May, 2007 – 1:00 p.m.
Cole was thirty. A younger man and as Rusty would later note in a phone message ten years later, a much happier man. There was no gray in his hair and plenty of pep in his step.
He wasn’t the chief at the time. That job went to the surly, walrus-mustached Jerome Haskell. Chief Haskell was a dour man with a perpetually sour expression on his face, but on the particular afternoon, he’d missed lunch, which made him exceptionally cranky.
“Wade Randolph!” Chief Haskell bellowed into a bullhorn pointed at a rundown shack on the outskirts of town. “There’s no use fighting this! We’ve got you surrounded!”
A faint voice emanated out of a broken window in the house. “Suck my balls!”
Chief Haskell looked to his back-up officers, young Cole and young Rusty. “Did he just tell me to suck his balls?”
“He did, Chief,” Cole said.
“The nerve of some people,” Rusty said. “If you ask me, it’s all these filthy DVD movies people are renting nowadays. They ought to just close down Blockbuster but hell, that place will probably be around until the end of time.”
“True,” Cole said. “People do like a good movie.”
Chief Haskell got on the bullhorn again. “Wade, you sack of refried donkey shit! Don’t you tell me to suck your balls! I got a warrant for your arrest and it’s gonna be served one way or the other, even if my boys and I have to come on in there and drag your scrawny, dope-dealing ass out ourselves.”
Wade broke onto into song. “Suck my balls, oh suck my balls! Suck, suck, suck suck, oh suck on my balls!”
“God damn it,” Chief Haskell said.
The Chief leaned up against his police cruiser.
“You ok, boss?” Cole asked. “You look a little wobbly.”
“Yeah,” Chief Haskell said. “My blood sugar’s just a little low. I was about to bite into a ham sandwich when this bullshit started.”
“Your Missus still pack your lunches, Chief?” Rusty asked.
“She sure does,” Chief Haskell replied. “Woman’s a saint. Handles all the household chores, does all the laundry, shopping, cooking, cleaning. Takes care of everything so I can just focus on my job. Hell, she even handles all the bills and finances. She’s a real smart cookie.”
“That’s awesome, Chief,” Rusty said. “I hope I find a woman like Mrs. Haskell one day.”
“I bet you will, Rusty,” Chief Haskell said as he slapped the redhead on the back. “There are plenty of women out there who want nothing more than to take care of a husband and tend to all his needs.”
“Yeah,” Rusty said. “But I’m just going to take my time. I figure there’s no need to rush. Women will still want to take care of their men in ten years.”
“Oh, no doubt there,” Chief Haskell said. “Just get yourself a smart one, like my Hazel. You know, the other day, she was saying something that made a lot of sense. Something about investing a bunch of money in Apple Computer stock.”
“Apple computers?” Rusty said.
“Yeah,” Chief Haskell said. “Something about a new fangled phone they made. Lets you look at the Internet anywhere.”
“No one could possibly make an invention like that work, Boss,” Rusty said. “Put the Internet in a phone? That’d be like harnessing a hurricane into a bottle. I mean, I’d be all over that shit if they could do it, but it’s impossible.”
“What do you think, Cole?” the Chief asked.
“I dunno, boss,” Cole said. “Beats me as to why anyone needs to be on the Internet while they’re out and about.”
“Hazel said something about social media,” the Chief said. “Whatever the hell that is.”
Cole smiled. “That’s that stupid ass thing the kids do where they post a picture of what they had for lunch…then they write about what they had for lunch, then all their friends write about what they had for lunch. It’s dumb.”
“That actually sounds like it’d be a lot of fun,” Cole said. “But as fads go, it’ll be a flash in the pan with no real long lasting potential. Plus, if Apple is ever able to put the Internet into a damn phone, then that must mean they got some kind of crazy magic scientists working there. I’ll eat my hat if they do it.”
Chief Haskell nodded. “You guys are right. I’ll just tell her to put it all in Borders.”
