I promised a story about almost being arrested for assault, and so here it is.
A cop in a small town is never really off-duty. Unless you are out of town. So Barney and I would frequently leave town to go to dinner, or the movies or something. Just to get away. One night we were on our way out of town when we stopped at the convenience store to get coffee and cigarettes for him. (I think he lived on coffee and cigarettes.) As we were sitting in the car, one of the townsfolk (let’s call him Asshole#1) walked up to the car, called Barney’s name, and reached into the car behind Barney’s head and slapped his head forward so hard it hit the steering wheel. The on-duty cop. who had just driven up, was a witness to this.
Barney put his coffee down, and calmly got out of the car. He then informed Asshole#1 he was under arrest for assault. And then the fight was on. As Barney was trying to cuff him, he grabbed Barney and had him from behind in a bear hug. The other cop had to contend with a buddy of the assailant who decided to get into the fight. Asshole #1, having Barney in a death-grip, (I did tell you Barney was very slight for a cop, about 5’8″ and all of 140 lbs), tried to throw him through the convenience store window. As I watched, the plate glass window was wavering back and forth like a sheet in the wind. Of course, then Asshole #2 appeared and started to engage with the on-duty cop.
Meanwhile, back in the car watching all this, and seeing a crowd gathering, I grabbed Barney’s portable radio and called out the auxilliary, something I assure you I was not authorized to do. However in a two and a half cop town, when two of the cops are in a fight, what can you do. I also changed channels and called to the State Patrol office asking for backup.
When I saw that Asshole #1 was still trying to throw Barney through the window, I got out of the car, and bit him on the arm, trying to get him to let Barney go. For my trouble, I got a face full of Mace, which the other cop was using to try to subdue Asshole #2. About that time the local State Patrol officer and some of our auxilliary cops showed up, and managed to subdue Asshole #1, and get him into the patrol car. Cops from towns as far as ten miles away showed up, and got the crowd under control. Asshole #2 was on the ground on his knees, crying and asking for water for his eyes because of the Mace. Wicked people that we are, we gladly gave it to him. Mace, like hot peppers, stings worse when it comes into contact with water.
Soon they had the second guy cuffed and in the patrol car, too. Barney got into the patrol car, with the other cop, and told me to drive our car behind him to the jail, thirty mile away in the county seat. So off we took, Of course, they were driving about 80 miles an hour on a two-lane highway, and we had several towns to go through. One of them was having their inevitable town festival, and so the streets were crowded. On the handheld I heard the local chief ask Barney if that was him in the car carrying the mail. He said yes, and Silverstar’s behind me, don’t stop her. And on we sped.
We finally got to the jail at the county seat, where of course it takes hours to process prisoners. Meanwhile, I am starving, and bored, waiting for Barney to get done. We were on our way to dinner, you know. Fortunately, I found the vending machines, and managed to stave off starvation. And thank heaven for all night diners.
A few days later, the prosecuter came by and said that the assailant had wanted to press charges of assault against me for biting him. They had dissuaded him, telling him no judge in the county would give them a warrant.
I learned a few things from the incident. The first was that the plate glass windows in convenience stores do not break easily. They are laminated for strength. But boy do they have a lot of flex. Mace stings like crazy, and it tastes bad, too. I don’t like driving 80mph through crowded little towns. And always have a book in your purse for those boring waiting periods.
One of the worst parts of the ordeal was that some townfolk didn’t believe that Asshole#1 had been involved in the assault as he was usually mild mannered. The other lesson is that alcohol and drugs will change people, something I already knew, but apparently some other folks didn’t. Sometime the nicest people are belligerent drunks or druggies. And some townsfolk, especially those of religions who proscribe alcohol, are idiots.