Can I search you? Following his love of music, an Irishman tours the American south. After several questionable decisions, he wakes with a sense of dread, wondering what consequences he faces for the previous night out.
Conor: It was pretty stupid. I don’t really wanna think about. [Laughs]
Me: Were you there by yourself?
Conor: Yeah. My brother lives in North Carolina, and he got married there. I did a trip from D.C. down to New Orleans. Stopped in a lot of places.
Me: That’s a long bus ride.
Conor: Yeah, well I did it over six weeks. I’m really into music, so I went to all the music places. I stopped in Nashville, I went down to New Orleans, and Clarksdale, Mississippi. I love the music of the south, and I went to Memphis. What I learned about Memphis is that it was a hub of black culture back before the civil rights movement.
It’s where Duke Ellington would have gone to party.
I’m really into all that music down there. It was on Blues Street that they used to do all this stuff, all these clubs with this crazy amazing jazz and blues going on. And when MLK got shot, one angle I heard is the local government just knocked it all down built car parks, just destroyed the hub of culture That’s an angle, I’m not sure how true it is.
So I went there. They rebuilt it as a tourist place in the 90s. I got there and was really shocked that maybe two miles of road on either end is police. Four squad cars and loads of armed police just protecting the tourists at night. It feels like it’s not safe.
So I went out, got really drunk, had an absolute great time. I met this guy and asked if he had any weed. He told me he would get me some weed.
“Yeah, I’ll get you some weed. Just give me $20.”
“Well you give me something, because I think you’re not gonna come back.” And he gave me his phone. OK.
Then he came back. “So, I couldn’t get weed, but I got this.”
Me:That was his plan all along!
Conor: [Laughs] Then he asked “Where we gonna smoke it?”
I brought him back to the hotel room, but I was sharing the hotel room. There was a guy asleep in the room. So I stopped the guy at the front door.
I told him “Look, in Ireland, there’s are no guns. The police don’t have guns.” Well, there are guns now.
I ask “Can I search you?”
“Yeah, go on.”
First, I found a flip knife, like a butterfly knife.
Me: You frisked the guy that brought you the crack?
Conor: [Laughs] Yeah.
Me: That’s awesome!
So, I told him “A knife? I’m gonna hold onto this while we do this.”
So we went in. One guy was asleep, so we just sat next to him smoking crack. And then he left. And the next morning, I woke up with a horrendous hangover, and the fear. Terrified.
I checked my pockets, and I still had his phone. I checked the messages. There were all these messages “I’ll gonna fucking kill you, you stole my car! I’m going to find you tonight, and I’m going to kill you!” These people were accusing him of stealing their car.
Me: So, this guy stole someone’s car, and you had his phone?
Conor: Yeah. So, I just got up, checked out, threw the phone in the bin, and got the first bus anywhere. I could have got myself in trouble, but the guy turned out to be fine. But it was more the guy in the room. Imagine waking up to someone doing that?
Me: I bet if you said “No, I’m Irish,” he would have said “Oh! You’re from Ireland?” Americans love foreigners.
Conor: It was like that, yeah. It was fine, but it just could have been… yeah.
Like reading stories about people getting in over their head? Try this one about an American driving through Europe to find Plan B after a risky encounter.