Street crime short stories #2 U.S. Copyright # 1-4992347701
I found myself back on patrol working graveyard shift in west Shreveport. I was assigned to ride Mooretown and Queensborough on this cold and wet winter night. The temperature was in the lower 40’s with a steady mix of rain and sleet. As a rookie in training, I rode with D.E. Stevens in Cedar Grove. I learned so much from this great cop. One thing that stuck with me throughout my career was a simple way to patrol. Regardless of the weather, he taught me to always drive with both the driver and passenger windows cracked an inch or two. The reason became clear to me many times. With the windows tightly rolled up, A.C. or heater blasting, the good times radio playing and the police radio squawking, it was almost impossible to hear gun shots, women screaming, children crying, tires squealing and window glass breaking.
It must have been about 3:00 A.M. as I drove south on Roberts Street from Hollywood. The slick black ribbon of the two lane residential street glistened with rain and sleet. I was thankful the ice was melting. All I wanted to do was survive another night on the streets and go home to the warmth of my bed. I certainly did not want to work a bunch of fender benders during the predawn commute.
I had modified D.E.’s teachings to suit myself. At times I just stopped in the middle of an intersection, killed my engine, turned my talkie volume down and stepped into the street to listen. The rain and sleet was peaceful. It had a somewhat smothering effect on sounds not unlike snow fall. I could not see or hear a single car on the streets. Steam rose in the air from rooftop vents of the small working class homes. I stood at the corner of Roberts and Powell as the ice crystals drifted across the bright beams of my unit’s head lamps.
I stood silently for a few minutes taking in this peaceful setting. In the distance somewhere south of my location, I heard a large group of dogs frantically barking. I eased back in my unit and placed it in gear. All I could hear was the soft swishing sounds of my tires sucking up the water on the street as I traveled slowly along listening.
I pulled to a stop at the intersection of Joe Louis Street and stepped from my unit. I realized the dog pack was still south of me but I was getting closer. Back in the unit I continued to track the dogs. When I came to the next street, Booker T. Street, I saw movement over my right front fender about 100 feet away. I turned west (right) and focused on the houses to my left.
I switched on my large spot light and aimed it into the front yards as I crept along. Suddenly I saw them. A pack of 15 or so dogs of all makes and models was gathered in a tight circle around something. I zeroed my spot light in closer. The illumination revealed a medium size Calico cat trapped in the center of this vicious circle. The dogs snapped their teeth and lunged towards the cat. Somehow the little cat was able to keep the pack at bay. I looked closer and saw a sight I will never forget. The cat had been digging for food in a trash can. She had inserted her head into an empty tin can of Salmon. As the cat attempted to reach the bottom of the can with her tongue, the can lodged on her head. The lid of the can was bent open in a normal fashion. The paper label was clawed away. With the shiny can stuck on the head of the cat and the pack of dogs about to attack causing instant death, I launched into action! I had a thick pair of black leather motorcycle gloves that covered my forearms. I slipped them on and went to the rescue. I yelled and kicked at the angry pack of dogs but the cat trotted away so fast I was not able to grab her. I must confess, I was a little hesitant to grab her. Finally the cat worked its way out to the street near my late model Ford Crown Vic. I can still hear the little ding made by the cat as it bumped blindly into the left rear hubcap of my unit. I quickly reached down and grabbed her by the scruff of her neck. I lifted her and held her as far as my arm would stretch.
The pack of dogs rushed around me. A couple reared up on my legs while others jumped in the air trying to get the cat. I yelled and kicked at the dogs before they backed a few feet away.
I thought, now what? What shall I do with this thing? I did not want her in my car or trunk. I looked around for a neighbor who was awake, perhaps the owner. Not a soul was in sight. Moments later I finalized my action plan. I saw an old giant oak tree in the same front yard. I kicked my way to the tree. When I was beside it, I pulled the can from the cat’s head. I had her aimed at the trunk and instantly she jumped from my grasp and buried her claws into the bark. She quickly scurried up the trunk to the first limb about eight feet above the ground.
The dogs swarmed around the base of the tree jumping and howling at the smirking little feline. I pulled off my gloves and entered the warm comfort of my police unit. I took a final glance at the scene as I drove away.
I was glad to get off duty and go home to my warm bed covered with homemade quilts. As I snuggled in and reflected on my night of fighting crime and saving lives, I smiled and drifted away.