So you think you’ve seen and heard it all? Well, think again, because these folks actually picked up the phone and dialed 911 to report …

“Help me, please!”

“Ma’am, calm down and tell me what’s wrong.”

“My house is on fire. I just moved in today and turned on the heat and … and … and, that big metal thing in my living room caught on fire, please huuurrrrryyy! There are flames and  fire, and, and, and … AHHHH!!!! it’s getting hot! Huuurrrryyy!!! Oh, God, oh God, oh God … MY CAT’S GONNA DIE!”

Okay, so I arrive and see the distraught five-foot-tall, three-hundred-pound caller standing there on the front porch with the front door wide open. It’s 20 degrees outside and all she’s wearing is a t-shirt. Nothing but a t-shirt. And she’s crying and screaming and begging me to go inside to rescue her cat, a cat that was trapped inside the inferno.

I saw no flames, no smoke, and, well, nothing. So I stepped inside the small house. The cat was asleep on the sofa.

“See, it’s on fire. Look through that little glass and you can see the flames.”

“Ma’am, that’s your heater. It uses fire to warm your home. It’s perfectly safe.”

That’s when she realized she was wearing nothing “butt” a t-shirt.

I radioed dispatch and told them to cancel the responding fire units. Then I tried to erase from my mind what I’d just seen. It was not a pretty sight.

“I think my house is on fire.”

“You think your house is on fire? Do you see flames or smoke?”

“No, but my wall’s hot. Would you please send someone over to check it out?” Please hurry.

I went to the door, peeked inside through the glass inset, and saw a gentleman sitting on his couch watching Jeopardy.

I knocked.

The door opened quickly and the little man with hoot owl eyes peered out at me. He motioned for me to come inside.

“Thanks for coming officer. My house may be on fire.”

He led me to a fireplace and then placed his hand on the wall just over the center of the mantle.

The wall is hot. See, feel right here.”

“Sir, you have a roaring fire going in the fireplace. Naturally, the wall above it may get a little warm.”

“Thank you, officer. That never occurred to me.”

“Please help me! I’ve been locked inside my bedroom for several hours and can’t get out. I’m getting really hungry, too. And I’m pregnant and I’m really scared. Please help me!”

I broke a glass beside the front door, reached inside and turned the deadbolt latch (See how easy it is for burglars. Use a keyed deadbolt for better security, but remove the key from the lock). Then I opened the front door and went inside. Sure enough, she’s locked inside the master bedroom and she’s crying.

“I think I’m going to lose my baby because I’m so upset.”

More sobbing.

“Ma’am, did you try turning the little button in the center of the knob?”

A beat of silence followed by a faint click.

“I think I have it now. Thank you for coming by.”

“Yeah, um…could you send a cop over here right away, please. I just moved into this apartment and can’t figure out how to turn up the cold water temperature on my kitchen sink. It’s too cold and the landlord won’t help. He just hangs up on me.”

Instead of responding to the residence I used my cellphone to call the gentleman and politely explained that water temperatures are not a true emergency and that cold water temperatures occur naturally. They are what they are because tap water is piped directly from the city. He then proceeded to curse and rant and rave, saying I was a waste of taxpayer money and that I was a huge part of the reason the country was going down the toilet, which, as I explained to the “nice” man, is another place where the water temperature is non-adjustable.

Finally, our once or twice monthly 911 call to the same residence.

 

“You gotta send someone over right away. Elvis is back inside my refrigerator and he won’t stop singing. He keeps up that wild racket all night long.”

And so it goes, night after night after night …

 

As we face the uncertainties of the current state of the world, without a doubt we’re all feeling the pain of shopping for necessities—toilet tissue, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, food, and wine. The latter (wine) as everyone knows is a must-have item for writers. Without it library and bookstore shelves would soon become as bare as the paper goods aisle at the local Piggly Wiggly.

By the way, it’s illegal in our state to ship alcohol, including wine, to a residence. Therefore, to survive this high level emergency we must choose between an empty wine rack or venture outside the safety of our little compound to visit an essential business establishment. It’s a scary thought, especially after a possible sighting of Tina Turner and Mel Gibson zipping past our house yesterday. I assumed they were headed to Bartertown for the next Thunderdome battle. Even they, a pair used to apocalyptic life, wore hazmat suits, masks, and latex gloves.

Needless to say, since I’m not up on my Thunderdome jousting skills, we’re staying inside.

I wish I could help each of you in your quests to locate a source for hand sanitizer and toilet tissue but, for the well-being of my family I must keep those details a secret. However, I will share information as to how you can stock your pantry shelves with delicious and practically nonperishable canned meats and other sources of protein.

So grab a knife and fork and prepare to salivate.

First up …

Dehydrated Zebra Tarantula

Canned Reindeer Meat, and Gravy

Canned Rattlesnake

Mixed Bugs

Black Forest Scorpions

Worm Bites (mealworms, etc.)

Creamed Possum and Coon Fat Gravy

Six-Pack – Armadillo, Possum, Squirrel, Raccoon, and more!

Alligator in a Can

Duck Legs in a Can

Camel Jerky

Cheddar Cheese Flavored Darkling Worm Larvae

There you have it, the answer to your culinary needs and desires. So order now while supplies last!

Never start a story with the weather. I’ve heard this many times over the years.

