Monday, May 22, 2006

Divine Wind and Emergency Lights

The most fun I've had in my career as a police officer to date is a period of time in Carlyle when my buddy Don and I were partners. I'm not sure why we "clicked" as we did, but we made each other laugh. A lot. We often joked that if they ever opened up The Amazing Race to Canadians, we'd apply. If it ever happens, I may just hold him to it.

Not everyone was happy with the relationship, however. I speak specifically of the wildlife inhabiting the Carlyle area. For some reason, unbeknownst to myself, whenever we were in the police car, with myself driving and Donnie riding shotgun, Bambi and her wilderness posse would try to take us out. Our chariot was frequently the target of suicide runs by deer, cats, racoons, porcupines and just about any other manner of beast found on the Prairie.

But no single incident was quite so memorable as this:

Summer. Early evening. A rural highway slices a path through farmland and into the hills north of Carlyle. Traffic is light. In the sky over the highway, a solitary hawk soars and swoops, searching for prey. A police car races along at a speed.......greater than the speed limit, lights flashing. Within, two [handsome/dashing/noble] Mounties, on their way to pick up a special overnight guest for the Carlyle RCMP Hilton.

Dave: [driving] That bird is freaking me out, man.

Don: He'll move.

The hawk soars low over the highway.

Dave: [decelerating] He's got a bloody death wish.

After a few seconds, the bird veers away, up and to the left, out of harm's way.

Dave: There...... [hammers down on the accelerator]

He waits until the last second. The bird. Then radically alters his course, swooping back towards the highway and towards the speeding police cruiser. The Mounties wince, as it careens towards the windshield, but glides up and over the top of the glass.


Dave: [startled] I think I hit that hawk, man!

Don: [chuckling] I think so.


Dave: Where did it go?

Don: What?

Dave: The bloody bird! I checked the rearview mirror. I didn't see it fly away or hit the ground.

Don: Who cares? Just keep going....


Dave: I think it's on the roof....

Don: What..?

Dave: The bird, man. I think it's on the roof! [pause] I'm pulling over.

The police cruiser slows and rolls onto the gravel shoulder, coming to a halt. Dave turns to Don.

Go check.

Don: [chuckling] What?! Why me?

Because you're on the passenger side. I'd have to step into traffic....

Don: [chuckles lightly, rolling eyes] Alright....

Don opens the door and half-steps out, his head disappearing over the roof of the car. Moments later, he returns to his seat and closes the door.

Don: [chuckling] Yep....

Dave: Yep?! Yep what?!

Don: The bird's stuck on the roof.

Dave: [in disbelief] No it's not.....

Don: [nodding] It's up there....

I don't believe you....

Don: [chuckling] Don't believe me, then.....

Dave: [incredulous] But....if it was on the roof, why wouldn't you take it off!?

Don: [shrugging shoulders, laughing] I don't know....

Dave: [rolling eyes, certain he's being HAD] I guess I'll have to check for myself......

Dave checks for traffic, then steps out of the police car to look upon the roof.

Dave: Oh my.... [gag reflex]

The back of his hand is brought up to his mouth and nose. The bird is indeed there. It's head and shoulders are wedged in the space between the light bar and the roof, a space that physics tells us is insufficient to fit the head and shoulders of a large, predatory bird. Majestic wings are spread, flapping lightly in the wind, making the creature look like some kind of bizarre, organic hood (roof) ornament. To the rear of the light bar, a trail of blood and hawkmeat is strewn, bright red against the stark white of the car's exterior.

Dave: [leaning back into the car] Why didn't you pull it off?

Don: [laughing] I don't know...

Dave: Well take it off, man. It's more on your side......

Don: [rolls eyes, still in good humour] Alright...alright...

Don steps out of the car, takes firm hold of one outstretched wing, and pulls. It doesn't come easy, but eventually is pulled from it's morbid trap. The majority of the bird is flung into the ditch, but a good part of it still decorates the car.

Don: [chuckling] Let's go.....

Don gets back in the car. Shaking his head, Dave soon follows suit. The police car rolls into motion and continues on it's journey up the highway.

At the time, being an animal lover, I was a bit mortified. Today though, we always look back on The Hawk Story in humour, given that was the first event in our "wildlife escapades", and the fact that the story didn't quite end there. There was the fact that we had to throw the guy we arrested over the trunk of the car while we handcuffed him, his face inches from the remains, but completely oblivious because he was so juiced. And then there's the fact that I got my uniform completely soaked trying to wash the car afterward, and that I continued to see a chunk of hawk on the floor of the car wash for at least two weeks afterward.

It's funny the things that stick with you. Donnie and I had many the adventure. Maybe I'll share another one sometime.

Here's to you, Donnie........


Anonymous Anonymous said...

we need to go visit. I miss the gang.
The story is still funny after hearing it a 1000 times.

3:08 PM  
Blogger London Postmaster said...

My metaphorical blog writing 'pen' has shrivelled up like a frightened turtle, in the presence of your 'awe-inspiring' prose... Well done dave on these last 2 posts!

...but in jealous spite, I'm calling the world wildlife foundation on you!

3:58 PM  
Blogger Eileen said...

AAAARGH! What a story! I didn't see the carnage coming! {Handsome/dashing/noble} cracked my ass up. You're fun to read; keep it up!

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Charmed said...

I enjoyed the story very much also (friend of Eileen). You are a really good writer! :)

12:50 PM  

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