My ringing cell phone was displaying “Dispatch” on the caller ID. I answered groggily. I wasn’t on call but at a small department, if you’re in town, you are available.
“Yes, what’s up?”
“You have a code red.” The phone line went dead.
My eyes immediately snapped open with those words. I had a very small part in a national emergency organization. I’d been attending meetings and trainings for just this situation. “Code Red” was the signal to put that training into action.
I threw on my uniform and was out the door in my squad car before my husband could wake up and ask me what was happening. I couldn’t talk about a “Code Red” even to him.
I drove to a pre-arranged location and activated my overhead red and blue lights. A split second later, Agent Bacon appeared out of nowhere. He had that lean athletic body you associate with someone in his lethal profession.
His deep baritone voice relayed my assignment. “Detective Ivy, due to the seriousness of this situation it is imperative that we have your help. We believe a major breach in national security is placing the lives of your residents, family and friends in possible peril. With utmost secrecy we need you to infiltrate this group and discover if they are acting with this Country’s best interest at heart. Do you have any questions?”
“I know most of the town’s citizens. Could you be more specific in who you think this is?”
“Yes, It’s a group of women that use their sewing circle as cover for what might be a major move against our government. They go by the name, ‘Stitch & Bitch.”
My mind was whirling. My mother sometimes attended the Stitch & Bitch sewing circle. I knew she would have told me if there was anything sinister happening. I explained my mother’s association with the group.
“We are aware of your Mother’s involvement.”
My breath caught and before he could continue I said, “My mother is as American as apple pie and would never do anything to harm her family or friends, much less this country.”
“We believe your Mother to be innocent in what we think is happening within the internal organization and believe the mastermind is Betty Clark”
Now Betty Clark was not the most enduring person in town, she once complained on me for writing her grandson a speeding ticket. I could not picture her plotting against our government though.
Remembering my training and the oath I swore when becoming a police officer, I could do nothing but my job. It was up to me and Agent Bacon to assure Small Town was not in danger.
My mother was shocked when I asked to attend the next Stitch & Bitch session with her. I was quite uncoordinated with needle and thread though I was somewhat good at bitching. The group met at Betty’s house once a month. I brought my husband’s socks to mend along with a wired button camera attached to my shirt. My fear was minimal because I knew Agent Bacon and my favorite K9 Astro were close by and would come to my rescue if I needed help.
The meeting started and I was not surprised over the topic; who was cheating on whom. I wasn’t aware of most of the affairs they discussed but I didn’t doubt the validity. We live in a small town and marital affairs are the leading gossip.
I was drifting into a sleepy lull when Betty brought up the “secret cookie caper.” Those were her exact words. Everyone got up and walked into her kitchen. There were cookies everywhere. I also noticed small pieces of paper, cut into inch long squares, haphazardly discarded on the counter. There were words written on the pieces but I could not make them out. Maybe they were a code.
I was beginning to get nervous as everyone took their place, put on plastic gloves, and began packaging the cookies into plastic baggies.
I followed suit, donning a pair of gloves, and with great care managed to secret several cookies into my pocket. I wasn’t sure they would survive intact but I had a gut feeling that these cookies were the clue to the breach in national security.
After the cookies were packaged they were placed in boxes and sealed. Everyone was cheerfully talking but not saying anything about where the cookies were going. I helped load the boxes in the back of my mother’s vehicle before we went back inside to finish the mending. No one seemed nervous. I was confused but kept up with the conversation and threw in my two cents so the ladies knew I was worthy of their grumbling.
When the group broke up, I hurried to my car. My Mom drove away with a wave. I waited a few minutes and then followed her. She drove to the home of one of our postal workers. I stayed back behind some trees and watched as she carried the boxes, one by one, to the porch and then rang the doorbell. She then got in her car and drove away.
My dread was palpable. I headed back to the pre-arranged location given to me by Agent Bacon. He was waiting. I could see a look of concern in his eyes. I handed over the crumbled evidence and noticed slips of paper falling from the broken cookies.
