laughter, gleeful chuckle, chuckling and snorting. Usually designated as a description of a weird laugh, but a can be a laugh you make when you REALLY enjoy something. Fargo invented word, but not a Fargo invention. I rarely snort laugh.
It is what The Queen does. I thought she needed some Wheels today...and it is the anniversary of his famous debut in The Boogie Man Is My Friend: The Rookies, published in 2013.
It's a proud day to behold. For all Americans. I fear kids don't know or realize what the day is all about in their hearts. Sure, they know the meaning on the surface. It's a day to light fireworks and party. Not really. I think the meaning might be lost in future generations if we don't preserve it.
But do they really know what battles the people fought to get where we are today? Do they really know what freedom means? Do they really FEEL what the 4th of July is all about? I often wonder that.
Keeping an open mind for celebrations on the 4th, we don't bring the hammer down on a fireworks during this weekend. Fireworks in our city are illegal. Unless Junior is starting the neighbor's cat on fire, we are pretty lenient and just tell them to "knock it off". Most of the time we just smile and "attempt" to locate the fireworks problem, "mysteriously can't find them", and move on to more serious crimes. Let the people have their one day of fun. It's an unwritten rule. Definitely unspoken.
Before too long, the entire computer screen was lit up with fireworks calls. The lieutenant put a stop to that and told dispatch just to ATL the fireworks calls over the screen and stop sending officers. It was becoming a serious waste of resources.
Wheels and I were patrolling a nice, historical part of town where mostly wealthy people live. Big trees...nice landscaping...quiet neighborhoods.
Approaching a 4-way stop, I looked left to see three young males throw fireworks out of their truck at the intersection...right in front of the POPO. So first off, we knew we were dealing with rocket scientists. Wheels was driving but didn't see it because he was looking at his stitches in the rear view mirror and admiring himself. The stitches he received from his war wound of magnitude awesomeness. Clown. So...I told him to pull the boys over. It was an order. He always said, "Ok, Boss."
I walked up to the passenger side. Wheels dealt with the driver.
ME: Who's brilliant idea was it to light fireworks right in front of the police?
SHAGGY: [age 18] Mine, ma'am. Stupid. Didn't see you. Until it was too late. Sorry.
ME: Aha. And how much have you had to drink today?
SHAGGY: Me? Oh, no, mam. Nothing. I am not old enough.
ME: I see. I realize you aren't old enough. So how much have you had to drink?
ME: Ok. Let's try not to lie to the nice PoPo lady. First off, I can smell it. Second...lean out your window and look down.
SHAGGY: [leans out] I don't see nothin'.
ME: Really. You don't see that beer in your lap that fell and is leaking out the truck door...spilling on my nice spit shined work boot? You don't see that?
SHAGGY: Uh. I don't know what you are talking about, ma'am.
ME: Oh, good grief. You are so hosed already. I wasn't born yesterday. You got the smart blond girl cop today. Just admit it. You were drinking and still possess beer. It's not like ghosts that possess you. The beer doesn't magically appear or land in your lap or under your seat. You possess the beer. Open your door.
So Shaggy opened his door and out fell the beer bottle which broke on the asphalt and spilled the rest of the beer all over the place.
ME: Ok. Now do you see it?
SHAGGY: Well, ma'am, I didn't want to get in trouble.
ME: I do realize that. Why don't you boys step out of the truck and sit on the lawn over here for a minute.
Of course, during this course of conversation, the rear passenger admitted to me his doings and showed me his bottle of beer. He was also 18. The driver was 16, but had not taken any drinks of alcohol yet. I said YET. Boys. Thank Jesus the driver was smart enough not to drink and drive.
I started to talk to the boys and get their IDs. I ran their names for warrants. Their names were familiar and not in a bad way. They were good kids. All stars in sports. Just graduated. Except the driver. The driver was a kid who was "lost" because his dad signed away his rights and he now lived with his mother. It was a sad story. He wasn't a terrible kid, he just needed some guidance and attention. He got into occasional trouble. I think it was his acting out. At least that was me channeling my inner psychiatrist. His mother was trying to help him get over the loss of not having a father figure. I knew his uncle. His uncle was a good friend of mine.
But the other two boys were normally a good influence on him. Maybe they got a little carried away for the 4th. It happens.
So we were having a good conversation, talking about career futures, talking about better choices, talking about not getting in trouble....talking about NOT being stupid in front of the PoPo. And no drinking and driving.
Wheels on the other hand...
WHEELS: [to driver} Mind if I search your truck?
DRIVER KID: Nope. Go ahead. It's a mess, tho.
Pretty soon we lost Wheels. I only saw his butt hanging out. He produced the same beer the back passenger had in his hand and showed me. Wheels obviously wasn't paying attention.
WHEELS: ARE YOU KIDS GOING TO LIE TO ME AGAIN? HUH? NOW ARE YOU GOING TO TELL ME YOU HAVE BEEN DRINKING? SHALL WE START OVER?
Wheels kept digging in the truck and throwing things outside on the ground during the course of his "homicide" investigation. This became entertainment for myself and the boys. I just crossed my arms and watched while the boys sat on the sidewalk and hung their heads.
KIDS: Ma'am, we just want you to know for the record that we already admitted to you we were drinking.
ME: Yep. I know.
KIDS: We only had 2 beers in the truck.
ME: Yep. I know.
KIDS: He's kind of uptight, isn't he? We don't have any more fireworks or beer.
ME: Yep. I know. So...I am trying to decide whether Wheels is a wolverine, badger, rat terrier, or a squirrel in your truck. What do you boys think?
DRIVER KID: Ma'am, I think he is a Jack Russel Terrier.
ME: Great answer.
WHEELS: BOYS, WHERE IS THE REST OF YOUR BEER? I know from experience because I have been your age that there is more beer in here. WHERE ARE YOU HIDING IT?
ME: [Roll eyes. Seriously, Wheels...you are like 5 years older than these kids, I thought to myself.]
SHAGGY: He is going crazy in there.
COWBOY KID: Why does he not believe us?
ME: Because he's looking for his ball, only in cop format.
SHAGGY: What is he doing?
ME: Well, he thinks every call is a sinister homicide. So you boys best tell him where the body is. Or I will be here all night.
COWBOY KID: Ma'am, that's just crazy.
ME: Welcome to my world.
It did put a smile on my face, though. You have to love an overzealous rookie with the right stuff, just needing some refinement and finesse.