It was a fall day in 1986, windy and rainy. The rain wasn't heavy, but it was blowing all around. I was wearing the torn-up army field jacket I had found in the trunk of a pale green rental Pinto which Mobil Oil had given my father to use in 1969. It had a red, white and blue fleur-de-lis patch on the left shoulder.

 I had just copped from Benny; giving him money in the fruit store on 8th Street where he pretended to work, and then, moments later, meeting him between 9th and 10th Streets on Avenue D. He had passed me a bundle of dope--ten bags--and was starting to walk away. I was on my bike, the Raleigh 10-speed which I had gotten new, also in 1969, and rebuilt over the years from the bearings up. I had just put my right foot into the toe clip when a voice over my left shoulder said, "Halt. Police." I remember thinking at the time how much that sounded like a line from a shitty TV movie.

 I glanced over and saw a heavy man in his forties jogging towards me. He had a reddish, Irish-looking face and was wearing a new army jacket and slacks. He had shiny black shoes on and looked as though he went home to the suburbs every night. He was the stereotypical undercover cop. Later on, of course, the Police Department wised up and started getting younger, more ethnic officers to do this kind of work, but not in 1986.

 My instincts took over. I slipped my left foot into the toe clip and stood up while pedaling off the curb and onto 10th Street, heading west at high speed, the bike rocking from side to side with the force of each downstroke from my legs. I cut right on the block between C and D that separates the projects from the playground and ditched the bundle of dope underneath some parked cars with a flick of my hand on the turn.

 I suddenly became aware of an unmarked car speeding after me. It flashed through my head that the cop had somehow radioed or signaled his compatriots to join him. In retrospect, I think they must have been watching the whole deal go down, but at that moment, it didn't matter. Without warning, they used the right front fender of the car to smash me and the bike against the parked cars on the block. I went flying. Two officers got out of the car--a black man and a white woman--both in plainclothes. I didn't attempt to move, but they were on me quickly, pushing me up against the playground's chain-link fence. The man started frisking me while the woman looked on. After about thirty seconds, she said, "He ditched it," and started walking back along my route, looking under cars. I remember being glad for the wind and rain.

 At that point, the fat cop, the one who had first yelled at me, came running up. He was out of breath, puffing and red in the face. All he seemed able to say was, "You made me run," and he repeated it endlessly, between gasps. "You made me run. You made me run." I didn't respond. Soon after, the woman cop came walking back, shaking her head. Then the black cop got in the front of the car and the fat cop pushed me into the back seat. The woman cop got into the passenger seat and we started driving away slowly. My bicycle and leather gloves were lying on the street in between two parked cars.

 The fat cop started to beat me with his fists, first on the head, which I covered up with my hands, then on the back and in the sides. I remember thinking that he was hitting me in places that wouldn't leave marks, but then he seemed to lose control over himself. My hands were not cuffed, and I kept them around my head. I was screaming, "Stop, please stop," and I remember seeing the lady cop turn her head to see what was happening as I screamed louder and more desperately. The car kept rolling slowly. The fat cop kept saying, "You made me run."

 Halfway down the dogleg which leads back to Avenue D, the car stopped. No one said a thing. The fat cop opened the door and pushed me out into the street between two parked cars. Then they drove off.

 I got to my feet and started back towards my bicycle, looking after the car to memorize its license plate number. When I turned the corner, an older Hispanic couple was walking away with my bike. I hobbled up to them and they gave it to me without a word. I was too sore and beat-up to ride, so I walked a few blocks. In the process, I forgot the license plate number because all I was thinking about was that bundle of dope.

 I walked around for about half an hour, then went back, looking around for any sign of the cops. I remember trying to act supremely blasé as I slowly passed the spot where I had dumped the dope. I didn't see it immediately, so I kept going, imagining a pair of binoculars focused on me from a nearby rooftop. I was trying to blend into the street scene. I turned around and walked back towards that corner again. When I got to the spot, I fell to my chest on the street and scanned under the car. There it was! I pulled myself under the car and grabbed it, then shimmied out, picked up my bike and walked off quickly.

 After about five blocks, I opened my fist and saw that the dope was soaking wet. My heart sank a bit. When I got home, I told the whole story to Diane while she was eagerly ripping off the rubber band and opening the bags. "Oh, Paul, that's horrible." We decided to dry it out. I lay on our living room floor as she opened each bag and scraped the brownish residue onto a cookie pan. Then she flattened the bags on the pan and put the whole thing into the oven for about ten minutes. Most of the dope had fused with the glassine wrappers. When it was dry, we tried sniffing what was left, then licking the bags. We tried convincing ourselves that we were catching a buzz from it. We always did this, even with stuff that was obviously no good. Nothing happened, and I had to go back for a few more bags. I needed it for the next day, when I had to go to work.