Stan’s Legal Woes

raseone-file-cabinet“May I speak to Stanley?”

I have known Stan for decades and to my knowledge nobody has ever called him by that name.

He was in the kitchen, focused on a sizzling pan of Italian sausage, so I answered his door when the knock came. Now a little man in a worn-out suit and a faded bow-tie wanted to talk to Stanley.

“Is that Mr. Simms?” Stan called from the kitchen.

The little man indicated it was.

“Well, let him in.”

At that… the little guy side-stepped me quicker than a mongoose and scampered straight into the kitchen. As he rounded the center island, Mr. Simms slipped a document from his jacket pocket and slapped Stan with it.

“You’ve been served,” he said, as he beat a hasty retreat for the exit.

“Catch you at The Pit on Thursday?” Stan called after him.

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Simms replied and slammed the door.

My bewilderment begged for an answer.

“Oh, he’s my process server,” Stan explained.

“Your process server?”

“Yeah, I’m 90% of his business,” he said, “but hey, I’m kinda busy here, would you file that summons for me?”

“Where do I file it?”

“Under summons, of course.”

Sure enough, in Stan’s home office, I found a file drawer marked SUMMONS.

There were other drawers labeled:








“Good Grief!” I exclaimed after opening the drawer, “you have summons going all the way back to 1971.”

“You’re in the wrong cabinet,” he shouted from the kitchen. “Look on the north wall.”

Sure enough, there on the north wall was another set of cabinets similarly marked.

I couldn’t believe it. No, strike that, I could believe it. Out of pure frustration, I asked a question to which I already knew the answer. “Why can’t you simply play by the rules?”

Stan took offense. “I always play by the rules,” he insisted, “and every document in those cabinets testifies to that fact.”

It made perfect Stan-sense.

The guy has been in trouble with the law since third grade. You see, fish have water, birds have air, worms have loam and Stan….  Well, he has legal jeopardy; it is the medium through which he navigates life.

“How much trouble are you in this time?”


“That bad?”

“I might have to call Sid.”

“Your lawyer?”

“Naw, he’s a guy I met back in the early 70’s while subcontracting in Cam Ranh Bay Vietnam.”

“I never knew you were there.”

“There is a lot you don’t know. Anyway, Sid worked undercover for the Shore Patrol.”

“A cop?”

“Yeah, his job was to catch contractors who were ripping off the Navy.”


“The thing is, everyone was ripping off Uncle Sam, but Sid had orders to catch exactly one corrupt contractor a month. Any more than that and shipping would slow down. Any less meant nothing would get through.  The object was not to stop corruption; it was to manage it so that the port ran smoothly.

It was kind of like fishing for tuna. If you catch too many, you will be up to your eyeballs in mackerel, if you catch too few, you’ll wipe out the school. The trick is to catch just the right ones.”


“Sid caught the wrong tuna.”

“What happened?”

“Let’s just say he never made that mistake again.”

“And you are telling me this because?”

“Oh,” Stan said, “Sid is a senior investigator for The Federal Office of the Inspector General. He helps me out because I help him out. You might say, I’m a tuna spotter.”

I just shook my head in wonder.

“Come by The Pit next Thursday,” Stan said, “Simms will be there.”

“I am amazed you stay on such friendly terms with him.”

“Why not?” Stan exclaimed, “he buys my drinks. It beats having to track me down.”

Author: Almost Iowa

34 thoughts on “Stan’s Legal Woes”

    1. It is amazing how some people thrive on dysfunction.

      Here is a thanksgiving story for you. There is a crime family in Minneapolis, who hasn’t had a family member engaged in meaningful employment since the 30’s. Anyways, they are still a close-knit family and enjoy the holidays together. Several decades ago, they sat down to a full thanksgiving dinner of turkey and all the trimmings – except in this family, everyone was packing. A fight broke out between a daughter and the matriarch and the daughter shot her mother….. through the turkey. The mother survived but the turkey was ceased as evidence and remained in cold storage for years.

    1. Stan resides in a Twilight Zone between the way the world works and the way we want it to work. Most of us know that zone is there but it is not comfortable or safe place.

      1. Yes, I should have clarified: I love reading about the wold of Stan. I don’t think I could actually live there myself, being a natural worrier and rule follower……

  1. Another whopper! I know it’s fiction, but think you knew a Stan or two! I’m a follower, but I don’t remember Sid, a genuine American hero. Where’s the post about him? Happy Thanksgiving in Iowa! Christine

    1. The local tavern (sigh). I just heard that they are tearing down O’Gara’s in Saint Paul. I lived much of my life there…and at a 3.2 joint kitty-corner to O’Gara’s. The place was called, The Pit and Paddock, otherwise known as The Pit. Does the name sound familiar? It closed in the late 80’s with the death of its owner.

      1. The name “The Pit” sounds familiar, but I’d never gone there. O’Gara’s was razed quite recently, to be replaced by a smaller, tonier bar/pub, underneath pricey apartments. The neighborhood has gone to the over-bred and shivering poodles, as my high school buddy who lives a couple blocks north and east would moan.

    1. Perhaps that is why no one invites me out fishing. Though a good friend of mine recently invited me to go sit on an upturned bucket with him when the ice is thicker.

  2. “The object was not to stop corruption; it was to manage it so that the port ran smoothly.” – That should be on a quote wall somewhere. Good ol’ Stan.

    1. Very much like the quote that should be written in bold letters on a wall in every home where children reside. “The object is not to control chaos, simply to manage it.”

  3. I broke out into honest to goodnes laughter when I hit this: “The object was not to stop corruption; it was to manage it so that the port ran smoothly.” When I worked in Liberia, I always carried small bills with me, apart from my ‘real’ money — a little grease for the wheels, so to speak. Once, post-coup, twenty bucks got my passport back from a dude with a gun that had pulled me out of a taxi. Corporations who did business in-country always had a line in their budgets for wheel grease. It just went by different names.

    1. With everything I write, it is fiction and fantasy rooted in fact. “Sid” was a man that I am proud to have called a friend and a mentor. He was a Minneapolis cop who went on to greater things. The Vietnam story of “catching tuna” is absolutely true in every detail.

      Sadly, “Sid” died of a heart attack while feeding his cattle – a week before he was scheduled to retire.

      My old friends, who follow this blog will immediately know who he is, a genuine American hero.

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