I drove the Toyota to the grocery store just a few blocks away. I might have walked but I wanted to buy a few things. With the microwave oven and a little planning I could cook almost a full meal. Of course that was not my plan.
I found that I could store about three frozen meals in my apartment sized freezer unit. Since the motel had an ice machine just outside my door, I could use all the freezer space for frozen dinners. That ice machine as well as the lounge walk through was why I got the good rent deal. A room by the Ice machine was probably a hard rent. Some nights the damn thing rattled all night long.
So at the store I bought three frozen low calorie dinners, a bag of dinner rolls, and a roast beef submarine sandwich. Of course I loaded up on diet soda, and coffee as well. My bill was almost thirty dollars, which was about three meals in a restaurant, tip not included.
When I got home I cooked a dinner watched a bootleg copy of ‘The Blob’ then went to bed. I slept light. I always did the night before I started a morning tour. The fear of over sleeping was alway in the back of my mind. I left a call at the office for 5:30AM but I also set my clock for 5AM.
I awoke with the clock’s buzzing sound in my ear. It was probably a good thing I didn’t sleep with my weapon under the pillow.
Instead of heading to the shower, I put on the fleece running suit, the light weight parka and my ski mask and headed off to run for a half hour. I didn’t bother to explain to the night manager that I was running. She already knew that if I didn’t answer after five rings to give up then call back a half hour later.
I ran with only my box opener and a flashlight. The light made with nine LEDs and ran on three AAA batteries. It was one powerful little mutha, I thought as I lit up a little piece of the dark business area before I started to run in the empty streets. As I ran I also flashed the light, if I hear or saw anything. It was a typical morning run with nothing at all out of the ordinary. I waved as I passed the cafe on the square.
Back in my room I called the desk to tell Ada’s niece that I was alive and headed to the shower. “I tried to call your room but you must have already gone out for your run. God I wish I had that kind of discipline,” she said to me.
“Not sure that running alone in the dark isn’t more about stupidity, than anything else,” I said with a smile she probably could hear. “Well I got to go take it easy hon.”
I hadn’t stripped for my shower, but of course I did raise the sky mask making it a knit cap kind of thing. I kind of liked the androgynous look of it to be honest. That seemed to be the look I was moving toward. Let the shits guess what my sex was, while I hit them with a stick or a stun gun. I decided that I would stop in the Dollar Store in the Plaza by the interstate. I was almost positive they would have one of those caps.
I got assigned to the north part of the country no where near the Plaza. I would have to run by after work, I decided. I spent my morning taking burglary reports. At that time of the day it was business owners, who found their stores broken into when they arrived for work. There was usually a couple of those every morning.
Around noon I rode to the Northern Warren consolidated school. I didn’t plan to stop, just to ride through the parking lot. At lunch time the upper grade students often went out to lunch. I figured I would keep an eye on them to check for reckless driving. I sure as hell didn’t expect what happened.
Part of why inside the parking lot, I rolled up on the fight. The new cop cars were so cheap that they didn’t look much like a cop car at all. My lights were inside the windshield at the top and I wore the radio. The idea was to make the SUV more valuable when it had finished it’s service.
My guess was that the participants in the fight were too busy to notice me. It also seemed that the audience had its attention on the action at hand. I stopped the car in the traffic lane and walked over to the fight. When I arrived, it was more wrestling than boxing. The two girls were locked in a bear hug. I had always wanted to find a couple like that and just hit one of them with the stun gun and see what happened, but I knew I better warn them.
“Break it up ladies,” I said in a loud voice. “If you don’t you are both going to the Sheriff’s station, while I wait for your mothers.” That and a little physical handling of them ended the fight. “So what in the world has got you two playing wide world of wrestling?” I asked.
“Nothing,” they both said almost in unison.
“Okay let’s get some professionals out here to help me decide what to do with you.” I radioed the dispatcher to call the principal. He needed to either come out or send a counselor. I didn’t want to transport the girls, but I would if it came to that.
“Deputy,” the voice came from across the parking lot. “What in the world happened here?” the woman in her thirties asked. She was not nearly as well dressed, or made up as Smothers had been.
“I stumbled on to a teenage girl’s version of fight club it seems. They have invoked rule one,” I said trying to be witty. She looked dumbfounded. “Rule one of fight club, is never talk about fight club. It’s from the movie.”
