Sunday, April 10, 2016

Small town Law Enforcement

"Really," I say, trying to fit as much disbelief and sarcasm as is possible into those two syllables.

"Yes, sir."

I stare at the 16-year-old boy for a good while, before allowing my eyebrow to lift.

"You're visiting your girlfriend whose last name you can't quite recall at this time, whose first name is either 'Stacey' or 'Shelly' depending on when you're asked; and you're not sure what her address is, but it's -- and let me quote this:  'On a street'."

Long pause.

"Umm ... yeah?"

"Ah.  And as far as romantic gifts go, your lady is perfectly happy with a gym-bag packed with," I pull each object out one at a time, "A ski mask, a pair of leather work gloves, and -- goodness -- a crowbar."

The kid is looking at everything except me.

"We all need to be honest here, so let me be the first:  You, sir, are a thief.  Ah!  Let me finish.  The fact that you do not have a criminal history attached to your name merely tells me that you are a here-unto-for lucky thief.  You're not here to visit your girlfriend, because any girl young enough to be dating you will be at tonight's Homecoming football game.  Where -- coincidentally enough -- much of the rest of the town is located.  Which leads us to yourself, wandering the empty streets all by your ownsome with naught but a bag of burglars tools to keep you company."

I can hear him swallow, so I take a step forward, crowding his personal space.

"So, there's two ways this is going to settle out.  The first is that I take you, and your stuff, back to the office, I call the football stadium and when a member of West Podunk High School faculty shows up, I tell them what I think is going on, give them you and your bag of goodies, and wave bye-bye."

I don't think he likes that idea.

"The second way is that I hand you this receipt for your bag of burglars tools, you take your self back to the stadium and I don't see hide nor hair of you outside of that stadium for the rest of the evening.  Tomorrow, you bring that receipt and a parent to the office, and I give you back your crowbar, your gloves and your ski-mask."

I'm guessing from the nodding that the second choice is a bit more palatable.

"Five blocks that way.  You can't miss the lights.  Scram."


Hopefully, he's taken enough of a scare to persuade him that the critter life isn't for him.  Yeah, and as long as I'm hoping, can I get a long-legged lingerie model with a bag of grapes?  I file the fink card -- excuse me "Field Interview Card" in the Bloody Idiots file in my briefcase and clear the call.

It's one of those lovely fall Panhandle evenings, so about ten minutes later I park the Super Scooter at the end of Second Street, get out, and start checking doors on what passes as the Main Business District of Bugscuffle, Texas.

Three doors later, I smile slightly as a roar echoes lightly around the front porch.  A moment later, the sounds of musical instruments played maybe with a little more enthusiasm than skill follow.  Sounds like the Bugscuffle Fighting Rednecks are doing well this evening.

I push gently on the door I'm facing -- and it swings open.



"Car 12, County."

"Go ahead, 12."

"I've an open door at 1201 Second Street.  Public service the Williams and see if they can put an eyeball on Dot."

There's more than a touch of amusement in Dispatches voice as she replies, "10-4, 12.  You want me to roll you some back-up?"


"Negative, County," I say, as I step into the front hall of the Conroe and Conroe Funeral Home, "I'll be on the portable."

A dollar will get you a doughnut that I'm going to find the same thing I've found the last umpteen Open Door calls we've gotten here, but I'm well aware that Murphy hates my guts -- personally.  So my P7 is hidden behind my leg, finger indexed along the frame as I shine my Surefire through the business office, the guest rooms, multiple viewing rooms, the Icky Room (brrr), casket storage, finally to be slipped back into the holster as I find the small, slim figure sitting all alone in the chapel.

Dot Williams is dressed in her standard uniform of hot pink sneakers, blue jeans and Hello Kitty sweatshirt, one foot swinging idly as she gravely regards the awful plastic gold-painted, flower-adorned abstract sculpture stuck to the wall behind the altar.   In honour of the evenings football game, a red-and-black football is painted on one cheek, and red and silver ribbons have been threaded into her ever-present pony-tail.

Eleven-something years ago, a college kid with a one-ton Western Hauler pick-up truck and a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.22 packed the Chevy S-10 driven by the hugely-pregnant Mrs. Williams into a little bitty mangled ball and bounced it across Main Street.  The Bugscuffle Volunteer Fire Department earned their Christmas hams that evening in as deft a display of the Fine Art of Power Extrication as any department – paid or no – could hope for.  Couple of hours after the Jaws of Life were cleaned and stored, Dorothy Elise Williams was born.

