Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pumpkins, Pie, Rollercoasters and Stories!

Today was a wonderful day!  For one thing, I am off for the entire weekend!!  My boss tried to pressure me into working both Saturday and Sunday, but I wasn’t having any of it!!

We had a reenactment group event planned for this weekend, but, due to our schedules of late, we both decided that we wanted the weekend to spend together.. meaning only us so, we aren’t going to be attending…

I was so shot last night, that I dropped off at about nine o’clock.  I slept until I woke up, no alarm clock, no schedule, nothing… just sleeping until I couldn’t sleep any longer.  I got up at around seven-thirty this morning and spent about twenty minutes just standing at the window watching the critters playing in the garden.  There were the usual squirrels, sparrows, starlings, blackbirds, and mourning doves… but there were also a pair of blue jays and a couple of cardinals.  They were all pushing and shoving and chasing and cavorting about the feeder!  I enjoyed the feeling of being able to do absolutely nothing, and not have to worry about being late for anything…  I also love the feeling of having a whole weekend ahead of me, and being up early enough to feel all of the possibilities laid out before me…!!  After looking out the window, I wandered in to the computer room and went online for a while… again, no time pressure, no purpose… just fuffing about, enjoying the tranquility.

Once Elysia woke up, I started a pot of coffee and we decided to go out and join Costco.  We picked up a gift basket for the UPS Store folks who are retiring on Monday.  We love them, and we’ll be sorry to see them go.  We dropped the gift basket off, hugs all around, and a few tears… then we met the new proprietor, and wished him luck in his new enterprise.  We’ll be getting to know him over the years, I suppose.  We came home and offloaded the stuff we picked up at Costco, then headed out east (the east end of Long Island has a number of farms and vineyards… this time of year you can go and pick pumpkins.. other times you can pick strawberries, buy corn, peaches, beans, tomatoes, and all sorts of fresh produce.. but this time of year its all about the pumpkins!) picked a few pumpkins, bought a fresh pie (wildberry!), then stopped at one of the beverage places out there for some pumpkin ale.

We listened to the newest Diana Gabaldon story on tape (“Breath of Snow and Ashes”) while we drove, holding hands.. (Puking on my blog is strictly prohibited, by the way…) and enjoyed the fall foliage.

** for those of you who haven’t read Diana Gabaldon, I recommend her.  The first book in this series is entitled “Outlander”, though in the UK, I believe it was called “Cross-stitch”, but I’m not entirely sure.  I have conversed with Diana via email, and she is a very cool person.  (So is Charles De Lint, by the way… and his books are fabulous!  See that??  Read my blog, get book reviews, next I’ll be handing out cups of coffee and giving you all back rubs.  This is a very cool place to hang out!)

When we got home, we put on some coffee (we roast and grind the beans ourselves… yummy!) and heated up a couple slices of pie, put on “Nightmare Before Christmas” and snuggled up.  We got a cryptic phone message during the movie, (we blow off phone calls during movies, just so you know….) which turned out to be Elysia’s dad.  He referenced an email, which turned out to be a clue to a treasure hunt here at Thistlebright Cottage!  We put on our shoes, grabbed our coats, and armed ourselves with flashlights, and went tromping around the property in the dark finding little but spiders and frightened raccoons and such….  We came back inside, puzzled and befuddled, and wracked our brains over the clue;  “Many Phrases…Fifty!”.  Finally, it occurred to me that the only time that Elysia’s dad was out of anyone’s sight the last time he was here was when he went upstairs to use the bathroom.  In the bathroom there is a book of phrase and word origins!  I breeped upstairs (yes.. I said ‘breeped’) and turned to page fifty, and there before my very eyes was the treasure!!  I closed the book and called Elysia up to join in the hunt, and she then turned to page fifty to find a crisp new fifty dollar bill snuggled in between page forty-nine and page fifty.  Sneaky, clever Dad!!

As soon as I post this, I’m off to watch scary movies, carve pumpkins, and eat more pie and drink more coffee!  Elysia will doubtless spend much of the evening drying out pumpkin seeds in the oven.. and then I plan on climbing up one side of her and down the other (evil grin!)

Tomorrow, we are going to Six Flags Great Adventure for ‘Fright Fest’.  We have a pair of free passes, and we are going to make use of them!!  We are hoping to ride ‘King Da Ka’, which is currently billed as the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world!!  I’ll let you know how it went!

I’m having a blast with my beautiful wife and time to enjoy her company.

Bear is happy!!

Where is My Muse?

I am a piper. I am also an artist, and a craftsman.

Or... more accurately, I was a piper and an artist and craftsman.

It has been a great while since I have picked up the pipes, or for that matter, the chanter... it has been a great while also since I have picked up a pencil and put it to paper with the express intent of creating something artful. It has been even longer since I have made anything.. be that leatherwork, woodcarving, beadwork, embroidery, metalwork, or anything.

I haven't baked any bread or brewed any mead... I haven't planted anything.

I don't know why.

In this house, we are usually in the middle of a number of projects.. projects that express our spirits, our love for beauty, our talents and abilities....

Elysia has been hitting the keyboard lately... so there has been some rather wonderful music in the household... but I haven't played a note.

Elysia completed some mosaic projects and is currently working on some crochet. But, I just can't seem to focus on anything lately....

I suppose when it is right for me to jump back in, I will... but I am starting to wonder why this part of my life is missing, or, more importantly... why I have allowed that part of my life to go missing...

Elysia told me that she may have a piping job for me in December some time... somebody wants a piper to play at their ordination ceremony.

I guess I had better start practicing, ay??

Music, Language, Art, Craft, Cooking, and Beauty... these are the things that make life wonderful.... it seems strange to me that I would let myself drift away from it.

I guess I'll have to see what happens.... the fact that I am posting about this is probably a good sign....

Come to think of it... I miss the skirl of the pipes...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

'Line-Puppy' Diplomacy

Line Puppy - noun; "Line Infantryman, an infantry soldier, a grunt, a ground-pounder"

When I was a young Staff Sergeant, stationed in Korea at the U.S. Army Garrison-Youngsan, I had a close friend (who, by the way, remains one of my closest friends to this day) with whom I worked and hung around with quite a bit.

It was our custom to go to lunch together each day. On one particular day, we decided to go the NCO (Non -Commissioned Officer) Club for some chow.

On Yongsan, the NCO club that we patronized was located on North Post (Yongsan is divided by a major roadway into North Post and South Post) near one of the smaller gates, a pedestrian-only gate.

There is often foot traffic there, but no vehicles. Additionally, there isn't anything much in that area other than the NCO club.

I include this information because, on this particular day, as we approached the NCO club, we spied a General Officer, replete with an entourage of approximately 10 to 12 officers, ranging from Major to 2nd Lieutenant following him like ducklings following mama duck (some have also made a comparison to lampreys and remoras surrounding a shark...).

We both noticed that this particular general, who was dressed in his Class A uniform (the dark green uniform that is the military version of a business suit) with garrison cap (This piece of headgear is what Sgt Snorkel in the 'Beetle Bailey' comic strip always wears... it is fondly ((or, perhaps.. not so fondly...)) called a different name by most soldiers, a name that points out the similarity of the shape of the cap, with its rather unique folds and shape with a part of the female anatomy that most soldiers in fact *do* view with great fondness) happened to be wearing his garrison cap backwards.

The officer's version of this headgear has a gold metallic trim that ornaments the sedged edges of the cloth, as opposed to the enlisted version which is sedged in the same colored thread as the rest of the hat. The result of this is that it quite apparent from a distance when the headgear is not being worn properly... particulary when it happens to be on backwards. The fact that the four huge silver stars, the general's insignia of rank, are not in the front of his cruller where they belong, is also a rather obvious clue...

In the army, there is something called an 'on-the-spot correction'. Basically, everyone is required to follow each and every regulation when they are a soldier. This includes the wear and appearance of the uniform. The regulation that governs the wear and appearance of the army uniform; AR 670-1 also states that general officers may design their own uniforms. This means that a general can do whatever the fuck he pleases... he's a general!

It was also quite apparent, however, that this was not something that was done by design. This officer had simply put his headgear on backwards, and was walking around looking like a clown and making an ass of himself without realizing it. Nobody would want to be in this situation.

