The Freedom to Quench My Thirst

By Robert Foxcurran

My name is Lucas Prindle, and for the past four years of High school I have been living a lie. At home I am viewed as the model son and at school a model student. I have a 3.9 accumulative GPA, I’m a two sport athlete, editor of the school newspaper, and Vice President of Roosevelt High School in North Seattle, but the lie? Contrary to my parents’ and teachers’ beliefs, my extracurricular activities off campus aren’t quite so…. healthy. Since my freshman year, I have drunk excessively at least twice a week, every week since I entered High school. Sound unhealthy? Well, it is, but let me make it clear that I’ve never been a fool when it comes to booze. Over the last four years I have never driven drunk, I never drink to a point where I get sick, and to this date, I have never been caught. I’m not an idiot, I just like to have a good time with my friends and alcohol enhances that experience.

            I have always acquired my alcohol through my older brother Chris, who was always willing to help me out and even let me and my buddies drink at his apartment. Unfortunately for me, today Chris told me that he got a job in Portland and that he’s moving out next week. Aside from the immediate shock that my big bro was moving away from me, a realization hit: “Who’s gonna buy me beer now?” Luckily, Chris is the man and had a plan set up for me that he guaranteed would work.

            “All you need to do is go to the DMV and tell them you’re me and that you’ve lost your driver’s license and need a new one,” he said. “They ask you a few questions about me, you answer them right, they take your picture and you got yourself a 100% real I.D. I won’t be a Washington resident anymore, so there will be no issue with my current license because I can get one from Oregon.”

            I liked it, I liked it a lot. The plan sounded simple enough. Chris and I look almost identical, same hair, same eyes, and a similar nose. Chris has two inches on me but no one would be able to tell without him next to me to compare. I spent two days studying everything about Chris that a clerk at the DMV could possibly ask me. I learned his social security number, all of his exact physical features, I finally got down his birthday (October 12th, I missed it last year…), and a whole list of other personal questions that they might ask me to prove I was Chris. Chris even gave me a copy of his birth certificate to help convince the DMV I was him.

Confident and ready to go, I drove to the DMV downtown. I could have driven to the one in Wallingford, which would have been closer to my house, but I didn’t want to take the risk that I might run into anyone who knew me. I paid for street parking and walked into the DMV, where there were a small number of people sitting in chairs waiting for their numbers to be called. I took a number and took a seat. As I sat there in that big room full of strangers, I began to get incredibly nervous. What I am doing is identity theft! How could I have not thought about that before now? I started questioning whether or not I had prepared myself enough to pretend I was Chris, Christopher Rubin Prindle that is. I began repeating all of his personal information in my head over and over. My palms began to sweat; they always sweat when I’m nervous. I reached into my coat pocket to make sure I still had the copy of Chris’s birth certificate, thank God it was there.

            After about twenty minutes, my number was finally called. I stood up and walked to the counter with my number overhead. There was a heavy-set black woman at the counter who seemed nice enough. Her name tag said “Christine” and she greeted me with a smile and asked what she could do for me. I tried to force a smile and paused awkwardly for a moment before I told her, “My name is Christopher Rubin Prindle and I lost my driver’s license and need a new one.” She stared at me for a moment and then asked:

“Okay Mr. Prindle, if you’ll just give me a copy of your birth certificate and your social security number we can get you your new license.”

I reached into my pocket and pulled out the birth certificate. My palms were sweating more than ever as I handed it over and it made the paper a little damp, I think Christine noticed. 

“Do you have your social security card with you, sir?” asked Christine.

“My social security card was in my wallet along with my old driver’s license,” I told her, “My wallet was stolen yesterday.” I was briefly proud of myself for thinking so quickly on my feet. She asked me for my social security number and I told her quickly, rattling it off as I had done a hundred times in my head the past two days. She began typing on her computer and clicking away on her mouse. She then paused for a moment and looked up at me, straight into my eyes. Then she glanced back again at her computer, before turning her head back again and giving me another long stare.

“Mark, could you come over here for a moment?” When she said that, I swear, my stomach lurched. She was waving to someone who was probably a supervisor to come over to her window. I thought to myself, “Should I run? No. Stick to the plan, they’ll figure it out if you run and call the police, be confident.”  The supervisor came over and looked at the computer screen. He then looked up and just like Christine gave me a long stare. “They must have Chris’s old picture up on the screen! They’re definitely comparing me to Chris right now!” I’m sure I looked guilty just standing there at that moment. Not only were my palms sweating, but now my face was dripping with sweat. “Is there a problem?” I asked, my voice wavering as I said it. The supervisor looked one more time at me then at the computer screen then looked back at Christine.

“No problem, sir. Go ahead and give Mr. Prindle his license, Chrissie,” he said.

I couldn’t believe it, had I just done it? Did it really just work? Before, the plan had seemed so simple and straightforward, I couldn’t imagine how much stress it would put me under. Christine then continued to type away for a moment before she told me to walk over to the line on my right to get my picture taken. I thanked her for her help, my voice slightly more confident now, and walked over to have my picture taken and be handed the paper copy of my new driver’s license, complete with my picture, Chris’s name, and Chris’s legal birthday. Contemplating how dangerous this plan actually was, how much trouble I would have been in if things had gone south, I thought to myself, “Was this really worth all that risk?” Hell yeah it was. Next stop: the liquor store.

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