Jerry’s Good-bye

One of the common things between bikers and cops, yes there are a lot of those “common threads”, is both are a superstitious bunch. But then, we have out reasons.

Jerry’s Good-bye

I spent most of one year with my folks in Las Vegas. It was the year before Pop died and when I found out my wife and mother cannot occupy the same house for very long and I live.

It was a Sunday morning and I was sitting on Mom’s back lanai having some coffee when I noticed a single raven land on the top of the back fence wall.

Seeing ravens was not unusual for the area, but seeing a single raven was sort of unusual. Normally they fly in groups. But there it was, a solo raven, sitting on the wall, looking at me, looking at him.

It was probably 2 or 3 minutes when 6 or 7 more ravens landed on the wall, but separated from that first one by several feet. There was some caw cawing, or whatever sound ravens make, and the group flew off. The single raven sat there for a moment, seemed to look at me, and then he too took flight and I could see him join the group in the air.

At that moment the phone rang and my mom told me it was Julie. I answered and my wife tells me;

“Honey, Monarch Jerry was killed this morning. He was riding back to the clubhouse and slid on a metal plate on Dillingham Boulevard He hit a wire or something. They said he died at the scene. Dallas just called me.”

I took a moment, and then told her of the raven and what had just transpired. I then said, “I think that was Jerry saying Good-bye.”

A few months later I related this story to the Monarchs at their clubhouse. It got real drunk out that night.

Robert Heinlein

I first read him as a young boy. I was then influenced by him as a young man.  As an old man I now realize how brilliant he was

QUOTES FROM R.A.H.

The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed.

Never listen to newscasts. Saves wear and tear on the nervous system.

I found out a long time ago that you have to take some chances in this life. Otherwise you are just a vegetable, headed for the soup pot.

If you would know a man, observe how he treats a cat.

A committee is the only known form of life with a hundred bellies and no brain.

Correct morality can only be derived from what man is — not from what do-gooders and well-meaning aunt Nellies would like him to be.

I will accept the rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

The United States had become a place where entertainers and professional athletes were mistaken for people of importance.

Tuesday, Headline Day

Headlines, again you can’t make this up.

“My loving Dad’s new boyfriend is a real asshat.”

Shouldn’t loving be in quotes ?

 

“Pornhub has banned gun videos”

Talk about the pot calling out the kettle

 

“Editorial: Narcolepsy, or is he just tired of you?”

I do not know where to go with this one.

 

“Homeless junkie killed jumping in front of robot car carrying trans armed robber”

The most 2018 headline ever……..until the next one.

The Night The Music Died

I’ve commented on my being a radio disc jockey. You’ll find a lot of memories and a few stories from then on these pages.

The night Conway died.

On June 5, 1993 I was doing the midnight show, 12am to 6am, on KDEO AM 940 country radio. On the late night show I pretty much got to do what I wanted; I played what was requested, and what I wanted to hear.

This night was a little different, about 2:30am I got a call from another DJ, a guy I had been in the J.C.’s with, and he was working the KSSK news desk. He called to tell me Conway Twitty had died. I quickly checked the news feed and confirmed the bad news.

I started gathering CD’s, LP’s and the studio reference books. Remember no laptops, no desk tops and sure as hell no “internet”.

At 3:00am I made the announcement. The spirit of Country Music, the man with so many hits, one of the inspirations for “Bye-Bye-Birdie”, was gone. A man once called “the best friend a song ever had”.

I then announced the rest of my show would be dedicated to the great Twitty. I said the rest of the show would Conway Twitty and nothing else and I’d take callers with memories and dedications.

Using the books in the station, lists of #1 hits, and such, I built a 3 hour “tribute” show, on the fly.

About 5:00 am or so the program manager, Toby (The Texas Lady), called me and said. “Jim, please tell me you’ve been recording this”

I had to admit I was not; I was making it as I went and hadn’t even thought of recording it. Her comment was something to the effect of my on the fly was better than most DJ’s scripted. I took that as a compliment.

Later that day, another DJ tried to do the same show, but it didn’t get much attention. It just didn’t work.

However later that year at the MTV awards, when they spoke of the entertainers that had passed that year, they spoke of Twitty and how he had influenced so many early Rock and Rollers, how he had so many cross over hits, and how his fans loved him.

They also spoke of the late night disc jockey, all the way over in Hawaii that did a 3 hour show dedicated to Twitty as soon as he had heard of his passing.

Gotta smile, Storyteller, mentioned at the MTV awards. Wow, just wow.

Lessons From Harley

Harley

Harley was my first Siberian Huskey. I got her from a military family that had too many dogs for base housing and she was the one chosen to go. They were the ones that named her “Harley” even through the husband didn’t ride. Later, the couple split up and the wife, Kimber became a close friend of my wife and I.

