I don’t think I posted this one at the Rysher site until about a year after I started doing stories. Up until this story, I had carefully stayed away from mentioning violence in my stories, because I don’t think violence and amusement really go together well. And the sole purpose of my little tales is to amuse people.
Anyhoo, I posted this one, and to my utter surprise it wound up being a favorite.
When I drifted over to TFL, I edited this story to remove the first paragraph, but the story didn’t flow as well, so I wound up putting the first paragraph back in. It still seems to be a favorite, so I guess I did it all right.
In late 1995, a critter in our town twisted off and hit his ladyfriend in the head a couple of times with an axe. Not one to leave a job half-done, he dragged her out to the lake, wired her up to a cinderblock and shoved her off into the water.
Wonder of wonders, she survived. Even bigger wonder, she came into town and filed charges on her boyfriend.
I had been out on a date, and wandered back into town about the time that the search was really getting wound up. First thing in the door of the office and the Sheriff hits me with three conflicting orders on where to go (one of those places would require asbestos underoos). Anyhoo, I’m trying to find my spare set of armour and a call comes in: one of our local merchants has spotted the critter climbing in a back window of an abandoned building used for storage.
The Sheriff grabs me and a luckless Highway Patrol Trooper who had come in for a coffee refill and off we go.
The other two deputies were hell-and-gone on the other side of the county, so it was just the three of us.
For those of you who don’t know how to search a large building with only three people, it’s really quite simple: two officers place themselves on opposite outside corners of the building so that they can see all four sides (to catch the critter trying to escape) and one officer goes inside.
Three guesses who got to go inside, and the first two don’t count.
Yep. Let me tell you, that place was darker than the Earl of Hells waistcoat and stacked floor-to-ceiling with shelves. On those shelves was the collected knick-knacks of 20 years of Main Street stores. And not a lightbulb anywhere.
There I was, with a snubbie .357, a five-cell Maglight and a Handi-Talkie, and me only having two hands. About the fourth time I tried to answer the Sheriff’s: “Have you got him yet!?” while trying to cover a suspicious patch of darkness and juggle the Mag-Lite, I stopped in the feeble light of the moon shining down through a hole in the ceiling.
I’m busily trying to figure out which I needed more: the Mag-lite or the Handi-talkie, when the SOB jumps me. I’m here to tell you, folks, things went rodeo from there. He lunged out of a shadow, trying to grab for my throat, and me–reacting totally instinctively–I whack him a good one across the forehead with the Maglight.
Bulb, batteries and assorted electronic parts arc gracefully into the darkness. Critter takes one step back and jumps at me again.
Things are not looking good in Dogville.
I’ve got the snubbie back with my right hand, trying to keep it away from this goblin, and I’m trying to stiff-arm him away with my left when I step onto what was later found to be a D-cell battery from my Maglight.
Down I go. And the alleged axe-murderer lands on top of me. Hoo boy.The gloves really come off then. We roll on the cold cement, I’m hitting him in the head with the butt of my revolver, elbow smashes to the jaw and brachial plexus, knee strikes–the whole enchilada. And he keeps grabbing at my throat.
Finally, we roll into a patch of moonlight–and the bastard has a knife!
Folks, I hate knives. No, I really hate knives. He’s on top of me, and he has to weigh three-hundred pounds, and that damn knife is coming down in slow motion……about the same time that the barrel of my snubbie rams up under his chin and I squeeze off two rounds.
Blowing the electronic brains and assorted stuffing of the Animatronic Life-Like Talking Santa Claus belonging to the local Thriftway halfway to Dodge City.
You don’t want to know what a couple of .357 rounds will do to hydraulics.
There I was. Staring at the robotic Kris Kringle whom I had assaulted, aggravated assaulted and finally brutally murdered, when the Sheriff and the trooper come crashing through the place looking for me.
The Sheriff looked at me and the fallen Jolly Elf and then began to stare fixedly at the ceiling, while tugging his moustache.
Gary (the trooper), holsters his SIG, gets out his pipe, looks around the crime scene, picks up a piece of flaming hat trim and uses it to light his pipe.
Gary: (puffing pipe into life) “Obviously an assault candy cane. Bet it ain’t registered.”
Sheriff: “Dangerous things, assault canes.”
Gary: “Obviously, a good shoot.” Puff, puff.
Sheriff: “Don’t worry boy. I’ll call the Marshals first thing in the morning.
Me: “Duh, puff-pant, huh?”
Sheriff: “Boy, there’s gonna be several million kids after your hide come Christmas. Witness Protection Program is your only chance.”
Smart ass. That was the only time I have ever used the Universal Peace Gesture to my fellow LEOs.
And the critter was caught in New Mexico an hour later.