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The tragic death of Santa Claus

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.



Perkiness has its place

I wound up going to see the doctor this afternoon. Turns out that Mother Nature gifted me with full-blown bronchitis for my birthday.


Doc wished me, “Happy Birthday” then drove the dagger home by commenting that given my age, instead of just giving me some pills; she was going to give me some pills AND a shot.

Folks, if your medical professional attempts to approach you with a syringe full of something called “Rochephrin” — shoot them. Immediately.

It was a very large needle. This is because the gelatin-like medicine inside had been mixed with a like amount of novocaine. When asked, the nurse perkily replied that the novocaine was necessary because the injection would hurt too bad without it.

This is what us carefully-trained law enforcement investigative types call, “A Clue”.

And, of course, due to the mass amount of … stuff … inside the needle, the injection site will not, I say again, will not, be in your arm.

A side note? Perkiness has it’s place. That place is not when I’m bent over an exam table with my jeans and unmentionables around my knees.

And the phrase “Okay, big burn” should never, NEVER, be uttered in a perky tone of voice.

Birthdays are really starting to suck.


The one that started them all.

This is the original LawDog File. I wrote it in the late ’90’s on the now-defunct Rysher forums to cheer up a friend on that forum.

After Rysher went Paws Up, I moved on to Rich Lucibella’s The Firing Line. TFL was accused of having no sense of humor, so I posted this story. Seemed to work okay.


In late 1994, we had a Lady who developed a stalker problem. We busted the stalker, and got a Protective Order for the Lady. It worked for a couple of days, then she reported that the critter was sneaking into her garage and moving stuff around.

The Sheriff went ballistic and decided that we’d ambush the critter and send him off for a long time. Guess who got volunteered for the ambusher duty?


Now, this Lady lived at the top of hill just outside the Southwest city limit, in a big old two-story house with an apricot orchard out back, and shrubbery everywhere.

I show up that evening, check in with the Lady and set up an ambush. The driveway led from the road up to the garage and was bordered on both sides by a pyracantha hedge.

I settled down under a tree, and lined up on a gap in the hedge near the house. My plan was to wait until the critter was well up to the house, before dashing through the hedge and arresting him.I’m bellied down under the tree and I wait. And wait. And wait.

Along about 1AM, an armadillo wanders up from the orchard behind the house where he’s been feeding on fermenting apricots all night, and bounces off my foot.

I hear the question now: How did I know it was a ‘he’ armadillo? Simple kids. The drunken little sod promptly, and aggressively, fell in love with my left boot.


He’d sidle up to my boot, murmuring, “What’s your sign, baby?” in armadillo-ese, and I’d shove him away, whereupon he’d sleeze back in, crooning armadillo love songs.

And so the evening went. I’d kick him across the lawn, and he’d hiccup and oil his way back. About two hours later, I have had it. I’m just about to stand up and drop kick the Armoured Menace into the next State, when I hear the crunch of tippy-toed feet coming up the gravel driveway.I freeze, locking in on that gap in the hedge (the armadillo took the opportunity to sneak in a grope. Chauvinistic bastard), and I see a shadow move in front of the gap. I take off like a shot–to find out that some commie pinko liberal moved the gap in the hedge.

I also found out that ‘Pyracantha’ is a Latin word that means, “Deadly Demon Vampire Bush from Hell.” I don’t know who screamed louder: the armadillo, when his lady love disappeared; the critter, when I snagged a good handful of his shirt; or me, when I crashed into a brisket-high wall of thorns.

The Lady of the house hears the triplicate scream, decides that the unthinkable has happened, dials 911 and screams, “That Deputy is getting killed!”


Meanwhile, I’m half bent over the thornbush, trying to hold on to a panicked critter with my right hand, and a walkie-talkie with my left hand. We struggle, and I end up halfway over the hedge, upside down, and I look down the road and all I see are lights. Red lights, blue lights, yellow lights, white lights, flashing lights, strobe lights, wig-wags–you name it. All coming up this road.

About that time, the critter twists loose and hot-foots it down the road leaving me with a shirt.

I get on the walkie-talkie, wait for a pause in the traffic from the SO, DPS, EMS, and game warden all demanding to know what has happened to me, and say, “I’m all right. Subject is a white male, no shirt, Northbound on foot.”

I suppose, in retrospect, I may have sounded a little … emotional … on the radio.
Apparently the Deputies, firemen, EMT’s, park rangers, security guards, DPS troopers and LEO’s from all eight surrounding counties and towns heard my voice and thought: the ‘Dog sounds panicked. The ‘Dog don’t ever panic. Therfore the ‘Dog has obviously been shot/stabbed/gutted/burned/run over/abused/whathaveyou and is, no doubt, in immediate danger of expiring.


Anyone who wasn’t coming before, is now. The critter is spotted halfway down the road and becomes the subject of a multi-jurisdictional pigpile.

There I am, upside down and helpless in the grip of this fiendish hedge. And what do my friends, my brothers, my comrades-in-arms do, my drinking buddies do to help me in my time of need?”Hey! Who’s got a video camera?! We have GOT to get video of this!”Took them thirty minutes to get me loose from that plant. I never did see that armadillo again. Good thing, too.