Tag Archive for: The Graveyard Shift

The first few hours of the shift were filled with the usuals—he-said-she-said arguments, drunks up to their typical drunken stupidity, Toms peeping, and crooks doing crooked things. But now it’s four in the morning and things have become quiet. Too quiet.

So serene, actually, that fatigue slowly gains control of your eyelids. It’s a subtle move, like grasping the string on your grandmother’s window shades, slowly tugging them downward. The Sandman’s gentle action is so gracefully executed and so well-choreographed that even your advanced investigative skills are unable to detect the hostile takeover.

Thoughts of your family occupy your mind–little Susie and Jimmie and your loving wife of eighteen years, Mollie Jean—asleep in their warm beds, with images of them nestled between clean and fresh-smelling sheets with heads resting on downy pillows and with soft covers pulled to their chins. Claude, your faithful black lab, named, of course, after the the painter, Monet, snoozes on the oval braided rug near the front door so he can hear when your car pulls into the driveway.

Five minutes. That’s all you need. Then you’d be as fresh as a springtime daisy.

Guiding your black and white onto the side street between the U-Nailem Hardware Store and Harry’s Barber Shop, you next steer the car into a long and narrow alleyway, the one behind Bert’s Breads and Cakes, hoping to find a quiet and dimly-lit place to pull over. Five minutes. Just five measly minutes.

Shouldn’t have spent those three hours today playing with the kids when you could’ve been sleeping. Still, that’s the only time you get to see them awake. And, someone had to mow the lawn this afternoon, right? The grass was already knee-high to a baby giraffe.

Oh, yeah, tomorrow is the day you’re supposed to go to your third-grader’s class to tell them about police officers. How long could it take? One or two hours at the most, right? Well, there is the lunch afterward. Another hour. After all, you’d promised. Besides, it’s impossible to say no to those sweet brown eyes and minus-one-tooth smile.

Sleep. You need sleep.

Your headlights wash over the back of the alley as feral dogs and cats scramble out of the dumpster that sits behind the bakery like an old and tired dinosaur waiting for extinction. The knot of animals scatter loaves of two-day-old bread in their haste to escape the human intruder who dared meddle with their nocturnal feeding. A speckled mutt with three legs hobbled behind a rusty air conditioning unit, dragging a long, dirty bag filled with crumbled bagels.

file00018255783You move on, shining your spotlight at the rear doors of a five and dime, an auto parts store, a pawn shop, and the real estate office you used when buying your house. Only twenty more years to financial freedom and six more before experiencing the joy of seeing the first AARP invitation-to-join letter in the mail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe night air is damp with fog, dew, and city sweat that reeks of gasoline and sour garbage.

Tendrils of steam rise slowly from storm drains—ghostly, sinewy figures melting into the black sky. Mannequins stare into infinity from tombs of storefront glass, waiting for daylight to take away the flashing neon lights that reflect from their plaster skin.

Four more hours and you’d be at home, in your own soft and warm bed.

Desperate to close your own eyes, just for a minute or two, you park at the rear of the next alley, below a grouping of the upstairs, low-rent apartments of the city’s less fortunate citizens. Your choice of nap space is alongside a stack of flattened cardboard boxes and crumpled bags filled with the evidence of someone’s life for the week—chicken bones, dirty, disposable diapers, wilted lettuce leaves, cigarette butts and ashes, and empty bottles of two-dollar wine.

Placing the strip of black electrical tape over the FM radio dial light, the one you keep stuck to the dashboard to block the glaring light, you turn up the volume on the police radio, just in case, and you close your tired eyes and then take a deep breath and slowly exhale. Ahhh … Just what the doctor ordered.

Suddenly, a voice spews from the speaker behind your head, “Shots fired! Respond to 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Back up is en route.”

You quickly grab the radio mic and say …

“10-4. I’m 10-8.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 10.44.26 AM

And so it goes. Night after night, after night, after night.

From zero to eighty, just like that …

Thanks for stopping by, and yes, do come in and have a nice stroll along the newly renovated hallways. Please watch your step and use caution, though, because as you can see in the above image we’re in the process of launching our new website and we certainly don’t want any accidents on the first day.

There are no guides to lead you so feel free to peek and poke and prod and explore on your own. Along the way, you may see a few buttons that aren’t yet operational, while others lead to nowhere. Those items are still under construction but will be ready in the very near future.

