The Poisoner’s Poison

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Hugh Killdme let the spoonful of peas and carrots rest on his tongue. He closed his eyes, savoring the combined taste of his two favorite vegetables. In his mind, he pictured the green and orange delicacies as they danced and rolled in boiling hot water. He saw tendrils of wispy pea-carrot flavored steam shimmying and twisting up from the blue porcelain Rachael Ray pot to the gleaming stainless steel hood above the range.

Hugh shifted his thoughts to the basement freezer. He’d purchased the Acme Super-Duper Chill-Zero model from a close friend, an expert on refrigerators and freezers, who owns a local appliance store (Wile E. Coyote isn’t the only character in the world who knows where to shop for a good deal).

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The day after Acme’s number one best-selling frost-making machine arrived, he’d packed it to the brim with bags of frozen peas and carrots. Bought every single package within a twenty-mile radius.

Hugh alway got all warm and squishy inside when he heard his wife, Earline, say those three little words he so adored—“Dinner is served.” And say them she had, and best of all she’d said them on Peas and Carrots night at the Kildme household.

The second she’d uttered those delicious-sounding words, Hugh rushed to the dining room where he slid his Hush-Puppy-clad feet beneath the table and picked up the silver spoon spoon beside the molten-hot bowl of green and orange ecstasy. As he began to shovel those scrumptious orbs and blocks into his gaping pinhole, he couldn’t stop himself. He was just so darn happy that, well, he couldn’t stop his lips from splitting into a very wide but lopsided grin. So wide, in fact, that several tiny, sweet peas almost tumbled out.

He was graveyard dead thirty seconds after swallowing the first spoonful.

The instant Hugh’s face crashed into his dinner plate, sending airborne little green pellets and perfectly cut squares of orange, his wife of thirty years scurried toward the basement to unplug the freezer, muttering along the way about never again cooking another pea or carrot as long as she was able to draw a breath. For that she was thankful. She was also thankful that the poison had worked so quickly. Not because her husband hadn’t suffered long, though.

Instead, she had plans to play Bingo at the Presbyterian church over on Save-a-Soul Drive, and to have her portly husband flopping around on the kitchen floor for hours would have absolutely ruined her evening. Probably would’ve ruined the shine on her brand new linoleum too.

Her mother always said things have a way of working out. She, too, went quickly … bless her heart. It was her affection for green beans that brought about her early demise. But, Earlene was, after all, in need of a new car and mother’s life insurance was just enough to care of it and the new Acme Fill ‘Er to the Brim Baby above ground pool in the backyard. Earline opted for the model 200xz, the really big one. Sure, it was more expensive, but …

Questions about poisons. I get them all the time, and the number one question that most often pops up is, “What’s the best poison a fictional wife could use (on her fictional husband) that would act quickly and be difficult for police to detect?” So lets dissect this one by visiting a very real high-profile case.

First of all, police officers probably won’t be the folks who detect the poison. That’s the job of the medical examiner and/or laboratory scientists. Next, to detect a specific poison the medical examiner would have to request specific testing for the substance/toxin/chemical/etc. A tox screen is not a one-stop-shop and does not detect most poisons. This is where the police can be a big help to the M.E., lab technicians, and scientists. For example, a savvy detective may notice a bottle labeled “Husband Killer” on the kitchen table next to the head of the deceased. If so, he/she would collect the bottle as evidence and report his/her discovery to the M.E., who would then order testing for the potentially deadly concoction.

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Another huge clue that sharp detectives should pounce on would be the fact that the widow works as a scientist for a bio-pharmaceutical company. And that’s sort of what happened in the case of Tianle Li, the Chinese woman who was convicted of murdering her husband, Xiaoye Wang. Her weapon of choice—thallium.

Thallium, a metal that’s used in electronic switches and some medical devices, was once used as a major component in insecticides and rat poisons. It’s basically odorless and tasteless. And it is well known as the “poisoner’s poison” because it is so difficult to detect in the human body. Thallium use as a pesticide was banned in the U.S. in the early 70’s.