Now, it is part of the army subculture, specifically the subculture of the combat arms, meaning the branches of the army that actually do the fighting, to be sharp and tight and to follow regulations to the letter.

I started out as an Infantryman, a foot soldier... what most folks think of when they think of a soldier... you know; G.I. Joe, a rifleman... I had been an infantry sergeant, leading my own team, and then my own squad. I was a combat leader, and proud of it!

I had standards, and I adhered to them. Ranger standards!! (Which are very stringent, and very unyielding when it comes to following the rules). I was now assigned to an Army Special Forces unit, I considered myself to be one of the best of the best, and when I saw somebody who looked like a slob, or who was not wearing their uniform properly, or who was otherwise 'showing thier ass', I let them know about it. As diplomatically and quietly as possible to start with.. or as aggressively as the situation warranted, if the subject of the correction refused to make the appropriate correction.

I was a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army, a Staff Sergeant, and we NCO's run the day to day business of the army... seeing to it that each and every soldier do things the right way, and that everything is done properly and kept ship-shape. Any good NCO worth their salt felt exactly the same way. We make sure that everything is done the right way.. every time. Period. THAT is what an NCO does!

So. Here I am with Sergeant Mike, and here comes this general officer with his headgear on backwards, looking like a moron, and Sergeant Mike decides to challenge me, as we were both wont to do to one another (we took immense joy in placing one another in uncomfortable and awkward situations).

"Sergeant Bear, you don't have a single hair on your ass if you don't make an on-the-spot correction on that general officer!"

The gauntlet had been dropped...

What did I do??

What else? I picked it up and ran with it!!

Understand, now... this is an extremely dicey situation! Rub that general officer the wrong way and you can find your ass out of the army, busted down a few stripes, cleaning toilets for the next year, or god knows what... also, this is a General. He can do whatever he damned well pleases. He is under no obligation to wear his uniform properly... and if he were, a mere Staff Sergeant has absolutely no authority to enforce it!!

However! I have never known a general who achieved that rank by being a slob or a moron... the opinions of the lower ranks notwithstanding. They are sharp, and intelligent, and hard-charging as a rule, though many become quite removed from the soldier in the foxhole. The point here is that if I approach the situation with the proper level of diplomacy, any general officer will gladly and willingly comply with an on-the-spot correction.

The rub is that I was an infantry sergeant. Diplomacy isn't usually what first springs to mind when they think of us... maybe pig-headed, stubborn, aggressive, hard-nosed, tough, unyielding, or demanding... but diplomatic??? Not hardly. Most of us are about as diplomatic as a bulldozer going through a plate-glass window.

I was wearing a patrol cap on that day... the cap that looks sort of like a baseball cap, with a stiff brim. On the back of the Patrol cap was my name tag, on the lower hem of the cap, and above that, two 'cat's eyes' (luminous tape cut into geometric shapes to denote unit affiliation - for instance triangles with the point up may be Alpha Company, vertical rectangles could be Bravo Company, upside down triangles could be Charlie Company, and horizontal rectangles Headquarters company... or something.. the point is that they are pretty visible, day or night).

I turned my patrol cap around so that I, too had my headgear on backwards and continued marching towards the general and his entourage. Sgt Mike bravely crossed the street and got the hell out of the line of fire (Nice!).

As the general and I got closer, I snapped a salute and rendered the appropriate greeting of the day, "Good Afternoon, Sir!", I said, as cheerfully as possible.

He returned the salute automatically, as did his group of minions... saying, "Afternoon, Sergeant..." then, noticing that my patrol cap was on backwards he snapped, "Sergeant!"

"Yes sir?"

"Do you know that your headgear is on backwards?!", he demanded.

"Yes sir, I do!" I replied.

"YOU DO!!??!!", he asked, obviously indignant at my temerity.

"Yes sir!", I repeated. Standing at attention. Hat on backwards, probably looking for all the world like a complete and utter horse's ass.

"Any particular reason, Sergeant??", he asked.

"Yes sir, there is, sir. I am simply following your example, general. Your headgear is on backwards as well, sir, and I wanted to bring it to your attention without being rude. Sir."

He stared at me for a few seconds, then reached up and fingered his headgear. Removing it, he looked at it for a few seconds, then turned to the group of officers that were walking with him. "MAJOR!" he barked. "Sir?" replied one of the officers, who was sporting the gold leaf clusters that marked him as the target of the general's attention.

"Do you think that even one of you assholes might have noticed that I had my goddamned headgear on backwards and let me know about it??!!"

"I, er... that is, um... well, sir.. it's just that..."

"Nevermind! I suppose I should just be damned thankful for good NCO's like Sergeant Bear, here!"

"Sergeant, that was by far the most diplomatic and well-executed on-the-spot correction that I have ever personally witnessed. Thank you!"

"Thank You, sir!"

"I see that you found your calling in Special Forces. They want people who can think outside of the box, yes?"

"Yes sir, they do."

He nodded, then... "Perhaps you can do me one additional service, Sergeant. We've been wandering around for twenty minutes trying to find the Navy NCO club, but none of my staff seem to know where the hell it is, or where the hell we are right now, for that matter. I don't know where the damned place is, either. We have to attend an awards ceremony at 1300 hours. Can you give us some directions??"

(** 1300 hours = 1:00PM)

I gave him directions, saluted again, and started to head off...

I was brought up short by the general's voice, "Sergeant!?"

"Yes sir?"

"Do I have to turn my headgear around again, or should I just tell you that your headgear is still on backwards??"

I gaped at him for a few seconds, feeling my ears begin to get hot with embarassment... until the general burst out laughing. I quickly turned my headgear around, saluted the general and his staff, and stepped off.

As it turns out, I apparently DO have a hair on my ass!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Morning Coffee

It is around 7AM, and I've just arrived at work. After a solid week of rain here, the place is hopping. People's roofs have failed, they have water coming into their houses, and they want their roofs fixed... NOW!

This is when the roofing contractor's business comes alive, and they are out in force, standing three and four deep at the counter wanting to pick up their materials and get as early a start as they can on their respective jobs (the sooner they finish.. the sooner they get paid!).

The phone is jumping off the hook, and we are jumping through our asses trying to keep up!!

I've been here perhaps four minutes, and I'm already richochetting off the walls and furniture, helping customers, answering phones, answering questions, and basically trying to do six things at once without fucking it all up. I haven't had my coffee (which I am positively dying for, and I have to pee!)

The owner has a strict rule concerning the telephones; They are to be answered within two rings at all costs. Even if we simply ask the caller to hold on, or take a telephone number so that we can call them back. He doesn't want them sitting on hold, or listening to the phone ring a dozen times. This is a bit of a sticky point when we have forty impatient contractors glaring at us, but, the boss makes the rules!


"Hello, Such-And-Such Roofing Supplies, Bear Speaking, How can I help you??"

"I'm a roofa." (Roofer... this is Long Island, New York.. Get with it!!)

"I believe you! How Can I help you??" (Please tell me what the fuck you want so that I can clear the counter!)

"I gotta traila dat I carry all my shit in..."


".... I see... ... And?"

"It gotta flat tie-yuh.." (a tie-yuh is a rubber product that is used on vehicles. They roll. You inflate them. Get the picture?)

(Is this guy late to a jobsite where he has to pay a COD charge to receive a delivery?? Maybe he's afraid our delivery driver will split and he won't get his delivery??)

"Okay... How can I help you, Sir?? What is it, exactly, that you need??"

Chewing... chewing.... slurping.... (this fucker has coffee...)... more chewing, finished off with a rather impressive belch.. then;


(Alright.. this guy is obviously a dick...)

"What exactly can I do for you, sir?... I'm not quite clear on how I can be of help.."

Chew, chew... (this is really nasty...)

"Well!?!? You got the tie-yuh fa my trailuh?? I need a fuckin' tie-yuh!!"

"No sir. We don't sell tires..."

[Abject incredulity] "You'se assholes ain't got no tie-yuhs!?!? You gotta be fuckin' kiddin' me!!"

"I'm sorry... we don't carry tires here, sir..."

"And you call ya-selves a fuckin' ROOFING SUPPLY STAAW!?!?"

"Well... it's been rumored..."

