouped we collectively decided at that moment to head over to Denny’s for a late night celebration. There were eleven of us adding to an already busy night at the corporate diner chain. Everyone else had been laughing profusely that I, the lone sober person, had to deal with the cops, but it was here that I too was able to laugh with them. Shawn and I marveled at how we managed to evade handcuffs. Nevertheless, I was still uneasy because we didn’t know for sure if anyone would still have been pulled over for drunk driving coming from our place but in this moment, it was good to laugh.


Well, at least we didn’t get arrested before I began my first classes at the University of Maine Orono in two days. I looked at my cell phone. It was 2:40. Oh damn, that first one is at 8 AM Monday morning… better get some sleep.

-Jamie (@GuyOnAWire)

This is an ongoing story of my personal battle with Cancer. My hope is that it helps others who are currently experiencing their own battles (whether it be for themselves or a loved one) or to help with early detection.

The way I’m doing it is terrifying for a writerI’m writing a publically available first-draft outline for an eventual book, chapter by chapter in weekly form. The only reason I’m doing it this way is to get the story out as soon as possible for someone out there who needs a survivor to visit them during their own treatment. If you’re reading this and need someone to talk to, tweet at me and I’ll give you a call. No questions asked. This story is for you and I’ll help any way that I can.

Stay tuned, as I will be posting a new chapter every Monday until the story is complete.

And remember if you experience any Anemic symptoms– get checked for Leukemia as well.

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Ch.66_Bangor Arrest
Maine State Police trooper Tucker Bonnevie takes Jamie Gagnon into custody on Saturday in Bangor in connection with a party housing underage drinking and marijuana use on State Street in Bangor.


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