Even Elmore Leonard kicked off his “Don’t-do-it” list with a rule about the weather.

  1. Never open a book with the weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.”
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control!
  6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Same for places and things.
  10. Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.

Elmore Leonard said it’s taboo!

Now, with that said and with an absolute clear understanding of the rules—NO Weather!—let’s get on with the show … today’s article. And it starts like this … with the weather.

It was a dark and stormy night in our county. A sideways rain driven by the type of wind gusts that TV weather reporters are often seen battling during live hurricane coverage of the really big ones, the storms that send trees toppling and waves crashing onto houses far from the shoreline.

I was hard at work that night, patrolling county roads and checking on businesses and homes, when my headlights reflected from something shiny a ways into in the woods. I stopped, backed up, and turned onto a narrow sloppy-wet dirt path that led me to a clearcut section along a power line, and eventually to the source of the reflection. It was a car parked approximately thirty yards off a dirt road next to a river. I used my spotlight to examine the vehicle and surrounding area.

The driver’s door was open and to my surprise the body of a woman was lying half-in and half-out, with the outside portion getting soaked by the deluge of water falling from the dark sky. I couldn’t tell if she was alive or not.

I turned the spotlight to scan the woods on both sides of the clearing. No sign of anything or anyone. It was one of those scenarios where every single hair on the bak of your neck and arms immediately leap to attention. Spooky, to say the least.

So, in spite of the downpour, thunder, lightning, and those hyper-vigilant hairs (the cop’s sixth sense was in full overdrive), I had to get out to investigate. So I did.

I again scanned the area carefully, again, using my Maglie, making certain this wasn’t an ambush. After another look around, I cautiously plowed forward while the winds drilled raindrops into my face and against my lemon-yellow vinyl raincoat, the one I kept in the trunk of my patrol car just for times like this one. The fury of those oversized drops of water was that of small stones striking at a pace equal to the rat-a-tat-tatty rounds fired from a Chicago typewriter.

The plastic rain protector I’d placed over my felt campaign hat worked well at keeping the hat dry, but the rain hitting it was the sensation of hundreds of tiny mallets hammering all at once, as if an all-xylophone symphony decided to perform a complex syncopated piece on the top of my head. At a time when I truly needed the ability to hear a single pin drop, well, it simple wasn’t happening.

It was a fight to walk headfirst into swirling, stinging winds that tugged and pulled and pushed against my rain coat, sending its tails fluttering and flapping, exposing my brown over tan deputy sheriff uniform. It—the uniform—was not waterproof. Not even close.

The ground surrounding the car was extremely muddy, and with each step my once shiny brown shoes collected gobs of thick, soggy soil until it felt as if gooey, slimy bricks were attached to the bottoms of my feet with large suction cups.

These, during a dark and sorry night, were the deplorable conditions in which I met the crying dead woman.

It was one-on-one—me and the victim.

Raindrops the size of gumdrops pelted the victim’s face, gathering and pooling at the corners of her eyes, eventually spilling out across her cheeks like tiny rivers that followed the contours of her flesh until they poured from her in miniature waterfalls.

Passenger door,

Open.

Bottom half in,

Top half out.

 

Lifeless hand,

Resting in mud,

Palm up.

Face aimed at the sky.

 

Rain falling,

Mouth open.

Dollar-store shoes,

Half-socks.

 

Youngest daughter—the seven-year-old,

Called them baby socks.

Her mother’s favorite,

Hers too.

 

Hair,

Mingled with mud,

And rainwater,

And sticks and leaves.

 

Power lines,

Overhead.

Crackling,

Buzzing.

 

Flashlight,

Bright.

Showcasing

dim, gray eyes.

 

Alone,

And dead.

A life,

Gone.

 

Three rounds.

One to the head,

Two to the torso.

Each a kill shot.

 

Five empty casings,

In the mud.

Pistol.

Not a revolver.

 

Wine bottle.

Beer cans.

Empty.

Scotch.

 

“No, we don’t drink. Neither did she. Except on special occasions. Yep, it must have been something or somebody really special for her to drink that stuff.”

“Was there a somebody special?”

Eyes cast downward.

Blushes all around.

“Well … she did stay after Wednesday night preaching a few times. But they were meetings strictly about church business. After all, he is the Reverend. A good man.”

More blushing.

A stammer, or two.

A good man.

 

The rain comes harder,

Pouring across her cheeks.

Meandering

Through her dark curls.

 

Droplets hammer hard

Against her open eyes.

Pouring in tiny rivers,

To the puddles below.

 

She doesn’t blink.

Can’t.

She’s a dead woman crying,

In the rain.

 

Tire tracks.

A second car.

Footprints.

Two sets.

 

One walking.

Casually?

A sly, stealthy approach?

The other, long strides.

 

Running away, possibly.

Zigzagging toward the woods.

Bullet lodged in spruce pine.

One round left to find.

 

Water inside my collar, down my back.

Shivering.

Cloth snagged on jagged tree branch.

Plaid shirt.

 

Blood?

Still visible?

in the rain?

The missing fifth round?

 

Maglite never fails, even in torrential rain.

Cop’s best friend.

Light catches shoe in underbrush.

Shoe attached to man.

 

Dead.

Bullet in back.

The fifth round.

Coming together, nicely.

