A big part of the Sheriff's "Work smarter, not harder" philosophy involved the fine art of misdirection -- if a subject was so confused that he wasn't per-zackly sure which way was up, then he/she/it/they probably wouldn't be causing the sorts of problems which require extra paperwork. Or ER trips. Depositions. Lawsuits. That kind of thing.
Which brings us to the Pink Gorilla Suit.
Tucked not-far-enough in the back of the evidence closet was a costume that the S.O. had picked up from somewhere. As the name suggests, this was a gorilla costume, mostly pink.
Now, when I say pink, I don't think y'all quite understand the depth of pinkness we are contemplating here: It was pink, pink. Neon pink. Fluorescent pink. A pink not found anywhere in nature. A pink that, in and of itself, constituted a radiation hazard. A shade of pink which, after a single glimpse, would cause the most flamboyant Mardi Gras costumer to protest that things had gone too far.
Now, bad as this mental picture is, the long-ago insane designer of this suit had apparently decided that having only one eye-searing shade was simply too boring, so this poor unfortunate had added spats, gloves, cuffs, a bow-tie and a top hat.
All very natty, and all very mauve.
We will now pause to give the Gentle Reader enough time to fully digest the Sheer Awfulness that was the Pink Gorilla Suit.
Anyhoo, we had gotten a search warrant. Apparently our Usual Suspects had graduated to Methamphetamine, Distribution Of; and had stashed a functioning meth lab inside a garage apartment out behind the house of, and belonging to, the grandparents of Usual Suspect #3.
Our pre-warrant briefing consisted of The Sheriff reminding us of some of the knottier problems associated with executing a search warrant on a meth lab (most of which seem to involve uncontrolled high-speed random disassembly of various items and/or people) and finishing off with a reminder that the Standard Obscenity Procedure for this sort of thing was to distract the critters long enough for officers to secure the scene without any of what the Sheriff referred to as "fuss and bother."
That's when the Chief Deputy handed me the box containing the Pink Gorilla Suit.
There I was, sulking down the street in front of God and everybody, wearing a neon-pink-gorilla-suit-with-mauve-accouterments over jeans, armour and a pistol, with a search warrant tucked securely in my sleeve, and the Sheriff's exhortations to "Be distracting" ringing in my ears.
Bearing in mind that the search warrant was only for the garage and apartment, and not wanting to find myself in Animal Control's Bad Graces (again) I moped up the steps to the main house and rang the doorbell.
Light footsteps approached the door, followed by a long pause. Then the sound of the footsteps heading away from the door.
I pulled my badge out from the collar of the suit and held it prominently in one paw.
This time the footsteps were accompanied by a heavier tread. I waved my badge at the peep-hole and was rewarded with the door opened just enough for me to be beheld by an extremely suspicious eye.
I tipped my hat (top, mauve in colour) politely, "Afternoon, sir. Sheriff's Office. Pardon the interruption, but we're going to be serving a warrant on your garage and apartment. The Sheriff told me to tell you that he'd take it kindly if y'all would stay inside the house until we got things under control."
"Under control" murmured the gentleman slowly as he opened the door a little more fully, "Are you planning on that there control thing happening any time soon?"
"Can't really tell with this kind of thing, sir. We'll let you know as soon as possible."
Might as well get this over with. I leaned slightly right and looked around the gentleman to the lady of the house, "Ma'am", tip of the hat again, "Mind if I borrow some of your flowers?"
She looked at me, at the innocent tulips on the edge of the walk, and back to me.
"Umm. Go right ahead. You do know that you're ... pink?"
"Hadn't noticed, ma'am" I lied gallantly, while selecting a pair of yellow tulips that set off the mauve spats nicely, "We'll be around back, if you need us."
I trudged back to the street, turned left and walked down to where the driveway from the garage entered the street. The garage sat about twenty feet or so back, with the apartment being the second floor of the structure.
The only ways in or out, were two roll-up garage doors and a people-type door facing me, and the only windows to be seen were on the side facing the street.
I looked around and made sure that I was at the junction of the driveway and the public street, set my top hat securely on the mask, straightened the gloves and spats, took a deep breath ...
... and burst into a full-blown, top-of-the-lungs, you'll-bloody-well-hear-this-one-at-Carnegie-Hall rendition of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. While using the tulips as the microphone.
I did the works. Vocals. Back-up vocals. Sound effects. Kinda-sorta instruments. Howling. The whole nine yards.
And, of course, Dirty Deeds has that lovely guitar solo, which lends itself quite nicely to an air-guitar -- excuse me -- tulip guitar performance.
Well, if it didn't, it does now.
Unfortunately, the tulip-guitar solo kind of led into a dance.
It was fairly energetic dance. And maybe a touch expressive...
All right! There was gyrating going on.
