The maximum state wide speed limit in Connecticut is 65 miles per hour, and we were a minimum of 30 miles per hour north of the limit. We were trying to make time and get to the party, although the party was already under way inside of the whip.
We were celebrating Sleepy B’s birthday, you might know him as MES, but I’d never call him by his tag. Sleepy and I have been team for decades. We’re family, most of XXI is like that, there is a real bond. I never met anyone who relishes naps like him, in case you wondered where the nickname came about. He’s certifiable, a nutcase, in the best way imaginable. He’s up there on the list of funniest people I know. A genuine, loyal friend who would have no qualms about setting it off when needed and sometimes when not. He also almost killed us in the nutmeg state. Ayo, scientific, my hand kissed it, robotic, let’s think optimistic. See what I did there? First song after the intro on Supreme Clientele. Turn it up.
Sleepy is adamant this incident occurred in 2001, and though I’m not exactly certain it’s the correct year, we will move forward and take him at his word.
Sleepy B pulled up in his treasured 1996 mystic green Ford Mustang. A car he would only have for less than a year. Of course the shade of green was mystic as we were headed to Connecticut, which brought to mind a mildly inappropriate movie for a small boy about some girls who work in a pizzeria and their complex love lives that my mom loved. Julia Roberts was a total babe in ‘88 and I can guarantee that pizza was trash.
Get in, stupid. I called shotgun, letting Mikey C into the car first, he sat in the backseat directly behind me. Mikey C, my brother, forever and ever, and beyond to the next realm. A highly intelligent, slick tongued, sharp witted, often hilarious and hard hitting man with an enormous heart. Live since ninety-five. From 21 Park to eternity. He looked out for me that night, just as he always has. A true friend. I love you, dude. Like I said, family.
Our homie Tremz, Sleepy’s step brother went to school in Connecticut and was Dj’ing at Toad’s Place. Only 75 miles from Queens, we were about an hour and a half away from some collegiate trim. I knew of Toad’s but I’d never been there before. I was familiar with the venue because it seemed to always be a stop on a hardcore band’s tour. It would have been cool if one was playing that night, though we would have missed their set.
We almost didn’t make it at all.
We were all under the influence, varying levels, we had forties for the road and maybe some unprescribed prescription pills may or may not have been in the mix. Sleepy drove recklessly. Pedal to the metal, weaving in and out to pass slow poke cars, coming dangerously close on more than one occasion. Drinking and driving is shitty, but back then, sure it was wrong and illegal, but it wasn’t socially regarded as abhorrent as it is now. Mikey C, tapped me on my right shoulder, and whispered from behind the headrest, “Put your seatbelt on.” I obeyed and I’m very grateful that I had.
Flying down I95, there was blind turn around an overpass, Sleepy channeled his inner Cole Trickle and took the turn. Rubbing is racing. On the other side waiting for us was a state trooper who had pulled over a van brimming with people on the left side of the highway. Oh, shit.
Sleepy slammed on the brakes. We skidded as time slowed down with looks of shock on our dumb faces as the distance between our vehicles diminished. I wonder at what point did the trooper notice us, if he did at all. We rocked him. I wish I could tell you exactly how fast we were going when we crashed into the back of the cruiser, but I can assure you, it was fucking fast.
The impact was hard. The cars crunched. I left my seat, taking flight and then forcefully given the Heimlich by the seatbelt, that I wasn’t even wearing moments earlier. The gut punch of the safety strap left me slightly nauseous for the remainder of the night. There were no injuries in our now mangled whip, maybe I wouldn’t have died but I was definitely going through the windshield and exiting the Mustang. I was used to being tossed from taverns not cars. I doubt it would have been fun.
The horn of the cruiser blared. The trooper took a little nap, while we assessed the situation and Mikey C dispersed of any open or closed containers. Nothing left behind to incriminate us. The trooper roused, he looked rattled and resembled a young Tom Glavine, he must have been concussed, he had difficulty focusing his eyes and continually pinched the bridge of his nose while poorly attempting to take control of the setting. Tom Glavine spent five years with the Mets and went 61-56.
“You alright there, Rabbit?” Sleepy asked him, referencing the rookie cop in Super Troopers portrayed by Broken Lizard’s Erik Stolhanske.
He was not alright.
It got interesting when a second trooper arrived on scene. This man was all business, a drill instructor who looked like Kevin Mitchell. Mitchell played two seasons with the Mets and is rumored to have beheaded an ex’s cat. Whoa. He did not find Sleepy amusing, and at one point had both his hands wrapped around Sleepy’s throat, wanting badly to choke slam him.
“I wanna talk to the Captain,” said Sleepy. “Take me to the Captain.”
Sleepy was referencing a family friend who might have been able to intervene back in New York City but had no jurisdiction, or relevance there in Connecticut, still funny though. It’s not always what his says but how he says it that makes him funny.
Each time Sleepy spoke Kevin Mitchell grew more and more infuriated. He didn’t want to hear anything Sleepy had to say, especially criticism on why Rabbit would pull a car over on the left side of the road. If there was a legitimate reason for being stopped in the fast lane we never learned it. There was no breathalyzer test. No charges were pressed after Rabbit left in an ambulance. We were all fine and not in bracelets. The Mustang was totaled and would eventually get towed back to Whitestone, and another friend of ours scooped us up and off to Toad’s we went. A few hours later than expected but at least we were all still breathing. It could have been disastrous.
Sleepy had a mishap behind the wheel of his mom’s car when he was 14. He drove it into the garage. No big deal. It’s just that the garage door was down at the time. He was not allowed to get his license until he turned 18. At 16, he was hauled into the 109th precinct for allegedly stealing a Buick, he held strong during the interrogation and no charges were pressed, but his pops bumped up the license restriction to age 20.
He bought the Mustang on Queens Boulevard after his twentieth birthday. Sleepy B was elated. There was not a drop of oil in that bitch and the engine seized. Are you seeing a pattern here? He had to rebuild the transmission out of pocket since it predated New York’s Lemon Law, only to destroy it a few months later in one of many close calls for the team.
Rabbit sued. The insurance company dropped Sleepy and awarded Rabbit a million and change for his injuries, which maybe they were legitimate but he definitely hammed it up for the paramedics when he left the scene of the crash. Rabbit retired early, probably on 3/4 disability, and if he’s healthy, which I hope he is, maybe getting rear ended by some unruly kids from Queens was a blessing.
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