Those of you that know me know that I have an odd sense of humor. However, I do find great joy in practical jokes, unless they are done on me. In law enforcement, like any job there is a certain amount of competitiveness in everything we do. We are measured by our stats, i.e. how many felony arrests, how many calls taken and stuff like that. Well of course it’s fun to be the leader in competition. So when the competition turns to practical jokes, the ultra competitive nature of cops tends to get things out of control.
I will not incriminate myself or others on any disgusting practical jokes but I will share a few. What caused me to write about this was an incident that occurred on Saturday night, but I will get into that a bit later. I think one of the best ones that happened to me was at Banner Desert Hospital. Working late swings, by the time we can break for lunch most decent places to eat are closed. So we often eat at the hospital, the food is good and you can see them make it so you know you’re not getting an extra portion of spit. We all park along the side of the emergency lane that ambulances and other emergency vehicles pull in. It is pretty common to see three or more cars at the hospital, not because we are all eating because there some officers working on a call that takes them to the hospital to follow up.
One night I walk out after eating I walked out and saw that my car had been moved. I reached down to the key holder on my belt and found that I still had two keys. Not only was my car moved, but it is now facing the wrong way, and parked 6 inches from another patrol car driver’s door to driver’s door. So there is a line of patrol cars parked nose to tail along the fence, then mine in the middle parked the wrong way. I look around to see if I can find any snickering cops. I am totally puzzled as to how anyone could have got my key from me. So I crawl over the from the passenger seat, over the center consul filled with buttons, and switches, modems and all kinds of electrical stuff. It was no easy feat with my 32 pounds of gear on and my vest feels like a turtle shell. So I looked over and saw that the helicopter flight crew was watching me climb in and chuckling, it must have looked like a hippo trying to squeeze into a VW bug. So I finally slide into place and look over to the flight crew and give them “What” tough guy nods like “What are you looking at”. All three of them turned away so I could drive away in dignity.
I found out the perpetrator of the car parking thing was my buddy Brandon. He heard me check off on the radio and got the spare key while he was at the station at lunch and moved it while I was inside eating. So the next night I was riding with my buddy Jake as a two man unit. We heard Brandon check off on the radio at a local park. So we head that way to see if he gets into anything good. As we arrive we see him trolling through the center of the park with his alley lights, takedown and spot light on. So Jake drives up the curb and sneaks our way over to him with our lights off until we get right behind him. I blast the big horn (like a fire truck horn) and flip on all the over head lights at once. Brandon later told me he about pooped. He was not expecting it. So we played spot light tag for a few seconds and went our way.
Speaking of lights, our patrol cars have what we call alley lights. They are essentially a head light mounted to the side of the light bar. It shoots lots of bright light to the side and is very nice when cruising the alleys behind business at night. It is also very fun to ask someone if you have left something on the roof and when they look up, hit the light. LOL, I never get tired of that one. So one day I was ridding two man with by buddy Steve and we were on our way to a violent subject freaking out at the ER at Banner Desert. Well as we get to the intersection my buddy Chris pulls up alongside. He has a sneaky grin because he is poaching our call so he can have fun tackling a violent crazy person. So as he looks over at us. I hit the alley light on his side and he squints and turns away from the pain of the bright light. Steve is laughing so hard he can barely drive as we pull away from the green light. Chris is still seeing green spots so he can’t tell the light is green so we get there first. All three of us are laughing very hard as we run into the ER, one of the nurses says, well you’re not going to be any good if you’re all laughing. Good times.
So Saturday night I was a bit late hitting the street because I was meeting with my sergeant going over my annual review. So it was dark by the time I got out of the staion. I get dispatched my first call as I am pulling out of the QT parking lot. When I answer up on the air it felt like something fell into my lap. So I put the radio mic back on the bracket and reach for my hand held flashlight on my vest and light up my lap. HOLY CRAP!!!!! There is a tarantula sized gray spider on my right thigh, instinctively, I stab my light into my thigh and thrust the spider off. I throw the car into park and jump out. By now my mind is telling me that it is not real but is a rubber spider. But what has me freaked out is in the spider looked very much like one that freaked me out in China when I was there on business 10 years ago. In that case the spider was the size of a tarantula but was gray and slimy looking like this one but it ran across the room as fast as a rat or mouse, not your typical spider mosey.
I shine my light to the floor board but the spider is gone. I look over behind my car and there is a car behind me with a 20 something female looking at me like “what the heck is wrong with you”. And two other people back at the parking lot with similar looks. So I give them the “What?” tough guy look and nod. So she drives around and the others go inside. I still can’t find this wicked fear inducing spider. Now I am starting to wonder if it was real. How could it disappear? It had to walk off, right? Could this be a real spider? I am now starting to check all over my body to make sure it’s not still on me. I am getting freaked out big time now. I turn on the internal light on the car and search cautiously for this stupid bug. After a few tense moments I found it in between the seat and the consul. So I pulled out my collapsible baton and poked it to make sure it was fake. Yep, it’s squishy, but it’s one of those sticky slimy rubber toys. So when I pull my baton back, it sticks to my baton and comes towards me. I freak out thinking its walking and thrust my baton into the rubber spider and jump back. Now I am just being paranoid so I stare at it for a few more moments, nope it’s not moving. It’s a toy, were code 4, time to go to my call. But it was a good prank. I just don’t know who to prank back yet.