I scrape my boot heels on the carpet as I walk around the end of the pew, careful not to startle the little girl – although, truth be known, I have no idea if Dot has ever been startled in her life.  Or if it's even possible to startle her – then I sit gently on the bench just within arms reach and ponder the sculpture.

Yeah.  It's bloody awful.

I reach into my vest and pull out a pack of chewing gum, unwrap a stick and chew for a bit, before taking a second stick out of the pack and – careful not to look at Dot – casually lay it on the bench midway between us.  A couple of breaths later, equally casually, and without taking her eyes off the plastic abomination on the wall, Dot reaches out and takes the sweet, unwrapping it with ferocious concentration and putting it into her mouth one quarter piece at a time before meticulously folding the foil wrapper into little squares and laying it on the bench mid-way between us; where, after a couple of breaths, I gently pick it up and stick it in an inner pocket of my denim vest.

Dot is ... odd.

Probably not very long after I sit down, but considerably longer than I would like (I'm sitting in a funeral home, after dark -- I've seen this movie) Dot slides a battered something or other that was probably once a stuffed giraffe ... I think ... along the pew towards me, maintaining a firm grip on one of it's appendages with her left hand.

Careful not to touch the little girl, I grab ahold of a fuzzy limb, and then carefully stand up.  A beat later, Dot stands up, and we start walking towards the exit.

Dot doesn't like to be touched, matter-of-fact the only sound I've ever heard the wee sprite make is an ear-splitting shriek whenever someone who isn't her family touches her.  Learning that lesson left my ears ringing for days; however, as various and sundry gods are my witnesses, I swear that if this little girl turns and waves at the altar, I'm carrying her out the door at a dead sprint -- probably emptying my magazine over my shoulder as we go -- banshee wails and damage complaints aside.  Like I said:  I've seen this movie.

Fortunately anything Dot might have been communing with seems to lack an appreciation for social graces -- or simply wishes to spare my over-active imagination -- and there is no waving.

When we step out onto the front porch, an elderly man who has been leaning against the guard-rail, clears his throat.  Not really necessary, but polite all the same.

"Bert," I say to the owner of Conroe and Conroe Funeral Home, "Thought you'd be at the game instead of listening to the scanner."

He grins, "I was.  Sitting next to the Sheriff on the fifty-yard line when I heard the call over his radio."


"I doubt that anything is missing or damaged ..."  He raises a hand, cutting me off.

"Of course not.  Dot would never be that crass."  He gives a formal, Southern nod off to my left, and I realize that I'm the only one holding on to the stuffed wossname.  Bloody hell.

"Miss Dot.  How are you this evening?"

Dot, who is intently examining a mimosa branch at the end of the porch, ignores him.  He smiles, then moves to shut and lock the door.

"Dorothy Elise Williams!"  On the street, a Suburban has pulled to a stop, catty-wampus, before disgorging Mr and Mrs Williams, the latter of whom is heading for her youngest at full speed.  "What have I told you about wandering off, young lady!"

"'Dog, Bert, I'm so sorry,"  Cody Williams has taken off his Stetson, and is wringing the brim.  I'm a little shocked.  "We were talking to the new pastor, and just took our eyes off of her for a second ..."

I wave the stuffed whatsit at him, "Cody.  Put your hat back on.  You look weird without it.  No blood, no foul."

Albert Conroe smiles at him genially, "We've had this talk before, Cody.  It's quiet, she likes it, and she's a very courteous guest.  I don't have an issue."

At the end of the porch, Mrs Williams has taken her daughter's chin and gently turned her for eye-contact.  There's finger-shaking going on, and then Dot reaches out and very gently pats her mother on the cheek, before turning her attention back to the branch.  I hand Cody the stuffed thingie, "Take your family back to the game."

Bert and I stand on the porch as the Williams climb into the Suburban and take off.

Bert chuckles gently, "Small towns."



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Umm, what?

The local company that supplied aero service into, and out of, Warri International Aeroport had a pilot named Bob.

Bob wasn't Russian.  Matter-of-fact, Bob would go on at length -- in a nigh-unintelligible Russian accent, usually while potted on vodka, and waving his arms with their Cyrillic tattoos -- as to his not-Russian-ness.

This being West Africa at the time, the old hands simply agreed with him, and ignored his singing of Soviet marching songs at the top of his lungs at three in the AM.

