"I'm not very good at making a long story short," begins Douglas Pichon. "I am, however, really good at making a long story longer."
This quickly becomes clear. The first thing you notice about Douglas Pichon, though, are his startling lettuce-green eyes, which makes it understandable why the police picked up on them, too, and helps explain why Pichon felt a police revolver poke into the back of his head--although it turned out the cops were wrong. Twice.

But he's getting ahead of himself. "For a real brilliant man," Douglas Pichon starts again, "I've done some pretty stupid things."

Pichon is a former Army brat--Tokyo, Germany and all the required stops to further the career of his father, who ended up in Colorado Springs, a full-bird colonel. He retired, and died soon afterward. "As with most career Army guys," says Pichon, "retirement basically just means they can start drinking earlier."

Pichon graduated from high school in 1970--a star hockey player, written up in Sports Illustrated for scoring three goals in fifteen seconds--and dabbled in college (five of them, actually) before beginning a life of labor. These days he lays gas pipe through the IBEW Local No. 111, attends an occasional class and messes with his home computer, although his entire hard drive went kaput recently and erased most of his important police correspondence, which caused some problems during the second arrest.

But he's tumbling ahead again. Pretty stupid things? "Oh, I'm no angel," Pichon explains. "I've been in some trouble before, but it was all minor stuff--vandalism, shoplifting." There was also the car theft, which he didn't really do, but that's another story entirely. This story begins in 1985, in a Colorado Springs bar.

"It was Super Bowl Sunday, 1985, and I was cruising several of the bars," Pichon begins. "I was drunk," he adds. "I definitely got drunk that day." As the day wore down and San Francisco put the finishing touches on its 38-16 rout of Miami, Pichon put the finishing touches on his buzz at the Lair Lounge.

A local hangout on the city's west side, the bar was undergoing a transition. A nearby biker bar had just closed down, and some of its seedier traffic had begun showing up at the Lair Lounge. On that particular Sunday, for instance, Pichon recalls seeing William Winfrey, whom he held in poor regard.

"I knew the name," Pichon says. "I heard that he dealt drugs. I heard that he carried a gun. Basically a real scumbag. A hoodlum. But I never gave him a second thought."

That's because it was at the Lair Lounge that Pichon noticed his wallet was missing. He can't remember how much money he lost that day. Frankly, a lot of it had been spent by the time the wallet disappeared. But he does remember the hassle of replacing all of his pieces of identification. Eventually, he got a new driver's license, "and that," he concludes, "was the end of that."

Until almost exactly a decade later--November 12, 1994, to be precise.
It was Saturday, about eight in the morning. Snow had fallen. "I was driving through Denver, on 16th and Franklin, in my 1983 Chevy Blazer," Pichon recalls. "I was on my way to a friend's house to do some shingling work. I had picked up another guy--I knew him only by his initials--who was down and out and who I thought could help me with the shingling. And this police car came up behind. It flashed its lights for me to stop and pull over."

Pichon was nervous, although not unduly so. Like it or not--and he's made some mistakes, no one's trying to hide that--he was no stranger to law enforcement situations. "The officer walked up behind the car and asked for my license, and I gave it to him, and he returned to his car," Pichon continues. "Then, all of a sudden, before I knew it, there were five or six Denver police cars there. One of them blocked my car in the front, and one blocked me in the back."

This was cause for more concern, but not panic. Not yet. "I thought it might have something to do with the other guy in the car," Pichon remembers thinking, which, he also remembers thinking, is the danger of giving a ride to someone you know only as "C.J."

Next he heard the bullhorn: "You, in the driver's side, out of the car." He was told to lie on the ground. With his ear to the pavement, he heard the click, click, click of crisp police shoes advancing to his side. "And then," he says, "I felt the gun to the back of my head."

He was yanked to his feet, tossed across the hood of the car and handcuffed. Which is when Pichon asked why he was being arrested. "And they said something about an aggravated bank robbery in Kansas.

"My first thought," he continues, "was to be smart-assed about it, because it was so ludicrous--to say something like, `Kansas? No, that's not me. I robbed a bank in Wyoming, but not Kansas.'" He didn't, though.

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