I was wearing a ski mask and trench coat in the middle of July. In one hand was a plastic pistol, the other, a stick of rubber dynamite. We knew they were just movie props, but the two police officers did not. The guns they had pointed at my head were both very real and very loaded. Only someone as haphazard as Jimmy Tits could land me in such a predicament.
Let’s rewind to the particulars of this unfortunate situation. Jimmy Humphrey (or as he was known back then Jimmy Tits) did not always think things through. At that time, Jimmy was two months into the most brutal shoot I had ever participated in, a parody piece entitled, “Bastard”. It was a take on that “Snatch” film people were fond of at the time. Jon and I played two of the main characters. The names escape me at this point because, well I’m old.
I was to meet Jimmy around two that afternoon. Jon, soon followed. Jimmy hands us ski masks, long coats, and phony weapons. I was quite fond of the rubber dynamite and the token steel attache case. The small joy quickly eroded, what with the two of us in head-to-toe wool on a sweltering summer day. Jimmy kept cool in a tank top, for the record.
We made our way to the location, the parking lot of a fast food joint in a rough part of town. Several onlookers loomed about. Jimmy got out of the car and filed us in on the scene. We were to don the masks and trench coats, then open the trunk and grab the guns. We would then shout lines about the missing plot device, followed by antagonistic threats toward each other. WHILE WAVING GUNS AROUND. IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. IN A BAD PART OF TOWN.
I questioned Jimmy’s sanity and/or lack of brains. Had he not considered the fright this might cause the restaurant proprietors who were staring out their window at us? Jimmy’s logic, infallible as it was, thought it was perfectly fine because we were holding a camera. Why would anyone think two grown men in masks waving guns around would be suspicious if there was a camera on hand. It should be noted that this happened long before anyone knew what youtube was.
What Jimmy didn’t realize was that the Double Dragon II had been robbed at gunpoint just two weeks before. I’m sure the proprietor had dialed 911 the second he stopped pissing himself.
Against my better judgment, we carried on, shooting two takes of the scene. Then, we vacated the premises for an empty church parking lot down the street. I pulled off the mask, which now smelled like a gym sock. We stowed the false weaponry and masks back in the trunk. While planning our next move I spotted an unmarked Crown Vic, speeding into the parking lot. A plainclothes cop sprang from the door with her gun drawn. Before I could really wrap my head around the image, another set of tires came screeching to a halt behind me. Over my shoulder was a second, uniformed cop, large and angry looking - also with a gun pointing my way.
There was an instinctual fear that took over. They might’ve told us to raise our hands, but I didn’t hear it, they just went up automatically. Before I could get a word out in defense, I was spread eagle against Jimmy’s car. Questions were barked our way by the cops, the first guns closer, as they patted us down for weapons. I was looking to Jimmy to pull us out of the shit, but he was a blank slate.
As usual, it fell on me to do the talking. I explained that we were filming a parody movie and that our guns (and dynamite) were fakes. The cop in uniform rummaged through the trunk. He let out a giggle, then recognized Jimmy from the tee-vee (his pronunciation, not mine). The undercover cop was not impressed. After a fierce scolding from her, we were told to get the fuck out of dodge, and to never ever wave guns around again. Unless we wanted to get shot the next time, that is. With that, they let us go. I figured there was at least a misdemeanor they’d charge us with. Maybe uniform cop was actually a fan and let us slide?
On the car ride home the adrenaline subsided, and my stomach dropped back out of my throat. Jimmy noted that he got felt up by a hot cop, while I got patted down by the dude. I got the raw end of the deal. That led to Jimmy getting my “evil side-eye” while Jon gave him the patented “I told you so.”
So, if Jimmy ever asks you to do something stupid for one of his projects, feel free to decline. It might save your life.