Not only did the car need cooling down, but so did we. I felt it prudent that we take a break. So, I drove a few blocks to a park on Lake Okeechobee. We cooled off for a while and got Buster back into some pants. It turned out that he had taken off his and thrown them out the window. I gave him mine, while I wore a long shirt sort of like a kaftan. After it seemed like everything that was boiling over, cooled off, I headed back to the highway. As soon, as we turned onto US 27, we were boxed in by three patrol cars and ushered to the side. A Clewiston police officer walked up to me and blurted, “We had a report that someone, from a car matching this one was streaking.” I pointed out to him we all had clothes on. He nodded and asked me to produce a license. It knew it was in my wallet back on top of the fridge in Gainesville. Not wanting to appear that I deliberately left home without it, I offered the excuse, “My license is somewhere in my pants, that I lost while at a beach in the Keys.” I showed him my only apparel that looked a dress. I did not want to expose that Buster had my pants, which would have implicated him as a possible streaking suspect.
I was arrested for driving without a license. Eddie as owner, was arrested for letting me drive his vehicle as such. It turned out Amy was a minor, and was detained pending notification to her parents. Eddied gave his car keys to Steve and Buster on the promise they would go to Miami and find some bail money. I thought that a fat chance and the officers escorting us to jail thought that not a good idea, but told Eddie they could not prevent him from giving up his car to essentially strangers. It seemed both Buster and Steve had licenses to drive. In the jailhouse, I was given a pair of dungarees and one phone call. I called back to Gainesville and asked Paul to send my wallet containing my license and my stash of Canadian money. He said he would bring it by nightfall. I had a court date at 7:00 PM and hoped he would arrive in time. Our only cell mate was a local who had been arrested several times for a similar charge--operating without a license. As a habitual offender, he was facing a several month sentence. Clearly, I did not want to be his roommate for that long.
As court time approached, Paul was no where in sight. I was getting anxious that I might be staying in Clewiston for a bit. Our cellmate was a the first case and received six month sentence with a threat that any further occurrence would be felonious. Just as that case was disposed, Paul walked in and handed me my wallet. The judge asked me what had I been handed. I showed him my license. Upon, reading my charges, he decided he had to let me go. Apparently, the arresting officer , had charged me with not having a license, which I just produced. The judge admonished him that the correct charge should have been Failure to produce a license. Eddie was let go, since he too, could not be charged with aiding and abetting a non criminal.
As we were leaving the courtroom, our arresting officer warned us to not be in his town when he got out of court. He was obviously perturbed and had to stay there for several more cases. It was dark as we got onto the street. Even though we had a quantity of money, there was no way to get it exchanged. We figured the chances of three guys, hitching together, getting out of town were slim. We pondered how to break up and go searching for Eddie’s car. Out of the blue, a car pulled up and offered us all a ride. We escaped. The driver, hearing our story did not think heading into Miami would be fruitful in our search. We went with him to Homestead and spent the rest of the night walking around, hanging out in diners, and pondering our next move. We considered it might mean abandoning Eddie’s car and returning home without it.