"Where can I get a tie-yuh fa dis t'ing??"

I named off about three or four tire stores in the vicinity, trying to be helpful.

"Whattayou?? A fuckin' smartass!! FUCK YOU ASSHOLE!! I AIN'T COMIN' TA [Name of a local competitor. Not my place of business. This dude is a genius.] NO MORE!! WHATTYA THINKA DAT!!" He announced, triumph evident in his voice.

"I think it works well for me, too, under the circumstances... good luck with the flat, there, bright-light. Have a good day."

I hung the phone up and turned to face the mob. I still wanted a hot cup of coffee.. and I still had to pee... I suppose the coffee would have to wait...

What a way to start the day...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Irksome, Verminous Problem with Comment Windows...

Just a quick post to advise those of you who have left comments, either Blogger comments or Haloscan comments... I have lately been experiencing a tech problem with the pop-up windows not opening, so I cannot access the bloody comments in order to reply.

I have the sites on my 'allow' list, and I have checked everything else that I can think of. I am working with the Blogger techies, as well as the Tech folks over at Mozilla. Hopefully I can work it out.

I have no idea what is causing this, but it is vexing the crap out of me.

As most of you probably know, I try to answer each and every one of you when you leave comments for me. Please understand that I am not ignoring you.

As soon as I can figure out what the problem is, I will fix it.

If anyone needs to contact me, email would be best right now here is my email address for that pupose, should anybody feel the need:


I will be gone for the weekend, but should be back in full-swing by Monday.

If anybody has experienced this problem, and thinks that they may have a clue as to what is causing this, feel free to let me know. I think it is a problem with the browser (Firefox 1.0.7) personally, but can't quite figure out what that might be, or how to address it. [GRRRACH!! SNORT!!!]

Take Care,



Sunday, October 09, 2005

I Don't Get It...

The one thing that I most want in my life is to spend time with my wife. It may not sound like all that much to want to some folks.. but to me, time with her is my most valuable possession (if you can call it a possession..).

In order to be able to have this time, there are certain things that must be addressed and taken care of, i.e., bills have to be paid, and all of the things that we need in order to live from day to day have to be obtained. This stuff requires money, as we all know. Now.. here's the rub; In order to get the money needed to be able to live, we both have to work. No.. that's not entirely accurate. In order to get the money needed to be able to live, we both have to work a lot.

End result?? We don't ever get to spend all that much time together. So, all of this running around and working basically turns out to be a huge cosmic hamster wheel in the end.

The question that has been swimming around in my head is this; If I don't get to spend the time with her that I want to with both of us working all this time so that we can have enough money to pay all of our bills in order to be able to spend time together.. What the hell is the point of it all?? It seems sort of counter-productive to me in a sideways logic kinda way...

I have fantasized about the both of us working at the same job, going to work together, coming home together, and thereby having more time together... but the soldier in me won't let me put all of my eggs in one basket. It just seems like a big risk. (If the company goes under.. we are both fucked, simultaneously.

The alternative doesn't work out that well, either... if one or both of us works less, then although we may have more time to spend together we are stressed out about bills, or wondering how we will be able to get the thing that we need to fix the thing that broke, or some other such friggin' thing....

So. This leaves me with this question; Is that it?? Is this how it has to be??

We just work like fucking field slaves all of our lives, living for the few hours that we get to spend together on Sunday.. the couple of minutes here and there in the evenings... and the one vacation each year??

That sucks!!

Mind you. My lifestyle is absolutely not the type of lifestyle that is dedicated to the accumulation of material wealth, or things of any shape, form, or fashion. We don't make that much money to begin with, though we work like hell to get what we do earn.

It seems like we are stuck in a loop with no way out of it...

I work probably somewhere in the range of seventy-two hours per week. Since there are one hundred sixty-eight hours in a week, this means that I work approximately 43% of the time. This leaves the other 57% to me. But, it doesn't work out that neatly. I sleep perhaps 46 to 40 hours per week. On top of this, there is cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and all of the other nittenoid things that we have to do to keep a household going. It seems to me that we end up with perhaps one or two hours in an average week night to spend together, and almost nothing on the weekend, if I am working. If I have a day off, then we have a day.

It just seems somehow wrong to me... I feel as though I have allowed myself to get trapped into a pattern of behavior because of societal pressures, or habit, or who knows what?? It seems to me that spending time with your loved ones is the most important consideration (or should be). If one of us were to die unexpectedly today or tommorrow.. all of this other stuff would amount to shit. So why do we do it??

I just don't get it....

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Did I Get It??

I think I have isolated and removed the cause of the pop-ups...

I have never seen them, because I have my browser configured to disallow pop-ups, and to not run any scripts that I haven't given permission for.

Please, please, please... if there are any other such annoyances, let me know. I don't want that crap here... there's enough of it elsewhere.

The only pop-up you should ever see here would be asking for donations for the 'World Marmoset Conservation Society'.

My Thanx to Dan and Wraiths for giving me the heads-up as to the existence of the blasted thing, and for helping me to narrow down the search so that I could actually locate it.

(Serves me right for putting all the bells and whistles on the site... I'm a dweeb sometimes.... [Snort!!])

So. Please confirm that the pop-is gone, anybody, or let me know that it is still plaguing you, whichever is appropriate... and I'll take it from there...

Thanx guys!

Off to work... blech!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

White Llamas and Dwarf Albino Deer

One night, I received a radio call from the dispatcher to respond to an address and see the complainant who resided there in reference to a white llama that was in the man's yard.

After acknowleging the call, and heading in that direction, the dispatcher's words ran through my mind for a few seconds. White Llama? Oh, please!

Now, there is a quirk to my personality that has gotten me into trouble many times, and will probably get me into trouble again, because I don't ever learn; I have a bizarre sense of humor, I am an incurable smart-ass, and I am willing to go to almost any length for a laugh... especially a good one!

Bear: "610 to Headquarters..."

Dispatcher: "Go ahead, 610"

Bear: "Can you re-contact the complainant and determine whether the Llama on the complainant's lawn is a common Andean Llama, or a Peruvian Spitting Llama??"

Dispatcher: "610... stand by...."

A few seconds ticked by.... the entire precinct was holding it's collective breath, knowing that I was up to some shit, and wondering where this was going...

Dispatcher: "610.. what is it that you are trying to establish, please??"

Bear: "610 to headquarters.. If the animal in question happens to be a Peruvian Spitting Llama, I will have to take universal precautions to prevent contracting a communicable disease... Is the complainant able to identify what type of Llama this is... or is it simply a common Alpaca?"

A few more seconds of radio silence ensued... then,

Dispatcher: "610. Six-One-Zero."

Bear: "610."

Dispatcher: "I have the complainant on land-line. He states that he doesn't know the difference between Anrea... Ander...Ahh.. Um... THE FIRST TYPE... and the Other One from Peruvia..."

Bear: (Ever always!) "610 to headquarters. The native habitat of the Pervian Spitting Llama is Peru. 10-4?"

Dispatcher: "[Annoyed Radio Carrier as the dispatcher clicked the mike without answering... A crack in the shell! I was getting somewhere at last!!]"

Dispatcher: "610?"

Bear: "Six-Ten"

Dispatcher: "The complainant now states that he no longer believes that the animal is a Llama of any type."

Bear: ( ?? ) "Six-Ten to Headquarters... Does the complainant have any idea what type of animal is on his property??" (Very large dog, perhaps??)

Dispatcher: "610, the complainant states that the animal is...... ..... a dwarf albino deer...."

Bear: (You have got to be fucking kidding me!!) "610 to headquarters. Can you ask the complainant whether this is a 'North American Two-Tined Dwarf Albino Deer', or whether it is a 'Dwarfed Eastern Fallowhide Pronghorn Mule Deer' in winter coat, perhaps?"

Dispatcher: "610, is there some significance to this question?"

Bear: "The Fallowhide deer is on the endangered species list, headquarters... its the only venomous mammal in North America..."

Dispatcher: ".... venomous?"

Bear: "10-4.."

Dispatcher: "Stand by 610..."

Bear: "610 to headquarters. Disregard, I'm almost '36 (* 10-36 means 'arrived at location'), I'll advise..."

Dispatcher: "Ten four six-ten. Advise."

