Big Joe walked out of Royboy's garage one afternoon to be greeted by 8 shiny police cars streaming up the drive. "Oh Shit", he might have said. Joe was on his way to make a delivery. Joe was a full service weed dealer. In the driest times, you could count on Joe. He generally carried a variety of "hydro", Blueberry, Northern Lights, Kush and the most popular "Elvis" bud, as well as middlin commercial grades for budget minded users. Joe was always smiling, happy to be of service. Joe was also conscientious and punctual, traits that aren't often associated with dope dealers. Big Joe is big, btw, about 6'4 and somewhere around 340 lbs, hence the name.
I had stopped by Royboy's garage earlier that day to see if Joe was around to make a small purchase. He of course was, but an elderly neighbor of Royboy was over and feeling uncomfortable, said he would just swing by my place in about an hour.
Royboy's garage is a quintessential gearhead man cave. Quite large, 4 or 5 car sized, perhaps. HVAC equipped, even a toilet and shower. Fridges stocked with beer with several more cases stacked alongside. Hand tools, machine tools, drill press and lathes. Engine blocks in various states of assembly including the "Hemi" under a tarp. Cable television on 3 screens with surround sound. Comfy chairs and couches around one large table for friday night poker. I went to poker night once. It was more an orgy of booze, coke and weed being continuosly passed around until, within a short time, just to recognize your cards was a feat. No one seemed to care, the stakes were low and the party favors alone were worth anything you might lose. I went once. Those guys were freaking nuts. These aren't young guys. The age spread is from 45 to 60 with a couple of Nam vets in the mix. Victims of the "Peter Pan" syndrome, I guess. Royboy didn't do much except drink these days. I wonder when the last time he entered his home might have been. I know his wife and the likely reason he built the garage.
Enough of Royboy's garage.
Big Joe never showed that day. I called to see what was delaying him. No answer. No call returned I thought i'd pissed him off, but I couldn't think of a reason. The next day he returned the call to say: "it's over".. Someone had narc'd him out and had been making buys for the cops. He had a suspicion as to who it was, but wouldn't elaborate. I haven't spoken to Joe since then. I thought of the police watching my number show up on his caller ID. I don't know if he'd thought to turn off his phone. Big Joe was a painter by trade, I could always say I was calling about a job. But, I really didn't want to be in the position to be asked. Paranoid, I suppose. After all, why would the cops care about some guy buying a quarter bag? But then, why would they care about Big Joe? He was of no real status. Just a local small timer. - Paranoid, yes.
I did get a chuckle out of imagining the cops searching the garage, there's so much shit in there it could take days and I know, whatever Joe had with him was all there was.
I can't help thinking, with everything else that's going on in this town, the crack, the meth, the junk and the gang bangers, along with the rest of the drunken spazzed out miscreants on the streets, why Big Joe was a target. ... He wasn't hurting nobody.
What's below probably won't work, if it doesn't you can link here: www.imeem.com/mee4u/music/22E-0O3M/john-prine-aint-hurtin-nobody/Aint Hurtin Nobody - John Prine