Biotech and pharmaceutical companies are permitted to conduct research using dangerous chemicals, toxins, poisons, extracts, etc. That’s how Tianli Li obtained the thallium she used to murder her husband. As a chemist for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Li ordered thallium to research its effect on humans.

After receiving doses of thallium (how Li introduced the thallium into her husband’s body is not clear) Wang became ill with flu-like symptoms and checked himself into a local hospital, where he lapsed into a coma and died two weeks later.

Had it not been for a quick thinking nurse who’d read about a thallium poisoning case in China, Li would have gotten away with murder … the “perfect murder,” using the “poisoner’s poison” as her instrument of death. The nurse alerted officials who then conducted tests and indeed found thallium in Wang’s body.

So there you have it, my writer friends—two very important bits of information for possible use in your work (writing, that is). One – thallium is the poisoner’s poison because it is difficult to detect. Two – people who work in biotech and pharmaceutical research are able to purchase just about anything in the name of “science.”

By the way, it takes a while for most poisons to get the job done. Having your character go as quickly as Hugh Killdme is, well, fictional.

~

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Now for a true story about botulism, the cause of poor Hugh’s death. But this case, the true story, wasn’t murder, just an unfortunate accident that involved a woman, some green beans, and a home canning jar.

Canning jars have lids designed to exhibit a slight indentation in their centers when food is fresh. If the indentation inverts (pops up), the vegetables may be contaminated, and should be discarded.

A woman was preparing dinner for her family and decided to serve some of her home-canned green beans that evening. She picked up a jar of beans, but thought the pop-up didn’t look quite right. So, to satisfy her curiosity, she opened the jar, touched her finger to the bean juice, and tasted it. It tasted fine to her, so she cooked the beans and served the steaming hot dish to her family. The next day, the woman died, but her family survived. The beans contained botulism toxin, produced by the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum.

C. botulinum lives naturally in the soil.

Botulism toxin is one of the most powerful neurotoxins known to man. About 10 ounces could kill everyone on Earth. It works by paralyzing its victim.

Oh, why didn’t the other members of the woman’s family die? The toxin is inactivated by heat.

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The Graveyard Shift: Feral Dogs, Mannequins, and The Sandman

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It’s four in the morning and fatigue is slowly gaining control of your eyelids. It’s a subtle move, like grasping the string on your grandmother’s window shades, slowly pulling them down. The Sandman’s gentle action is so gracefully executed that, well, you hardly notice it.

Thinking about your family asleep in their warm beds, you turn onto a side street and then into a narrow alleyway, trying to find a place to pull over. Five minutes. That’s all you need. Shouldn’t have spent those three hours today playing with the kids when you could’ve been sleeping. Still, that’s the only time you get to see them awake. And, someone had to mow the lawn this afternoon, right?

Oh yeah, tomorrow is the day you’re supposed to go to your third-grader’s class to tell them about police officers. How long could it take? One or two hours at the most, right? Well, there is the lunch afterward. Another hour. After all, you promised. Besides, it’s impossible to say no to those sweet brown eyes and minus-one-tooth smile.

Sleep. You need sleep.

Your headlights wash over the back of the alley as feral dogs and cats scramble out of the dumpster that sits behind a bakery like an old and tired dinosaur waiting for extinction. The knot of animals scatter loaves of two-day-old bread in their haste to escape the human intruder who dared meddle with their nocturnal feeding. A speckled mutt with three legs hobbled behind a rusty air conditioning unit, dragging a long, dirty bag filled with crumbled bagels.

You move on, shining your spotlight at the rear doors of a five and dime, an auto parts store, a barber shop, and the real estate office you used when buying your house. Only twenty more years to financial freedom and the joy of seeing the first AARP invitation-to-join letter in the mail.

