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About Me

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Will Tinkham has published six novels: THE CARY GRANT SANATORIUM AND PLAYHOUSE, THE GREAT AMERICAN SCRAPBOOK, THE ADVENTURES OF HANK FENN, BONUS MAN, NO HAPPIER STATE, and ALICE AND HER GRAND BELL. He lives and writes in Minneapolis, MN. His short fiction has been published on three continents and he long ago attended Bread Loaf on a scholarship. An actor of little renown, his credits do include the Guthrie Theater and Theatre in the Round. @WillTinkhamfictionist on Facebook

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On Handcuffs and Handcuffs On

Got handcuffed by the police last night while walking home from work. I'm walking that unlit stretch on the north side of Lake Street between the Calhoun Beach Club and Lake of the Isles. [For those of you unfamiliar with the area, just play along.] I'm looking into headlights coming at me, then a spotlight as the car slows down. By now I can see it's a police car. It slowly passes. I think little of it until it stops and makes a u-turn—now eastbound against three lanes of oncoming westbound traffic. It pulls up next to me—still pointing in the wrong direction—and I walk up to find out what they want.
Take your hands out of your pockets,” calls a woman's voice from the driver's side. I oblige and she asks: “What's your name?”
William Tinkham,” I say.
She's out of the car now, still fifteen feet away from me. “Oh,” she starts, “we thought you were...um, um—”
Sorry to bother you,” the male cop says from the other side of the car. They get back in and drive off. I continue my walk home, puzzled how they knew I wasn't the guy when they never got close enough to get a good look at me. About the time I reach the bridge over where Isles & Calhoun meet, I notice two police cars heading eastbound on Lake, turn left at the light and swing back towards me, lights flashing.
Let's see some ID.” It's the female cop again. I reach into my pocket to get it and she yells: “Keep your hands out of your pockets!”
I can't do both,” I say, holding my hands about chest level.
I'll get it,” she says and starts to check my pockets while the male cop puts my hands on top of my head and pats me down. I'm telling her that my ID's in my front right-hand pocket and suddenly the guy pulls by arms down and slaps handcuffs on me. About the time I hear the click of the cuffs, she has my ID out. “He's right,” she says, “William Robert Tinkham.” And the handcuffs come off. “Sorry, you look like a guy we're after.”
What did I do to warrant the handcuffs?” I ask, trying not to sound as pissed as I am.
The guy we're after is armed,” the male cop says.
But you had already frisked me.”
No we didn't,” he says. “Sorry to bother you,” he says, again. And they drive off. Again.
If anyone hears of the police capturing a weary man in a suede, Goodwill sport coat, let me know. I'm curious as to what they thought I had done. And what they were so afraid of? I could understand if they'd come with guns drawn—I was supposed to be armed. But to pat me down and then slap on the cuffs. Did he need the practice? They weren't even on for ten seconds and, just like that, I'm a law-abiding citizen again.


  1. Sorry about the incident..it's been a while since you posted it, so you're probably recovered, but I just read your short short in Water Cooler..and it smacks of this incident..which came first? Glad you're ok and no longer have cuffs on..

  2. It hasn't even been a week since I posted this but, yes, I'm no worse for it. Thanks for commenting on AW. That story was inspired by a walk to work and this was a walk home from work--so, yea, there's a connection.