Harley loved the “Bark Park”. Whenever we took her there she seemed to appoint herself as the official gate greeter. Whenever a new dog came to the gate, she had to go and meet them. No matter how many dogs were already there, she would rush to the gate and be the first to “greet” the newcomer.

Most of the time at the park, she would spend it running, God I loved to watch that animal run. Julie often said she looked like a big bunny rabbit hoping. But when she really turned on the speed, it was beauty in motion. She could cover ground at an incredible rate. There was sheer joy on her face. God I loved to watch her run.

Her kennel was in the front yard, right outside our bedroom window. There was a slanted tree where she could put her front paws and look into the bedroom window. Sometimes it looked like she was in a tree, so I called her my “Hawaiian tree wolf”.

She’d wake me up in the mornings and woof at the window until I’d get up and we went for our morning walk.

Taking Harley to Obedience School was an education for both of us. Mostly me learning a great deal of patience. At the time I didn’t know if it was a Husky thing or not, but the only way to get her to follow commands was to convince her it was her idea. With Harley, there were good days and bad days.

I cannot express how full of pride my heart would get when I would say “heel” and there she was, right by my left leg, those huge brown eyes looking up at me.  She would be in the perfect spot, and keeping perfect pace. I would look at that beautiful face and she would find something on the ground she just had to smell and so she would. So much for the perfect position. But those brief moments made it worth every day we spent together in those classes.

I would work with her every morning on our early walks’ she would just be perfect. We’d get to class and she’d be a handful.

She had “sit” and “heel” down perfect. The “down” was occasionally right, but the concept of “stay” was completely out of her mind set. She could sit for a few moments, not minutes, and as soon as she heard her name it was “jump on Daddy” time. So she would.

Some people will tell you that animals don’t make friends out of their species, and they continue believing this despite all the animal friend videos all over you-tube.

Harley’s other specie friend was a little gray field mouse that lived under the house. I watched her and that mouse just sitting and looking at each other, and I’d seen Harley give out a little soft woof now and then. I even swear I saw them playing peek-a-boo along the fence.

Huskies are known to be food thieves, they’ll eat until they throw up, and then eat some more. So it was a huge surprise when I saw the mouse eating kibble out of her bowl, and she just sat or laid there watching.

Harley had a pet mouse.

The night Harley died in my arms is so painful it still hurts today. I was holding her in my arms when I literally felt the last breath of life leave her body. I was a wreck for a long time.

Finally, after 3 or 4 days I sat down inside her kennel. Don’t know why, just felt like sitting there. I looked into her house, and there, sitting on the edge of the empty food bowl, was Harley’s mouse.

I stood slowly, walked over to the food bin, took out a handful of kibble, and walked back to the entry of her house.

The mouse had moved back a couple of feet but didn’t run away. I slowly poured the food from my hand into the bowl, and went back to where I had been sitting.

The mouse waited a little while, then slowly made its way over to the bowl. Sitting on the edge, the mouse looked at me, the empty dog house, and the food in the bowl.

As the mouse started to nibble at the dry dog food, seemingly looking up at me every other mouthful, all I could think of was to say; “I miss her too.” And I walked back into the house with tears in my eyes.

Harley’s mouse finished its meal and ran off.

We moved to another home.

I’m glad I put that food in the bowl. A last gift from Harley, the dog that gave me so much.

I Ain’t That Hard To Find

My Line; “I ain’t that hard to find”. I’ve been using for a long time. I use it to end conversations, start conversations, or just end situations. Here’s how it started.

Fort Street Mall

In the 70’s everyone who’d ever been in trouble jumped onto big “kids at risk” gig. Most of them were trying to con their parole officer (p.o.), or their attorney before sentencing or just trying to scam the state out of funding.

Usually their help would consist of giving the kids a bunch of “don’t do what I did” speeches, and then cashing the state funding check.

The real good one’s would get a church or other establishment to donate/lend them a room, garage, or park area and do then same thing.

About the only time these “counselors” would end up getting recognition for their efforts was when they were re-arrested for getting too helpful with some of their underage “at risk” charges.

There was one such location in the basement of a small store on Fort Street Mall. The store itself was run by former world class body builder Rex Revelle, who had loaned the basement to an “at risk” program being run by an ex-con who touted it as a place the kids could go hang out, be off the streets, after school.

Somehow he managed to get a couple of pool tables, coin operated of course, and some ping pong tables that you could play at, if you had a paddle and ball. Otherwise it was couches, conversation, and a hangout for runaways.

Which is how the cops got involved.

It was a Tuesday and we had just started the 3rd watch shift, 2:30 pm. To 11 pm.

