Monday, August 15, 2005

Fun Jackin’ with Folks

I just finished a job duplicating and programming some keys for a young man’s Ford truck here in my driveway. His mother had called earlier in the day to set it up after having lost one of the 2 keys I’d cut and programmed not so long ago. I suppose having a third key will prolong my next visit by a few months.

He showed up with a couple of friends, all college age and they were enjoying a good look at my BMW Z-3 parked in the garage. We all got to talking about fast driving and I caught them off guard when I told them I used to have more fun driving my blue and white Caprice. They were still looking at the new Dunlop tires on the back of my Z and so the words didn’t match the conversation about “hot cars”. I waited an appropriate amount of time before adding that I was having a lot more fun with my red lights and siren on than the vehicles I pulled over. I’m sure there’s a permanent smirk wedged into my smile when I talk about having fun as a cop pulling folks over.

The topic changed from hot cars to, “Did you ever have fun jackin’ with people, I mean, just for fun?” That’s a whole lot of question to ask, much less from a young fellow.

I told them about the time I observed two vehicles make the same illegal left turn; a new sign had been erected and I was there to hand out warnings for the first week until folks started to notice the change. The first vehicle’s driver was a Priest in full “cloth” and the other guy was one of the local hippies, for lack of a better term. I got their driver’s licenses and immediately let the Priest go on his way, walking back toward the hippie.

“I only have one ticket left in my book and it’s clear I couldn’t write the Priest.” I looked the young man in the eye while reaching into my pocket for a coin. “Tell you what…”, showing him the quarter and flipping it in the air, “… call it!” I placed my hand over the quarter balanced on my shirt sleeve.

“You can’t do that, it’s not fair.” The veins in his neck were swelling and he was tripping over his frustration while trying to contain his antagonism; call it fear or respect, he knew he was close to the limit.

“Come on kid”, in my best Arlo Guthrie Alice’s Restaurant imitation, “…heads or tails? At least this way you have half a chance of getting off without a ticket.” I let him dangle and fume for a few more moments before showing him that I had a book full of tickets that I could have written and that I was just jackin’ with him.

That was fun; but not near as much as the time I was visiting at my friend’s locksmith shop while on duty. I couldn’t tell you what we were talking about until I saw one of the local “politically active” folks walking up to enter the shop. I recognized him from some of the anti-police marches; his purple hair was a dead giveaway.

“…So, Jim, all I need are two more Stop Sign tickets this month and I win that trip to Mexico City”. I pretended not to notice the new comer to the shop as Jim picked up quickly on my thoughts.

”Shoot, you’ll have that before the afternoon is over. Do you get any bonus bucks for getting a few extra tickets?” Jim had a great dead pan.

“No, they had to stop that last month, darn.” The anti-police fellow did a 180 and was writing notes into the palm of his hand as he drove off. Now, that was fun.

There was the time I was training a rookie on night shift and we had arrested a young fellow on out standing traffic tickets. On the way back to the station I looked at the guy sitting in the back seat, sweating a little more than normal, even for a person going to jail.

“Hey, partner, doesn’t he look like the guy wanted for rape, the one we heard about in roll call the other night?” I have no idea why I asked such a dumb question other than to have some fun. The rookie played along as best he could, hem-hawing until he agreed that he did look very close to the description of the rapist.

It was more than our suspect could handle as he confessed on the spot to being wanted for sexually assaulting his niece only a month earlier. We changed direction, now headed for the central police station where we had him printed and processed. We found the report that his Aunt had made, listing him as the suspect in an aggravated sexual assault of a juvenile. Sometimes you just get lucky. I’m glad it never went to trial.

“Officer, would you explain to the court how you were able to identify the suspect in this case?”. The lawyer smiling at me, a permanent smirk built into the corner of his cheek as he waited for my answer.

“Well, it was like this, I was just jackin’ with the suspect…” Yea, that would have gone over real well.

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