Late one evening (or early one morning, depending on your frame of reference), Dispatch got a prowler call from one of our lake residents.
I scoot out there and start looking around, when I discover something kind of wierd: there is about an 18-inch wide strip of ground going up the driveway that looks like it's been roto-tilled, but only about an inch deep.
A bit puzzled, I followed the strip of torn-up earth up the driveway, onto the front lawn, through the hedge, down the side-lot, up a gentle hill, down the backside of the hill, across a miniature beach and up onto a dilapidated boat dock.
At the far end of the dock, a small figure was bent over, hands on knees, apparently trying to choose between wheezing and hiccuping beside a fairly substantial pile of ... something.
Being careful to avoid the torn-up planks, I stepped onto the dock and meandered down to the figure at the far end.
"Evening, Benny" I said, as I extracted a stick of gum from my vest, "What's on your mind?"
Benny waved, gurgled and hiccupped solemnly at me. I took the opportunity to examine the mysterious pile, which turned out to be about six cinder blocks which had been chained together and locked with a rusty padlock. Half-inch rope had been carefully (and thoroughly) knotted to the chain, with about twenty foot of its length neatly coiled on the dock before being knotted -- again carefully and thoroughly -- around Benny's right ankle.
It was a Migraine Salute Moment.
"Benny," I said, gently, as a headache thundered up my spine and flowered beautifully behind my eyes, "What the hell are you doing this time?"
Benny blinked, then gesticulated his plan to cast himself into the briny deep so that he would no longer be an embarrassment to his wife and family.
A shined my flashlight over the edge of the dock. Cracked black mud baked sullenly in the heat of a Texas evening. I swung the light up to Benny, then back down. Still mud. My gum made a faint, satisfying 'thud' as it landed 100 feet from anything resembling water.
This was one for the notebooks.
"Benny, " I began, drawing in a breath for a truly epic dressing down, "This is absolutely the..."
I paused, because Benny had drawn up both fists pugnaciously, and was waving them in front of his face, as he swayed gently back-and-forth on the dock.
"All right, Benny," I sighed, "You want some help?"
Benny paused for a moment as the thought burbled it's way through the tequila-sodden depths of his conscious, before striking home and causing Benny to nod vigorously.
"Okay. Lift! On three! One, two, three! Three, Benny! Three!"
I waved away the small puff of dust raised by the impact of the cinder blocks, then turned to see Benny offering me a small paw. We shook hands, then Benny patted me gently on the arm, took two deep breaths, held the third, pinched his nose shut and screwed his eyes closed.
I opened another stick of gum. Sighed. Pulled out my pocketknife and cut the rope. Put away the pocketknife. Stood beside the gently swaying Benny. Contemplated the life of a small town deputy.
Afte a minute or so, Benny's eyes opened, and he looked at me in utter confusion, wondering I guess, where the water was.
I waggled my fingers at him. Benny closed his eyes again. I gave him about another minute, before I whacked him firmly between the shoulder blades, barking, "Breath, Benny!"
Benny almost collapsed as he drew a massive breath. I got my shoulder down, which let him fall into a nice little fireman's carry and started walking towards my cruiser.
"I swear to God, Benny..."
"Damned skippy 'Fooblic Intoxidation'. Again."