Bob was also an excellent pilot, and his baby was a C-119 Flying Boxcar that was the major hauling aeroplane for our little patch of the jungle.

The company that Bob worked for had an extremely logical training process.  If you were brand-new to Africa, you would fly with an old Africa hand until said worthy decided you were less-inclined to prang an expensive aeroplane (and kill yourself in the process, but that wasn't as important), and you got a plane.

Well, Bob got this new kid with a brand-new pilot's licence and a hankering to see Africa -- and it was not a happy match.

Seems like Africa wasn't exactly matching up to the kid's expectations; high on the list being the fact that Bob was frequently one-and-a-half sheets to the wind when flying.

One day the kid stomps onto the 'plane past the locals, the livestock, something angry in a sack (Fact:  if you get on a bush cargo plane with bunch of locals, there is always something angry in a burlap sack.) up to the flight deck, where he learns that Bob isn't aboard.

Short search finds Bob -- completely and totally fit-shaced -- asleep in the pilot/radio shack/tower.

This is the Last Straw as far as Junior is concerned.  There are regulations, damn it!

Junior goes and grabs another newbie -- this one apparently still with egg yolk behind his ears -- and our intrepid birdmen mount their steed for the trip into Lagos.

The locals, who aren't exactly gormless, immediately grab Co-Pilot Egg-Tooth, gently loft him out the back door, carry Bob from the pilot shack, plant him in the left seat and begin to ply him with coffee, all much to the sputtered indignation of Junior.

Bob surfaces enough to figure out 'up' from 'down' (fairly important for a pilot, I'm told), and they take off.

Not very long in the air, and the locals decide to celebrate their victory by building a fire on the back deck and spit-roasting Angry Sack for brekkie.  Angry Sack apparently held opinions most firm about this, and as soon as the sack came open, did a runner.

This, of course, led to the locals snatching up machetes and tear-arsing off after their breakfast.

Angry Sack made three laps through the flight-deck (the locals only made two) before Junior Lost His Tiny Little Mind, screamed, leapt to his feet, vaulted into the back and uttered thundering denunciations of Africa in general, and the passengers in particular.  Fingers were waved!  Regulations were cited!  Heritage, manners, sexual proclivities, and level of civilization were denounced in fine rolling language to the deep appreciation of the locals, who were passing a gurgling jug around the back deck in silent admiration of a fine oration.

Unfortunately, Junior didn't realize that his vault into the back of the aerocraft had landed him standing four-square in the campfire built for the roasting of Angry Sack.

When the C-119 landed in Lagos, Junior was carried off in a litter to a standing ovation -- which he apparently didn't appreciate in the least -- but before being loaded into the ambulance managed to snarl a series of promises to Bob, not the least of which was that Junior believed that not even the Nigerian government would let Bob fly anywhere without a co-pilot, and that would give Junior enough time to have Bob's licence to fly yanked.

Bob belched meditatively, and while the plane was being refueled, he wandered over to the edge of the tarmac, paid ten Naira for a chimpanzee and another Naira for the gimme hat the chimp's previous owner was wearing.

He then boarded the plane, buckled the ape into the co-pilot's seat, crammed the gimme hat onto the chimpanzee's head, clamped the radio headset over the hat, and took off for Warri International.

Fast-forward to the landing, my father and his best friend are in the radio shack, just kind of chilling.  Dad is sipping his first cup of coffee and Tom is swearing creatively at his whiz wheel.  In comes Bob's plane and my father comments, thoughtfully, "I wonder where the chimp got that hat?"

Tom immediately bounds to his feet in shock.  "Honestly, Jim!  You Yanks!  I can't believe you just ... Bedamned.  That's a monkey."

Dad takes another sip, "Bet he's sober."

"Huh.  Good point."


Africa Wins Again.


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Listen up, snowflakes

I'm seeing a lot of yik-yak banging around the media and the Internet regarding student loan debt.  Said yik-yak usually involving some Special Snowflake who has racked-up five or six figures worth of student loans getting a (less-than-useful) degree.

Seems these folks want the loans they got for their poorly-chosen degree plan forgiven -- which is Socialist-speak for "Everybody else needs to pay for my degree in Gender Studies/ Sub-Saharan Basket Weaving/ Puppetry Arts/ WhatTheHellEver".

It has apparently become such a brass ring for the Media that a significant part of Bernie Sanders' campaign is about Student Debt; and a great deal of the allure of the Nordic Model to the Usual Useful Idiots is the "free college education".

