Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled

Everyone remembers the line from The Usual Suspects; the greatest trick was convincing the world he didn't exist. Spacey said it with a twinkle in his eye, as I recall. My friend Matt Rowley (check the awesome present he gave to William S. Burroughs) was the first to use the line in reference to the modern moonshine business.

Over the last few years, I've tracked moonshine busts with much more than a cursory interest. One of the arresting officers says, almost without fail, that either they never see any moonshine any more, or that this bust is the largest one they can remember. My clipping file holds 265 articles (obviously some are repeats, and some aren't all that recent, but I doubt many go any farther back than the 90s). My online bookmarks number 129.

Clearly there's a disconnect, or a short term memory problem, or something. 300-odd busts in the last few years might not register in comparison to how many people have been arrested for assault or possession of a controlled substance, but it's hardly non-existent. And yet, when they busted Roger Lee Nance in North Wilkesboro with 929 gallons of moonshine a few days ago, the lead read: "in one of the largest liquor seizures in recent memory."

I'll give it to them this time, that's a lot of hooch to have on hand.

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