Squid vs. Whale
Felt up by a 72-year-old man. A true encounter with the NYPD lush unit.
Herein lies the tale of one fateful night, a subway ride, and the story of how my friend got felt up by a 72-year-old man and was presumed dead, as told from his point of view. Names have been changed to protect the humiliated.
I was on my way back home. This was after my brother’s bachelor party. He was going balls to the wall and around 2 a.m. I realized no amount of booze and rallying would allow me to keep pace so I decided to head back. I made it as far as the subway. Well not exactly — I got on the subway, checked the stop and made sure I was going in the right direction. The last I saw was a sign for Hunter College and 58th street.
And then I woke up. I looked out the window: Hunter College and 58th St. One stop from home, except now I’d passed out, gone all the way to Brooklyn and back, and was going the wrong direction. I can’t stress this enough, I was passed out all the way to Brooklyn and back.
I checked my pockets. Keys, wallet still intact, but no iPhone. Oh well, I thought, shit happens. At least I didn’t wake up in a ditch near Queens.
I managed to get back on the right direction, stumbled home, and passed out.
Next morning around dawn, there was a knock on my door. My neighbor. Apparently my mother was freaking out. They’d been calling my friends, my neighbors, everybody, trying to get a hold of me. I was still kinda hammered, so it was hard to follow. But as my neighbor informed, Officer Capistrano of the NYPD lush unit has my iPhone. He’s called my parents. The conversation went something like this: “Ma’am. We have your son’s phone. We found his phone when we arrested this fellow who has a long rap sheet of molesting and robbing people on the subway. No idea where your son is. Thanks, bye.”
This is the worst possible way to find out that you’ve been molested. By a 72-year-old man. And that your parents still think you’re dead.
I called my parents, calmed them down. My head still hurt. Then I headed over to Queens, where officer Capistrano had my phone.
I got there. Officer Capistrano came up to me. “Can I have my phone back?” I asked.
“Great son, you can have it back, but would it be possible for you to make a statement to the D.A.?”
“Sure,” I replied.
“Great, have a seat, and we’ll find him.”
This was false advertising. He should have said, “Great, have a seat and watch Sports Center for the next three hours.” After three hours, the play of the day was not nearly as exciting, but Linda Cohn became weirdly attractive. I saw Officer Capistrano and another detective at a desk. The entire time, they’re typing out a police report, hunting and pecking. It was painful to watch.
“Can I help you out?” I asked, “I can type pretty fast.”
“No thanks son, here have a bag of Skittles.”
Officer Capistrano does not give a shit that I did 77 wpm on Mavis Beacon. Anyway, I sorted my Skittles by color and ate them. Hunt and peck. Blue Skittle, orange Skittle.
Finally Officer Capistrano showed up with the prosecutor from the D.A.’s office. They put us in a room.
They were really excited that I could give a statement. They kept referring to me as a cooperating witness, if by “cooperating” you meant that I got felt up by a 72-year-old.
The guy they arrested had a long rap sheet, his M.O. was going around the subway stealing from passed out hipsters, hence the lush unit was involved. He uses a knife to slice open pockets. I made it easy on him. I probably had my iPhone in my hand when I passed out.
“Tell me exactly what happened,” The prosecutor asked.
“Ok, this is embarrassing but —” I began.
“Son,” Officer Capistrano interrupted, “we’re the NYPD lush unit. Try us.”
“You’ve got a point there.”
I proceeded to tell him how I passed out and lost my iPhone.
Officer Capistrano went on, “You have any idea when the crime took place?”
“Absolutely. Between 58th and Hunter College and 58th and Hunter College.”
Lush unit. They laughed. They finished their notes. The preosecutor pats me on the back. “Thanks to your statement I think we can lock him up for good. Thanks for your help.”
It’s Sunday. The police are complimenting me on getting felt up by a 72-year-old while passed out on the train. Nice. They leave me to talk and I returned to watching Sports Center.
Around 4 p.m. They thank me again for being a cooperative witness, I mean victim. I didn’t know there was any other kind. Although I do feel victimized, mostly for spending all of my Sunday at a police station.
They handed me my iPhone and made me sign some more paperwork.
“Sorry to ruin your day,” Officer Capistrano said, “Any plans?”
“I’m thinking about getting some beers and riding the subway to Brooklyn and back.”