We lay them out on the hood of my car. I picked up one slip of paper and began to read.
“Thank you for your service to this great country.” Another read, “We support you and your efforts.”
Confused, I looked up at Agent Bacon.
“I think there has been a misunderstanding. We need to speak with your mother.”
I was happy to hear those words. I knew my mother could explain what was going on. Agent Bacon drove with me and Astro to my Mom’s house. She looked confused when she answered the door and saw the three of us but invited us in.
Agent Bacon got right to the point. “We need to know where the cookies, you left at the postal clerk’s house, are going.”
My mom looked at me and then back at Agent Bacon. “We are sending the cookies to our troops fighting overseas. We are doing it anonymously and Frank, our postal clerk, is helping us. We paid him the money for postage if that is what you are worried about.”
“No ma’am, we were given a tip that something unethical was happening in Small Town regarding the Stitch & Bitch group. With the current state of our country’s security, it had to be investigated. We owe your club a debt of gratitude for caring about our men and women fighting for this country. May I ask why you are not drawing attention to what you are doing?”
“Our group is made of women from every political group imaginable. We have found a way to get along, which is currently a foreign philosophy in our great nation. We decided the special things we do would be done out of the goodness of our hearts and not for need of any reward.”
I was grinning as we left my mom’s home. Agent Bacon assured me he would set matters straight. He is a busy man and he was gone in the blink of an eye. I wondered if I would ever work with him again.
Later that year Agent Bacon arrived and gave my Chief a commendation for our department and offered thanks for my help in a time of crisis. My Chief accepted on my behalf.
This story is brought to you because it has now been declassified. Agent Bacon continues his good work keeping our Country safe. I must wonder though, “Where he will be spotted next?”
Agent Bacon a.k.a. Mr. Bacon’s adventures started back in August. Journalist Patrick Ross introduced his sidekick, Mr. Bacon, to the blogosphere. Good for a laugh, Mr. Bacon was also a symbol of Patrick’s love for bacon (as well as his affection for bendy bacon toys). Then something interesting happened. Mr. Bacon took the writing world by storm. Writers tweeted Mr. Bacon’s adventures, responding warmly to the hint of his bacony aroma. Visit Patrick’s Blog.
I’ve been working very hard on the edits for Bad Luck Officer due out January 13th 2012, Friday the 13th, the best day for Bad Luck! (I came up with this slogan on my own)
The first half of the book is the day to day struggle of field training. Every officer, upon graduating the academy, goes through months of one on one supervised training before being put on the street by themselves. Rookies make numerous mistakes and our stories become notorious and are told to every new officer entering the department.
I was actually lucky during my field training and didn’t screw up too badly. Though I had many funny moments and some definite wake up calls in my chosen career. My infamous rookie story starts the first day I was officially on my own. I was hot stuff all the way to my first call. Spike, who you meet early in the book, is one of my Field Training Officers and though a great friend now, had little patients with me back then. Please don’t blame him, poor man has been through way to many newbies.
I’ve recounted this story as closely as I can and unfortunately it wasn’t hard. I’ve heard it told by my field training team way too many times and it’s now exaggerated far past what happened. If you ever hear a different version, it’s a lie. I never fired my weapon and I did not kill the dog!
Excerpt from Bad Luck Officer: First day on my own.
I went out to my squad car, started the engine and radioed dispatch that I was 10-8 (ready for duty). The dispatcher said good morning and told me to stand by for traffic (a pending call). This would be my first call with no one looking over my shoulder or checking up on me. I held my breath in anticipation as I waited for the information.
The dispatcher came back on the air and told me there was a large suspicious case in the garbage can at Circle K and they requested an officer immediately.
Several things went through my head upon hearing suspicious case. In my mind, I imagined a plain brown wrapped package concealing a bomb. My second thought was body parts. I’d definitely watched too many serial killer movies and my rookie brain was working overtime. Either scenario would require me to contact a supervisor. I decided to take a look first and then decide my course of action.
