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Archive for September 15th, 2010

Inspired by The Curtal Friar‘s comment to the Death/PaleHorse post

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.

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Note:  I accidentally deleted this posting.  It had some great comments which I will reconstruct tomorrow.  So sorry.

In order to work out some stuff with insurance I had to drive way out – way way out on the other side of Detroit this morning.

Got lost.  Got really lost.  Well, actually I knew where I was every time except when I was where I needed to be.  I was very nearly late.

I’m looking at my map and trying to spot something that looked even close to my destination and when I look up there’s flashing lights in my rearview mirror.  It was Death, sitting astride his pale horse.

I pointed to the next side street and pulled in.

Death left his steed idling at the curb and floated up to my window.

I said “Geez, I sure hope you can help me find this place because I’m totally lost,” stabbing my finger at my map animatedly.  Now, as you already know that wasn’t quite true because I knew where I wasn’t supposed to be which was where I was – I just couldn’t get to where I wasn’t.  So technically I wasn’t lost.  Moving right along…

In his most professional Grim Reaper expression the officer, who we’ll call Officer Thanatos, said “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

I thought furiously for a moment and then said to myself “Nope, I got nuthin’.

“No sir, I don’t.”

Officer Thanatos then said “You blew through a red light.  That’s bad.”

Ruh-roh!  That IS bad!!!

“Geez, I’m really sorry, Sir – I am just totally lost.”

“Give me your license, proof of insurance, and registration, Sir.” said Thanatos in a chill yet sort of lifelike voice.

I fumbled for my glovebox and snatched up the documents, then threw my license into the pile, and handed it all to him.  “I call.”

No, I didn’t say that, but my brain did, inside where brain things happen inside my head.  Why would I think about poker at a time like this… hell, I don’t know.

“I’ll be right back.”

“Be right here, Sir!” I chirped.

Note:  This is exactly the sort of situation that always ended badly for me in high school – my brain would signal to my mouth to say something and because my mouth doesn’t actually have a brain it just went along with the suggestion, leading to visits with my pal, the principal, and later to some horrific form of dire punishment.

He came back a few minutes later, but meanwhile I called Cruel Wife who laughed evilly at my predicament.  I hung up, as there was no sympathy to be had there.  It was her first day on her new job and she wasn’t going to let anything take away that warm fuzzy feeling.

“Sir, I’m going to give you a warning on the moving violation but I’m going to have to…”

Ok, stop right there.  No utterance by a police officer ever went well when it contained “sorry” and “but” in the same sentence.  Never.  Not once.

“… write you up for no proof of insurance and no vehicle registration.”

“Uh, OK… What???

Thanatos grimaced, which is hard to imagine but a death’s head can actually grimace, and said “Your insurance card is expired and your registration doesn’t match your plate.”

RUH-ROH!

Well, there just isn’t much you can say to that.  Arguing with Death never amounted to much.

Soooooo… I thanked Death profusely for not giving me a moving violation and sat there numbly as he gave me directions to the place where I wasn’t but which I also desperately needed to be since where I was wasn’t doing me any good whatsoever.

As usual, many passers-by slowed down to watch Death administer the last rites, sealing me to my fate.  Which was OK because really my mind was already where I wasn’t but knew that I had to be.  I made it to my destination with one minute to spare.

And the morning went downhill from there.  But that’s another story which I probably won’t tell anyway.

It just occurred to me that perhaps I ought to make some phone calls tomorrow to rectify the documentation problem.

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