Friday, May 23, 2008

Ace of Aces - A Police Story

This falls into the category of Police Story, more specifically, what some night shift officers have done in the wee hours of the morning when things slowed down rather than call out to eat. I was looking at the monthly mail out of the Badge & Gun, the publication of the Houston Police Officers’ Union and noticed a friend of mine, George Shaw, had updated the photograph posted on the page with all the board of directors. George has been on the board for several years; but way back when, George was one of the rookies on my shift, not one of my probationary officers, but a very low seniority officer.

We used to square off with a “book game” called “Ace of Aces”, a thinking man’s game where each player has a book of strategies ( for Rush Limbaugh listeners, “strategeries” ), for dog fighting the enemy in WWI. As I recall we had an option of what kind of plane we would fly, which determined the kind of maneuvers it could make; but I’ve lost track of where the actual game has been stored so it really doesn’t matter.

Each page in the book had a visual image of what the pilot would see along with options which would be matched to the other player’s strategy and in turn would guide both players to the next stage of engagement. If you played the right strategy your guns would hit the other player’s biplane and after enough hits or the perfect placement of hits a winner would surface. These dog fights would last from half an hour to an hour depending how each “Ace” was able to out think the other “Ace”.

While thinking about George and wondering what he was up to I gave him a call to get his email address. I wanted to send him a copy of a picture I had along with a scan out of the note books we’d used to keep a record of our dog fights. An interesting coincidence occurred, if you believe in such things; after sending my letter I noticed the date on the side of the dog fight notes, it was May 23, 1984. We had played this game between 3 and 4 am twenty four years ago to the day. The proof remains; I shot George’s airplane out of the sky, totally flamed his butt.

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