A u g u s t   2 0 0 1

Guest Writer

Senior service
by Neil Anderson

he phone rings, two or three rooms away. William Shaftoe wakes up, face submerged in pillow, and remains in that position, limbs still. He hears feet shuffle into the hallway, his name being called.

He rolls over and pushes his hair out of his eyes. He stands and his hair falls back into its original position. He walks out to the hallway, picks up the phone and says hello.

There's a click, indicating his mother has hung up the extension. Then he hears "Hello?"

The voice is loud, defensive and belligerent. William makes a guess about the identity of the caller.

"Hello," says William, "you've reached the student assistance support line for potential drunk drivers. On the cusp of committing your first gross misdemeanor? Despair not! You're talking to a friendly, helpful high school student, not appreciably different from yourself, who is ready to get out of bed, drive to wherever you are, and drive you home so that you don't run the risk of causing a fatality and thereby incurring higher insurance rates."


"Yes, yes. Name and address, please."

"I ran into a car, man."

"Oh, dear. How did you do that?"

"Dude didn't get out of the way, dude."

"Uh-huh. Is the other driver okay?"

"I don't know."

"Uh, can you take a look?"

"He's not here."

"Okay. Where are you?"


"Did you happen to call 911 yet?"


"Have you been drinking?"

"Um ... "

"Usually, people don't have to think about their answer to that question."


"Yeah, you don't have to think, or yeah, you were drinking?"

"Man, whose side are you on?"

"Well, let me get this straight. You drink, get into your car, hit somebody else's car, drive away from the scene, and only then do you telephone for a student volunteer who drives drunk teen-agers home. I don't think you're in a state of mind to really comprehend this, but the person you really should have called is a lawyer."

"Fuck you, man." Click.

It didn't really happen like that. When star prep football player Hank Thomason was arrested for driving under the influence, hit and run, minor in possession and driving while suspended -- and it was discovered that William had talked to him immediately afterwards -- William got some phone calls from the prosecutor's office, wanting to know what Hank had said to him. He also got some phone calls from Hank, as well as Hank's mother and father, offering him a bribe if he didn't say anything.

William happily accepted the bribe (a check for $100 with "services rendered" written in the lower left-hand corner). He then just as happily informed the prosecutor's office that he'd been bribed. The prosecutor's office offered not to charge the parents with bribery if Hank pled guilty to all four unamended counts. William got so bored being asked what Hank had said that he invented a new story that presented him in a more flattering (drier) light.

And the ensuing bribery didn't really happen like that either. When Mr. Thomason hinted about the bribe, William didn't understand what he meant and never said anything about it to the prosecutor's office.

In any event, the prosecutor's office ended up dismissing the charges against Hank, due to his mother being a clerk in the mayor's office, and Hank being a star football player and all.

So, the entire episode was pretty mundane -- completely different from what you've read. The actors involved behaved selfishly and brutally. And William's involvement was limited to a few stammering exchanges with Hank, the prosecutor, and Hank's father.

See more from Neil in our archives.

site design / management / host: ae
© 2001-2005 nwdrizzle.com / all rights reserved.