11/19/2006

Why I Ride With The Po-lice- The Saga Continues

More about the po-lice...

The first time I called the local police department here in lovely North Carolina, to ask if I could interview a detective, I was prepared for rejection. Coming from Atlanta, I pretty much expected the police in North Carolina were like the ones in the big cities...curt, to the point, and uninterested in talking to a "holster-sniffing" mystery writer. Boy, was I wrong!

"Come on down!" the sergeant in charge said, "I've got just the man you need to talk to!"

He didn't even ask what sorts of books I wrote or if I was published!

It didn't occur to me to get nervous until I was already walking into the municipal building and headed for the Criminal Investigations Department, or CID.

Ever since I was a wild-assed teenager, I've been a bit leery of the police. I just expect them to run my tags, check me for warrants and be ready and waiting to pounce when I show up. Of course, it'd been years since I'd been a teenager and I was now a Soccer Mom...And even when I was a kid, I never got arrested...That is, if you don't count the time they ran us in for soaping the school windows, or the time Jimmy Bostelle bought us beer and the cops witnessed the entire event and called my dad. (They told him they didn't pick me up because I was the minister's daughter, but they thought he would like to know what his kid had been up to...)

Anyway, I digress.

I had worked myself into a good lather by the time I reached the waiting area of the CID offices. The detective realized I was nervous as soon as he saw me. Not that many Soccer Moms read Guns and Ammo magazine, especially not upside down. Oh well, so much for the subtle sophisticated air I'd been aiming to project!

When Detective Smith (Oh, yeah, like I'd say his real name and risk him finding out about all this, my version, that is, of how we met?! Not on your life, buddy!) Anyway, when Detective Smith called my name, I lowered the magazine and looked straight into the eyes of the most gorgeous hunk of burning love ever to inflame a Soccer Mom's secret fantasy life.

Tall, muscular, wearing a white oxford-cloth shirt with the sleeves rolled up to expose tanned forearms. Salt and pepper hair cut spiky and very in-style...And he had a mustache that rivaled that of any cowboy's. He looked like Sam Elliot's long-lost, better looking brother...

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I was completely undone. I mean, what lowly, mystery-writing, Soccer Mom, wanders down to the local P.D and finds a guy like this waiting for her?

He says, "Pleased to meet you," and smiles. His voice is deeper than Sam Elliot's. It is the bedroom voice I have often imagined I hear whispering in my dreams...just before I wake up and find the dog snuffling around on my pillow...

"I'm Detective Smith," he says. "Let's go back here."

We walk off between a corridor of tweed-covered partitions. I think he is taking me to his office and imagine myself behind closed doors with this man for an hour. Imagine my surprise when I find he has led me to an interview room with see-through glass observation panels and a rubber chicken hanging on the doorknob!

Oh, this is one, cool, police detective, all right!

For the next 45 minutes I ask him questions I already know the answers to...I mean, I've been to a bazillion forensics workshops. I don't need facts. I need heroes and characters. While he talks I write down everything he is not saying...the way he looks, the way the room smells, the little phrases he uses, the fact that he has a crush on Reba McEntyre. I soak the man up like a sponge and when I realize I have nothing left to ask, I get ready to leave.

That is when he says the words that are the equivalent of a wet dream to a writer...At least, a Soccer Mom Mystery Writer's dream...

"How'd you like to go on a stakeout?"

I ignore what sounds like a glass coffeepot crashing on the other side of the mirror. I look right into my detective's eyes and breathe, "When?"

"Monday night. Just come down to the Watch Operations Center about nine and have them page me."

Nine. Monday night. After the boys do their homework. After they're in bed. After my husband is ensconced in front of Monday Night Football. "I'm going on a stakeout!" I sing silently in my head. "Nana, nana, boo, boo, I have a life!"

That afternoon as I wait with the other moms outside the elementary school, I tell them everything...and maybe a little bit more...Okay, so their tongues are hanging out because this is the kind of stuff that just doesn't happen to us and therefore it is my duty to embellish just a tad. I had to add in a few little details...like how I think maybe Detective Smith thinks I'm cute...or how I don't know for certain, but this could be a little bit risky and I'm thinking maybe over the weekend I'll go learn out to shoot a Glock semiautomatic, just in case my new mentor gets into a jam and needs my help.

Their eyes widen. My heart is racing with the possibilities that now lie before me...

I am going on a stake-out, with a real live detective!

To be continued in my next post...it's time to cook dinner...

3 comments:

BIGDAWG said...

Husband?

Nancy said...

May he rest in many pieces, in many different places! Husband, past tense!
I miss your face, Big Dawg! But you know I don't do phones! Doesn't stop me from loving you, though!

Anonymous said...

Love this post! Can't wait 'til my GPD friends read it! Detective Smith, huh? ;)

CM