Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Cripple & the Hair-Lip

Police Story #1

This was your typical fast-paced Friday night in mid-summer and hotter than hell for the night shift at least. That was another reason I liked working that shift…no sun and much cooler than the 100+ temperatures on day or evening shift.

Three of us answered a burglar alarm call at a small jewelry shop in a strip mall. As usual, one checked out the front and everyone else went around to the back entrance. As we pulled around to the back, headlights dark, we could see that the back door was slightly ajar.

Gary and I got out of our squad cars, drew our flashlights and weapons, and prepared to enter and search the business. Mike stayed out front in case whoever was in there decided to flee via the front door. More often than not, we went through our well-coordinated routine of searching the business, and the burglars were gone before we ever arrived. This time was the exception to that norm. Just inside the door in the dark, we could hear conversation.

“Police! Come out with your hands in the air!”

The door slowly swung open and there they were – the cripple and the hair-lip. I kid you not. Gary and I stared in silence, taking in the sight of the unlikely pair. I don’t remember much of the conversation now, but I do remember one part in great detail.

Gary: “Why are you in a wheelchair?”

Cripple: “I was in a motorcycle accident.”

Gary: “And you? How’d you get your lip all fucked up?”

Hair-Lip: “I was born that way.”

By this time Mike had come around to the back and joined us and was listening, as was I, to Gary’s interrogation of the two. When Gary asked that question of the hair-lip, Mike and I immediately locked eyes. I have no idea where we got the strength not to bust out laughing.

I don’t know how to explain to you what was so funny. I think it was a combination of the oh-so-casual way that Gary asked such a shockingly callused question and the way the guy matter-of-factly answered the question without batting an eye with that speech impediment that being hair-lipped causes.

The only other things I remember is that the pair went to jail (the only person in a wheelchair I ever arrested), and we often talked and laughed about that call. We laughed about that call so hard we cried many times.

Oh, and it was kind of embarrassing walking into the jail with a handcuffed cripple in a wheelchair and hair-lip in tow.

I hope you enjoyed this premier edition of Scotty's Police Stories. They are all true stories as experienced by Yours Truly. There will be more stories in the weeks and months to come.

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