“Can’t go wrong there, Chief,” Rusty said. “People will always love the feel of a printed book in their hands.”
The Chief looked at his watch, then barked into the bullhorn. “Wade! You pulling your pud in there or what? Let’s go!”
“Chief!” Wade shouted. “I’ll have you know it’s illegal for you all to be here on my property!”
“It’s not illegal for us to be here, dipshit!” the Chief shouted into the bullhorn. “It’s illegal for you to cook up crystal meth and sell it to high school kids. How’d you think you were gonna get away with that one?”
Wade went silent. A few minutes passed.
“Hey Boss,” Cole said. “You know, Sharon just graduated from law school…”
“Oh sure,” Chief Haskell said. “Rub it in all our faces, why don’t you, Cole? All that big time fancy lawyer money your wife is going to be making?”
“Sharon will probably rake in so much dough that Cole will be able to quit the force and become her stay at home gigolo,” Rusty said.
The Chief laughed. “Sounds like the good life to me!”
“Yeah,” Cole said. “Anyway, we’re having a little party for her this weekend. We’d love to have you and Hazel over. You too, Rusty.”
“Count us in,” Chief Haskell said.
“What about you, Rusty?” Cole asked.
“Can I wear my Ed Hardy shirt?” Rusty asked.
“If you have to,” Cole replied.
“Then I’m in,” Rusty said.
Chief Haskell held up his bullhorn. “Peckerwood! You got until the count of three! Three…two…”
The front door of the shack swung open. “I’m coming out!”
“You got a gun on you?” Chief Haskell asked.
“Hell no,” Wade answered. “You think I’m some kinda idiot?”
Chief Haskell sighed. “You don’t want me to answer that. Just know you come out armed, we’ll put you down!”
An angry growl filled the air. The Chief squinted at the sight that was unfolding before his eyes, just to make sure he was really seeing what he was seeing. “What in the…”
Wade had walked out the door while holding the leash of one very large, very angry pit bull. It had giant, pointy teeth and big gobs of white foam plopped out of its mouth. It stared at the officers with a hungry look in his eyes.
“What the hell are you trying to pull, Wade?” Chief Haskell asked.
Wade was skinny to the point of emaciation. His body was like a tall skeleton with skin hanging off of it, with a pair of sunken eyes. He wore a pair of dirty jeans and a wife-beater style T-shirt.
“You piggies scoot, now!” Wade shouted. “Go on back to the bacon factory before I sic Ole Mongo on you!”
All three officers pulled their sidearms and aimed at the dog. Old Mongo was one rough looking pooch. He only had one eye. There were burn marks, scratches, and scars all over his body. One could only assume that he’d suffered a great deal of abuse at the hands of his owner over the years, the kind of abuse that can turn an animal from a friendly pet to an insane killing machine.
“I will shoot you and your ugly dog, Wade!” the Chief shouted. “Chain that mutt up and lie down on the ground!”
Old Mongo barked and growled some more. Then he started pulling on the leash, harder and harder. Wade struggled to hold on. It was obvious that the dog was much stronger than his owner.
“I can’t hold on forever!” Wade said. “You piggies better run!”
A little girl’s voice broke the tension. There, standing in the doorway, was Wade’s eight-year old daughter. “Daddy, what’s going on?”
The beast dog spotted the girl and growled.
“Why’s Mongo so mad?” the girl asked.
“Go back inside, Molly,” Wade said. “Daddy’s just having a little chat with these officers about a dumb old mistake they made.”
The Chief noticed how intently Old Mongo was staring at Molly. “Wade,” the Chief said. “Look, you better…”
And the dog was off. Old Mongo charged for the girl, yanking the leash right out of Wade’s hands. Molly screeched as she ran into the house with the pit bull in hot pursuit.
“Molly!” Wade shouted.
The drug pusher ran over to the officers. “Chief! You gotta save my little girl.”
The Chief’s face turned red with rage. He took off his hat and beat Wade over the head with it repeatedly. “Idiot!”