Despite my inherently criminal and basically evil nature, I’m not anti-cop (I even considered becoming one, once) but I think my feelings towards them are best expressed in the words of Henry the Barfly when asked if he hated the police. “No…but I seem to feel better when they’re not around.” He earlier said the same thing of people in general. I can relate in both instances.
I was recently reminded of an incident (which I hope I haven’t previously blogged, but my old brain leaks more information with each passing year and I’m not sure) in Birmingham when I called the police. I lived in a poor neighborhood, but it was generally a nice place despite the crack-house across the street and two doors down (I’m not kidding). I lived around the corner from the police station, so I only got robbed about once every three years instead of annually like the guys a couple of streets over (still not kidding). Gunfire was common at night, but the days were generally peaceful. The crack-heads and junkies left me alone, which only left one group to harass me – the police.
Over the years I’ve been extremely poor (early rural years) and middle class (teen years) and urban poor (after the military, trying to survive on my own with few marketable skills) and back to middle class (now) (note to J-usagi – I make a comfortable living, and could support a family if you’re really hot), and I’ve lived in apartments and houses, in the vast countryside, in the suburbs, and downtown. I’ve learned the police react to several factors – car color (red = speeding ticket, black = nearly invisible), hair length (long = drug-soaked hippie, short = Jebus fearing contributing member of society), but I’ve seen them react mostly to race (in my case, good if in a white neighborhood, bad if living in a mostly black neighborhood, which pretty much describes Birmingham). Unlike where I live now, Birmingham had good sidewalks and crosswalks at the corners so I walked everywhere I could. Unfortunately, whenever the police (black, white, and every color in between) saw me, they whipped their cars around to interrogate me. Sometimes it was just to make eye contact and establish I wasn’t insane or on drugs (as far as they knew), but other times they would use a vague excuse (like somebody fitting my description had recently committed a crime in the neighborhood) and would check my id, call in to the station to see if I had any warrants, pat me down, and rapid fire questions at me from my license to see if they could trip me up.
I finally quit walking after three back to back incidents. One Friday night a black cop sat me in his cruiser and shouted single-word questions at me (“Name! Address! Social!”) and then repeated several times, interchanging the order of the questions to see if I would blurt the wrong answer. I didn’t, so he let me go. The next day, while trying to jog on the track around the pond in the park, I encountered a fat white cop in his cruiser ON THE JOGGING PATH who stopped me just to say good morning. He literally ordered me to stop, peered intently into my eyes, and said good morning, judging my reaction. I passed muster, so he let me continue. Note – that guy should have been on the jogging path without the squad car. The day after that, while walking my floppy-eared harmless dog Baby at 9:00 AM on a Sunday morning, a different black cop ordered me to tie her to a stop sign so he could toss me up against the side of his car and frisk me. I had nothing on me but my ID, which I knew not to leave home without because the cops get really suspicious when you try to jog without a driver’s license. After questioning me on what I was doing out (walking the fecking dog – what’s it look like?) he begrudging let me go. I decided to stay indoors or in my car at all times after that.
Then one day (on my birthday, which is when the universe really turns against me) a storm knocked a tree into the side of my house. The contractors suggested by the insurance company (note – never accept your insurance adjuster’s suggested repair guys) dragged their feet on fixing the house, so several days later I still had a house that I couldn’t secure – not a good idea in that neighborhood. You could literally walk into the back bedroom by prying the aluminum siding apart where it was split, or by climbing the tree next to the house and dropping through the hole in the roof. To keep the elements out, I shut the interior door to the back bedroom. The damage had warped the door frame, so I had to push down on the knob and pull with all my strength (note to J-usagi – I am quite strong and manly) to get the door to shut. There was no way that door would open without considerable brute force.
One evening, as I was stepping out of the shower (note to J-usagi – I look good nekkid), my dog began barking. Clad only in a towel, I opened the bathroom door to see the door to the back bedroom standing wide open. Having an intruder in your home is scary enough (I could write a page about that feeling alone, but I’ll spare you and move on) but it’s even worse when you’re naked and exposed. I shut off the lights hoping it would give me an advantage over the intruder since I knew the house’s layout, then I crept to the phone and called 911. My dog had since quit barking, so I whispered my dilemma to the woman at the other end. She asked me to speak up and repeat the problem. I kept repeating “There’s an intruder in my house” louder and louder until I was shouting it, and still she got it wrong. “Did you say somebody WAS in your house?” “No, somebody IS in the house RIGHT NOW!” Good think I wasn’t being killed. “Did you say somebody WAS killing you? What do all those gurgling sounds mean?”
I realized I was giving away my position and negating my whole lights-out advantage, so I hung up and retrieved my gun, a Ruger Security-Six .357 magnum, and a flashlight. I cocked the pistol’s hammer making an unmistakable sound in the quiet dark, hoping that would scare the guy away. Not hearing any scampering, I turned on the flashlight, held it as far out to the side as possible (thinking if he fired at the light, I’d only take a round in the hand or arm at worst) and cleared the building. I didn’t find anyone, and decided he probably ran away when Baby started barking, him not knowing she was completely harmless. I gave her a treat and a lot of praise, then had several drinks so I could sleep.
Nearly three hours later after I had just gone to bed, I heard an authoritative cop knock at the front door. Part of me knew it was probably the police investigating the 911 hangup, but after the earlier intrusion I wasn’t taking any chances. I leapt out the window, curled into a ball, rolled out from behind the bushes, and laid down a field of fire in front of the door, effectively wasting the errant pizza-delivery boy.