As I pulled onto the gravel parking area in front of the address... my headlights fell upon a concrete deer, perhaps two and a half to three feet in height. It may have once been painted, but it had turned white with age. The concrete had broken off of the lower portion of one of the forelegs, leaving the metal armature showing, and algae had taken root here and there, leaving green splotches on the otherwise white colored concrete. I had found my dwarf albino deer...

Another vehicle pulled in next the my vehicle. As I exited the police vehicle, a woman got out of the driver's seat and walked around the front of her vehicle towards me...

Woman: "Officer! Did my father call about that damned deer again??"

Bear: "'Fraid so, man... and you are...?"

Woman: "I'm his daughter... he has a very serious drinking problem, officer... I'm very sorry. Please don't arrest him, my mother is ill, and my..."

Bear: "Ma'am... I'm not going to be arresting anyone.. is your father going to be alright??"

Woman: "Yes, officer... I'm taking him home to my house for the next few days. My mother has been in the hospital. He doesn't deal with stress very well... and he's been, ...well... he has basically been tying one on for the past few days... I'm really very sorry about all this."

Bear: "Don't worry about it. Goodnight."

Woman: "Thank you, officer. Goodnight!"

I pulled out into the street and decided that it was time for a nice cup of coffee... I headed towards a local Seven-11. I picked up the microphone to advise headquarters that I was back in service.

Bear: "Six-Ten, 27." (10-27 means 'in service' - in practice, we often cut parts of these codes for some reason)

Dispatcher: "10-04, Six-Ten. 10-27, returning to sector."

I drove for maybe ten seconds before the radio squawked to life...

Unidentified Authoritative Voice: "SIX TEN. SIX-ONE-ZERO."

(Who the fuck is that?!)

Bear: "610."

Voice: "This is the Deputy Chief of Patrol to Unit Six-Ten. You are hereby ordered to make a 10-12 (report to..) to Headquarters. Forthwith."

(Oh....... shit....)

Bear: "10-4. Responding...."

Oh, man....

Some people have no sense of humor about things.....

Epilogue: As it turns out, I got a good dressing down. (I was flamed hairless and had my asshole torn so wide open that you could kick an extra large beachball through it. But, I was a sort of folk-hero with the other street cops, which kind of made up for the ass-chewing.) I had to work some shitty details for a few weeks until some other stupid fuck-knuckle drew attention to himself and (thankfully) got it off of me. Sometimes you just have to go where the shits and grins are. You only live once!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The First Step Towards the Door..

Back when I was a steady sector car operator, working straight midnights, I received a call early one morning, at around 5:30AM, of an unresponsive elderly woman. The call came over as an 'inhalator' call, meaning that the subject of the call.. the victim, or the patient... was not breathing, or their breathing was either not detectable or was so shallow as to be difficult to notice to an untrained person.

These early morning calls are somewhat regular, and are basically depressing. What a cop reads into them from past experience is that someone passed from this place at some point in the night. When everyone else starts waking up, they make an unsettling discovery, and, partly due to denial, and partly because they don't know (and couldn't know) what the condition of the victim actually is, they call an ambulance.

Now, this may sound cynical, but I don't mean it to be.... but, (why does there always have to be a 'but'??), the vast majority of these calls aren't actually medical aid calls when the dust settles... they end up being calls where the police take custody of the person's remains until the medical examiner arrives and the body is removed.

Because this is so often the case, most cops have developed a tried and true, though somewhat unsettling method of protecting themselves emotionally from these situations... they keep everyone (everyone) at arm's distance at these calls.

This, of course makes us seem callous, cold, and heartless. I suppose that on some level, we are at that point in time... but, when you have to deal with this day in and day out, you have to do something to protect your own mental health, and this is one of those things. The irony is that it doesn't actually work. At all. It gives us the illusion of having protected ourselves, but, it is all a stinking pile of bullshit from start to finish. Its just a great big act to help us to dance away from the personal responsibility of having to face someone else's death and its effect on their loved ones and to actually feel what that feels like...

Don't get me wrong. We feel it. We just don't want to appear as though we feel it... to anyone else... or to ourselves...

Back to the story;

I arrived at the location of the call, popped the trunk, let the dispatcher know that I had arrived, grabbed the oxygen and aid kit out of the trunk and ran inside. An old man met me at the back door. His white hair was mussed, his glasses were askew, and one tail of his pajama shirt was hanging out while the other was tucked in. He carefully unlocked the series of locks on the back door and let me in.

The door opened into the kitchen. The place had the washed out, faded look and smell of countless other houses that I had been in where a couple had lived out their lives and grown old while living in the same house. I'm sure that it was home to them, but it was depressing to me on the best of days.

He introduced himself (I'll call him 'Mr. Sweeney' for the sake of this story.. it isn't his real name, as you have probably already guessed), and led me into the bedroom. A woman lay on the bed. She was very, very still. Mr. Sweeney did not enter the bedroom, but hovered worriedly by the bedroom door. He was dancing from foot to foot, and wringing his hands.

I approached the woman, who was laying on her right side. I checked for a pulse. Her skin was cold to the touch. I checked for capillary refill on the fingernails of her hands, but there was none. I could see that dependant lividity had set in on the underside of her face, neck, and, where I could see the skin, on her arms. I was fairly certain that she was dead, but that isn't a call that I can legally make unless there are certain obvious textbook signs of death. I continued with my examination, moving quickly, but not rapidly, not wanting to risk missing any obvious signs of importance... be they signs of life, or signs of a crime having taken place. I had no idea what had transpired, and the story that anyone tells me only fills in a few blanks. I always rely on my own observations, and check, double-check, and triple-check everything that I can.

I reached for my flashlight and gently lifted the woman's eyelid to check for pupillary reaction. Her eyes were dilated and the vitreous humor of her eyes had clouded over. There was no pupillary reaction in either eye, and as I moved her head, I could see that rigor mortis had begun to set in. She had apparently died some hours ago during the night. I looked over at Mr. Sweeney, he looked back at me. He looked terrified, and I knew that what I was going to have to tell him was the last thing in the world that he wanted to hear. I also knew from experience that people generally have a sense for these things and will subtly guide you and let you know when to tell them hard facts and when to let them work things out and get their brains around difficult situations that are being imposed upon them....

"Is she going to be alright, officer??" he asked, a pleading note creeping into his voice. He went perfectly still, waiting for my reply. I believe I was the only person in the room who was breathing at that moment.

"Mr. Sweeney... " I began. A single tear welled up and coarsed down his seamed old cheek. I could feel my chest tighten, and my throat begin to tighten. This was very hard. Nobody wants to bear the news that will crush a man's heart into the dust...
I cleared my throat and began again, "Mr. Sweeney, I'm very sorry... she's gone. I wish there was something more that I could do for her, but there isn't."

"She's.... I..... no......." He put his face in his gnarled old hands and sagged against the doorframe. He was trembling. Deep gut-wrenching sobs wracked his body. I walked over and stood beside him for a moment... waiting for the first wave of shock and grief to pass.... Eventually, he looked up at me, shaking his head, not wanting this to be happening, his eyes silently pleading with me to fix it... to bring his wife back, to give her another chance... another day... an hour... a minute... there is always so much that hasn't been said, so much that was never done... I took his arm, "Mr. Sweeney, would you like to come and sit with her for a moment?" He nodded, and I guided him over to the bed. He sat down beside his wife, and he took her cold hand in his. The same hand that he held every day for how many years of marriage?? Forty?? Fifty?? But on this morning, it didn't grasp back.. didn't caress him in turn... I started to move towards the door to give him a moment of privacy. "Officer?" he asked.

"Yes sir?"

"What is your name, young man??"

"My friends call me Bear, Mr. Sweeney."


"Yes sir."

"..... Bear. Hm. Yes, I can see why they might... Um, Bear? May I ask you something?"


Tears began to run in rivulets down his face...

"Can you tell me what I'm supposed to do now?"

"..... Sir?..... I...ah... Well, I'll help you with that, and we will put you in touch with some other folks, agencies and whatnot who can assist..."