The night air is damp with fog, dew, and city sweat that reeks of gasoline and garbage. Tendrils of steam rise slowly from storm drains—ghostly, sinewy figures melting into the black sky. Mannequins stare into infinity from tombs of storefront glass, waiting for daylight to take away the flashing neon lights that reflect from their plaster skin.

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Desperate to close your own eyes, just for a minute or two, you park at the rear of the next alley, alongside a stack of flattened cardboard boxes. Their labels reflect someone’s life for the week—chicken, baby food, lettuce, disposable diapers, cigarettes, and two-dollar wine.

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Four more hours. If you can only make it for four more hours…

Suddenly, a voice spews from the speaker behind your head, “Shots fired. Respond to 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Back up is en route.”

“10-4. I’m 10-8.”

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And so it goes. Night, after night, after night …

~

It’s believed by some that the graveyard shift (not this blog) got it name from people who accidentally buried their loved ones while they were still alive. Believing the “dearly departed” had gone on to their reward, these folks fitted an unconscious or comatose Uncle Bill or Grandma with a new outfit and a spiffy pine box. Then they buried them in the local cemetery where night workers claimed to hear the dead screaming for help from below the ground. When they dug up the coffins, they sometimes found scrape marks on the casket lids, indicating the person inside had tried to claw their way out before finally succumbing to a lack of oxygen.

To remedy the situation, caskets were fitted with a long string that reached from inside the buried coffin to a bell up on the surface. This enabled the “dead” person to ring the bell should he awaken after his burial. Workers could then quickly rescue the living dead.

It’s debatable as to the validity of this tale, but it makes for an interesting story, especially for police officers who have cemeteries to patrol in their precincts. This bell-ringing story may have also been the inspiration for early tales of zombie activity.

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The Prowler: Page 99 of My Spiral Notebooks

2 a.m.

Fog.

Whirling, swirling.

Streetlight.

Lone bat.

Looping, swooping.

Frogs, crickets.

Train whistle, far away.

Radio crackles,

In still, night air.

Prowler complaint.

Noise outside window.

“I’ll take it.”

“10-4.”

“Backup?”

“Negative.”

Front porch light.

Moth. Flittering, fluttering.

Shadows.

Flowerbed.

Weeds.

Window.

Curtain, lace.

Breeze.

Leaves ticking, clicking across weathered floorboards.

Porch swing.

Rusted chain.

Crooked.

Door swings slowly inward.

Just a crack.

Yellow light.

A sliver,

Pours outside.

Tiny face,

Crinkled with days long since passed.

“I heard them again, Officer.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Wet, anxious eyes.

Faded gray with time.

“They were at the window, like before.”

“I’ll check around back.”

“You’re too kind.”

“I wish my Bill was still here.”

“I know.”

“He’s been gone ten years this week.”

“A good man.”

“Thank you.”

“Coffee?”

“It’s fresh.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Two sugars and a little cream, right?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Be right back.”

Outside.

Flashlight.

Waiting.

Neighbor’s house, dark.

Heating unit, humming.

Rattles, stops.

Quiet.

Owl,

Hoots.

Two minutes.

 

Kitchen window.

Full coffee pot.

Silver tray.

Cookies.

Cups.

Saucers.

Spoons.

For two.

Screen door,

Creaking.

Thump.

“Everything’s okay.”

“Yes, I do feel better now.”

Warm smells.

Vanilla,

Fresh bread,

Coffee.

“It’s just with Bill gone …”

“I know.”

A glance,

Downward

Wall clock,

Ticking.

A sigh.

A tear.

Silence.

Tick, tick, tick.

“Would you mind if I sat for a minute?”

A sniffle.

“I’m tired, and really shouldn’t drive.”

“How would that look?”

“A cop asleep at the wheel.”

A smile.

Relief.

Just like last night.

And the night before.

And the night before.

At 2 a.m.

Ten years after her Bill passed away.