 

Church meetings.

Reverend.

Two lovers.

Special wine for special occasion …

 

A good man.

Sure he is.

Police car,

Parks at curb.

 

Morning sunshine.

Tiny face,

Peering from window.

Waiting for Mama?

Scent of frying bacon in the air.

Door swings open.

Worried husband.

“No, she didn’t come home after church. Called friends and family. Nobody knows.”

 

Husband, devastated.

Children crying.

“Yes, I have ideas. 

And I’m so sorry for your loss.”

 

Tire tracks match.

Pistol found.

Preacher,

Hangs head in shame.

 

Special occasion.

To profess love.

But …

Another man.

 

A second lover.

Anger.

Jealousy.

Revenge.

 

Handcuffs.

Click, click.

Murder’s the charge.

No bond.

 

Single, unique plant seed,

Stuck to brake pedal.

Bingo!

Tied him to the scene.

 

Got him.

Prison.

Life.

No parole.

 

A “good man”, a preacher, left the little girl’s mama to cry in the rain.

 


Today, well, raindrops squiggle and worm their way down the panes of my office windows.

And, as it often happens on days like today,

I think of the crying dead woman.

Of her kids,

Her loving husband and,

Of course,

Baby socks.

 

Police officers require certain tools and equipment to carry out their day-to-day duties, such as the obvious—patrol vehicles, uniforms, badges, bullet resistant vests, and firearms. But there are other things that make their jobs go more smoothly. Things that help to better organize and maybe provide an additional level of safety. Actually, some of these “things” could also help the average Joe and/or Jane. For example:

Writers often interview people such as experts in various fields such as law enforcement, medical, courts, and even other writers. Therefore, wouldn’t it be nice to have pre-printed “forms” to use to record interview information, instead of showing up with a messy and pre-scribbled legal pad or backs of envelopes that once contained utility bills or late notices from mortgage companies and banks.

Cops often use “Field Interview Notebooks” that feature boxes for dates, times, names, contact information, etc. There’s also an accompanying page for note-taking. These handy little items are perfect for recording interview notes while maintaining an organized, detailed record of the information gathered. Yes, they’d be a great addition to any writer’s toolbox.

 

 
Knives of various types are often carried by police officers. They do so various reasons, such as cutting seatbelt material to free someone who’s trapped inside a vehicle and even cutting through clothing to apply bandage material to a severe wound. These are a couple of the many potential uses. KA-BAR’s 1481 TDI Law Enforcement Serrated Edge Knife is a popular choice. It’s also a desired knife of hunters and even people who simply need or want a decent knife to have handy for whatever that may cutting or whittling. This particular knife is easily clipped to belts of any type, police duty belts, and in the space between both belts.
 

 
Made from machined AIRCRAFT GRADE ALUMINUM for Superior Strength, this special, multi-use pen, or others like it, is carried by officers because of it’s versatility. It’s, of course, a ballpoint pen for writing; however, it’s also a mini-flashlight, a bottle opener, and it’s a GLASS BREAKER.

Having a glass-breaking tool handy could save the lives of people who’re trapped inside crashed vehicles. This includes the life of the person in possession of the pen if they’re the person who’s trapped. A handy tool for both officers and citizens.
 

 
Trunk storage and organization is an issue with any type or make patrol car. In fact, citizens also face the same woes—where to store this and that, all while preventing those and “thems” from rolling to and fro. Therefore, Fortem Car Trunk organizers are wonderful solutions to maintaining proper control of everything from loose ammo and paperwork to exercise equipment and tomatoes.
 

 
Finally, let’s wrap up today’s shopping trip with a gift for your K-9 companions. The ICEFANG Tactical K9 Operation Harness/Working Dog MOLLE Vest is a sporty outfit that’s designed for work and after hours wear. Any dog, on or off duty, would be proud to wear this combination vest/harness when stepping out for a night or day on the town.
 

 

Any cop will tell you that just when they think they’ve heard it all, well, along comes something else that tops all the rest. For example, here are ten excuses people offered as explanations for why they did the things they did.

All I can say is, “Hmm…”

1. “Why am I driving naked, Officer? Well, first of all, all of my clothes were dirty so I was going to my friend’s house to borrow something to wear to work. And I was speeding because it’s cold and the heat’s not working. Oh, yeah, no seat belt? You noticed that, huh? You see, the material causes my skin to break out. Why do I have a gun on the seat? Isn’t that obvious, sir? I don’t have any pockets available at the moment. Duh. I thought you guys were supposed to be trained observers.”

2. Please don’t give me a ticket. I didn’t slow down for the red light because I just got new brakes on my car—they were expensive, too—and I didn’t want to wear them out so soon. Geez, you being a cop and all, I thought you’d understand that sort of thing. Don’t they teach you about this stuff in the police academy? Common sense. That’s all I’m asking for here.”

3. “I had to steal that stuff, Officer. How else was I going to get enough money to pay my court fees and child support? I certainly didn’t want to go to jail.”

4. “Because I had to go to the bathroom. That’s why I was driving 95 in a 55. You don’t believe me, then look.” The wet spot on her jeans didn’t stop her from getting a ticket, but it did prevent the officer from asking her to have a seat in his car while he wrote it.