"No... that isn't what I was asking... You see, Evelyn, that was my wife's name.. Evelyn..", he patted her shoulder, very delicately... and let his hand come to rest there... It occurred to me, and, I'm sure, to him, that it was one of the last times that he would ever be able to do that... my chest constricted, and my throat tightened... I swallowed hard, blinked my eyes a few times, and willed it away...

I took a seat in an arm chair near the window.

"Evelyn was my high school sweetheart. We met at a Christmas Dance in 1947, it was just after the war, you know. We married a few years later. I fell in love with her the first moment that I set eyes on her. She was always smiling and laughing. She always looked as though she knew something about you that was about to make her giggle. We were married for forty-six years. It would have been forty-seven years two months from now. I have been married to her longer than I haven't been married to her. I've quite forgotten what it was like not to be married to her."

He stopped talking then... and I noticed that he was gently rocking his wife, and patting her with his hand. I don't think he noticed that he was doing it... this was a time-honored ritual between them. He stared off into some other time... years past, perhaps... somewhere a clock was ticking off the seconds. We sat quietly like that for some minutes. Finally, he coughed, seemed to remember that I was sitting there with him, with them... "I'm all alone now. Both of our children died years ago. Its funny.. I had always imagined that I would be the first to go. I'm... I'm not sure what it is that I will do now....." His voice was very small. He looked up at me then. His rheumy old blue eyes, puffed and swollen from crying searched my face for an answer. "Can you tell me what I'm supposed to do?? This is my wife... I've stayed at her side for almost fifty years.. They're going to come and take her away from me, and I'll be here all alone."

I searched my brain for an answer, but couldn't come up with one... after a few breaths, my heart told me that in some cases, the only answer is the truth, even though it may not be comfortable or easy to face.

"Mr. Sweeney, I honestly don't know what the answer is to that question. I have never found myself in your situation, and, quite honestly, it frightens me to think that one day I may very well be sitting where you are sitting and asking the very same questions. I don't know what to say to you. I don't think there is a simple answer. I think that for now, maybe it isn't such a good idea to look too far ahead. I would concentrate on taking things a day at a time for now... an hour, or a minute, or a second at a time if you have to. I think Mrs. Sweeney would want you to live on, and I don't think she would want to think that you were heartbroken. I know that she will be in your heart as long as you hold her there. I also know that you won't be all alone. You will have at least one friend who will stop by to see how you are doing, and to ask whether you need anything. I'll give you my phone number at home, and my pager number. You can call me at any time. I work nights, so I'm generally awake all night long. If you need anything, or if you just don't want to be alone, call me and I'll come and sit with you. No questions asked. I'm not sure if that is helpful to you, or if you even want anybody around, but the offer stands."

"He nodded, and laid his head down on his wife's shoulder."

I stood up, and quietly stepped out of the room to let him say his goodbyes and to make his peace with her.

I stopped by and visited Mr. Sweeney two to five times every week until his death two years later.. almost to the day.

I think this may have been my very first step away from the police job.. though I wasn't aware of it then....

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I am very curious...

I have a reader, who stops by each day. Sometimes a few times a day. They are from the city of Corroios, in Setubal, Portugal. Whoever they are, male or female, they run Windows XP on their computer, and view my blog with Firefox 1.0.6 on a 1280x1024 monitor screen. I know the dates and times of the visits, thier ISP address, and their internet service provider. But that's it!

I'm very curious to know who you are, what it's like where you live (I have been to Lisbon, for a very short visit, many years ago.. but that's it), and whatever else you feel comfortable telling me.

If you decide that you would prefer not to come forward, that's fine also. I just want to say that I know you come by, I am happy that you do, I hope you enjoy my blog, and I want to say 'Welcome!'

I have readers from so may other countries, as well, and from all over the United States, too!

I wish I could get to know a little about all of you... I know that I can't, but, I still would like it...

It's really cool that so many of you are stopping by from time to time to read this drivel that I write. It makes me see my world differently, knowing that I may be putting it to 'paper', so to speak... I look at everything around me (and listen, and taste, and smell, and feel...) a little bit more closely than I otherwise would... so, in a way, you have all helped me to live my life a little more fuller, or with more depth than I otherwise would.

Perhaps I entertain you to some extent, make you think, give you a laugh or a chuckle from time to time, or even piss you off from time to time.. but You folks make Me see and experience my world with a little bit more color and flavor than before....

I think I am getting the better deal, somehow...

Thank You. Each and every one of you. It is a *Wonderful* gift, even if you weren't aware that you were giving it... I want you all to know that I still appreciate it.

Hey, Portugal!! Drop me a line, say hi!! India?? (Both Delhi and Calcutta), you guys too, okay?? Tanzania, who are you?? How about my Brits?? Dunbartonshire, Lambert, Leeds, Cambridgeshire, Shepshed - Leicester,... Hello! Singapore! Valencia, Spain! Igra, Udmurt in the Russian Federation! T'uk Pyol Si in Seoul Korea (AhnYoungHaShimNiKka?? Irreum-I Mwuh-Shim-Ni Kka?? Hanguk mal eu-rro jom eyagi hae do, igeul-sseu isseumnida! Chingu rreul hapshida!) (Hangul do halsu isseumnida!), Canada - Ontario, Montreal, Calgary, all of you guys... All of my fellow Americans... from practically every state in the union, the Kiwi from Auckland, New Zealand, and all the rest of you!! Hello! Welcome! Say hi! Who are you guys??!!

Where are ya from? What do you do? What are you like?? Do you like my blog?? What else do you do for fun?? Got any great recipes?? Can you teach me how to say Hi or thanks in your language??

I know you guys are out there, I wonder who you are... It's really nice that you pop in from time to time... thanks guys...

Take Care...

In Peace and Brotherhood,



“Six-Oh-Two. Six-Zero-Two?”


Dispatcher: “602. Respond to [Address]. Check on the welfare of the occupant. The sister states that he suffers from mental illness, and has stopped taking his medications. He hung up the telephone and refuses to answer. Subject is suicidal and has a history of violence directed towards himself and others. Use caution. Unit to assist 602?”

601: “I’ll start heading over.”

Dispatcher: “10-4 601.”

614 (Female Police Officer): “614, headquarters, I’m going.”

Dispatcher: “10-4.”

608 (Bear): (At this time, I was a relatively new arrival in the precinct, and did not yet have my own steady sector. I was what is known as a ‘relief driver’, which meant that I bounced around to cover vacancies in various sectors. This is the way the precinct has new cops get acquainted with the entire precinct. Over the course of a few years, you will work in every single sector numerous times. By the time you get your own car, you are an old hand and know where everything is, and what’s going on!)

“608, (to) headquarters. I’m heading that way also.”

Dispatcher: “10-4. Advise when ’36.” (10-36 means ‘Arrived at location’ – the dispatcher is requesting that arriving units keep him appraised of the situation).

I began to head in the direction of the call, going through in my head all of the essential points that I would have to keep in mind. For one thing, calls involving EDPs (Emotionally Disturbed Persons) can go from non-threatening to fatal with little or no warning. For another, they are sometimes very difficult to reason with. As a general rule, these calls tend to be taxing and difficult for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the possibility of being called upon to use force against a person who, for all intents and purposes, isn’t quite hooked up right. Any person who doesn’t cringe from this is most likely not quite hooked up right themselves, I would think. Most cops don’t like these calls, and basically view them as a necessary evil, but wish that they didn’t crop up.

As I neared the location, I could hear a few of the other units announcing their arrival to the dispatcher:

602: “602/headquarters, 36. I’ll advise.”

Dispatcher: “10-04 602. Any other unit nearing 36 with 602?”

601: “601/headquarters. I’m a few seconds away.”

Dispatcher: “10-04 601. 602. Six-Zero-Two?”

602: “602.”

Dispatcher: “602, 601 states he is a few seconds out. Stand by for backup. Advise.”

602: “10-04.”

601: “601/headquarters. I’m 36 with 602. We’ll advise.”

Dispatcher: “10-04 Six-Zero-One.”

608 (Bear): “608/Headquarters, I’m also 36. 614 is pulling up also.”

614 (Female Cop): “614, 36.”

