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Screen Play

Act I.

Law Enforcement lie to me, they confess they lie to me -- sometimes going so far as to brag about it -- then they expect me to take all else they say seriously. But how am I supposed to distinguish their lies from their truths, assuming -- and this is really a charitable stretch at this point -- that they’re even capable of being honest? Just the fact that I fell for any fibs they’ve told me at any given time is evidence that I’m clearly not able to tell the difference. Worse, I so desperately desire to believe in them I repeatedly overlook their reputation as deceitful I feel they’ve established.

It’s like swallowing a cupful of liquid because you want to trust the man giving it to you did not just pour it out of the huge open bottle with the skull and crossbones on it sitting on the counter next to him.

I recorded two telephone conversations I had with Virginia State Police Special Agent Jason Trent, but not the actual meeting that was arranged through the contact. I have no explanation really for why I didn’t, although there was some distant, hazy, thought wafting around in my mind that anyone in the shield-carrying community who says ma’am nine thousand times over a span of nine seconds is police-trained to the point of robotissism, not going to stray from pat phrases or predictable tactics, therefore pointless to record. Standard and rote. Snooze. Besides, he taped it.

He lured me up there with the pretense that he was investigating the activities of Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement. Ho, boy, he laid it on thick too. According to him he’d be showing me photographs and asking me if I’d seen JADE Task Force agents at certain places or with particular people, that sort of thing. He said he knew about my WS-100 and claimed he had no problem with me using it if we met but mentioned I wouldn’t be allowed to take pictures of anything he exhibited because it was “confidential.” Also secret was the name of the person who had sent him in my direction, and whomever had provided him with my cell phone number.

I thought it sounded mega-suspect but… -- this is the part where you revisit my container of poison reference above -- I Want To Believe! -- so I rang a couple of other members of Law Enforcement to feel them out about the oddities I picked up on. The first man told me that he would’ve said the opposite: you may take pictures, you may not audio record. He denied giving out my number to anyone. The second man echoed my thoughts: no images, no audio -- no way! He added that, since he’s “onto how inventive and resourceful” I can be, he wouldn’t let me around any physical pieces of classified information unless I was bare-fleshed and under the hawk-eyes of at least three other observers. Aw, ain’t that just the sweetest? He denied giving my number to anyone.

Still, rather than let go of my hope entirely (and seeing as how I would’ve met with him no matter what, coupled with something else I’m aware of), I went to the Virginia State Police office in Charlottesville on Thursday with an exactly one per cent. amount of optimism that I’d not been conned by Agent Trent.

Forget it. Being untruthful is a prerequisite for officers.

Within the first few of Mr. Trent’s sentences, I heard that I am the subject of what he’s working on for JADE.

So once the man spelled it out that he’d lied to me, I couldn’t be in denial about it anymore. What I could be, and was, was skeptical of every single syllable that Mr. Trent’s voicebox vibrated at me from then on out.

I guess I would describe the experience as akin to going to the theater. A movie, taken at face value, might or mightn’t be entertaining, but when you think further about it, it’s nothing more than the end result of scriptwriters and editors, tricks and special effects, actors and stuntmen. A show. Not real.

Later I may write about the specifics of my (not unpleasant) discussion with Mr. Trent, as or after I sort out the facts from the falsehoods. For example, one of the things Mr. Trent told me is that he’s been working on this case for one month. As yet, the earliest I can find him cast is seven weeks ago, appearing on set around the end of the third week of March.