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Times Are Changing: Buy Your Villain A New Weapon

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Are the villains in your tales growing weary of having to choose from a limited supply of murder weapons? Do you hear them sigh each time you type the words Glock, Oleander, chainsaw, wood chipper, candlestick, and severed gas and/or brake lines? Who can blame them for their dismay? After all, for decades now they’ve reached into their toolboxes to find the same old tired instruments of death, time and time again.

Well, thanks to a handful of computer geeks and hackers, your bad guys will soon have a new method of “whacking” the cleverly-crafted characters you’ve designated for the grave. Now, instead of having to chop, hack, shoot, and slice, killers can keep their hands spotlessly clean while tending to their evil business.

How will they do it, you ask? Okay, imagine this … your evil-doer, I. Stoppa Uhart, is on a tight schedule, needing to kill several people before the noon hour. So he whips out his handy-dandy, hand-held pocket computer, otherwise known as a cellphone. He sets a special app to the scan mode. And … presto! He’s located three people nearby who’re connected to insulin pumps. He pushes a few touchscreen buttons and … WHAM! The pumps each deliver a lethal dose of insulin to the unsuspecting victims. The murderer switches off the device and goes on to his next appointment … the hospital trauma ward where there should be plenty of morphine drips.

The best part of the whole deal (for the killer) is that there’s no physical evidence to tie him to the murder—no fingerprints, no trace evidence, no shell casings, no murder weapon … nothing.

Across town, Uhart’s first cousin and partner in crime, I. Maka Ubleed, is standing by at the freeway, ready to switch on a hacking program that would soon give him control of the on-board computers regulating the systems of nearly every passing vehicle. His button-pushing-finger, poised and ready to act, trembled slightly as it hovered above the bright red key marked “Press Here For Death And Destruction.” Yes, in just a few minutes there’d be a massive auto crash and countless deaths and injuries.

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Sound like fantasy to you? Well, it’s not. The hacking of these types of programs is relatively easy to accomplish with technology that’s readily available. And, if hackers already have the ability to control our medicine and our vehicles, what’s next? Our food and water supply, power grids, and … no, not that. Not our Kindles!

It’s true, folks. The day may soon come when a band of evil hackers decide to gain control over all e-readers, and that would surely mean certain and instant death for us all. Either that, or we might be forced to do the unthinkable … buy and read real books. What a “novel” idea …

 

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Writers’ Police Academy Registration Opens Sunday, Introduces HIT Classes!

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It’s almost here! That’s right, registration for the 2017 Writers’ Police Academy is scheduled to open at NOON EST on February 19, 2017. That’s TOMORROW!!!

You can expect BIG things this year. Over the moon excitement, thrills, and action. Lots of BOOMS, BANGS, sirens, and flashing lights. New workshops include a ton of … well, surprises, as you’ll soon see!

2017 is our 9th annual event and, as always, we’ve outdone ourselves with another stellar lineup, starting with Craig Johnson, Mr. Longmire himself, as Guest of Honor!

The WPA is open to all!

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The vast majority of WPA workshops are hands-on. However, we do feature a few lecture-based sessions that take place in nice, modern classroom settings, such as our lecture hall pictured above ~ WPA 2016.

 Described as “an exciting vacation experience for writers,” this conference often sells out within hours of opening its online registration.  Mark your calendar (you might also want to subscribe to the WPA newsletter so you don’t miss any announcements or changes), and be ready to register.

Registration for the 9th annual WPA opens on Sunday, Feb. 19, at noon EST! and is on the WPA’s site: www.writerspoliceacademy.com. Your registration is not complete until you make a payment via PayPal (you don’t need a PayPal account to pay registration fees as a major credit cards are also just fine).

Before You Register

The 2017 Writers’ Police Academy schedule is online (we’re adding more and more workshops each day!). Visit www.writerspoliceacademy.com to read about all of the classes offered. All classes are open to everyone. You can decide which to attend after you arrive.