Not mine, but the same model without custom grips
Ha ha! I’m only joking (note to J-usagi – I have a terrific sense of humor). I tucked my gun into the back of my sweatpants, tossed on a shirt, and answered the door, Baby barking at the new intruder the entire time. The officer that stood there was a young man (early to mid twenties, although Birmingham PD have to be a minimum of twenty-one to join and have to spend a year on the force before they can ride solo) with blonde hair and a growing belly. He started relaying details of the 911 call from his clipboard and asked me to confirm my address and identity. Meanwhile, the heavy gun was causing my sweatpants to slip, and I knew that if I didn’t interrupt him and get the gun out of there I was going to flash him and probably go to jail.
I said “Excuse me, officer. I have a gun on me. If you’ll allow me, I’m going to reach into the back of my pants and get it for you.” I then slowly removed the gun with one hand, barrel first, and handed it to him. Despite my calm demeanor, his eyes grew wide as saucers as he took the gun. I invited him inside the sun room (basically a walled-in front porch), while Baby continued to bark from the living room.
His first order of business was to call in to the station and ask if they had any reports of a .357 magnum pistol reported stolen (he couldn’t read the serial number due to the custom grip). Now I began to worry that I was going to jail because surely, at some time in the history of Birmingham, somebody has had a .357 stolen, but the dispatcher finally relayed that they had no reports of a stolen gun of that caliber. That didn’t satisfy him, so he sent me into my house, past my barking dog, to retrieve a screwdriver so I could remove the grips and show him the serial number. He called the number in and again they confirmed my gun wasn’t stolen (it was legally purchased and registered), so he finally began the task of addressing my call after unloading my pistol and tucking it into his belt.
At this point, he had been harassing me for about twenty minutes. I don’t remember everything he said to me on the porch, but he had been giving me a hard time in between radio messages for owning a gun, which is practically mandatory in the South, especially for homeowners. When he finally entered the home (after hearing my dog bark for twenty minutes) he dropped into an exaggerated gunslinger’s crouch and shouted “You get that dog under control RIGHT NOW! I got no problem with shooting it.” Note – Baby was barking the entire time, but any fool who knows anything about dogs could tell she wasn’t being aggressive. She just knew that barking at strangers = food.
Note to the cop – buddy, you’d better thank your training and your lucky stars you didn’t hand my gun back to me at that point. I’m not joking – I was tired, pissed off, and still a little drunk and I would have shot him in the back of the head and thought nothing about it except what story I need to concoct to stay out of prison. In my view, there were two people in my living room at that point, although the short furry one was the only one I’d label as intelligent. I loved her unconditionally and let her sleep in my bed and lounge around on my furniture and eat my food. The other was some jackass whose name I didn’t know. If I had to choose between them, well…the choice is kind of obvious, isn’t it? (Note to J-usagi – I will fight and die for those I love, making me excellent boyfriend material.)
I briefly considered attacking, but even as enraged as I was I kept my eye on my ultimate goal, which at this point was to get Officer Asshole out of my house without harming my dog or having me arrested. I’ve always been good at hiding my emotions, even when I’m at the boiling point, so I calmly walked past him, quieted the dog with a pat on the head, gave her a treat, and put her in the back yard. Now I was free to deal with OA by telling him the guy who broke in had run away hours ago, so he could just finish his report and go fuck himself. Okay, I left the last bit out, but I might as well have said it because OA wasn’t through with me by a long shot.
He made me retell the story over and over while I escorted him around the house, inside and out, demonstrate how the door stuck, and then he ended his investigation with the conclusion that the wind blew the door open and I, in his words, “got spooked”. I should have just nodded and let it go, but I argued with him for a moment, reminding him that it took some amount of force (more than a slight breeze) to open the door. He defended his view stating that the electrical cord the contractors left running from the back bedroom through the hole in the roof was slack, and the intruder couldn’t have used it to climb up. I reminded him of the tree and the BIG FECKING SPLIT IN THE WALL FROM FOUNDATION TO ROOF, but he dismissed my amateur attempts at sleuthing and wrote it off as a mistaken call. Oh, and he also refused to believe my claim that it took him three hours to get there. Finally, he sighed, looked disappointed and handed my gun and bullets back separately.
I had managed to calm myself a little by that time and no longer wanted to kill him as badly as when my dog was threatened, but as he walked away I did briefly wonder if I could reload and take him down before he reached his car. Instead I went inside, let the dog back in, and got drunk again because there was no way I was going to sleep after all that. It’s a good thing I’m normally a calm and happy drunk, because if I was prone to drunken violent outbursts, I would have surely gone over the edge that night. I sat and drank and stewed over the night’s events, and got madder and madder until finally I passed out and awoke with a hangover but also slightly better attitude the next day.
So, to recap (finally – thank the zombie Jebus) – I called 911 because somebody broke into my house and three hours later a policeman arrived, treated me like a criminal in my own home, threatened to shoot my dog, called me a coward and a liar, and then left disappointed because he couldn’t find an excuse to arrest me or take my gun. I made a vow never to call the police again for any reason, and I’ve stuck with it ever since.
Again, I don’t hate all the police because of this encounter (and many others) with an asshole with a badge. Rick, I’d really be interested in hearing your opinion on this piece, assuming you made it this far and your opinion isn’t “HE SHOULD HAVE SHOT YOU ON SIGHT, FECKING INSANE J-PHILE CRIMINAL.” :p
The moral of this post? Japanese women are hot.