“Oh,” she said. “I think we can take it from here.”
“I need their names for my report and your name as well,” I took my pencil and pad out. “Very old school,” I said.
“Give him your names,” the woman said.
I smiled as I thought how embarrassed she would be if I corrected her. She really should have known by my voice. I got the names of everyone for the report. Then I said to the woman, Just so you know who to call about this incident, should you have any questions, “It’s deputy Sylvia Porter.” I smiled at her with my best professional smile.
“Oh my god I’m so sorry,” she said. “With the hair cut and those uniforms being so unflattering, I just assumed … I am so sorry.”
“Don’t worry, it was kind of fun to see your reaction. You are the first person I have dealt with like this since the haircut.” I informed her.
“I am so sorry, but I need to get these two inside,” she said very docilely.
“I should get back on patrol. Good luck with Thelma and Louise there,” I said.
“Thanks,” she said simply and left with the two girls in tow.
I had two more hours to go on shift, but some of that was going to be taken up writing reports on the laptop assigned to the car. So I found a quiet spot along a country road and wrote the two reports I had in the open file on the computer.
I wrote the narrative to match the facts. After that chore I returned to patrol. I just drove around in circles until 2:30 PM. At that time I headed slowly back toward the county seat and the station. On the way in I had to pass what appeared to be an abandoned service station. It actually was being used as a private clubhouse. Usually those places only came to life after dark, but there wase a car and a motorcycle parked outside. I didn’t really have time to check it out, without going to overtime, but I figured I would do it anyway.
First I called dispatch to advise them I would be out of the car at that location. Just in case I don’t come home mom, I thought. I knocked on the door since it said private no admittance.
“What you want Deputy?” the roughly forty year old man in the camo outfit asked.
“Well to be honest the place doesn’t look just right, so I thought I would make sure you guys are okay,” I said.
“As you can see I’m fine,” he said.
“Yeah, I can see you are but there are two vehicles outside, so there has to be more than just you inside. Would you mind terribly if I come in to look around?” I asked.
“Actually I would mind, but my guess is that if I do refuse, you will be on my ass from now on,” he suggested,
“Looking for any excuse for a warrant,” I agreed.
“Come on in,” he said. “You look pretty cool for a cop. If I have to be harassed, I guess a bald female cop is better than some soft fat ass male deputy.”
“I’m not sure that is a compliment, but I will accept it,” I said. Once I was inside what had been the office I found that it was full of green cardboard boxes. I read the labels and found boxes of MREs as well as medical first aid gear.
“So where is the other person?” I asked.
“Melissa come in here please,” he shouted into the bay area.
“So what you got stored out there?” I asked.
“Stuff we are going to need when the collapse of this illegal government comes,” he said.
“You got any weapons out there. I ask it for two reasons. One is of course for my own safety. I would prefer I didn’t have to shoot Melissa, and two so that I knew to keep a special eye on the place. Weapons would make it a prime target for the bad guys,” I explained.
“Melissa come in with your hands in sight and empty,” the man said. To me he said, “I have a .22 varmint rifle out there nothing more.”
Melissa was about eighteen, if that. “So Melissa you okay?” I asked.
“Of course,” she replied.
Okay well let me just take a quick look in the bay area and I’ll be gone. The man nodded his agreement. As advertised it looked like a clubhouse. There were a few soft chairs but mostly it was storage. “So this is a survivors shopping club. Like QVC?” I asked.
“I guess, we band together to buy things for the coming collapse,” he said.
“Fair enough, I promise I won’t bother you again, but I will keep an eye on the place for burglars and the like.” He shook my hand and then I left. Takes all kinds, I thought. When I got to the station I had another report to write, but I did it willingly. I had worked twenty minutes over, so I could take twenty minutes off sometime the next day and not have to go through the nightmare of filling papers for the time.
Once I signed off with dispatch, I headed for the plaza. The dollar store wasn’t busy and I helped to empty it. The kind of customers who shopped there were a mixture of very fine people and a few who had a bit of a cop problem. Those left when they saw me walking into the store. I went right to the aisle with the winter clothes. I found the knit caps easily. The dollar store caps were much thinner than those at say Walmart, but that was okay. I wanted it to hide my bald head as well as to keep it warm. I had a department issued hunter’s cap with ear muffs. The thin knit cap shouldn’t be a problem. Even if it was I was pretty sure there were larger ones available.