5. “I threw a football and it landed on the roof of that hardware store, Officer. Honest. And when I climbed up there to get it I fell through that hole you see. The bag of burglary tools and that saw? I guess they were already up there. Must’ve fallen through when I did.”

6. “It’s not my car. That’s why I was driving so fast. The pedals are different, or something.”

7. “What? No way! I didn’t think you could give me a speeding ticket because I don’t have a driver’s license. Don’t you need to check a law book, or something?”

8. “I must’ve fallen asleep inside the store just before they closed. The safe? No, I wasn’t trying to steal it. The door was locked and I couldn’t leave, so I used it to break out. See, I’m claustrophobic. No way I could stay in that place all night. The money. That’s mine. I had it when I went in the store. Yep, all $2,000. Every penny of it. No, I’m between jobs right now.  No, I don’t have an address. Well, not exactly. Yeah, the Union Mission over on Broad Street. But only until I get a place of my own.”

9. “Yes, I have a doctor’s note, just not with me. Right, it authorizes me to NOT wear a seat belt because it pinches the skin around my nipple rings.” No, he didn’t have the doctor’s note, and yes, he got the ticket.

10. “I was driving that fast, Officer, because I’d had WAY too much to drink and I wanted to get home before I got sick. You wouldn’t want to puke in your car, right?”

And that’s only ten. The list, actually, is practically endless.

Bad guys are often portrayed on TV, and in film, as super intelligent geniuses who’re one step away from ruling the world. They’re savvy and wealthy with a gang of bodyguards and accomplices who are always miles ahead of the law enforcement officers who can never quite seem figure out their next move.

TV crooks are unstoppable until the hero of the story overcomes all obstacles preventing them catching the super bad guys, including fending off advances from the most attractive spies the underworld bosses can send their way. TV heroes, those who’ve managed to make it to the final scenes, dodge bombs and machine-gun fire, and they face hitmen who’re the best martial artists in the world, with the exception of that lone good guy who just happens to know one more secret move than the top bad guy learned during his training.

It’s an action-packed adventure from day one throughout the case until the protagonist finally slaps a gold-plated set of handcuffs around the wrists of their adversaries.

Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but in the real world things are a tad bit different. For example, a “professional” crook I once encountered truly who considered himself to be as sharp as one of the TV-type mastermind criminals. He thought he was invincible and couldn’t be caught.

I was still working patrol at the time when my path crossed with … let’s, for the sake of this article, call him Kat Bungler. I was on my monthlong graveyard shift rotation—midnight to 8 a.m.—and the moon and sun were in the process of changing their own shifts, when dispatch called to report an alarm at a local convenience store. This was not out of the ordinary since many employees of various businesses—stores, banks, etc.—often forget to disable alarms before entering their places of business for the first time of the day.

You, Again?

During the occurrence of these daily and annoying faux pas, what should be moments of urgency very quickly disappear. After dozens of “wolf-crying” incidents at the same places, time and time again, cops have a tendency to roll their eyes and sigh when they hear the calls come in. Still, they have to respond even if all they’ll do is speak with an embarrassed store clerk or bank manager to learn that another “oops” had occurred. After all, you never know when one of those alarm calls is the real thing.

One particular day, though, in the very early morning hours around 5:30 a.m., a dispatcher announced an alarm call. This time she added two very important words to her message—“In-Progress.” She went on to say the caller said the suspect was still inside the business, a convenience store.

No eye-rolling this time. On went the blue lights and a mad race to the store hoping to catch the crook in the act of crookery.

When I and another officers arrived we, of course, surrounded the place. The clerk who’d reported the crime came running toward my car and through an excited mix of jumbled words she managed to tell me the guy was still inside. Well, that’s all I could make of what she said. I asked to take a seat in my patrol car, then a couple of us approached the front doors. As always we had no idea what to expect? Would he start shooting? No one knew. It was a tense situation.

I called to the man, ordering him to come out, and to my surprise he immediately replied with a lot of yelling and shouts for help. So, with guns drawn and aimed forward, we pulled open the door and took a quick peek inside.

It was all I could do to contain a bout of laughter, because what I’d seen was a large squirming man hanging upside down with the upper portion of his body poking down through the ceiling. His lower half, from his waist down up was semi-concealed above, among a tangle of broken drywall, crumpled light fixtures, knots and loops of colored electrical wiring, and dented ductwork. And the guys was practically in tears.

This genius-level mastermind of the criminal world had used a dumpster and a stack of pallets to climb to the roof and used used an ax to chop hole in the surface. Then he tried to climb down into the store. But he lost his footing and slipped, which caused him to fall and tumble through the the buildings mechanics. Then, just as he was about to exit the ceiling headfirst, his feet caught on a series of electrical conduits. He was stuck in that position and remained there for a few hours while struggling to free himself. He couldn’t go up and he couldn’t come down.

When the clerk stepped inside to open up for the day and saw the guy dangling from the ceiling, she screamed. Simultaneously, she told us, the man began to yell and beg and whimper. She left him hanging and ran next door to call the police.

With the assistance of firefighters we pulled the dizzy Kat Bungler to safety, handcuffed him, and then transported him to the hospital for a checkup to make certain he was fit for jail.

Bungler, of course, was found guilty of B&E and destruction of property. His defense was that he climbed on top of the building as part of his daily exercise routine where he unexpectedly fell into a previously-chopped hole. The judge didn’t buy his story.

