When I was twelve or so my family went to Winchester Bay, Oregon – typical small coastal town. The neighbor kid who we will call “Pees on Electric Fences” or Pefs for short came along with us. He was a few years younger than me but was an OK kid other than being a bit susceptible to suggestions.
Pefs developed a severe phobia regarding caterpillars after we told him they were poisonous and he did indeed pee on an electric fence at my prompting. I felt bad after that but got over it in a few seconds. There was a steady stream of urine, it grazed the wire, and stopped instantaneously and was followed by a huge all-body jerk, a wail/cry/keening, and it ended badly with him running to tell on me. Kids are cruel… for instance, it was terribly cruel of him to tell on me like that.
Anyhow, I am not much of a fan of crab so I asked if we could bag out of the trip the folks had planned to go out crabbing. They said it was OK to hang out as long as we stayed in the RV area or the store down the road. We were right next to the dock in that particular spot.
Note: I’ve been looking at the Google satellite maps and I’ll be darned if I can remember it well enough to point to where the hell we were at, exactly, but it was real enough. It was 30 some years ago, so I’m not surprised I don’t remember it all that clearly.
So Pefs and I decided we were going to go down to the little store.
We were walking along the road and thought “Hey, if we cut around behind the restaurant we can save a bit off of a longer hike.” It was a fair distance as I recall.
Pretty straightforward thinking, that.
But the best laid plans of mice and men oft go agley, so sayeth Burns. Hell if he wasn’t right.
We walked around back and there was this guy with his back to us in a grey uniform. Lets call him “Man in Grey” or MIG for short.
I said something to Pefs only to have the MIG (an overly inbred second cousin to Officer Thanatos here in Michigan) whirl around and point a shotgun at me. I come from a hunting family and was able to recognize from the business end that I was face to face with a shaking representative of the Mossberg family of shotguns, that it was a Mossberg 500 in fact, and that it was a 12-gauge with no choke. My guess it was the Special Purpose variant but by the time all of this consciously registered I was paying far more attention to the twitchy Man in Grey. Maximum focus.
MIG: “FREEZE! PUT YOUR HANDS UP!”
Me: “What? What is going on?”
MIG: “SHUT UP! PUT YOUR HANDS AGAINST THE WALL – NOW!!”
Me: “Okay, okay, take it easy.”
As I was turning around I heard a hollow thump sound. I looked over at Pefs and he was already spread-eagled, leaning into the wall, and shaking like a leaf. I’d love to say for dramatic effect that there was a yellow puddle underneath him but sadly there wasn’t. He was about *yay* close to it though.
So the MIG frisks us, getting a mite too “personal” at one point – not quite a healthy feel but long enough contact “down there” that I felt like saying something. Strangely, however, when one has a jittery person behind one’s self and that jittery person is holding a shotgun with a HUGE looking barrel, one’s tongue seems to freeze. It was probably for the best.
MIG: “Ok, walk over to that light pole.”
Naturally we complied. It was that whole jittery/gun thing with the MIG again.
I swear this next part is true…
MIG: “Put these handcuffs on your wrists and run it behind the pipe.”
Again, you don’t argue with the jittery MIG when he has a gun.
MIG: “I’ll be right back. Stay here.”
Like what kind of choice did we have? WE WERE HANDCUFFED.
Years later the MIG came back. Pefs hadn’t said a word by that point and looked really green like he was about to throw up.
MIG: “I had a report of a possible breaking and entering and you guys snuck up behind me. I’m going to let you go but I’ll be keeping my eye on you.”
We snuck up on him? Yes, us twelve and ten-year old ninja assassins tend to do that a lot... He was watching way too much Rockford Files or something. Maybe Kolchak or something like that.
Me: “Uh, ok. Bye.”
We slunk (slunked? slinked?) back to the RV camp like the furtive hardened criminals we were just as my folks were getting out of their boat with some crab. Stumbling over each other to relate the story we told them what had happened and they essentially tried to call bullsh*t on us.
Me: (animatedly pointing at the MIG) “It’s true! Look he’s right over there!”
As soon as the MIG saw dad walking towards him he drove off. I guess his job was done for the day.
See, my experiences with the police have not all been positive. An episode in Tennessee sixteen years later was even more profound. That is a story for a later posting.