And then there was Bluebeard.
That was not his real name, of course--it was his CB handle. He was the cop who lived across the street. He was notorious for his less than delicate handling of perps. (Does anyone remember that old TV series, Sledge Hammer? It was a sendup of the Dirty Harry movies, about a loose-cannon cop who had a big love affair with violence. He slept with his gun.) Well, Bluebeard didn't sleep with his gun. If he had, it would have gotten awfully crowded in there. As it was, his girlfriends had to take numbers.
Too bad they didn't know it.
He was a good guy to have as a friend, a louse if you wanted something more.
He was always locking himself out of his house. He'd come racing through our kitchen when he got off duty, throw his gun on the kitchen table, and call out, "Gotta use your bathroom!" (In this neighborhood, if you left your door open, the flies didn't come in, the neighbors did.)
He knew where Will's posse always hung out, and he'd tell me he was going to show up there in drag. "Think I look like a 44DD?" he asked one day.
"You don't want me to tell you what you look like," I said.
I was walking down the road one day, so he offered me a ride to wherever I was going. "Can't," I said. "My mother told me to never get in the car with strangers, and I don't know anybody stranger than you."
He could be useful, however, especially to someone with a penchant for getting into trouble. (Who, me?)
Again, this was during my wild years. I was with a friend one night at one of the local honky-tonks, when the local bullies (two huge redneck not-so-good-old-boys with room temperature IQs) went after a new guy who redefined the phrase "fish out of water." They had him out on the parking lot and were moving in for the kill.
I hate bullies.
Elaine and I got in the car and ran interference. "Get in!" she called out to New Guy. Not seeing any better options, he jumped in. We took off, with the White boys hot on our tail (these guys really hate to lose, especially when it comes to the Catch of the Day). We were moving pretty fast over the back roads, with them in hot pursuit.
"Is everybody around here crazy?" New Guy asked. He was shaking like a bowl of Jello.
"Yep. It's all that inbreeding," Elaine told him.
"Even you two?"
"We're the worst of the lot," I said.
I don't think that was what he wanted to hear. For lack of a better way to rid ourselves of our pursuers, I got on the CB. "Hey, Bluebeard. Got your ears on?"
"Ears, but no pants."
"Don't need to hear about the pants there, Bluebeard. We have a 10-33 in progress."
"A 10-33? Hey, Dandy Lion, a 10-33's a wreck."
"Yep, it's about to be if you don't play Good Cop for once."
"We're headed your way with the White boys in pursuit and need you to run interference. We snatched their catch of the day, if you get my drift."
He laughed. "You do like to live dangerously."
"I don't like trouble, Bluebeard."
"The heck you don't. It follows you around like a lovesick schoolboy."
"ETA 10 minutes, buddy."
"Leave it to me."
"Why do I not feel reassured?"
I wish the police had had dashboard cams back then. As he later related the events that had transpired, he was waiting at the entrance to our neighborhood. The street comes around in a semicircle to connect with the main road in two places. He pulled his (civilian) vehicle out into the main road as a roadblock. The White boys drove down into the neighborhood, planning, obviously, to come out on the other side. Bluebeard pulled up there to block their exit. Furious, the older brother, the anti-Einstein, jumped out of the car and ran up to deal with the guy who'd kept him from his prey--and found himself looking down the barrel of Bluebeard's gun.
Too bad he didn't think to use the bathroom before he gave chase.
I wish I hadn't missed THAT one.