Dispatcher: “10-04”

We all headed over to the door of the building. Essentially, the subject resided in an apartment over a retail store on the main street of the village where the call was located. You entered the front door, which, apparently, was kept unlocked, and walked up a flight of stairs which ended sort of at the center point of a short hallway. There were, perhaps, three apartments in the building. We entered the building, turning the volumes down on our radios so that we wouldn’t be heard and identified by the sound. Quietly, we made our way upstairs, and located the door to the apartment that we were looking for. We stood quietly and listened for a few moments, but couldn’t hear anything at all, at first.

602 knocked lightly at the door, and we listened. No answer. We all looked at one another, then back at the door.

602 knocked again, a little louder this time. From inside the apartment, we heard a voice, somewhat distant, but intelligible;

“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, …”

Now we really exchanged some looks… was this simply someone reciting from the bible?? Were we about to burst in on some unsuspecting citizen? Or was this somebody who was unhinged and setting us up to be ambushed, or were we possibly at the wrong location, or what??

602 called through the door, “Hello?! This is the Police, can you come to the door, please??”

Silence. Tick - tick - tick - tick….. then, “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven!”
What. The. Fuck. ?. !. ?.
602 knocked on the door, louder this time, and in his most authoritative voice, called out, “Police! Open the door, please!”
602 knocked again. Pounded actually. Nothing.
We moved away from the door and waited while 602 moved to the end of the hallway and contacted the dispatcher over the radio.
602: “602/headquarters. Can you raise a supervisor unit for a quick 33?” (10-33 – ‘car to car communications’ this means direct communications between two cops, or, in other words, a conversation not mediated through the dispatcher. In some cases, the dispatcher serves to control the flow of information and to make all communications less confusing and less time consuming. In some circumstances, it is quicker and easier, and much less confusing to simply communicate directly with another officer, be it another street cop, a supervisor, a detective, crime scene tech, canine cop, helicopter pilot, etc.)

Dispatcher: “Supervisor unit to go direct with 602? 634, Six-Three-Four?”

634 (Sergeant): “634 headquarters, what does he need?”

Dispatcher: “Six-Zero-Two, go direct with Unit 634.”

602: “Boss, we have a ‘check on the welfare’ of an EDP, possibly suicidal, called in by his sister. When we first knocked on the door and announced ourselves, he didn’t respond directly, but began reciting what sound like passages from the bible. When he didn’t answer the door, we knocked again, but have not received any response at all. Request permission to break and enter? The safety of the individual is a concern at this point…”

634 (Sergeant): “Is there a landlord or building owner 36 with a key? Or possibly a superintendent or neighbor? Headquarters, do we have any contact information for owners of the building?”

Dispatcher: “Negative. We have already been trying to contact an owner. The proprietor of the shop downstairs states that the owner is an absentee landlord who is out of state. Unknown whether there are maintenance personnel on-site.”

634 (Sergeant): “Ahhhh…. 10-4. 602? Any neighbors, anyone?”

602: “Not known, Sarge. The safety of the subject is at issue. He’s an EDP, not taking his meds, and possibly suicidal with a history of violence both to himself and to others. We would rather not involve neighbors at this point.”

634 (Sergeant): “Understood. I’ll be three-six in about 20 minutes. Go ahead and break the door. Advise. Headquarters, I’m authorizing 602 and assisting units to break the door. Start rescue heading in that direction, just in case. Notify Emergency Services, see if they have a unit in the vicinity. They may want to start heading over or getting a team together.”

Dispatcher: “10-04 634. Six-Zero-Two and assisting units. Use caution. Do Not endanger the lives of innocent civilians or fellow police officers. Please advise. Clear the air please. No further traffic until 602 notifies that he has a controlled situation. 602, the air is clear, you are a go!”

The radio went dead silent. You could sense the collective consciousness of the entire precinct directed at us as each cop turned his or her attention to the drama that was unfolding at our location. Each and every one of was aware that in the next few seconds, lives could change in very dramatic fashion…. Or be extinguished in a split second.

Silently, 602 looked at me, indicated the door, and gave me the nod. I stood to the side of the door, and the other cops ‘stacked up’ ready to make a dynamic entry into the apartment when I broke the door. I glanced down the line of three cops to my right, along the wall, 602, 614, and 601 taking up the rear. I raised my eyebrows, silently quizzing 602 for the okay to go ahead, (since it is his call, he makes the pertinent decisions… he has the authority, and he carries the responsibility for what goes on… we all do, to a great extent, but the cop who got the call is the first one in line to get squashed if things go badly….) he gave me the ‘go ahead’ and we all drew our weapons. One deep breath, and I took a step to the left, positioned myself in front of the lock, and kicked the door, just alongside the knob and deadbolt. The door held, but the jamb didn’t. With a loud splintering crash, the door burst open and I was already moving.

I moved quickly into the room, and to my right, moving low and moving quickly, so as to avoid silhouetting myself in the doorway. I scan the room, looking for movement, for anything out of place, for anything that presents a threat to me, or to my fellow officers. Behind me, I can feel the others moving into the room, quickly and with a practiced grace and fluidity, fanning out into the room, each covering a different section. In less than a second, we have taken the first room, a living room. To our right is a kitchen, obviously empty. I do a ‘quick-peek’ to make sure nobody is crouched down or hiding in a corner. Satisfied, I indicate to the others that the kitchen is clear. There are three doorways other than the short hallway leading to the kitchen, which open into the living room, which is the central room in the apartment. Two doors are closed, (one behind us, which turns out to be a closet… empty of people), the door to the right is open, and the door to the left is closed. 614 takes up an overwatch position near the closed door, gun drawn and aimed towards the door. The rest of us stack up on the open door and with a silent finger-count of three, we enter the room… it turns out to be a bedroom, with a small closet. Its clear. We return to the living room, and stack up on the closed door after listening quietly for a few seconds. Silence.

I try the door, very slowly, keeping my body well to one side. I am on the right side of the door, the knob side, and everyone else is on the left, the hinge side. I slowly turn the knob, releasing the latch, then let it stand slightly ajar like that for a minute or so, waiting to see if anyone shuts it or moves, or does anything else on the other side. Patience. It’s a waiting game. I am pressured by the fact that this individual may have attempted suicide by some means, and may be in dire need of medical assistance, but I am not prepared to force the situation into a fatal encounter because of undue haste on my part. The reality is that I have no idea what is on the other side of that door, and what I don’t know can most certainly kill me. I take my time. The others leave me to this, I am known for having a cool head and for maintaining a sharp mind under pressure. They trust my judgment, and they follow my lead. I let the seconds tick off. Silence.

I raise my eyebrows to them. “Ready?” I ask silently, with my eyes. “Yes!” Its unanimous. I slowly push the door slightly open, giving them the first ‘slice of the pie’ to check. I can’t see anything, but I watch their faces intently, attempting to read through their expressions what they are seeing in real time. I have worked with these people for a good while. I trust them. I follow their lead. The first ‘slice’ of the room that they can see is clear.

The door is out of my reach now, so the first cop stacked by the hinge side of the door takes over. I move slightly so that I can peer through the opening by the hinges, and satisfy myself that nobody is lurking back there. We eventually open the door all the way. It opens into a short hallway. The hallway ends about twelve feet away from us. The terminus is a door, most likely a linen closet. There is a door to the right and a door to the left. Both doors are open. From the left, a low light is flickering. Although it is daylight out, no sunlight reaches this portion of the apartment, and it’s dark. There are candles burning in the room on the left. Does this mean that our subject is in that room? Or are the candles a diversion to get us to look there first, and thus create enough lag time for someone to burst out of the other room, knife drawn or gun blazing?? 602 gives me the nod, and I start moving down the hallway. I hate this. There is nowhere to go if things go badly. There are three cops behind me, blocking the way, and I’m in a tube. If I’m threatened, I’m moving forward. Quickly, violently, and unstoppably. If this guy bursts into the hallway, I am going to ruin his day before he has a chance to do much of anything. I don’t like feeling mentally boxed in like this, but this is the situation I’m presented with, and I have to deal with it. I move forward.

I get close to the two open doorways. I stand silently and listen. I can hear someone breathing to my left. I hear a small splash of water. It’s a bathroom. Our man is alive, and in or near a tub, sink, toilet, or other water source, apparently. I raise my hand and indicate to the others that the room on the left is occupied, and to wait. I stand silently and listen.