However, High Intensity Training (HIT Training) workshops require advance sign-ups on the online registration form, and these spots are filled by lottery. We have almost 700 spots in HIT training sessions!  

HIT IS HIGH-INTENSITY, LIVE-ACTION TRAINING DESIGNED TO PROVIDE ONE-ON-ONE ATTENTION. HIT IS ACTUAL POLICE TRAINING AT ITS FINEST!

Mark the dates of the WPA on your calendar and let everyone who might make other plans for you (family members, employers, etc.) know you have a commitment to attend the WPA on these dates. This will minimize the possibility of later conflicts.

Gather all the information you’ll need to register, including your credit card. Decide in advance your preference for name badges, etc.

FIRST-DAY ONLY! You’re Automatically Entered To Win a Free WPA Registration!
Everyone who registers on Feb. 19—the first day registration opens—will automatically be put in a drawing for a Free Registration donated by the WPA. Zero cost to enter. (The winner can elect to have her/his WPA registration fee refunded or give the WPA registration to a friend.)

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FIRST-DAY ONLY! Enter Author Kendra Elliot’s $1000 WPA Bonanza Drawing! Kendra Elliot is donating a fantastic WPA package that includes free WPA registration, banquet ticket, T-shirt, additional swag, and $500 cash the winner can use for travel or accommodations. This opportunity is available only to those who register on Feb. 19, 2017. Fee to enter is $20. Proceeds will be used to help fund a student scholarship at NWTC, our host college/academy.

The HIT Parade

When you register, all HIT Training options will be shown in a numbered list. To indicate your preferences, list the numbers of the six HIT options you most want to attend. The list should be in priority order with the numbers separated by commas (e.g. 5,3,6,12,7,4).

HIT Training options that require BACKGROUND CHECKS are shown on the registration form. Please do not indicate you wish to take part in one of these workshops if you are unwilling to submit the necessary information required for a “soft” background check that verifies you are approved to handle/possess firearms. The background checks are handled by the same firm our host academy uses to conduct background checks for its police academy recruits. This information will not be stored, and WPA staff does not see the results of the background checks, only approvals.

If you have questions prior to registration, feel free to email WPA directly at 2017wpa@gmail.com.

Visit the Writers’ Police Academy website to read about all about the classes offered. The schedule is fantastic. All classes are open to everyone.

Some of the workshops you can expect to attend are (this is only a very few):

  • Antique Firearms
  • Arson Investigations
  • Asian and Native Gangs
  • Building Searches/Room Clearing
  • Evidence Collection
  • Bug Mania – using insects as murder weapons.
  • Drones
  • Emergency Driving
  • Shoot/Don’t Shoot (Live-action)
  • Handgun and Rifle fire – Hands-on/live fire.
  • K-9s
  • Mental Health and Law Enforcement
  • Mounted Patrol (yes, there will be horses!).
  • Tribal Police
  • Pursuit Immobilization Technique (PIT) Hands on driving.
  • Secrets of the Secret Service
  • SWAT: Explosive Entry – Hands-on!
  • Talking to Serial Killers
  • Traffic Stops/Drunk Driving – Yes, drinking is involved, but not by you :)

And much, much more!!

Please, please, please be ready to register Sunday February 19th at noon EST. Spots are limited and the free giveaways are available only on the first day of registration. Please do keep in mind that sometimes there’s NOT a second day.

You do not want to miss this one-of-a-kind, thrilling event! After all, we offer you workshops such as …

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Also, please remember to reserve your hotel rooms. They are currently accepting phone reservations and, believe it or not, our block is already starting to fill.

Radisson Hotel and Conference Center Green Bay
2040 Airport Drive, Green Bay, WI 54313
920-494-7300

*The hotel is conveniently situated near Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, and features several restaurants, AND, the famous Oneida Casino!