Setting aside the fact that abso-damn-lutely NOTHING is free, we here at The LawDog Files do actually have some sympathy for those poor students who have racked up stupid amounts of debt in pursuit of a useless degree, but -- unlike the politicians or the media -- we have discovered that there is an existing way to not only take care of that crippling debt, but to be actually socially useful.


Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, if you serve honourably in the military for ten years, or as Law Enforcement for ten years, or as a fire fighter (ten years), or serve ten honourable years in any of a number of public service jobs ...

... You can have your entire debt forgiven.  Minus 120 reduced loan payments during that period.

As a "for instance", take this person:

I am sure that the above person will be ecstatic to learn that the Los Angeles Police Department is hiring!  Ten good years street time and that debt goes away.

I am pleased to inform all three of the above that the United States Army is still recruiting.  Honourable Discharge after ten years -- or more -- and all that debt is written off.

Good news, young ... Thing ... The New York City Fire Department is hiring.  Ten years of running into burning buildings, saving kittens, and other karma-improving activities, and your $80,000 parchment receipt will be forgiven.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Granted, you have to be useful for ten years, but it is there.


Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday morning giggle-snort

This popped-up in my Facebook feed last night, and almost made me blow water out of my nose.

The folks making the video are Polenar Tactical, apparently a group of lads out of Slovenia, and they  appear to not only have a wicked sense of humour, but also fairly level heads.

The video has some Bad Words Graphics in it, so you might not want to play it where the sprogs can see the screen.


Sunday, February 28, 2016


I consider voting to be my ticket to complain about the government and the state of the nation in general.

Understand that I don't hold anyone else to this standard, but I -- personally -- feel guilty whinging about how the country is going to Hel in a handbasket, without having voted.

This year, though ... bloody damnation.

Texas has early voting, so I hie'd meself down to the courthouse and spent a great deal of time staring at my choices in the Republican primary.

As near as I can tell, the 2016 election is going to be based mostly upon which candidate wears the bigger clown-shoes.

On the Republican side, looks like Donald "Weathervane" Trump is the man to beat.

On the Democrat side, it's a dead heat between Hillary "Why Haven't I Been Indicted Yet" Clinton and Bernie "Economics is a Latin Word Meaning 'Free Stuff'" Sanders.

Kee Riced All My Tea.

The next four years are really going to be interesting -- for Chinese values of the word "interesting".



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Nice going, Tofu Breath

It is with absolutely no surprise that at breakfast this morning, Peter informed us of the "Cecil Effect", which is simply a Social Media-friendly iteration of the "Law of Unintended Consequences".

For those Gentle Readers who may have been living under a rock, last July an American hunter thumped a lion in Zimbabwe -- legally.  The international media must have been short of neurologically-room-temperature reality stars that day, and turned this fairly routine killing into an ecological frenzy.

It is safe to say that out of 10,000 Zimbabweans, 9,999 of them had not one clue regarding the life of this lion -- and frankly, did not care.  This did not stop the media from deciding that this lion was obviously beloved by all, and the Twitter Twinkies lost their ever-loving minds.

Rallies were held!  Speeches were made!  T-shirts were sold! Petitions signed!  Appropriate hate directed!  Knee-jerk laws passed!


Fast-forward seven months -- about two months longer than I had thought, truth be told -- and this morning we learn that one concrete consequence of all of the knee-jerk bushwa restrictions is that about 200 lions are probably going to have to be culled, because the furry great bastards are eating the game preserve out of house and home.

As a child of Africa I'd like to point out a gritty reality that the Mainstream Medi and the Twitter Twinkies are going to be deep in denial over:

It costs about $USD50,000 to buy a tag for a lion in Zimbabwe -- that (stable) money goes to Zimbabwe.

Every hunter who buys a tag for a lion must stay somewhere in Zimbabwe -- and lodging costs money, which stays in Zimbabwe.

Every hunter who buys a tag for a lion must eat during his stay -- and food costs money (which stays in Zimbabwe).

Knick-knacks, souveniers, tchotchkes, trinkets, gifts for friends and family back home, and other mementos of a trip to Africa would be purchased.  Money which doesn't go back State-side.

We won't even discuss tips and bribes, other than to say ... it's Africa.  Tips and bribes will be significant.


As a mental exercise, let us take fifty thousand US dollars (plus all the other money, noted above), multiply that number by two hundred lions, and see how much money the bunny-huggers and the spine-less, knee-jerk politicians and bureaucrats have kept out of the mouths of starving Zimbabweans and the game reserve.