To explain what happened next I must explain some ten-codes (radio language), just the few that led to the disastrous domino effect that followed.
961 (vehicle accident no injuries)
962 (vehicle accident injuries)
963 (vehicle accident death)
930 (animal at large)
931 (dead animal)
1510 (My personal radio signature)
So the call went something like this.
I arrived at Circle K and saw three women standing at the large dumpster on the side of the building.
I approached and they all turned and looked at me. The manager told me there was a large suitcase in the dumpster and blond curly hair was sticking out the side. She believed it to be a dog, but wasn’t sure.
I walked up to the dumpster and looked at the suitcase, which was lying on mounds of smelly trash. It was a beat up brown hardshell case, about two feet wide, two and a half feet high and eight inches deep. I could see the tuft of hair in question and it did look like it belonged to a dog.
In my most professional cop voice, as I spread my arms wide I said, “I need you ladies to stand back and let me take a look inside the suitcase.”
They all stood farther back with a few “ewes and awes” cast my way. I was one professional cop.
My radio chirped and Spike asked me what was going on. This is where my professionalism bit the dust.
“What do you have 1510?” came Spike’s sharp deep voice.
“I have a 962 (accident with injuries).” Of course, I meant to say 931(dead dog).
“How bad is it?”
“Well sir, he’s dead.”
“I’ll be right there.”
The next thing I hear over the radio is an ambulance being dispatched. I wasn’t paying close attention because I was opening the suitcase and even over the smelly garbage, the odor of dead dog overwhelmed me.
Dispatch radioed me and asked if I needed more than one ambulance.
It started to sink in and I realized I told Spike it was a 962 (accident with injuries) and then told him my subject was dead (which is a 963). I immediately radioed and said I miss-spoke the code and I actually had a 932 (there is no such code). Dispatch questioned what I said and I not so calmly repeated 932. Why this unknown code came out of my mouth, I do not know. I was on a roll.
As this was going on, I was admiring a forty-pound, dead, very large blond fluffy dog, crammed inside the suitcase. It’s eyes were open and staring at me, poor fellow.
The ambulance pulled into the parking lot and while laughing and smiling the crew walked over to me. They had heard my entire miscommunication. Before I could explain, Spike pulled up, jumped out of his car and began yelling. “What the hell are you doing? If you don’t know a code, use English.”
He was pissed off. I told him I was sorry for the mix up. Everyone was staring and Spike’s face was red. My face was redder.
“What the hell is a 932?” He demanded.
This is where I realized I had blown it once again and very bluntly responded, “A 932 is a dead dog in a suitcase. Didn’t you learn that at the academy?” I’m not known for holding back, even when I’m wrong.
I thought Spike would lose his mind. His red face went purple. I was afraid he might stroke out, but he took a deep breath, turned his back and marched to his patrol car. He spoke into his radio to dispatch, “Please take note that a 932 is a dead dog in a suitcase, and if 1510 ever has another one, you need to know the proper code.” He left the parking lot on squealing tires.
I closed the suitcase, slunk to my vehicle and cleared the scene. I could hear the ambulance personnel laughing as well as the dispatchers over my radio.
Later that day, I had to call dispatch by phone. They started laughing again. I apologized for my mix up. I was told it was okay, they never enjoyed a call so much in their lives and had a sheet of paper posted for any other codes I wanted to add. It was a special sheet just for me.
Their laughter was infectious, and I began to see the humor in my blunder, but doubted that I would ever live it down. Over the years, I’ve added more codes to the list, but out of expediency, not idiocy. It was not the greatest start to my first official day on my own.
