Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Beeper Gag

Time for a few laughs as I think some of my readers might need to laugh a bit today.

I told you all about my terminally flatulent partner and in spite of his constant ass-busting, he was a great partner and fantastic cop. I was glad to have him as my partner. We worked so good together it was almost like we could read eachother's minds sometime.

But we were dangerous together...

Very dangerous.

Not in the way one would think though, not like two early-twenty somethings with guns... We were constant practical jokers. We loved getting laughs out of the other guys on our squad. Looking back on it it's a wonder we got any real police work done... It wasn't "Let's stop crime" when we got in the patrol car at the beginning of our shift, it was "Who can we fuck with tonight?"

So we would spend half our shift between handling jobs fucking with the others in the squad. One night we were coming back from central lockup after dropping off some prisoners where we saw a fellow officer's car parked at a Dunkin' Donuts (no cop-donut jokes, I've heard them all and to be frank, they're not that funny after about five million times...) and he and I had an epiphany. It was a gag so simple as to be genius.

"Hey, isn't that Harry getting lunch?"


The plan came together rapidly as I dropped my partner off and drove the wagon around the corner.

I have to set this up a little now. "Harry" was another cop on our squad. We called him Dirty Harry, not for his resemblance to the famous movie character, but his language. "Fuck" was his most commonly used word in his vocabulary. He would use it anywhere at any time. In front of school kids, nuns, rabbis, priests, judges... And he wouldn't change. I use it a lot, but nowhere near as much as Harry did. I know when and where to turn it off, but that little switch was missing in Harry's brain. He was also nosy as hell, and would go through your shit right in from of you. I really didn't think he knew he was doing it, but that little habit was useful in our plot. He was also paranoid, seeing black helicopters everywhere, that sort of paranoia. And lastly he was married, but not to his first wife. His current spouse and himself met and began dating while they were still married to other people...

So that should tell you in a nutshell his mental state... Ripe for plucking.

My partner walks into the store and sits down next to Harry and orders up a cup of coffee while I go across the street to a phone booth. (This was the early 90's when nobody had cell phones yet)

"Hey Harry, how's it going?"

"Yo Jim, what's up?"

"Nothing much. Had a great night the other night."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah, I met up with this chick at the Acme, and she was an animal..." (Harry's wife worked at the Acme)


Bait it offered...

"Yeah, oh man! She couldn't get enough! She wanted it over an over, then had me call a few of my friends over... She wanted to pull the train!"

Hook set...

"No shit, a real fuckslut, huh?"

"You aint kiddin' man. God, I was wore out for three days."

"How many buds you have over?"

"There was ten of us... Got she tore up my apartment!"

Time to reel in the sucker...

"But man, I made a mistake and gave her my pager number... Now she keeps paging me wanting me to bring more friends next time!"

At this point Harry is almost salvating... My partner rearranged his gunbelt and takes his pager off, laying it on the counter withing easy reach of Harry's greasy fingers... I can see from my vantage point across the street the 'go' sign. The eight-point "Bus Driver Hat" came off, so I drop a dime and dial the pager number... When cued I enter the number...

Back inside the store, the pager goes off...

"Ah, shit! There she is again! This is about the twentieth time she's paged tonight!"

And Harry does what we just knew he would do. He picks up the pager and looks at the display number...

Harry's face turns a lovely shade of magenta and starts to shake... He looks at my partner...

"That's my fucking home fucking phone number! What the fuck is MY HOME FUCKING PHONE NUMBER DOING IN YOUR FUCKING BEEPER?"

I won't go into the whole diatribe, but it's safe to say it was very colorful... And LOUD. I could hear him screaming from across the street, through the plate-glass windows and traffic on the boulevard... Finally Harry needed to be calmed down when he unstrapped his holster and the Korean owner came running out screaming "You fluckin cops are all clazy!" It was time to de-escalate things... If Harry didn't shoot both of us, he most probably would have had a massive stroke soon if we didn't chill out.

"Harry, Harry... Calm down!"

"Calm down! I'll fucking kill you you fucking little jit!"

"Harry, Gotcha!"

"What do you mean 'gotcha'?"

"Where's Tom?"


My partner pointed through the window at me doubled over, laughing so hard I'm crying and still holding the receiver to the payphone...

"You motherfuckers! I'll fucking get you back for this you little fucks!"

Ah, the beeper gag. Looking back on it now, knowing Harry's unstable mental condition we're both lucky he didn't drill us right there on the spot... But at that point of our lives we were used to putting it on the line everyday anyway, what was one more risk, especially for a laugh?

Besides, it was funnier than hell. My partner said he'd never forget the look on Harry's face when he saw his home number in his pager... He said he'd take that image to the grave it was so precious.

Hindsight being 20/20 I realise now it was wrong. But hell, you put two 20-something military veterans in a car for up to twelve hours a day, they tend to get a little goofy.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden


Kev said...

ROTFLSHIAWM (internet lingo for "Rolling on the floor laughing so hard I almost wet myself")

Wrong is when you do that to Reverend Bob. When you do that to a guy like Harry (so long as you calm him back down before shots are fired), that is just outright funny.

This was a great thing to see first thing in the morning. I'm going to be walking around with a stupid grin on my face all day.

Ranger Tom said...

Kev, if Reverend Bob was like Harry, I'd do it to him too... Glad you laughed, true story too, I've been holding that one back.

Bev said...

Very funny!

Becky said...

You're lucky the man didn't have a coronary on the spot! Or burst a blood vessel at the least. I'm thinking mental agitation was the least of your worries!

Pretty funny, though. Gotta remember the pager gag. Lots of pagers in a newsroom!

Ranger Tom said...

Bev: Couldn't resist...

Becky: Your brother would probably get a kick out of that one too...