That's right, Tofu Breath:  those game parks you're dotting your cupcakes over?  A large percentage of their budget and operating capital comes right out of the wallets of hunters.

In one fell swoop -- over one idiot furry predator -- you've not only managed to take the food right out of the mouths of the families that have come to rely upon it, but you've also managed to make a significant dent in the operating capital of the park itself.

On top of being forced to kill 200 lions -- for free.

Well done, old chaps.  Jolly well done.


This is what happens when people whose entire knowledge of the subject comes from a grotty Disney version of Hamlet (with dancing hippos, and singing giraffes!); these Disney-sotted simpletons decide that this gives them insight into a complex situation in a complex country on the other side of the world, and throw a monumental hissy-fit until Someone Has Done Something, and be damned to the consequences.

While this sort of idiocy does win up hurting someone -- the eco-bullying, patchouli-reeking Twitter Twinkies, sitting smugly in their parent's basement never really get to feel the consequences of their brief shining moment of Social!  Justice!  For!  Cecil!  Yeah!


Sod 'em all.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Well, drat

So far, 2016 has not been kind to Your Humble Scribe.  January was the Retinal Vein Occlusion; February debuted My First Kidney Stone.

Yay.  Let us not ever do that again.

We have, however, learned that I am still a lightweight when it comes to narcotics.  0.5 mg of dihydromorphinone via IV puts me right to sleep.

Hopefully we're getting all the medical stuff out of the way early in the year.

In other news, Judge Antonin Scalia has Passed On.  Since Judge Scalia was 79, had a bad heart, and had spent the previous day hunting quail in West Texas ... this is not a surprise.

The surprise, though, was the political donnybrook that immediately broke out.  Whoo. Looked a lot like jackals fighting over the corpse of a lion.

And while both sides did absolutely nothing to bring honour upon themselves, I have to say that the level of hypocrisy shown by the Democrats has been awe-inspiring.

And by "awe-inspiring" I mean they managed to gob-smack me on two different levels.

First:  Listen, guys.  You can't bawl like a kicked pup when the other team does unto you what you've already done unto them.  Sauce for the goose really is sauce for the gander.  Suck it up.

Second:  I've never seen the Democrat philosophy regarding the Constitution so clearly displayed.  When it comes to gun control, or immigration, or a Supreme Court nomination by a Republican president, the Constitution is "out-dated", and should be considered a "living document" that provides "guidelines" for government.

Yet, when it comes to this, the Constitution is a "sacred document" which should be "followed to the last jot and tittle".


It's one or the other, children.  Make up your tiny little minds.

I'm off to the retina doctor. See y'all around.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Out-of-context theatre

PhlegmFest is in full-swing.

As per the usual, we have met at the Bugscuffle Café for breakfast.  The things one hears during lulls in the conversation are ... odd:

Ambulance Driver (of course):  "And then we rolled him over and pulled the sheet out of his [deleted]."

Random female voice:  "Yes, but prostitution has been preserving marriage for, like, forever."

"I'm sorry, but I seem to have put my finger all over your wriggly bacon."

And in the background you have Phlegmmy, Jenn, and Christina doing opera renditions of "It's Hard To Be A Pimp", "They See Me "Rollin'", and other -- non-opera -- songs.

Sometimes I wonder why we usually get a dining room to ourselves, and then I realize that it's out of sheer self-preservation on the part of the café management.



Friday, February 12, 2016

I really must learn to keep my mouth shut

When I was growing up, "bint" was a British slang word for a girl.

It is a loan-word from Arabic, where it is a patronym for "daughter" in the same way that "bin" is for "son".  "Azadeh bint Suleiman" would be "Azadeh, daughter of Suleiman".

In the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail there is a scene where King Arthur is explaining to a group of peasants that he is King of Britain because the Lady of the Lake gave him Excalibur.

Which leads to an unruly peasant making the classic statement:  "Oh, but if I went 'round saying I was Emperor just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!"


Fast-forward to last week.  I am looking for a certain box of widgets that aren't where they're supposed to be, and during the search I am asked by an officer as to which candidate I intend to cast my vote for in the up-coming Presidential election.

I answer something along the lines of:  "Personally, I'm all for finding out who the moistened bint lobbed the scimitar at and give him the keys to the Oval Office."




I have found my campaign this year.