If you’ve read my blog from the beginning, you’ve read Bad Luck Cadet but it’s also available as an ebook download for .99 at Amazon.com. If you have a little extra time on your hands and have an Amazon account, please click the “like” button and if you travel further down the Amazon page there are book tags which help place the book in different category search listings. No purchase is necessary and clicking these tags are a huge help and would be greatly appreciated! I also have an Amazon Author Page which you may visit and click the “like” button as well. Now that I’ve given you lots to do during the busiest time of the year, thank you for reading thus far. Your comments and encouragement are what keep me burning the midnight oil. I never knew how much work was involved in this writing gig:-)
Special Agent Bacon will be my blog topic next week.
Baby: Hi everyone, I’m posting from Tennessee where my newest grandchild has entered the world. He has done little but sleep so taking pictures of him with open eyes is nearly impossible. He’s tiny, calm and perfect — like all my grandchildren. The older ones have grown out of the tiny and calm stages but PERFECT holds true.
I’m being told Small Town is doing fine without me. As with most things, I’m trying to look on the bright side, but if the department was a mess, it would mean better job security.
Goodbyes: The day I return to work will be a farewell to two of our officers. I will be losing Jim (my partner) and Astro (his K-9). It’s very sad but small towns notoriously underpay officers and Jim has decided he needs more money for his growing family. We have lost some of our best cops to this circumstance. If we don’t lose them early we lose them as well trained officers towards the end of their careers. In Arizona, retirement is paid based on a percentage of our highest three years of income. Working with Jim and Astro has been one of the highlights of my career.
Holiday Sirens: I have been invited to participate in a group called Holiday Sirens. We write police related books and blogs. All of us are being interviewed on Stacy Eaton’s Blog, to celebrate the holidays. Stacy is an officer as well as a wonderful police procedural fiction writer. Everyone involved is at least one of the two. I’ll announce more when I’m given an exact date, which will be sometime in December. I’ll be writing a guest blog post for this adventure as well.
Police One: I signed up for the PoliceOne online magazine the first week I became an officer. They have great articles about policing. They also host BLUtube.com, where I and my fellow officers watch police related videos. If this interests you, please click their link and take a look.
Typos: Last Friday, I received a Tweet from my friend, Natasha (Wicked Little Pixie, is her Blog). The conversation went something like this:
WLP – Smexy Books (online book review blog) called your book, Bad Lick Cadet. Wrong genre ;)
Me – That is truly awesome! Wrong genre but hey, I’ll take all the publicity I can get!
WLP – *snickers* you can always write…no please don’t LOL
Me – You know, Sergeant Dickens probably tastes bad. Bad Lick works
Smexy Books – haha sorry ( Lick, Luck …it was still REALLY good and funny)
WLP – Laughing out loud! Best typo of the day
Smexy Books – *snicker* I’m so embarrassed
Me – Don’t be, I’m going to blog about this:-)
I’ve also decided, just for Smexy (click here for her blog) to re-write one of the scenes from Bad Luck Cadet for her. The bold and italic text are my “Smexy” revisions.
Bad Lick Cadet – Chapter 3
“Sgt. Big Dick,” I said to Rocco with feeling, “Is a gorgeous man and I have an uncontrolled need for him.”
I was grabbed by the arm and spun around. Sgt. Dickens stood there, eyebrows arched. He had never looked sexier.
“I will see you immediately in my office!”
Rocco gave me a look of complete terror. I gave him a small push in the direction of the dorms and immediately turned myself in the direction of Sgt. Dickens’ office and began marching. This was like being in high school all over. I was forty-five years old but my hormones were running wild. I swore I would not give into my lustful needs.
Sgt. Dickens was staring at his computer and waited about five minutes before speaking to me. I knew this drill. Sexual anticipation at its finest.
His voice was low when he finally spoke, “Why are you here Cadet Ivy?”
Was he serious? Our mutual attraction had been simmering for three weeks now.
He went on, “You are too beautiful to be at this academy, I can’t get you out of my mind. All day every day, I think about nothing but the texture of your skin and your beautiful breasts, which I have not seen and can only dream about.”
I believed him. My stomach was a quivering mass of jelly, but I looked him straight in the eye.
“I’m not willing to risk my future as an officer because of our feelings. This is important to me and our desire for each other will wait.”