The time and day are important as school was still in session and there shouldn’t have been anyone in the lower room since they supposed to be in school.

The original call was from a mother that had seen her teenage runaway going down the unmarked stairs. She had called dispatch at 2:20 pm. That was right when the watches changed, and this wasn’t a life and death circumstance, so nobody was dispatched until we signed on. Area sergeants usually got on the road a little later. A classic formula for a problem to happen.

It was just short of 3 pm when I got the runaway location call. I was first on the road; there would be 2 more “servi-bike” officers, a blue and white vehicle, and a sergeant supervisor when we were fully staffed.

Our regular sergeant was off and the relief sergeant was well known for taking his time getting on the road.

I took the call and stopped fronting Revelle’s storefront where I met the reporting mother. I took her information, promised I’d check it out and called it in. It started going downhill from there. Out of the store walks an off-duty officer who immediately decided since I’m by myself  he’s going to assist me. A decision I did not agree with and told him it was okay, only a runaway kid.

This guy was normally in a plain clothes unit, had several years less experience than I had, and in my opinion was a drunk. And he was drunk then.

Mostly he was an accomplished ass kisser and a master at covering his butt and letting someone else take the blame when things went wrong. He was so good, he usually managed to convince himself it was always someone else’s fault and he didn’t do anything wrong. Today, he’d be called a functional alcoholic.

So there I was, looking for a teenage runaway, at the start of the watch, alone except for drunken off duty plainclothes officer, and no sector sergeant around. And it was going to get worse.

I went down the stairs first. As I reached the middle landing I noticed there was a mirrored window facing the stairway.  Except for the mirrored exterior it resembled a teller’s window, with the big round hole in the center and an oblong opening at the bottom. But tellers windows weren’t mirrored to the extent you can’t see inside and there appeared to be some kind of plug filling the center hole and the bottom tray was dark.

To the left of the window was a good sized door that didn’t have an exterior handle, only a key-way. It could only be opened from the inside. Together these would allow the people inside to control who came in or out of the room. I figured if there was a backdoor, it was probably set up the same. This runaway had picked his location with security in mind. Or the guy running it wanted to control who came into his “counseling” room.

I had just reached the last couple of steps, and my drunk “back-up” was halfway down when the whole thing went to hell.

The first indication was the sound of a rifle bolt being “cocked”. It’s a distinctive sound made me look up at the mirrored window in time to see light from the center opening blocked out by the muzzle and flash cone of a rifle coming out of the hole. It was pointed at me.

I dove headfirst off the stairs trying to get to the corner of the landing which would put me below and a little, very little, behind the muzzle.

Diving headfirst, in full uniform, from 3 steps up, is not something you practice much. Add the muzzle of a gun and trying to reach a specific spot on the floor that that muzzle couldn’t cover, and it’s math that basically says, “You’re screwed.”

I barely managed the required tuck and roll and literally crashed into the corner I was aiming for as I tried to squirm around and keep an eye on the rifle muzzle. As I did this I became aware my back-up was frozen in place, both hands empty, and the rifle was aimed directly at him. Then I became aware I was already clutching my revolver, not having any memory of even reaching for it, let alone making the draw. I must have drawn it in mid-air, or maybe after I hit the ground, whatever, it was in my hand and pointing at the window.

Whoever was behind the window, and the rifle, called out to the plainclothes, and called him by name.

Now let me total this; I’m on a runaway juvenile call, my area partners have not signed on yet, my sector sergeant is nowhere around, my only back-up is a drunk off-duty officer, there is a person pointing a rifle at both of us, and he knows the other cop. I’m on the floor in the corner trying to stay out of the muzzle range of the rifle, after having thrown myself headfirst onto the concrete floor from the stairway. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, I didn’t have a freaking radio. Yep, that about covers it.

I watch as my buddy held his hands out in front of him and started to back up the stairs. I hoped he would have enough sense to call dispatch when he got all the way up. Having a large caliber rifle pointed at you will make you sober, quick.

Well, it turned out he didn’t have to. Dispatch had already sent back up and they were arriving as he backed out of the stairway.

He told them what had happened, who the guy inside was, and what had happened. Then at the advice of the other officers he took off because, well whatever the reason, he took off. He had never told me he knew this guy.

The whole thing was eventually settled, in about an hour and a half. I was on the floor for about 20 minutes when they started talking to the gunman by telephone and he told them to get me out of there. I got out of there.

Nobody got shot or otherwise hurt, except for my bruises. The rifle, stolen of course, was recovered, and the ex-con was violated and returned to prison. Nobody was ever charged with pointing the rifle at me since I couldn’t say who had been holding it and nobody inside would say they saw him with it. At least nobody we ever found.

