This week's Westword cover story about Operation Fortune Cookie has it all: dirty cops, thousands of pot plants, Chinese food, big-ticket politicians, sacks of money and more. Writers for TV police dramas wish they could come up with stories this good. But man, it was, like, 7,000 words and that's long. And there were all these confusing names and subtleties. So who can blame the drunk guy I met at Don's Tavern last night for getting a little confused on the details.
We'll call him Mike because I wasn't paying attention when he introduced himself, and also because he kind of looked like a Mike. He was pretty sloshed, to the point that he couldn't quite figure out the correct distance to stand from people in conversation, and when he found out I work for "The Westword," he wanted me to know that he's an avid reader. Again and again, he assured me that he reads "The Westword" all the time. I believed him, but maybe just to prove it, or maybe because the story really had a significant impact on him, he dusted off his newfound knowledge of major drug investigations in the Denver area. And hey, who really cares if he had the right people in the right places or anything?
I'm not sure, based on his rendition of the story, whether he just read the one sentence in the table of contents and tried to extrapolate from there or whether he really did read the whole thing and was simply too drunk to put it back together. Doesn't really matter, actually: His version was full of holes and also completely awesome. Here, then, is my attempt at recreating Mike's understanding of "Operation Fortune Cookie," told to a journalist in a bar but really directed to the attractive girls sitting nearby:
Man, that's crazy. I can't even believe something like that happened. I mean, the cops... and you don't think shit like that happens. And, like, that restaurant with the politicians, I can't believe they snitched. It's... it's just... wow. All that pot, man, it's just crazy. Good thing that cop guy's going to jail, right? And, listen man, that guy's not getting out of there in... forever. Justice. So anyway, good thing the media was there. Well, except when they totally screwed everything up. But not you guys, I mean, you guys are... different. You totally got the whole story and those other stories? Man, I can't believe it. How much they messed up. It's just sad, you know, about all the shit the police did and how those journalists messed it all up. But, you know, like I love The Westword. I've been reading it since I moved here, 'cuz you guys are telling the stories, man. Like this thing with the dragon. That thing was awesome, with the pot mane and the blue and.... I just saw that and I thought I should pick it up. And it's... it's a good thing I did, 'cuz, like, that's the real story, man. And I just feel like I don't even know this city anymore, it's just so crazy. I just... I just can't believe it. All that pot and no one could even find those guys. And right here, man, right here. Hey, why was it called that? That thing with the fortune cookie? And don't tell me it's 'cuz of the Asians, 'cuz those cops, man, they're Asian sometimes, too. (Long pause.) Anyway, man, love The Westword.
Veering dangerously close to insight in a couple spots, but mostly just perplexing. Never change, Mike.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.