However, I do not think that I was doing -quote "The gorilla version of a fan dance" -unquote; I don't think that you can do -quote "Suggestive things with a hat" -unquote when you're wearing a fur suit over armour and that over jeans; and I do take umbrage at the suggestion that I -quote "Gave them the 'Full Monkey'" -unquote.
Anyhoo, I dug down de-eeeep for that final, "YEARGH!", clutched my tulips to my chest with both paws and slowly, dramatically, and with the greatest amount of majesty that can be summoned while wearing a gorilla suit -- fell over backwards onto the gentle grass.
Hell of a performance, if I do say so myself.
So, I lay there, pondering the blameless sky and trying to remember if, at any time during the Academy, any of my instructors had ever mentioned the words, "Pink", "Gorilla" and "Suit" in the same day, much less the same sentence, when over my natty, spat-adorned (mauve in colour) toes, I noticed some faces in the window panel of the garage door.
I was beginning to wonder if maybe my performance was a little too good, when the door opened and the Usual Suspects slipped out to stand just shy of my fuchsia carcass.
Usual Suspect #1: "Dudedudedude, umm, dude, umm, wow."
Usual Suspect #2: "Umm ... it's ... umm ..."
#1: "Dude, this is, like, not good, okay? Not good, dude. You can't stay here, okay?"
#2: "Umm ... its ... ummm ..."
'Pink', I think to myself, 'pink'. The word you're looking for is 'pink'.
#1: "Dude! Top hat! It's not an 'it', it's a 'he'! See the hat?"
At this point, Usual Suspect #3 -- the only female in the group -- stopped gnawing on her thumbnail long enough to vibrate out, "Chickswearhats.Youlikemyhat!"
#2: "Furry! He's ... ummm ... furry?"
Geez. Behind the group, I see the Sheriff, hands in pockets, grass stem between his teeth, stroll nonchalantly into the structure through the door the Usual Suspects had left open. Right behind him, grinning at me, went the Chief Deputy.
Usual Suspect #1 glared at #2: "Dude, he can't help the way he was born. Dude!"
#2: "Umm ... pink. And pink."
Ah-hah! Thinks I.
#1: "Dude, Pinky. Come on, Pinky. Dude, you can't stay here, dude. Oreos! Pinky, dude, oreos in the kitchen, man. Oreos! Let's go get the oreos!"
So saying, #1 and -- after a short pause -- #2 began lifting me up, and as they got their shoulders under my arms, I saw the Sheriff pop out of the garage and give me a thumbs up.
About bloody time.
I reach into my left sleeve, pull out the folded paper, hand it to Usual Suspect #1 and announce, quite firmly, "Sheriff's Office, search warrant."
Usual Suspect #1 stares at me, then his eyes well up with tears, "Dude, dude, ah man. Dude! We're buds, dude!" #2 pivots slowly and begins to oh-so-innocently wander away, only to be corralled and cuffed by the grinning night deputy.
"No, no, dude," offered #1, as I cuffed him, "No! This ain't right, man! You sold out, dude! That's so wrong!"
I turned him around, reached up, pulled that damned gorilla mask off, dropped it on the ground and shook a hot pink finger in his face, "Listen to me."
All three sets of jaws dropped.
"Are you listening? Quit guinea-pigging the product. Seriously."
I was pretty sure that I wasted my breath, given the completely bumfuzzled expression on the face of #1 as he looked from the discarded mask to me and back again; and #2 was just staring at me with his face scrunched up like a monkey doing a math problem.
And then the magnitude of the sheer depravity that local law enforcement was capable of hit Usual Suspect #3.
"... OhmyGawdohmyGawdohmyGawd," she gasped, bouncing up-and-down like a demented jack-in-the-box ...
"... Nonono,youdonunnerstand,nonono!" She took a deep breath, her expression one commonly seen upon the countenance of saints who have just beheld the vilest depths of the utter darkness of the human soul ...
The Chief Deputy was immediately seized by a coughing fit; the Sheriff seemed to find something intensely fascinating in overhead cloud cover whilst rubbing his mustache ferociously; Usual Suspect #1 let out a soul-rending shriek as he fell to his knees, sobbing and nuzzling the discarded gorilla mask, and #3 hurled imprecations and threats in my general direction.
I looked at my fellow peace officers, all finding this to be incredibly funny, gathered my tattered pride and dignity, straightened the bow-tie and spats, extracted my hot pink gorilla mask from #1, tucked it under my arm, announced firmly, "I'm going home, now", turned and began marching down the street ...
... but not before the night deputy slid a comradely arm about my shoulders and said, with steely sympathy: "I know it doesn't feel like this now, but your betrayal was for their own good. Go home. Drown your sorrows in oreos. Things will be better in the morning."
"Oh, you're a right bastard, you are."