Shocking 50,000-volt cure for alcoholism!

A fictionalized account of true events because the author fears possible retaliation from the rogue cop who Tased him

Illustration By robert armstrong

The case never did go to trial. I hired the best criminal defense attorney in town, but the prosecutor wouldn’t budge. One way or the other, I was paying for my crime. I could go bankrupt going to trial with my private attorney, play Russian roulette with the public defender’s office and risk a potential prison sentence, or take the deal offered by the prosecutor.

I took the deal, pleading no contest to resisting arrest in exchange for having the charge of assaulting a police officer dropped. My punishment was to clean toilets for a month of Sundays down at the veterans auditorium.

I was proud to serve my brother and sister veterans and insistent that I had committed no crime, unless passing out in your own backyard and being electrocuted by a rogue cop is a crime. And who knows? In the post-9/11 era, perhaps it is. It took losing a nipple for me to figure that one out. I offer the same lesson here to you, free of charge.

It all seems like such a long time ago now, but back when I was wandering the veterans auditorium with a mop and bucket, that assault on my body still burned in my soul. I imagined acting as my own defense attorney, the thundering oratory of my closing argument reverberating through the empty hallways.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” I’d begin, “there’s only one question you have to answer in this case. Is the right man really on trial here? Is it really OK for an officer of the law to enter a private residence without warning and zap an innocent man with a potentially lethal 50,000-volt Taser weapon? That’s precisely what Officer Nutsak did to me on the night in question.

“As I freely admitted, it was my birthday, and I was knocking them back. A half-dozen pints here, a half-dozen shots there, a six-pack for the road. After a screaming match caused neighbors to call 911, my girlfriend locked me out of the house. I passed out in the pool chair; she passed out in the bedroom. The cops arrived a half-hour later.

“Nutsak doesn’t dispute he found the front door unlocked and entered unannounced. Thereafter, his story parts ways with reality. According to Nutsak, I stood up from the pool chair and threatened him. But as my witnesses testified, and the recreation of the crime scene demonstrated, that’s not what happened at all.

“Nutsak crept up on me, and without warning, shoved a flashlight in my face, startling me. Reflexively, I swatted at the flashlight and knocked it out his hand. It arced gracefully into the swimming pool. Infuriated, he pounced on me, beating me with his nightstick. I shoved him off. He took three steps back, fumbled with his belt, and pointed some sort of weapon at me. I realized he was aiming a Taser at me just as he pulled the trigger.”

Here I’d pause for a second, sobbing. I wasn’t faking it. During my imaginary trial, my psychiatrist testified I was suffering from PTSD.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” I’d continue, sniffling, “time ceases to exist when you’re being Tased. Everything stops: your heart, your lungs, all your vital organs. Everything but your consciousness that everything else has stopped. White light exploded in my head. I shook uncontrollably, violently, painfully as 50,000 volts coursed through my body. ‘You’re killing me!’ I screamed, but no words came out.

“My left arm kept jerking spasmodically, so the cop hit me with the Taser again; this time the tiny dart stuck in my wrist. When that didn’t stop me from flopping around, he hit me again. The third dart hit me. The third shot hit me in the nip—”

I’d break down crying once again, loosening my tie, unbuttoning my shirt. As I explained during the trial, the cops had taken me to the emergency room after Tasing me; when the doc removed my T-shirt to perform an EKG, my nipple peeled right off with the shirt. “Whoa!” he said. The flat, 1/8-inch-long metallic arrowhead had penetrated deep under the skin, searing the surrounding tissue. My areola had come off like the top of a muffin.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the third shot struck me in … the nipple!

Then I’d rip my shirt open, exposing the scar where my left nipple used to be. “Look at it!” I’d rage, thrusting my chest in each juror’s face. “Look at it!”

I’d button my shirt back up defiantly.

I rest my case.”

But of course, the case never did go to trial. I didn’t really mind doing the community service; there was always another toilet to clean. Over time, the courtroom fantasy was flushed from my thoughts. All’s well that ends well. No one can say I haven’t learned my lesson. I haven’t taken a drink since being shown the light. And my nipple? Eventually, even it grew back. Today, it’s perkier than ever, and I aim to keep it that way.