Later, Mr. Bungler found an attorney to represent him in a lawsuit against the store, claiming they were at fault for his injuries and that the clerk failed to call EMS when he was clearly in pain and was suffering from severe injuries at the time she entered the store. He called us a witnesses in his behalf. Yeah, that went over well. Sure it did.

 

Each year on the last day of December, I travel to a secret location where I meet with my friend Madam Zelda to learn her predictions for the coming year. The mysterious clairvoyant is so good at what she does that she’s rarely, if ever, wrong. The woman is uncanny.

So, in keeping with year-end tradition, Madam Zelda did a reading for us and she’s confident 2020 will be fantastic. Here’s a list of her top sixteen predictions. Believe me, she’s always right … sometimes.

  1. Escape From San Francisco, the Musical dominates box offices across the country. The blockbuster hit stars Ernest T. Bass as Homeless Harry. During a fabulous breakout song and dance routine at the halfway point of the film, the city’s official “Poop Patrol”  performs PBS Kids’ Daniel Tiger’s hit song “Stop and Go Potty.”
  2. Jeff Bezos purchases the Amazon River.
  3. The Arctic becomes a tropical resort after HUGE “Abolish ICE” misunderstanding.
  4. Nasa reveals latest trip to the dark side of the moon was simply a group of scientists sitting in a basement smoking weed and listening to “that” Pink Floyd album.
  5. The final presidential debate requires that the venue include electrical power for heart monitors, have Depends available in the candidates’ green rooms, a pitcher of chilled Geritol on each podium, and a Life Alert pendant or wristband for each participant.
  6. Police are replaced by an honor system that requires all criminals to self-arrest at the conclusion of each crime committed.
  7. Jails and prisons are abolished.
  8. By mid 2020 authors, weary of writing, will create books simply by thinking them into existence.
  9. Alexa learns to intercept authors’ “thought books” and sells them online for $.01 each.
  10. As of January 1st, aisle 4 in all San Francisco grocery stores were designated as “safe pooping” locations. Click this link to see for yourselves.
  11. Congress passes a bill and then immediately votes to reject it.
  12. The Senate argues both for and against the above bill.
  13. U.S. troops raid the offices of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and discover his war planning operation—a game of Battleship along with an old Stratego game in progress. On a side table, in an unopened box, they’ll find the action toy Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.
  14. A writer will have a character smell cordite at a crime scene.
  15. I will absolutely lose my mind when I see number 12 in a book.
  16. A BIG announcement is forthcoming. Madam Zelda believes it has something to do with “Reacher.”

It was on a cold Christmas night, several years ago, when my wife Denene decided that she’d like to ride along with me during my shift so we could at least spend a part of the evening together. It would be her first and last first-hand experience of what I did for a living.

I was the officer in charge of operations, the OIC, that night so it wasn’t as if I’d be responding to calls, meaning I thought the danger level for her would be extremely low. And I was right, the evening shift was fairly quiet with a few of the typical pushing and shoving drunks, a couple of thefts, a drunk driver or two, a peeping Tom, a disorderly customer at a convenience store, etc. Nothing major.

I took Denene on a tour of parts of the city she’d never seen, and to a few she had but only during the daytime. Believe me, some typically normal neighborhoods totally transform once the sun is down and all the “creepies” come out to play. It’s the time when neon lights replace sunshine, and when alleyways come alive with feral animals and people who pay for quickie sex behind dented dumpsters overflowing with restaurant waste and wet, slimy butcher shop cardboard and paper.

These are the streets and neighborhoods where wispy tendrils of sewer steam rise from storm drains to twist and writhe their way toward the night sky, floating and undulating until they melt into nothingness. Potholes are deep and overturned garbage cans pour out their innards for all to see. Front yards are bare dirt and sofas and used kitchen chairs sit on front porches featuring leaning posts and broken railings. At the curb laying at either side of the streets are empty beer cans and bottles and used needles and condoms mixed with dry, crispy fall leaves.

In the area sometimes called “The Bottom, prostitutes display their wares in barely-there outfits while local businessmen, average Joes and sometimes Janes, and a few city officials cruise along the dark streets comparing the “merchandise.”

Winos and drug addicts are on their aimless and zombie-like marches, stumbling along cold concrete walks and streets until they finally decide upon a random landing spot in a storefront entrance where they smoke, drink rotgut liquor, or shoot poison into their arms or legs. Then they’ll sleep awhile before setting off on another mindless quest for the next high.

Drug runners, the low-level, bottom of the drug-selling chain, sellers of crack, meth, heroin, and weed, are at nearly every corner in the “hot” neighborhoods. Many times they damage the corner street lamps by throwing rocks at the bulbs, or by shooting them out, so they can operate under the cover of darkness.

Runners stand alone or in small groups of three or so with each holding only a small amount of dope so not much will be lost should a cop bust them. Users cruise the areas in their cars, driving slowly. When the runner spots a customer he approaches the vehicle. The driver hands over cash ($20 for a single crack rock) and the runner offers the drug. Sometimes he keeps the foil or plastic-wrapped rock in his mouth so he could easily swallow it in case the “customer” is a cop. He’ll spit the wrapped rock into his hand to exchange for the cash.

