The phone hasn't stopped ringing since the news broke that John Riggins was arrested and charged with being drunk in public.

("Another DIP. Book him, Danno.")

People calling, saying the charge can't possibly be true, because they know exactly where Riggins was that night.

They claim they saw him.

So now we have another supernatural phenomenon to add to the list. Like the Loch Ness monster, like the UFO, like the Dog-Boy deep in the Punjab, now we've got word of: "Riggo Sightings."

Yes, "Riggo Sightings!"

Close encounters of the 44th kind: (Posing the musical question: How many swallows does it take until I get back to Capistrano?)

But before we get to the specific Riggo Sightings, as a public service we'd like you to have this toll-free hot-line number you can call in case you have a Riggo Sighting to report: 1-800-STAGGER. (Or you can call the Supreme Court and ask for "Sandy Baby.")

Okay. Let's go to the audio tape:

Our first call came from a woman in Middleburg, saying that on the night in question she saw a cherry-red BMW drive onto Jack Kent Cooke's estate. She said Riggins climbed out of the passenger's side, knelt over the side of the heated swimming pool and began slurping the water. "Feh! Too warm," Riggins exclaimed to his companion. "It could only happen to me."

Then we got a call from a man near the Honduras-Nicaragua border, saying he saw Riggins and Mr. T in a cherry-red BMW jeep, carting "Riggo's Rangers" brand combat fatigues to the Contras. Riggins had gotten out of the passenger's side and was handing out clothing to the soldiers when Mr. T noticed that the shirts had only one sleeve each. "I pity the poor fool who made these," Mr. T growled. Riggo slapped himself on the helmet and said, "It could only happen to me."

Next was a call from a man in Dallas, positive that he saw Riggins and Tony Dorsett park a cherry-red BMW Brink's armored car outside a local IRS office. Riggins got out of the passenger's side and went inside with Dorsett. Ten minutes later, Dorsett came out smiling, the IRS having apologized for incorrectly claiming he had owed back taxes. Riggins came out holding a notice of an impending audit and said, "It could only happen to me."

Next was a call from a student at UDC, stating he saw Riggins and Robert L. Green, the UDC president, take a cherry-red BMW rent-a-car to a travel agent, where Green picked up his tickets for his fund-raising trip on the Concorde to Paris. The travel agent saw Riggins on the passenger's side and gave him a bus ticket to Carlisle. "It could only happen to me," Riggins said.

A girl from Rockville called insisting that Riggins and Gordon Bradley were in a cherry-red BMW mini-van on their way to the NASL stockholders meeting that was being held in a Fotomat in White Flint. Bradley introduced Riggins, saying, "Lady and gentleman, the newest Washington DIP." Riggins, who'd banged his head getting out of the passenger's side, said, "It could only happen to me."

A Mr. Richard Feder from New Jersey called saying he'd seen Riggins and Larry Bird drive a cherry-red BMW pick-up near the Famous Bartenders School. He claimed Bird went next door, to an acupuncture clinic, for treatment on his sore finger. After getting out of the passenger's side, Riggins asked for treatment to soothe his sore back, but the needle punctured his lung. "It could only happen to me," Riggins said. From a bed in the next room, Billy Martin asked, "Is there an echo in here?"

A whistle-blower from Bethesda called to say he knew for a fact that Sandra Day O'Connor and Riggins had been chauffeured in a cherry-red BMW limousine to a linoleum outlet where Riggins shopped for a good floor to sleep on. After that, they went to Attorney General Meese's house, where Sandy Baby tried to get Meese to rip up Riggo's DIP ticket. But Meese nixed the fix, and Riggins, back in the passenger's seat, groaned and said, "It could only happen to me."

A source inside the White House called, offering, not-for-attribution, that Riggins and Rambo had been observed cruising in a cherry-red BMW anti-personnel tank, allegedly looking for the policeman who'd given Riggo the ticket. Riggins never left the passenger's side. "Rambo kills 1,000 people before breakfast -- and nobody says anything. I'm sitting in a car and a cop puts me in cuffs. It could only happen to me," Riggins was overheard saying.

A Canadian Mountie called, certain he'd seen Riggins and an official of the Calgary Olympic Committee going for a test drive down the 1988 Winter Olympics' mountain in a cherry-red BMW luge. Riggins, flat on his back on the passenger's side, was heard to complain: "You call these spins? You should see me back out of my driveway. I came 2,000 miles for this? It could only happen to me."

The second grade class of Reston Elementary School called, saying they saw Riggins, in top hat and tails, and Mr. Rogers, in an argyle pullover, pedal a cherry-red BMW bicycle outside Mrs. Fields, and go in for milk and cookies. (I admit I find this one hard to believe. They must have confused Mr. Rogers with Ivan Lendl.)

A publicist at MTV called, saying she had a video proving that Riggins and the group Toto got into a cherry-red BMW Lear Jet at the Topeka airport. After taking off, the group's road manager said, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." Riggins, who was in the co-pilot's seat, said nothing.