Everyone’s got that one dumbass friend, who, when the cops show up to your door, you know immediately who they’re going to be asking about. Mine was this guy named Sam.
I’ve written about the kind of trouble Sam has messed himself into in the past but me getting cockblocked, thanks to the FBI, was impressive even for him.
This is a very real case, and the arrests made are part of the public record. However, I changed some names and details here to protect the very, very guilty.
Several months after our disastrous road trip across the country, Sam had only just begun to pay off the massive debts he owed me. I was helping get the house ready for a Wizard of Oz function when one of the pledges tapped nervously on my shoulder.
“Hey man, the FBI is here. They’re looking for Sam.”
“Ha ha sure. Sounds like Sam.”
The pledge was deathly serious. My mood changed on a dime.
“Did anybody let them in?”
“No sir, we’re holding them at the door.”
I raced downstairs. I didn’t believe it until I saw them, but holy fuck, the FBI was actually standing at the door.
I have had plenty of interactions with law enforcement before, but I was totally unprepared for what I found on our front porch. They were right out of some TV show. There were three of them. The first one I noticed was a badass lady agent with a short cropped hair, a black padded vest and combat boots. She had her badge on her belt, her gun on her thigh, and a look on her face that said she had made bigger men than me shit their pants and cry. The woman in the middle was older, wearing the stereotypical blue FBI windbreaker with yellow lettering, aviator sunglasses, and carrying a clipboard. The last guy was this grizzled old cop with a 70s mustache and a constant, sneering scowl.
“Hello there, how can I help you?”
They wasted no time.
“Do you know the whereabouts of Sam Hunter?” asked Clipboard Woman. “He’s not in any trouble, we just want to ask him a few questions.”
“No idea. He’s not here now. I can give you his cell phone number if you want…”
While it technically had his voicemail on it, Sam hadn’t answered that number in three years.
“Has he ever mentioned girls to you, or the buying or selling of women over the internet?” said the male cop.
“What the fuck? No—”
“Don’t play games with us!” the lady agent broke in, getting real close to my face. It was terrifying, but honestly kind of hot. My sweatpants bulged a little.
“If you know something and don’t tell us, we’ll have you for obstruction of justice.”
“Okay, Sam’s a little sketchy, sure. But he’s harmless.”
“Sketchy?” the Clipboard Woman raised her eyebrows.
“No, I mean, you have the wrong guy. I’m sure there’s a mistake.”
They looked at me for a very long time in silence. Finally, Clipboard Woman hands me her card.
“If he contacts you, or comes home. Please give us a call.”
After they left, I ran down to the Circle K and changed a dollar into quarters for the ancient payphone in the corner. I had to wait for a homeless man to finish peeing before I could use it. Since it was 11:00 AM and Sam had class, I knew exactly where he would be.
“Rod’s Public House.”
“Is there a drunk guy at the bar yelling rude things about Robert McNamara? Put him on, please.”
The line fuzzed as the bartender passed Sam the phone.
“Heyyy! What’s up?”
“Sam, why is the FBI looking at you?”
“Huh? What number is this? Why didn’t you just message me?”
“It’s a payphone. Isn’t this what you do? So they can’t track you?”
“Dude, you watch too many movies.”
“Sam, it’s cold, it’s raining, this phone smells like piss. What the fuck is going on?”
There was silence on the other end of the line.
“Don’t worry bro. I think I know what’s happening. I’ll explain it to them.”
I gave Sam the Clipboard Woman’s number and he hung up. I rolled my eyes, picked up a couple forties, and walked home.
Later that night, I was at our function and actually doing pretty well with a hot brunette girl. It was as if the FBI had never even come to where I lived and interrogated me about whether or not my friend was a sex trafficker. She was dressed like Dorothy, complete with pigtails and a cute, dangerous gleam in her sky-blue eyes. I was just about ready to take her somewhere over the rainbow when her friend started bawling about wanting to be walked home. I volunteered to take them both, and through a tiny bit of seduction (and a lot of begging), got her to walk back to the house with me after we put her friend to bed.
With the friend out of the picture, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other even long enough to get home. I started making out with her up against a thick oak tree, my fingers climbing smoothly up that blue and white checkered dress. She moaned and put her hands on my cheeks, her breath emanating in warm puffs against the frigid night air. I went in close and wrapped my other hand under her butt, giving her just the slightest boost against the tree when I saw a dark figure approach.
“Come with us please.”
It was the lady agent.
“Oh hi,” I mouthed, backing off of Dorothy. “You want to get in on this too?”
She scowled disgustedly and grabbed me by the arm, ripping me away to the open door of a black SUV. Two other men appeared behind Dorothy and led her off. The red and blue lights turned on as I was being stuffed into the car.
“Hey!” I shouted, suddenly alarmed. “Am I under arrest? You just blew a sure thing, lady!”
“Shut up!” she barked. “We arrested Sam Hunter fleeing justice, 150 miles to the south. You’re wanted for questioning, but you’re not under arrest. Yet.”
Every episode of Making a Murderer I had ever seen flashed through my mind. Luckily, I was drunk and confident enough that by this point, I might just be able to mount a successful legal defense.
In the interrogation room, Clipboard Woman was not amused.
She and her partners drilled me with question after question about the horrific things Sam had apparently done. They had tailed me and watched me make the call on the payphone to Sam, thinking I knew more than I was letting on. I stayed strong and asked repeatedly to have a lawyer present. Finally, another FBI operative came in and said the Clipboard Woman was needed for something urgent. It was just me and lady agent, staring at each other across the metal table.
“So… you single?” I asked.
“You’re a piece of shit, and you’re going down.”
“Is that a yes?”
The Clipboard Woman came back in, an annoyed look on her face.
“We’re done with you. Get him a ride home, Kate.”
“Are you kidding me?!”
Here’s the part where I explain everything:
Sam was driving south because he was going to consult with his wealthy family’s world-class private attorney. It turns out that Sam had been quietly baiting a left-wing fringe radio host that believed college fraternities were involved in a nationwide human sex trafficking ring for about 14 months. He used our road trip that summer to leave clues across the country and had developed all these elaborate schemes to convince the man that his conspiracy theory was real. Sam had succeeded in making the guy travel to random places on the west coast—truck stops, colleges, a Subway in Tacoma—and even hired actors to mess around with him. But he went too far, and the radio host had reported him to the FBI. In the end, Sam’s hoax was so convincing that five levels of law enforcement and the U.S. attorney for our state legitimately thought Sam was running a network of fraternity sex traffickers.
I still have no idea what strings Sam’s lawyer pulled to get the charges dropped, but I made Sam promise me his pranking (see also: his elaborate nationwide sex trafficking ruse) was over for good. On the bright side, Dorothy told everyone in her sorority I was a dangerous criminal and now we can’t function with them anymore.
I never got the lady agent’s number either, so it was a loss all around. Thanks, FBI..