When the runners sell out they head back to the dealers to “re-up.” The process repeats hour after hour, night after night after night. The runners are always at ready to take off should an officer approach. It’s a cat and mouse game that’s played again and again—we get out of our cars and they run. We chase. They drop the dope and an occasional gun. We pick up the stuff and maybe catch the guy or maybe not.

So after seeing enough of the rot of the city, I drove to areas where officers were on the scenes of various calls/complaints, making sure all was well. Then the radio crackled with an “officer needs assistance” call. She’d stopped a car for drunk driving and the driver refused to get out of his vehicle. She’d struggled with him a bit, through the car window, but had no luck. In fact, he’d spit at her and attempted to bite her. He’d struck her arms with his fist and tried to punch her face.

So off I went to see the trouble for myself. Other officers were on the way to assist. When Denene and I arrived two officers were at the driver’s window grabbing at the man and striking at his arms with batons. A third officer was standing at the passenger window preparing to break the glass. I told Denene I’d be right back (the equivalent to “Hold my beer”) and stepped out of my car.

Since I’d trained each of the on-scene” officers in defensive tactics during their time at the academy, and the fact that I owned my own gym and martial arts school, and because I the ranking officer on the scene, well, they’d assumed that I’d handle this situation. So they parted to allow me access to the driver.

I politely informed the wild and drunken and very large man that he had two options. One, remove his seat belt and get out of the car on his on. Two, I’d cause him intense pain while removing him from the car, through the window. When he spit at me it was my conclusion that he’d opted for choice number two.

A few seconds later, after inflicting quite a bit of pain (I knew this because he was squealing and squawking like a wounded animal), I pulled his fat rear end through the seatbelt and through the window (with his helpful assistance since he wanted the pain to stop sooner than asap), pulled him to the ground, spun him around and over using a wrist-turn-out. I then cuffed his hands behind his back.

I told the female officer who’d initially stopped the car to place my handcuffs in the box outside my office door when she’d cleared from processing the man. I then turned and walked back to my car where I nonchalantly asked Denene if she’d like to grab a cup of coffee. Only a minute or two had passed since I first stepped out of my unmarked Caprice.

She said, “How can you be so calm after such a violent event? And how in the world did you get that big man to fit through that window and all so quickly?”

I, like every officer out there, didn’t think twice about it. It’s what we/they do, those sorts of things—pulling grown men through car windows and the like. It’s part of the job, like editing is to a writer.

Yes, it was Christmas and we were together. But she never again rode with me.

She eventually stopped listening the police scanner we had at the house. She switched it off one night, for the final time, after hearing me tell other officers that “I’d go in first.”

Yeah, she’s much happier since writing about this stuff is a WHOLE lot safer …


Aikido

Aikido uses the attacker’s own force against him.

A wrist turnout applies intense pressure to the joint in the wrist, forcing the suspect off balance.

Proper grasp to begin the wrist turnout (Kotegaeshi Nage) technique. To complete the technique the officer maintains his grasp, rotates the suspect’s hand up and to the rear in a counter-clockwise motion while simultaneously stepping back with his (the officer) left leg. The suspect ends up on the floor on his back (see picture below). Any resistance inflcts excrutiating pain in the wrist, elbow, and shoulder.

Combative suspects are normally forced the ground for handcuffing. From this position, a quick turn of the suspect’s wrist and arm will force him to roll over on his stomach. Any resistance causes extreme pain and could severely injure the controlled wrist, elbow, and shoulder.

To effectively control the wrist, the elbow must be stationary. From this position, the suspect is easily handcuffed.

This wrist lock can cause intense pain in the wrist, the elbow, and the shoulder. Forward and downward pressure forces the suspect to the ground.

 

There’s a current PC craze that’s attacking practically everything on the planet, from condemning anti-animal language, the lyrics of Christmas songs, and even the coloring of cartoon vegetables. So let’s poke around to see if we can find a few more horrible examples of politically incorrect Christmas tunes that could be offensive. Starting with …

I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas

This lively tune opens with a discriminatory tone that’s sure to send other animals scurrying to their safe spaces. Here, see for yourself.

“I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do.”

That’s blatant and out and out discrimination toward all other animals. And it only gets worse.

“Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles, no rhinosaurus
I only likes hippopotamuses [sic]
And hippopotamuses [sic] like me, too.”

I see this one ending up in civil court where a softy judge will immediately order that crocs and rhinos must “do” as well.


Silver Bells

This song discriminates against the folks who live in rural areas. It’s also bullying to those who don’t have access to “holiday style” attire.

“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style”

Next, OMG, what about the feelings of grumpy people who don’t like smiling. Their right to frown as they wish have most certainly been trampled upon in this blatantly derogatory song.

“In the air
There’s a feeling
of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on ev’ry street corner you’ll hear.”


The Christmas Song
Lyrics by Mel Torme

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose.”

Not fair. Not fair. Not fair. Jill Frost loves to nip at noses just as much as Jack. Why no mention of her playful nose-nibbling.

And, Mr. Mel Torme, what about the good folks over the age of 92 who’re now actively enjoying the one or two holiday songs left that we’re able to hear on our radios? Obvious age discrimination. Shame, shame and double shame.