So … see you on Sunday! Watch my Facebook page for updates as they occur!

https://www.facebook.com/lee.lofland.7

~

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Sisters in Crime, a major sponsor of the Writers’ Police Academy, offers a generous $150 discount to their members attending the WPA for the first time. Not a member? No problem. Simply join SinC today to receive your discount.

*You must be a SinC member at the time of WPA registration to receive the discount. Click here to join SinC today!

~

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES!

Registration fees alone do not cover the expense of this massive event, so we rely on you to help out by supporting this extremely beneficial aspect of the program. We keep the registration costs to a bare minimum, hoping that doing so encourages and helps more writers to attend

Therefore …

The WPA is actively seeking sponsors and items for the raffle and silent auction. It is because of your generosity that we’re able to do what we do!

Please contact me at lofland32@msn.com if you’d like to join our family of sponsors. We need you, and a sponsorship is a great means to advertise you and your work to a worldwide audience!

We are also seeking volunteers to help out at the event. Raffle and silent auction experience not necessary, but big smiles and the ability to sell tickets like your life depends on it are, well, a big plus. ????

To learn more about sponsorships and how you can join our family of sponsors, please visit the Become a sponsor page of the WPA website, here.

Thanks so much, and we’ll see you Sunday at noon. Don’t forget!!

 

 

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Pat: The Little Cop Who Couldn’t

Some people are simply not designed to be cops. There, I’ve said it. And it’s true.

Ask any police officer and they’ll tell you that it takes a special kind of person to successfully wear a gun and badge. Sure, “law dawgs” come in all shapes, sizes, skin colors, and from varying backgrounds. But there was one officer who shouldn’t have made it past the interview stage, and that cop was quickly nicknamed “The Little Cop Who Couldn’t.”

First of all, for the purpose of this blog, we need to assign a name to the officer—a gender-neutral name. Therefore, it’ll be up to you to paint your own mental picture of him/her. And the name I choose is Pat.

The story goes something like this…

Pat was a unique police officer who stood at a towering 4′-11″ tall, with shoes on (4′-10″ wearing really thick socks and no shoes).

Not a single supply company stocked police uniforms in child sizes, so Pat’s clothing had to be specially made and ordered from a company that advertised, I think, on the back cover of Archie comic books. Even then, a good bit of tailoring had to be done, snipping here and stitching there, to insure a proper fit. Seriously, the little pant legs were shorter than the sleeves on my dress shirts.

If someone had bronzed Pat’s work shoes they’d have looked a lot like “baby’s first shoes.”

During basic training, one of the practical exercises for the class was to direct traffic at a busy city intersection. Trainees were required to be in full uniform for the exercise, including hats. Well, they just don’t make police hats that small, so Pat borrowed one from a fellow classmate, looking like a kid playing dress-up in adult clothing. Besides, not everyone can pull of the “police-hat look.” On the other hand, some look absolutely fabulous!

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Green Bay Police Mounted Patrol

Anyway, the recruit who’d just completed his turn in the intersection had successfully, without a single crash, stopped traffic from all four directions so Pat could assume the position in the middle of the street. Then, firmly in control of dozens upon dozens of idling vehicles of all sizes and makes, and with arms outstretched and a forceful tweet from a shiny and brand new whistle, Pat sharply and crisply motioned for one lane of traffic to move forward. Cars and trucks zipped by and Pat smiled, nodded, and winked at the drivers as they passed. Pat had it going on.

And all was going well until Pat gave the whistle another blast to stop the oncoming traffic, and then turned to the left to start the next lane of traffic moving. Well, Pat’s tiny head turned left, rotating inside the cap, but the too-large hat remained facing forward. The entire class erupted in laughter. Suddenly chaos broke out. Horns blew. Drivers started moving from all directions. Traffic was soon knotted up like a tin can full of wriggling fishing worms.

