12. What Do You Say to the Cops?

The stoner rolled a joint of his finest trees and brought it to a party. 

There, a circle of friends gathered around him, and he passed the joint to the left. Each person took two puffs and passed, and the joint had just made it back to the stoner when the cops arrived.

The stoner’s friends fled to the four corners of the party and denied him. But the stoner smoked the evidence, and when the cops shone their lights upon him, he stared back. Though his eyes were red, and his eyelids drooped, and his smile was crooked, the cops had nothing on him.

They asked, “Who else was smoking?”

The stoner said, “Am I free to go?”

“No. Empty your pockets.”

“I do not consent to a search.”

“Then you must be hiding something. Come, tell us who your so-called friends were, and we will let you be.”

But instead, the stoner replied, “I wish to remain silent.”

This made the cops furious. They screamed. They yelled. They threatened, and then they cajoled, speaking sweet words and making false promises.

But the stoner said, “I would like to speak to my lawyer.”

All this was in keeping with the 12th Rule of Thumb: Know what to say.

By memorizing these four phrases, you may remain free. But more importantly, your friendship will remain honest, for no harm done by the cops is greater than the harm you do by betraying a friend.