Friday, February 27, 2015

Poor You

You're a cab driver. Like me, you make a living mostly driving around in a circle all day. And, like me, you know that you're entrusted with an expensive machine that doesn't belong to you (my fully tricked-out squad car is about $150K), and that your employer trusts you to use it carefully. Today, by your own admission, you "took your eyes off the road for just a second", and slammed into the back of a woman who was minding her own business.

Don't even try to tell me how hard you braked before hitting her, and that you "couldn't stop" - your radiator was shoved clear back to your firewall, so I know you never touched your brakes. And don't, when I write you a ticket, give me that exasperated sigh and high school girl eye roll. You're just lucky that the woman miraculously wasn't injured, that neither car caught fire, and that you just got a pay-out careless driving citation.

It really could've been much, much worse. For both of you.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

"I Love You. I'm Going To Kill Myself."

I get sent to a big apartment building to do a welfare check on a woman who had made suicidal threats to her boyfriend. He is practically hysterical, because she won't answer the door. I get the manager to let me in, and I do a search of the apartment.

Living room - nothing.

Dining room - nothing.

Kitchen - nothing.

Bathroom - nothing.

Guest Bedroom - nothing.

To the right at the very end of the hallway is an open door to the woman's bedroom. I walk cautiously up to the edge of the doorway, from where I can see 95% of the room. Nothing. I decide I better check under the bed and in the closet, in case she's just hiding, and I make the right turn into the room.

There she is, 5 feet in front of me, staring right at me, mouth open, tongue sticking out - hanging dead from a belt around her neck. It was like a scene from a horror movie. It scared the living shit out of me.

She had looped the belt over the top of the closet door, then stepped off an ottoman. In the process, she had dropped her cell phone on the floor - the very one she'd texted her boyfriend the suicide threat with. One foot was still resting on the ottoman, as though she had possibly changed her mind at the last second. Too late.

You don't forget stuff like that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Strunk White, Idiot Weatherman: Arithmetic Lesson

"The temperature has dropped to 10 degrees in the last couple of hours, so it's above zero out there."

So, 10 is greater than 0???

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When I Take Your Kids

When you, a known alcoholic and meth user, somehow get custody of your 6-month-old twins and 2-year-old son, AND

You leave those kids with your current girlfriend, another drug abuser, and disappear for several days, THEN

Your current girlfriend then calls your ex-wife, yet another meth head, and tells her to come and get the kids or she'll dump them with child welfare, SO

Your ex-wife then calls your parents, also regular police clients, and asks them to take the kids because she doesn't want them, BUT

A complete stranger shows up at your parents' trailer with the kids in tow, but no food, formula, diapers, or clothing appropriate for the weather, AND

Your parents call me, not knowing where to turn next.

I am happy as hell to take those poor kids into protective custody, because I know anywhere else but with you will be a huge improvement. And when you call me, all pissed off and threatening my job for taking your kids, I say that if I lose my job over this then you can fucking have it.

Monday, February 23, 2015


When your drunken idiot boyfriend jumps onto the hood of your car to keep you from leaving a party, you should probably choose...wisely, and just stop and call the cops. Instead, you chose...poorly.

Your decision to speed off with him on your hood, dynamite the brakes so he flew off onto the concrete, then run over him, was fatally flawed. And I do mean fatally.

But I hear there's another party going on at the jail.

Friday, February 20, 2015

I Don't Shake Hands With Clients

A couple of us were sent to investigate a suspicious vehicle outside an office building late one night. The car was parked out front with the trunk lid open, and the trunk was full of booze. There was no one around.

My partner and I went around back, where we noticed a light coming from a basement floor window. We carefully made our way to the window and peaked in. There was a guy leaned back in his desk chair, porn movie playing on his computer monitor, while he was.....enjoying the fruits of his labor.

Before we could do anything else, he finished, zipped up, and headed for the front door where we met him. We explained that we had been called about his car, and had checked the back of the building because we saw light back there.

Mr. Bates: " looked in the window?"

Officer Cynical: "Yup."

Mr. Bates: "And you saw?"

Officer Cynical: "Yup."

Mr. Bates: "Everything?"

Officer Cynical: "Yup."

Mr. Bates: (slumps to squatting position and puts face in hands) "Oh, my God!"

Officer Cynical: "Yup. Have a nice night and drive carefully."

I never did find out why the lid to his booze-stocked trunk was left open.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Iwo Jima and Me

In early 1944, the Marine Corp's 5th Marine Division was formed. My Dad, who was already serving in the Pacific Theater, put in for transfer to the 5th Division along with two of his buddies. I don't know for sure, but my guess is that they looking for a change of scenery from their Defense Battalion duties. My Dad's two friends were transferred to the 5th Division, but my Dad was not. On February 19, 1945, the Fifth Marine Division invaded the island of Iwo Jima. My Dad's two friends were part of that landing, and both were killed there.

When he returned from the Pacific, my Dad was slated for Japanese language school, probably due to the anticipated invasion of mainland Japan. Before that could happen, however, Japan surrendered and my Dad was eventually discharged. (As an aside, the thought of my old man in Japanese language school is absolutely hilarious!)

Whenever I think of this, it strikes me how fortuitous life is. It's an infinitely branching road, and for every choice you make - or someone makes for you - you embark down another branch. Just about 6,000 Marines and Navy Corpsmen were KIA or DOW on Iwo Jima. Another nearly 18,000 were wounded. That's a casualty rate of about 1 of every 3.  I wonder if whoever denied my Dad's request for transfer sent him down a branch that eventually led to me. I wonder, had my Dad's request been granted, if that branch would ever have existed.