“And so, I’m offering this
Simple phrase to kids from
One to ninety-two
Altho’ it’s been said many times
Many ways; “Merry Christmas to you”

Speaking of Mel Torme, dod you know he played drums? Well …


We Wish You A Merry Christmas

This one is appalling. What about bread and rice puddings? Why is figgy pudding given the nod in this popular tune? The dessert menu should be inclusive. Whomever is hiding behind the name “We” must be publicly shamed on social media. Dox them one and all!

“We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer.”


Up on the Housetop
B.R. Hanby

Two words. Concealed Carry.

Climb down Onion Jenkins’ chimney if you want, but you can count on ole Onion to pop a cap in your red-suited rear end. Besides, it’s age discrimination to brings gifts to kids but not to the grown folks. And hey, why’re you bringing gifts to Onion’s kids, anyway? You don’t know them, you perv.

“Up on the housetop reindeer pause
Out jumps good old Santa Claus
Down thru the chimney with lots of toys
All for the little ones
Christmas joys” 


Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
Irish Rovers

Here’s the one that sends me over the edge. This song is flat out evil, from promoting violence and death to outing poor grandma’s drinking problem. They even went so far as to call her out for her addiction to prescription medication. Yes, instead of helping the poor and pitiful old woman seek help for her medical issues, they sent her out into the snowy night where she was run down and killed by a careless reindeer.

“Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve.
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa,
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe.

She’d been drinkin’ too much egg nog,
And we’d begged her not to go.
But she’d left her medication,
So she stumbled out the door into the snow.”

To add insult to injury, knowing her state of mind and level of intoxication, they didn’t bother to check on grandma until the next morning when they found her frozen corpse in a snowbank.

“When they found her Christmas mornin’,
At the scene of the attack.
There were hoof prints on her forehead,
And incriminatin’ Claus marks on her back.”

Next we see Grandpa enter the picture. Doesn’t care a wit that his wife’s dead body is in a crumpled heap out on the front lawn, covered in snow with deer prints stamped into her skull. Instead, he’s partying with his cousin, Belle, the family “ho, ho, ho.” Now, I’m not one to spread gossip, but I’m thinking the perfect stocking stuffer for both Grandpa and Belle would be a couple of cans of Acme Incest Repellent. I’m just sayin’.

“Now were all so proud of Grandpa,
He’s been takin’ this so well.
See him in there watchin’ football,
Drinkin’ beer and playin’ cards with cousin Belle.”


*This article is entirely non-PC and is intended as a tongue-in-cheek bit of weird humor. No hippos or grandmas were harmed during today’s writing. Cousin Belle, however, was immediately transported to the nearest Acme Rehab Center.

Ho, ho, ho …

A cry for help

“I’m going to kill both of you, and then I’m going to blow my brains out, right here!”

Philadelphia had the ball and were one score away from winning the game against Washington. It wasn’t that I was a big fan of either team but I’d watched the game from the opening kickoff, therefore I had a good deal of time invested in watching and I wanted to see it through.

“Sit. Down!”

There it was again. That voice. One of our kids must’ve had their tv volume turned to high. If it continued I’d have to speak to whichever teen culprit was hard at work damaging their young eardrums.

It was somewhere just shy of halftime when I’d kicked off my shoes, popped a bowl of popcorn, and poured myself into the couch. Denene occupied the end of the sofa on the opposite side of the container, and occasionally our hands met at mid-bowl.

I’d been working on a  particularly pesky case and my day had been long and it felt as if I’d walked a million steps and had questioned as many suspects and witnesses. Therefore, a night in front of the TV with my wonderful wife, with no thoughts of murder, guns, and wacked-out suspects, had been a most welcome thought. Until, that is, I once again heard the voice, the one I hadn’t been positively sure I heard the first two times.

“Sit your ass down so I can get this over with.”

Now I was certain  that “the voice” was coming from someone on the outside of our home and not from a blaring television speaker. And, before I could get to the window to see who it was that felt to yell and scream and disrupt the entire neighborhood during Monday night football, and why they were doing so, the living room curtains came alive with winking and flashing blue lights.

This, in MY neighborhood. My quiet and peaceful southern quintessential neighborhood with large, gnarly and stately oak trees , a lazy river that ambled and snaked its way behind the homes on our side of the street, a small country-style church with an A-frame tin roof and tall steeple, and residents who took the time to stop whatever they were doing to smile and wave at passersby. It, by golly, was a neighborhood where baker Jason “Honey, the cow done gone and laid an egg in your molasses patch” Smith would feel right at home.

“Put down the gun! Put it down now!”

I parted the curtains and peered outside. Our normally quiet street was littered with several marked patrol cars parked at various angles. Their strobes flickered and fluttered, with side-mounted spotlight beams stretching from each car until they all came together at the front porch of our across-the-street neighbors, an elderly couple who spent a great deal of their days there rocking and sipping iced tea from Mason jars that most likely once held vegetables from the meticulously maintained garden in their backyard.

I stepped out onto our front porch to have a better view of the goings-on. Yes, I, too, had become a member of the the looky-loo club, the folks who worm and squirm their bodies into position for a peek at whatever action that attracted the men and women who maintain absolute control of the “blue lights.” But I had to see. The force pulled my attention to the action. Besides, it was kind of nice watching the events unfold without being a part of it. Had I been involved I would have been the ranking officer and charge of the scene would have fallen to me. So I watched, standing in the cool fall air, wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and no shoes.

