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Policeman's Ball

Hi fans, welcome to another story of misadventure and hijinks with your friend McShea.

This story takes us quite a few years back… All the way to 1994, on the day of February 5th.

On this cold and sunny Saturday morning, I found myself heading towards Franklin IN with a fistful of “donations” along with all the hopes and dreams of my quadrangle that we would be able to find someone old enough to buy us beer for the weekend which had apparently surprised us by sneaking up on us so quickly.

Knowing I had a friend with some older roommates, I was fairly certain I would be able to correct our dire situation and provide the alcohol that we so eagerly anticipated.

Arriving in Franklin, and before the advent of cell phones, I was lucky to find my friend at his dorm in less than a few minutes of searching. Once he was found, we quickly were able to call and find a suitably 21+ friend who was happy to help me on my epic quest, if I also offered to buy him a 12 pack of beer. Feeling this was an amicable trade, I agreed to the terms of his parlay.

Our elder statesmen left quickly with my drink list and my cash, (I had quite a few requests as most of the guys on the floor were without beer that weekend.) while we waited my friend and I took the 20min downtime to survey the co-ed’s of Franklin College.

Happy to see my new benefactor return with my load of beer and alcohol, I quickly helped him load my car and made my way quickly back to Bloomington imagining I would be welcomed like, Sir George carrying back the head of the Dragon he had slain. I was certain women would be prepared to throw themselves at me and men would sing my name that night as the conquering hero of the day.

Little was I to know, the real villain was waiting for me in hiding in Bloomington…….

Finally making my way back to Bloomington, I parked my car in the closest parking lot to my Quad and hurriedly ran up to my dorm, announcing that I had returned victorious and needed a few able bodied friends to help carry our treasure trove of ill gotten good back into the dorm in secret.

Quickly, my dorm friend announced he had a hockey bag and we would easily be able to sneak the majority of the alcohol up in that. So quickly, my roommate and I, followed by my two friends visiting from Purdue, headed back down to the car with great excitement as we were already planning a night of drinking and debauchery.

As we all stood around the trunk of my car and beheld the volume of alcohol before us we began filling the hockey back until, we heard a call from behind us…

“What do you guys have in the bag?” the disembodied voice called from the bushes.

Quickly dropping the hockey bag that had been filled with beer and closing the trunk, we spun around to find ourselves in the presence of Bloomington’s Finest.

“Nothing.” my roommate said.

“I’m going to need you to open the trunk, and if you don’t open it, I’m going to have it impounded” said the police officer.

At this point, my mind was racing… I didn’t know my rights, I was 19yrs old, and I was certain that my goose was, as they say, cooked. So rather than argue, I opened the truck to display to the policemen the beer and alcohol that I had collected.

“Who’s car is this?” the policemen asked. “It’s mine.” I said.

“Who are you two?” he questioned my friends visiting from Purdue.

“Were just visiting, we are from Lafayette.” they quickly responded.

So the policemen paused for a moment then he said “You two get the hell out of here.” then he continued “You and your buddy who was holding the alcohol need to stay here and give me some ID’s”.

So my buddies left and it was just me and my roommate who were sitting there on the bumper of my car as the policemen called in the dangerous felons he had captured single handily in the parking lot of Wright Quad.

As we were sitting there my roommate looked over at me and told me that he would be in an extreme amount of trouble with his parents and he had no interest in going to jail that day. Now, I wasn’t terribly excited about going to jail myself but, I knew my parents would upset but at least understanding so I decided then and there that I would tell the police officer than my roommate wasn’t responsible, he was only helping me carry the beer and that I wanted to take full responsibility for the incident.

Now to be completely honest with you, the reader, my other thought was, the Officer of the Law might see that as a magnanimous gesture on my part and let me off with a stern warning and some solid finger pointing.


The policemen did agree that the alcohol was all my responsibility and said he would indeed let my roommate go with no further issue. I on the other hand was going to be given a ticket and wait there until the police van came to take all of my alcohol away…

It was at this point that two other police cars and a police van showed up to assist in the cleaning out of alcohol from my car. Realizing I was no doubt contributing to the alcohol these officers would be drinking in the near future, and also since I had nothing to lose at this point. I found myself standing next to the only female police officer in the area and asked her “Is this my personal contribution to the policemen’s ball, and if so, would I be getting a formal invitation, or did the ticket count as my pass?”

This is when I learned that humor has it’s place. It turns out, it’s place is not badgering a female police officer about stealing alcohol from an arrest. Apparently, there is something about a chain of evidence, blah, blah, blah. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t listening to her as she told me what a smart ass I was and that I needed to think about the decisions I make in life.

Finally after I had waived goodbye to all my alcohol and been given my ticket for being a minor in possession of alcohol, I walked back to my dorm, defeated and knowing that I soon would have to explain my stupidity to my parents. But, I slept securely that night, knowing that .00000001% of the alcohol being consumed by under age students in Bloomington had been confiscated by the Bloomington Police Department.

As a post-script to this story… I woke up two days later to find my buddies had found the following article in the Bloomington Herald, and blown it up on the copy machine as a banner to greet me when I opened my door in the morning:

Sunday Herald-Times

February 6, 1994 An Indiana University student was cited into court on an alcohol-related charge when police spotted a man carrying beer and vodka in the 10th Street parking lot. At about 6:15 p.m., IU police saw a man, later identified as Michael B. McShea, 19, of 310 Harney-Wright Quadrangle, in the 10th Street lot with several kinds of alcohol, according to Sgt. Nancy Sloffer of the IU police Sloffer said the man had two cases of Bud Light beer, one bottle of vodka and 12 bottles of Michelob Golden Draft beer. He was cited for being a minor in possession of alcohol, she said.

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