At this stage in this massive site overhaul, we’re sort of like the 160 room Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, Ca.—the project is ongoing and will be for quite some time. Not quite like Sarah Winchester, though, who kept her construction workers busy for 38 years, 24 hours a day, building 161 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms, 47 fireplaces, over 10,000 panes of glass, 17 chimneys and possibly two others that are no longer standing, two basements and three elevators, we now see daylight at the end of our corridors. In fact, our wonderful site designer is nearly ready to drive the last few nails.

This website has come a long way since the day I first had the idea to begin writing a blog. Actually, the inspiration for this site came when a writer asked me about the handcuffs carried by police officers. Specifically, her question was, “Do all cops use the same type of handcuffs?” I sent her my response along with a photo of the two most common types of cuffs. Then it hit me—it would be wonderful if I could reach a lot of writers at the same time. And, I thought, a blog would be a wonderful compliment to my book about police procedure and investigation.

Police Procedure & Investigation: A Guide for WritersSo here we are, nearly a decade after that post of a single photo and barely over 200 words. Of course, other projects have arisen along the way, such as the Writers’ Police Academy, additional publications, appearances on TV and radio and more.

In the coming days and weeks I’ll be announcing a couple of exciting new projects currently in the works. Believe me, when I say exciting I mean exciting. Hey, you’ve been to the Writers’ Police Academy, right? Yeah, that kind of exciting! And, as they say on TV … But WAIT!! Yes, there’s more and I’m bursting at the seams to tell you …

In the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to the genius behind this brand new website. I know you can’t see all the cool dials, knobs, switches that I see behind the scenes, but this site is lean and mean, let me tell you.

Anyway, Shelly Haffly (pictured below), owner of Rusti Boot Creative, has spent the past several weeks immersed inside the walls of this site. She and her team basically demolished over nine years of termite-infested and water-damaged blog posts and images. And they ripped up and shredded the old design and then started fresh.

At the beginning of the project, Shelly and I discussed at length my goals for the site (and the WPA website). She asked a lot of tough questions, digging ideas and thoughts from my twisted mind until she had a clear vision for this new site. It was a police interrogation times ten. She really knows her business!

About Shelly Haffly and Rusti Boot Creative:

  • Shelly is the owner of Rusti Boot Creative.
  • Her mission is to help small businesses build business.
  • Rusti Boot Creative is a digital marketing consulting firm.
  • They provide web development, SEO and Google Analytics, digital and social media marketing.
  • Shelly says, “We are almoooooooost Google Adwords certified.”
  • And, “We can build the site, market the site, and keep your social media engine running.” Shelly enjoys marketing and building business, and she’s quite good at it.

I asked Shelly to tell us something personal about herself. Here’s what she had to say.

“I live on a farm with lots of critters, including 12 dogs. I’m a certified pistol and rifle instructor and range officer, a NASP Archery instructor, and I’ve taught lots of ladies how to shoot well.” ~ Shelly Haffly

Yes, Shelly Haffly is a good fit for this site, for writers, and for the WPA.

So there you have it. Thanks so much for being a part of the launch, and I thank each of you for your continued support as we strive to bring you the best and most accurate information possible.

You guys are the best!




Website is almost done!

After nearly ten years of providing information about topics such as police procedure, forensics, firefighting, DNA, and poisons, along with tasty recipes, silly stories, sad stories, fun stories, and gripping reality, well, it was time for change. Major change.

For a long, long time we’ve been applying bandaids to fix things that required full organ transplants. But I wasn’t willing to shut down the site long enough to allow a major overhaul. So … it finally happened.

The Graveyard Shift became The Graveyard Snail.

The Graveyard Snail

The site developed a mind of its own and starting doing things without my assistance. It was as if “the snail” was behind the wheel, wreaking havoc wherever it oozed.

Text became garbled and sometimes nonsensical, and comments and photos began to disappear, like yesterday when they were dropping like flies in a pesticide factory.

Anyway, for the past several weeks, our team of experts have been hard at work night and day (seriously) working to fix the broken stuff to keep us going while totally redesigning the site.

Well, the website and its new look is absolutely wonderful. It’s sleek and very, very cool with lots of new features and information, as well as some exciting additions.

Trust me, things (The Graveyard Shift, Writers’ Police Academy, and Lee and Denene Lofland) are going to move quickly in a few new directions, so hang on. The next few months are … well, you’ll see!!

In the meantime, thanks for your understanding and patience throughout this transition.

The new site should be online Monday morning and I can’t wait for you to see it.

By the way, exciting news about the Writers’ Police Academy is also heading your way next week. Yes, we do indeed have a few new available slots, so hurry before they, too, are gone!