This guy had to have heard his front door get kicked in, yet he hasn’t responded. Something isn’t right. I’m not prepared to step through that doorway without some more information. I don’t want to end up shooting this guy to find out that it could have been avoided with a little forethought. He may not be right in the head, but he is a human being, he is alive, and I don’t want to be the one to change that if I can help it.

“Hey, man… it’s the police. How’re ya doin’??

Silence. The water sounds have stopped. So he heard me, and he is listening. As long as he is still, everyone should be okay… (unless he happens to be aiming a shotgun at the approximate place where I am standing and plans to blow a piece of the wall through my spleen!)

“Your sister called. She is very concerned about you… are you okay?”


“Say. Could you answer me so that I know everything’s okay with you?? I want to make sure that everybody goes home safely today, you know??



I’m going to have to go into this room.

I motion for one of the other cops to move forward and cover the doorway. I get down low. Very low. I quick peek into the room, but can’t see clearly because something is blocking my view. I move my head up a little higher, and expecting to have my face splattered all over the wall behind me next to my brains and teeth, I quick peek again.

He is sitting in the bathtub. There are many, many candles set all about the bathroom, all lit. He has a sort of bathtub tray table set across the tub, with a bookstand on it. Presumably, this is the bible. I was able to see both of his hands, they’re empty. I am fairly certain that this guy can’t get out of that tub to reach anything faster than I can put him on his face if I have to.
The radio is still pregnantly, ominously silent. Everyone is wondering what the fuck is going on here. I am starting to feel the time pressure, but resist it just a little while longer.
Why the fuck isn’t 602 doing this part, anyway?? It occurs to me… ach!
“Hey, guy… I’m going to come on in to the bathroom, okay?? I just want to talk to you and make sure you’re okay. Is that alright with you?”
I’m not really asking his permission to come inside. At this point, I own this house until such time as I leave as far as I’m concerned. Not out of arrogance, but out of a desire for my, and everybody else’s, continued safety. I am asking him questions to try to draw him out and to gauge his state of mind, if possible. At this point, every tidbit of information is vitally important, because we don’t yet know what and what not is of any import. We are groping and grasping in the dark.
I hear him inhale. It’s a deep breath. He is about to speak, at last.
“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Ah, fuck. We’re back on this again. I don’t like this. Not because it’s from the bible, but because it is appropo of nothing, and completely out of synch with the situation. The guy is obviously as crazy as a bedbug. We are most likely going to have a problem. This sucks!
He’s warming up to this now, and he continues, voice becoming louder, “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”
This doesn’t sound like it’s going anyplace happy… I want to take control of this guy right now, but I am also hesitant to provoke something that could otherwise be avoided….
Our Man: “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.”
Okay, fuck this. I give a final look back at the others to assure myself that they are with me and paying attention, and, holstering my weapon, I move into the room. I look down at our subject, and he is sitting in a bathtub filled with blood! His head is back, and his eyes are closed, he is smiling the ecstatic smile of the lunatic. He raises his arms in exaltation, bloody water running off of them in red rivulets, and splashing onto the white tiles near my feet. Wherever he is, it isn’t here with us, but I try anyway.
“Come on out of the tub, guy. Let’s go!”
No response.
I grab a wrist and hall him to his feet. Blood is gushing from his groin and splashing into the tub! This guy is going to bleed to death. I snap a handcuff onto his left wrist, and he begins to struggle. I crank the wrist, turn him away from my and stiff arm him against the wall. He’s slippery, and I DO NOT want to end up falling into that friggin’ tub! One of the other cops catches hold of his right wrist, quickly forces his hand behind his back, and close the handcuff on his right wrist. We rip him out of the tub, drag him into the hallway, where someone has mercifully turned a light on, and wad up a towel from the linen closet to hold over his crotch to try to stop the bleeding. As I check the site of the injury I am horrified to see that the man has no penis! He has apparently amputated his own willy! Trying to keep the upset from my voice, I ask him (I have no idea why…), “What the fuck did you do to yourself?!?!” (I am shocked to the core.. I wasn’t expecting this…. At all!!).
He is smiling hugely. He looks like he just found out that he is the sole winner of the lottery.
His reply, “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost!”
‘Holy fucking shit. What the hell kind of job is this?’, I’m thinking, as I put pressure on the injury to try to control the bleeding. I don’t want this guy to die. (Would I want to live if my penis was amputated?, I ask myself…) (I quickly banish the questions and the emotions… there’s a job at hand, and I need to have a clear head. Some very important decisions were going to have to be made, very quickly, and I couldn’t afford the distractions of my own thoughts…
602: “602 to headquarters. Controlled situation. We have the subject in custody. Subject is injured. Self-Inflicted. We need rescue forthwith!”

Dispatcher: “602, rescue is 36, waiting for your go-ahead. Stand-by.”

A few seconds tick off. The pain is starting to hit our man, as is the loss of blood. I wish it were a military situation, so that I could start an IV on this guy and increase his blood volume. In this state, however, EMT-D’s are not allowed to start IVs. We have to get this guy to a hospital, because he is already in compensated shock, and I can tell from his blood pressure, pulse, breathing, and color that he is minutes or seconds away from decompensating, and when that happens he is going to go south on us, and quickly.

Dispatcher: “602, rescue is advised, they are coming in the front door now.”

602: “10-04.”
The Rescue squad arrives, and I quickly appraise them of what observations I have made. We can’t ascertain with any certainty how much blood has been lost, but we know it is a lot. 602 requests a helicopter, but the closest safe landing spot is almost as far away as the nearest hospital, so rescue decides to transport him. They put him on a gurney, continue to try to control the bleeding, start oxygen therapy on the guy, and out they go.

We can hear units coordinating with one another as they move to shut down the intersections between our location and the hospital.

We hear somebody clumping up the stairs. We can hear the squelch of a police radio, so we know it’s a cop.

We are still in the apartment. I am waiting to wash my hands in the bathroom sink if 601 will ever finish washing his.. (he was apparently the cop that helped me to cuff our subject). We are both covered in this guy’s blood, and we don’t know whether he has any blood-born pathogens. We don’t particularly want to catch any, since they all basically suck ass, so we are scrubbing ourselves raw, with soap. 614 and I are blowing out all of the candles. We have turned the light on, instead.

The new arrival turns out to be the Zone Supervisor: 634. A Sergeant. He is talking on a cell phone, which he has in one hand, and the police radio, which is in the other. He doesn’t acknowledge us at all, being involved in his conversation. Finally, he hangs up the phone, holsters the radio and walks into the kitchen.

We exchange puzzled glances, but wait to see where this is going.

We hear the refrigerator door open and close, and the sound of Ice cube trays being cracked. Ice being dumped into something metallic.

He comes back carrying a large spaghetti pot full of ice. On top of the ice is a dish towel. On the dish towel is a zip-lock bag.

We all raise our eyebrows at him.

He slaps the toilet lid down with a bang, plops the spaghetti pot onto it, and announces, “The surgeons need the amputated body part transported to the hospital immediately. Don’t let it come into direct contact with the ice. I will stand by until we can get somebody down here to take control over the apartment. Let’s go! Get a move on! Time is critical!” With that, he turns on his heel and heads back towards the kitchen, presumably in search of a land-line (telephone).

602, 601 and myself stand there, staring bleakly into the bloody water. Now that the water had been still for awhile, it has cleared somewhat, and sure enough, laying there at the bottom of the tub, looking small, and shriveled, and very, very white… is a penis.

It looks to be from between four to six inches in length, judging its size from the utility knife that is lying not all that far from it. It isn’t moving, has no teeth or claws, no thorns, and no venom that any of us can ascertain. It appears completely docile and harmless. But not one of us moves to pick it up. Somebody clears there throat, and somebody else coughs. Finally, 614, the female cop. The smallest, presumably weakest member of our group, makes an exasperated sound, steps forward, roughly shouldering us aside, and reaches into the water, and picks up the penis with one accurate swoop. She pops it neatly into the zip-lock bag, zips the bag closed, quickly and efficiently wraps the package in the dishtowel and replaces the pot cover with a muffled clang. She quickly gives her hands a rinse with a little soap and water from the bathroom sink, dries them off, picks up the pot, and gives us all a disdainful glare.