He shook his head and told me I would have ten personal hill runs on Monday. He then dismissed me. I didn’t cry, at least not until I was in my car and heading home.
I realized I had completely forgotten I was married.
Okay, truth here, does anyone feel I might be able to sell more books with this version? I realize I need to change my age to be at least fifteen years younger but I’m willing. And just so you know, my husband laughed as I read this to him over the phone.
Thank you Smexy Books for giving me something to blog about while I’m on vacation and will you please, please, please review Bad Luck Officer when it comes out on January 13th?
Every police officer deals with their share of domestic violence cases. They are one of the more dangerous calls we take. Arizona law requires we make an arrest once physical violence has occurred. The only way to insure no one dies, after the police leave, is to take someone to jail.
Many times it can be tough to figure out who the primary aggressor is. I hate arresting both parties but sometimes there is no choice. Over a year ago, I arrested a man because he used a bat on his wife’s car window. He took responsibility for his actions and gave me no grief when I took him to jail.
At the jail, we had a conversation and Conner told me his wife was abusing him continually and he finally exploded, taking his anger out on her car. He explained he had never laid a hand on her and knew, if he did, he would be the one arrested.
Conner had a good point. I have seen fellow male officers overlook key components when the abuse is actually being committed by a female. I understand the officer’s reasoning. When a male has at least twice the strength of a female, it’s hard to comprehend a man being abused.
After listening to Conner’s side, I felt he was believable and I gave my guys a heads up. I asked them not to arrest him on his wife’s say so and look closely at the situation. The next time our officers had contact with the unhappy couple, after additional investigation, Doreen was arrested.
You are probably asking why these couples stay together and I don’t have a pat answer. Through my training and experience, I’m told most women will go back to their abuser fourteen times before finally leaving. I’ve dealt with several volatile situations and know if the woman stays, she will be dead before she reaches the national average. I have never seen statistics on men as domestic violence victims, which is another sad fact because it happens more than most people realize.
I’ve run into Conner several times and he is usually by his wife’s side. I hold my counsel and stay silent because I know it’s important that Conner and Doreen feel they can call us when needed, no matter the circumstances. The few times I have spoken to Conner privately he refuses to leave his wife.
I was working a Saturday morning shift and before I began my day, I had to clear the season’s first snow from my patrol windows. Our temperature had warmed up to frigid 35F degrees by 10 am when I received my first call for service. It was a domestic fight in progress at Conner and Doreen’s house.
I had no backup, which is typical on the weekend day shift. I headed to their house and asked dispatch to locate an off duty officer and apprise him of the situation, in case I needed additional support.
As I approached the house, I could see Conner standing behind his vehicle, at least the top half of Conner. He had no shirt on. Once I parked and got out of my car, Conner ran towards me. He was completely naked. His arms were waving and he was yelling that Doreen locked him out of the house. I was trying not to look but at the same time, it’s always safety first and it’s important to watch the situation closely. Conner’s hair (on his head) was wet and he was jumping around and obviously freezing. All I can say is it wasn’t only Conner’s arms that were jumping.
I gave him my jacket, which he placed around his waist. I opened the back door of my patrol car and locked him inside. This was a safety issue and by having Conner secure, I only had to worry about Doreen.
I knocked on the front door. Doreen answered and calmly told me Conner was not welcome back. After receiving a matching statement that no physical violence had occurred, I requested a bag be packed for Conner. Doreen put together some of his essential clothes and was nice enough to throw in a pair of flip flops (I’m being facetious). Though she wasn’t happy, I made her add tennis shoes.
I took the clothes to Conner and he dressed himself. I then drove him to our local hotel where he booked a room. He told me Doreen chased him out of the shower and then out of the house. I can’t explain what he was thinking when he ran outside naked. The good news that has come from this situation is Conner, for the first time, swears he is never going back. He told me Doreen was crazy. You think?
The bad news is that it’s colder than hell outside and I need a new jacket.