Last week my 1997 green unmarked Crown Victoria had engine trouble. This car has a history. Back in her good old days she belonged to the police chief and was the only unmarked vehicle in our department. Our Chief has since moved on to a new unmarked SUV. As the only detective I inherited Esperanza. Yes, I named her. She’s old, sadly lacking a hub cap, has various dents and scratches, but she chugs along. Unmarked or not, the entire town knows this car. People wave at me as I drive by. Esperanza leaks a little oil and needs to be babied. She doesn’t like it when I leave my police radio on over the weekend and proves it when she refuses to start on Monday mornings. You might think this is going too far, but I’ve left that radio on for five days without driving her and then been called out for an emergency. She started right up. She’s dependable when she needs to be. She’s never broken down when getting me to a call.
I gripe and complain about having the oldest car in our fleet, but the bottom line is Esperanza and I have seen and done things together that make us a special team. We found a two year old baby one day walking on the road wearing only a diaper in the freezing rain. Esperanza’s bells and whistles calmed the baby down as the little girl played with the light and siren buttons. Esperanza drove me to my first homicide and kept her lights flashing, keeping curious onlookers back for nine hours. She took me to the scene of a young boy who was cutting wood and chopped half his foot off. Esperanza and I were the first to arrive and she stood by as I stanched the bleeding. She still carries the blood stains in the driver’s seat from my bloody uniform.
So a week ago, after leaving a call, Esperanza faltered. It came out of nowhere. We slowly crept to the garage for repair. We barely made it. We have an officer on medical leave and I was dropped off at his house to pick up his marked squad car. The next morning I went on duty and made a loop through town. In the middle of our busiest road a large brown pit bull was dodging cars. I love big dogs and I own a Rottweiler, but I’m not dumb. I rolled down my window saying, “Hi baby are you a good boy?” With his tail wagging he came running. I stepped out and opened the back door of my loaner vehicle. As the pit bull flew past me and jumped inside I smelled a terrible odor. Mr. Pit Bull had been skunked. The smell was overpowering, but it was too late. While choking and gagging, my eyes burning, I drove to our kennels and impounded the dog. I then drove to the station trying to figure out what to do. We have cloth seats not plastic like some city departments. I left the windows down knowing it would do little good. I parked in my normal spot and went inside.
In my office, my phone message light was blinking. It was the garage mechanic. I called him back. Esperanza was running perfectly. The mechanic told me he was stumped, he couldn’t find anything wrong with her. He told me it must be an intermittent problem. I quickly jumped into my reeking loaner, with a secretary following me, and dropped the smelly car back at the injured officer’s house. I was then driven to the garage to pick up Esperanza. She smelled wonderful. I didn’t tell the mechanic, but I had already figured out the problem. Esperanza does not like skunks and she knows my borrowed vehicle belongs to an officer who gets too much enjoyment from practical jokes. Boy, I love this car.
Next Post: A Sweet and Sticky Assault
If you are new to my blog you need to start with Accidents Happen. This is the continuing story of achieving incredible dreams and finding myself along the way, NOT. This is really the story of my life as a police cadet, officer, and then detective after my midlife crisis. If I get more than one midlife crisis, I think I’ll be a spy for the CIA. (A girl can dream, can’t she?)
In between felony cases, pets, gardening, and my husband, I’m a writing fool. Due to budget cuts and injured officers, I’m also working some patrol shifts. It hampers my case load, but being on the street is always interesting.
I was able to work a night shift a few weeks ago. Nights have a different feel and your brain goes into heightened sensitivity mode. It left me exhausted (brain dead), and feeling my age. The other officer on duty enjoyed laughing at my expense. I had never realized before, at least not on the job, but I’m a hugger. I know so many people in town and we don’t shake hands, we hug. By the end of the shift, my fellow officer counted three hugs. We probably came in contact with fifteen people. I hugged two people during separate traffic stops and one after going to a woman’s house on a call for service. At one point during the night, I thought we were in for a high speed car chase. It was nice to feel that adrenaline rush again. The bottom line is I love being a detective. Helping victims (hugs) and putting bad guys away for a long time is what I live for.
Writing is my other passion and I’m hard at work on the Bad Luck Officer book. Writing a novel is much different than writing my blog and I feel my blog is being neglected. I’ve been thinking about sharing stories from the streets of Small Town to keep my blog alive. Some stories will be in the book and some won’t. I work very serious cases, so forgive me for sharing only the lighter side of my adventures. It’s a great stress reliever. In BLO, the book, I have included the serious, terrifying and humorous adventures of my first two years as an officer. A rookie’s life is never dull.
You may be asking yourself, what’s with the cow picture at the top of the page? I named her Bertha. She and I did not get along. Bertha refused to go back into her fence and I was nothing but a pesky fly on her ass. I tried honking my horn and then using my siren. It’s possible Bertha is deaf. She ignored me. I finally called a rancher friend of mine for advice. He told me, “You don’t speak Cow.” Darn! I’m good with animals. I understand horses and dogs. Cows though, are beyond me. I ended up giving Bertha a swat on the rear end. What did she do? She kept eating. This fly meant nothing to her. The conclusion to my story is the dumb cow won. I’ll leave you to decide who the dumb cow really is.
My garden speaks for itself. I modeled it after a Spiritual Healing Garden I found in a book. My husband calls it the alien landing pad. You can see lots of strawberries in the back right corner. My garden also produces onions, squash, zucchini, herbs and tomatoes. The picture is this spring’s garden before wildness takes over. The pride and joy is my fishpond. I have four, eight-inch goldfish I raised from fifteen cent feeder fish out of a Wal-Mart’s aquarium. Their names are Uno, Dos, Tres, and Quatro. Stripe came to a tragic end last year, but that’s a story for another blog. Think Killer Fish meets Rottweiler. Stripe put up a good fight though.
As always, thanks for checking in,
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