The real end of this story bears out my description of the other cop. A few years later we were both at the same function, off duty. He was standing by some other off duty officers. He was drunk, I wasn’t.

As soon as he saw me he launched into the “whole” story for the benefit of the other officers.

By the time he got done telling it; he had saved my life by talking the ex-con into not shooting me, I had charged the front door with my gun in hand and that was why the guy had grabbed the rifle to protect “his kids”, I had almost gotten him killed by drawing my gun and then taking a cowardly dive to the floor leaving him exposed while I stayed on the floor; yes he actually said “cowardly”. He wrapped this all up by saying he should kick my ass right here, right now for what I had done.

His buddies all agreed he should kick my ass but it would break up the party and maybe he should wait until next time. He agreed, rather quickly, and then warned me the next time he saw me that’s just what would happen.

This may be the first time I ever used one of my favorite lines. I looked this human roach in the eye and told him loudly enough for all to hear; “Hey. I ain’t that hard to find.”

And I walked away.

That was the last time I ever saw him, anywhere. Maybe I was hard to find after all.

A PRINCESS

In police work they were call “status offenders”. These are juvenile “crimes”, things that would not be a crime for an adult. That didn’t make them any easier to handle.

A PRINCESS

Status offenses are mostly “persons in need of supervision” or an “incorrigible juvenile”. An incorrigible juvenile is one that can no longer be controlled by the parents or guardians. The juvenile is taken into custody, booked, and taken to the detention facility until the Family Court can hold a hearing and make a determination. Usually the kid is sent to a foster home; sometimes the kid is sent back home, if the parent wants the child back.

So the kid gets the short end of the stick. Most of the time the kid is getting what he deserves, but not always.

I was working with my first FTO (field training officer) when we got the call for an “incorrigible juvenile, a female”. So dispatch sent us as we were the nearest 2 man unit and you always want 2 officers when having anything to do with females.

It wasn’t a high rent area, I’d seen much worse. Mostly studio and 1 bedroom apartments, semi-furnished, no pool, single parking, and you pay the electricity and telephone.

The grounds were the usual collection of weeds, beer cans, and cars that hadn’t been driven in months. But inside the apartment it was a different story. It was as clean and neat as it could be. No dirty dishes, no roaches on the walls, and no dirty laundry everywhere, just clean.

So was the “incorrigible” juvenile. She was 11 and very quiet. Like the apartment, she was clean. Quiet and clean. That was more than you could say for her mother.

It was 4:30 pm and “mom” couldn’t stand without weaving. “Mom” just couldn’t tell us enough about how she couldn’t control the “little bitch” anymore. How she wouldn’t listen or obey anymore.

She went on and on for a good 15 minutes without anyone else saying anything. When she did stop to take a breath, and a drink, my FTO asked what she wanted us to do with the child.

“Take her away. Lock her up in jail. I don’t care. Just get her out of my sight.”

Small tears began to make their way from the corner of the little girl’s eyes down her cheeks. A small whimper escaped, and tore at me.

But in this city, at that time, the adult is always right.

So we listened to “mom” go on and on. We took all the right information and made the right notes while the little “incorrigible” packed a small bag. I remember that bag, it was pink, plastic, and had pictures of “Cinderella” on the sides. As she and I walked out to the car, she hugged it to her chest with both arms. The tears were falling freely now.

As we walked, I felt lousy. I was suddenly the guy in the black hat, the evil prince.

As I opened the car door and the little girl slid in, a neighbor came out. A large woman in a house dress you could use to scare a vacuum cleaner salesman. When she spoke, it was with a heavy German accent.

“You are takin’ the little girl? Goot, is about time. That woman in there is no damn goot. Drunk always and bringing home strange men. The other night she did that and  little girl sat on the porch almost all night.” She paused and took a deep breath. “And the old woman upstairs, you know the crippled one?” I didn’t but she went on anyway. “That little girl always is helping her. Cleaning and going to the store for her”.

She walked to the patrol car window.

“You will be alright sweetheart. These policemen are friends for you”. The little girl gave a weak but brave smile as the woman reached through the open door and gave her a hug.

As I got into the car next to her, I looked out and saw “mom” standing in the doorway, drink in hand. She hadn’t hugged her daughter.

My FTO slid in behind the wheel, started the car and we began to pull away. I glanced at the small figure next to me, huddled against the far door. On the seat between us was the small plastic bag with pictures of Cinderella on the sides. The child looked at me and smiled. It wasn’t forced or brave, it was the smile for someone you hoped will be your friend.

I didn’t feel like the evil prince. With that smile, like the kiss of a princess changes the enchanted toad, she had turned me into Prince Charming.