“Pussies!” she snaps at us, accusingly, before she heads down the hall and out onto the street.

We stand there for a few seconds, mulling that over. Finally, 601 heads for the door, mumbling, “I like pussies better, anyway….”

We all head out to our vehicles.

Once back in the police car, I advise the dispatcher that I’m back in service. Unable to resist, I reach down to assure myself that everything is copasetic ‘down there’. Satisfied that everything is okay, I put the car in gear and drive off into the night.

Author's note: This story is true. Obviously, names and exact location have been ommitted for obvious reasons. This incident took place some time around 1991 or '92. I understand that the subject of the call had his lost sticky-out bit reattached, and went back on his medications. I remain traumatized. Yikes!

Dé Sathairn

Today kicked ass!! Coffee in the garden, then we breeped up to a local tattoo parlor that we had scoped out a few months ago, where we gave a design for Elysia's new tattoo (Om Mahni Padme Hum in Tibetan Sanskrit -- is there a Tibetan version?? This is very similar in style to the Om Mahni Padme Hum that is carved into the rocks at sacred sites there, anyway... and it is then mirrored. It's a very cool design!)

Once we dropped off the design and agreed upon a time, we snarked up to a Korean restaurant that we go to now and again for some lunch (Salad with ginger/sesame dressing, toenjang-guk (aka miso soup), California roll to share, and Bibimbap which is rice with mixed vegetables, ground beef, and an egg served with kochujjang (fermented hot pepper sauce). It is delicious and today was no exception!

After lunch, we headed home (no breeping or snarking.. though we very well may have been spotted swangling a time or two..)and Elysia baked up some friggin' great banana bread! (this is made from scratch.. no mixes, cans, or any of that jazz!)

I tweaked a tattoo design that had been sitting in the wings for a while, and when it was time, we headed back to the tattoo shop and the tattoo girls went to work on our designs, getting them 'tattoo-ready'. Elysia started first, and I sat down about a half an hour to 45 minutes later.

When we were both done, we headed to the pizzeria near home, picked up a large pepperoni and sausage pizza, popped in to pick out some movies at the video store (
'Robots' and 'Trauma' starring Colin Firth and some chick from 'Six Feet Under' -- we watched Robots and both of us got a kick out of it!). We watched our movie, ate our pizza, and headed up for some late-night bloggin'.

So. That's what I did today. I had a good day!

Tommorrow is a new day... and it's all mine!

I'm off to bed, folks....

Oíche Mhaith! (Good night!) (Well.. good evening, actually...)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Breathing Space

Marmosets... Sneaky Little Buggers!

Finally! I have a weekend off! A glorious space of days in which I am obligated to do absolutely nothing!!

Yesterday, I had an appointment which excused me from work, and once that had been taken care of, I had a few hours in which to relax and decompress. This, my friends, was marvellous!

I went out and got some fresh air and sunshine, read, listened to music, ate some food, cuddled with my wife, and just generally relaxed.

I have been working a great deal, and just knowing that I have a couple of days off is doing wonders for my kibun (Korean word: (No english equivelant) - mood, spirit, karma, well-being, peace of mind, attitude ... I could go on and on here... but this conveys what I'm essentially trying to say).

The weather is unbelievably gorgeous! I woke up to sunshine streaming through the east facing windows... a cool early-autumn breeze was stirring the leaves and tickling the wind chimes into light strains of morning music. The birds, not wanting to be left out, naturally, added their considerable talent to the mix, and beside me was a warm, soft, snuggly female body, one cat on my legs, and the other one wrapped around the top of my head, purring his ass off!

I woke up early, around 7AM, and got up so that I could enjoy the morning, and do something that I generally am unable to do due to work constraints; Listen to the Gaelic language programming on WFUV on Saturday mornings here... of course, I ended up forgetting to ever turn the radio on, because I'm a clod, but, you can't have everything your way all the time, now, can you??

I spent the morning dicking around with my Blogger template, having fun learning what makes it tick, and changing, deleting, and adding things... (I felt like Eyore in the Winnie the Pooh story where Pooh and Piglet bring birthday gifts to Eyore at his gloomy place... Pooh brings a pot of 'Hunny', which he completely consumes during the journey, and Piglet brings a balloon, which he trips and falls on, popping it in the process. When they finally arrive at Eyore's gloomy place, they present him with an empty Hunny-pot, and a broken balloon.. but he absolutely loves them, and spends the day putting the balloon into the pot, and taking it back out again!! Eyeore, gloomy and negative as he is portrayed, apparently has a zen-sense of enjoying the small pleasures that life presents him with... He and I have this in common, I think... I missed out on my radio show, but I had a blast playing with my wee computer bits, have yet the entire day, and all day tommorrow to enjoy... I'm in heaven!!

I think I may have been blessed by a serendipitous discovery, by the way; Apparently (apparently.. and I SO hope that this is so...) the antibiotics that I am currently taking to treat the epididymitis have also done something magickal to help cure the plantar fasciitis that has been plaguing me for these past months... it is unbelievably wonderful to be able to stand in the morning without being in agony. If in fact the foot pain is gone for good, I am a very, very thankful Bear!

Is é an Lá go breá é!! (It's a great day!)

Sneaky Little Buggers, Marmosets!

I just came back with a huge steaming cup of coffee, and my mind is starting to turn over the possibilities for the day... what do do?? What to do??

We've been designing tattoos, the two of us, and whereas mine is not yet complete.. Elysia seems to have a final design set to go... perhaps we'll nip over to the tattoo parlor and see about having it done for her.. who knows?? The day is still full of possibilities!! Is there anything better than the first hours of a completely free weekend??

Thanks to Waiter over at '', who was gracious enough to put a link to this blog on his page. This has resulted a host of new readers popping by to read my nonsense. This makes Bear very happy! So, I want to say "Thanx, Waiter!" That was a very cool thing to do. Welcome to all of you who are new here. I hope you enjoy my writing and stick around! Some of you are from nearby, and some from very far away indeed! The beauty of the internet, however, is that we can all be community, regardless of where we physically are. For those of you who stop by from time to time, I would love to hear from you, either in comments, or, if you have an aversion to this, drop me an email. I am very curious to know who reads this blog, where you are from, what you do (for a living), what you do (for fun), what you think of what you are reading here, whether or not you like marmosets... you know, important stuff! So, if you can spare a moment, please, drop me a line and tell me a litte about yourselves.. It's mildly spooky to think that there are so many people reading my blog who I have no sense of whatsoever... I want to get to know you... at least to some degree. (I promise I won't try to sell you anything!)

Okay... some of you may be wondering just what the hell I'm on about with the Marmoset thing. Blandwagon left me a comment that had me literally crying with laughter. (I also have a very warped and dry sense of humor, you see...) and I have been wringing every giggle that I can out of it... Here is the comment:

Just remember to take your FULL COURSE OF ANTIBIOTICS. Half of the world's problems are caused by people deciding that they're better and stopping their medication before they're fully healed.

The other half are caused by marmosets. They're sneaky buggers.

For whatever reason, this tickled the shit out of me, and I've been traipsing around announcing that Marmosets are 'sneaky little buggers' to anyone who will listen, (or to whomsoever I can manage to run down, tackle, and pin long enough to rattle off my silly comment to...), and laughing insanely to myself!

Sneaky Little Buggers!

Now you know the sordid truth about Marmosets, Blandwagon, and myself. (How DARE you judge me!! :-) )

I'm going to have to come up with a T-Shirt design with the Marmosets. So, on second thought, perhaps I may try to sell you something after all... naturally, I would only do such a thing with Blandwagon's blessings.

Watch Out for These Marmosets... They can be sneaky little buggers!

The day is still young, but time's a wastin'!! So, I'm off in search of adventure, mischief, and Jubblies.

I really mean it about all the lurkers (or at least a healthy portion of the lurkers.. this includes any of you who happen to be marmosets, by the way..) dropping me a line. No pressure (much!), but, I honestly would like to know who you are (don't get all freaked out here... you can actually make up a screen name... I don't actually know who any of you are.. well, except for my wife, though she could be a marmoset in disguise...

Who is this, disguised as a sneaky wee marmoset??

Enough of this dribble... I'm off like a prom dress!

Slán go Fóill!!