Pat once responded to a shoplifting call—an 11-year-old girl swiped a twenty-five cent candy bar from a local K-Mart—and just as Pat was about to enter the store the kid ran outside. Pat grabbed the little darlin’ who then pushed Pat down to the pavement. Pat got up and grabbed the 70-ish-pound kid and it was on. According to bystanders who, by the way, called 911 to report an officer needing assistance because the child was absolutely beating the tar out of Pat. One witness told responding officers that Pat resembled one of those blow-up clown punching bags that pops back upright after each blow, the kind with the big red nose that squeaks when struck.

Then there was the time when Pat’s fellow officers responded to a large fight outside a local bar. The dispatcher cautioned that weapons were involved and that several people were already injured and down. Pat was in the middle answering a domestic he-said/she-said when the call came in.

Responding officers saw the large crowd and immediately called for backup, which, at that point, meant calling in sheriff’s deputies and state troopers, since every available officer, except Pat, was already on the scene. The fight was brutal, with officers and bad guys were going at it, toe-to-toe and blow-for-blow. Officers were outnumbered four-to-one, at least.

And then they heard it … a lone siren wailing and yelping in the distance, like the sound of a ship’s horn mournfully floating across vast salt water marshes at low tide. Soon, intermittent flashes of blue light began to reflect from brick storefronts and plate glass windows. Mannequins, fur coats, and hunting apparel were all washed in the same winking and blinking azure light.

Suddenly, a patrol car shot out of the darkness. With strobes pulsing, siren screaming, and headlamps wig-wagging, Pat’s marked blue and white bore down on the parking lot and the fight that was well underway.

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Instead of stopping in the street, the tiny officer, who by the way, had to sit on a pillow to see over the dashboard (no, I’m not kidding), steered the car over the curb with a bump and a bang, pulling directly into the narrow parking lot. The car came to a stop not five feet away from the rumble.

Pat didn’t waste any time before flinging open the car door and stepping out, leaving the emergency lights in full frenzy mode, and siren crying out like an alley cat with its tail caught in a fox trap. Then Pat stepped out of the car, sort of …

You see, Pat’s pistol and holster had somehow gotten tangled with the seat belt, reeling Pat back into the car like a Yo-Yo on the upswing. Pat’s Maglite hit the pavement and broke apart, spilling D-cell batteries and the lens and bulb in all directions. The pillow fell out and slid beneath the vehicle.

And the hat. That &%*@ hat.

Yes, resting on Pat’s miniature dome was the cop/bus driver hat which, of course, remained motionless while Pat’s softball-size head spun around like a lighthouse beacon as he/she surveyed the scene and the whereabouts of the now missing batteries and seat cushion.

Suddenly, as if a magic spell had been cast, the fight stopped. Everyone, good guys and bad, all turned to watch “The Pat Show” unfold. Even the bad guys chuckled at the ridiculousness playing out before their very eyes—Pat on hands and knees retrieving lost gear and, of course, the pillow. At least the fight was over.

By the way, Pat’s hands were so small that the department had to purchase a pistol a bit smaller than standard cop issue, but Pat’s index finger was still too short to reach the trigger. Instead, he/she learned to shoot using his/her middle finger to pull the trigger. Didn’t matter, though, because Pat still barely managed to shoot a satisfactory score on the range.

So I guess the true test of becoming a police officer is not how strong the desire or how big the heart, it’s how well the head fits the hat. And, of course, you must be “this tall” to drive a police car.

Pat did have a few good officer-type qualities. Such as…

Crime scene photography. Pat was already close to the ground, so locating tiny bits of evidence was a breeze.

Surveillance

Locating “bugs”.

Pat could sit for hours at a time, watching surveillance tapes.

Undercover assignments were Pat’s favorite.

Of course, Pat’s drinking was a problem.

And there were rumors of a serious “Binky” habit…

Joining the dive team presented new challenges for Pat.

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Pat was tough, though, and managed to singlehandedly bring in even the biggest and baddest of the bad guys.

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In the end, though, it was the intradepartmental affair that ended Pat’s career.

 

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