Uniformed officers  positioned themselves, as they should, behind their vehicles. Youngsters, the entire lot of them. One, a young rookie who’s haircut had the still-fresh buzz-cut look of an academy recruit, held a position at the rear of his car. A female officer who stood no taller than five-feet when wearing a pair of Bates tactical boots, had one foot inside an open car door with the other planted on the pavement behind an angled front tire. She used the space where the door met the car as a prop for her weapon. The expression on her face was a serious one.

Other officers were scattered about, willy-nilly, with one using an in-car microphone to bark out orders to the armed man who, at that point, paced the porch like a caged circus lion. His white-haired mother sobbed while his frail father rambled on about not having any money to give, especially to supply a drug habit.

“Put down the gun!”

The standoff went on for a while,—too long, actually—before I decided to stick my nose in it. I’d arrested the across-my-street gunman a couple of times in the past, mostly for minor crimes to support his drug habit. I knew him and he knew me. It was a start and that’s a place where we often begin … a start.

I walked across our front lawn (shoeless) and then out onto the street where a couple of the officers recognized me. I’d taught them officer survival and defensive tactics during their time at the training academy. I asked one of them to use their radio to let the others know I was there and planned to contact the subject. In other words, DO NOT SHOOT THE OLD GUY FROM ACROSS THE STREET.

I began my move by first calling out to the gunman from a position that was away from his parents. He turned to face me, with the gun, a .357 revolver, down at his side. I took a step out into the light so he could see me, and what a sight that must’ve been—t-shirt, running shorts, no shoes, and…that’s when I realized I had not grabbed a weapon when I left the house. I was unarmed. What a D.U.M.B.A.S.S. thing to do. And here I was, the veteran who taught officer survival tactics to other officers. This stupid move was more like officer suicide. Absolutely in sharp contrast to all rules, regulations, training, and above all … common sense.

I started talking to the young man. “Donnie (not his real name), how can I help you tonight?”

“Nobody can help me this time, Detective.” Good, he recognized me.

“I don’t know about that, Donnie. Tell me what’s bugging you and we’ll go from there.”

I moved a bit closer to the porch. Twenty feet to go. His face was peppered with beads of perspiration, in spite of the chilly night air, and his eyes were wide, wet, glossy, and rimmed in red. He constantly licked at his lips, and used his non gun hand to pick and scratch and rub the opposite arm.

“It’s going to stop tonight. I’m tired of it! Everything. All of it.” he yelled.” Tears leaked from his eyes and eased down his cheeks until they fell one by one to the concrete floor.

A few more steps. Five feet to the porch deck. Another six or so to where he stood. I tried not to look directly at the gun.

“If you’re tired of it (I was sort of certain he meant the drug addiction) let’s sit down and talk about it. I may have the answers you need. I think I can help.”

His finger slid into the trigger guard. His shoulders trembled. The slow trickle of tears had morphed into rivers. He glanced toward the street and then back toward his parents. I had to move, so I walked toward him. “Donnie, let’s talk. But first I’ll need the gun.”

The silence was deafening. The only sounds I remember were the faint clicking of the light mechanisms on the patrol cars as they controlled the flashes spins, and whirls, and that of my heart as it thumped against the inner wall of my chest.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

Whir, spins, blink, wink.

Thump, thump, thump.

I held out my hand as I walked (faster now).

He took a step back, but stopped and slowly began to raise  the hand holding the handgun.

There was no turning back at this point, so I continued my forward march.

Donnie raised his hand and turned the gun backward, handing me the butt end. It was over and I felt myself exhale. Officers ran to the porch to escort Donnie’s parents inside. EMS personnel followed them into the house where they tended to the distraught couple.

I remained outside where Donnie and I sat on a porch swing. We talked for quite a while before patrol officers handcuffed him and then led him to one of their cars.

A magistrate committed Donnie to a temporary stay in a psych unit where he was evaluated and released after a few days. He was charged for the incident at his parents’ house but the same magistrate saw no reason to hold him in jail, so Donnie was released on a PR bond.

Two weeks later I was working a controlled drug buy and heard a call come across my radio about an unconscious man lying among the leaves in the wooded area next to a trailer park. I was nearby so drove over to see if I could help out. It was Donnie, and he was not breathing and he had no pulse. I started CPR and, to my surprise, he came to after only a few minutes (seemed like hours to me). EMS arrived and whisked Donnie off to the hospital. Doctors told me he’d overdosed but would be fine in a few days.

I stopped in to see Donnie one afternoon and sat beside his bed for an hour or so. We chatted between bouts of his crying and forgiveness-begging. I wished him well and told him to call when he was released and I’d see to it that he received help for his addiction. As I headed to the door a couple of nurses playfully teased us about the “sexy” lip-lock Donnie and shared during the CPR. He laughed and I took his good spirits as a sign of better days to come.

Two weeks later another radio call came in about a possible overdose. This one was at Donnie’s apartment. I flipped on my blue lights and siren headed over. When I arrived on-scene, the lack of urgency on the part of the officers and EMS workers told me all I needed to know.

After a chat with the EMS folks and M.E., I got back in my car and drove to the house across the street from ours. The walk from the street to the front door was an extremely long one, and when the door opened and the faces of Donnie’s parents appeared, well … you know.