Saturday, January 23, 2010
Bad To The Bone
Here are a few passages from "Deputy in Disguise" -When this book was initially published as Life Is a Jukebox, I read it with disappointment and anger, not sure who I was more mad at, myself or the publisher. It was not the book I intended it to be. It didn’t contain all of the stories I wanted in it, and it was chocked full of uncorrected grammatical errors. And when I brought these issues to the attention of the publisher, we went to work to make it better and upon its second release it was still just a crude diary.
Still it went on sale and was marketed around the world, and people began buying it. My emotions became bittersweet in that my work was being taken seriously, but it still wasn’t the work I wanted my name associated with.
So after several discussions with the publisher and amid numerous miscommunications with them, I decided to throw the pages on the table, shuffle them around a bit, edit some of them, burn a few of them, and do a complete rewrite.
Passage-I know exactly where I was, and what I was doing on July 25, 1968. Big moments in life that burn such indelible details into the brain don’t happen often, but those that change us in some way do occasionally, and we remember them forever. I remember most of the details surrounding the first time I got laid for example.
***It was a scary moment in time, a bit awkward, and would have made an interesting sitcom scene had it been filmed. One of us was excited and ended the session smiling, the other, whose name was . . .
Passage-Hanging out with BJ as he was known to his posse was a cool thing to do. He knew everyone in every community, white or black, or as he used to say to me brown people.
Asking anytime I, or anyone else referred to him as a black guy, Do I really look black to you? Or anytime someone would refer to African American’s as colored people, he would quickly correct them by saying . . . No one colored me.
Even as a white dude, I could go in and out of any brown circle I wanted, as long as I was with him. Back then, doing such a thing was not as normal as it is today; the color lines were more prevalent then. He would tell people that I was just a very light complected brown man.
Passage-He claimed that he had killed more Orientals after he was released and sent home than he did in the war. He actually said that he was a serial killer on a mission.
Every chance he got, whether it was ambushing someone in a restroom at a dark nightclub or a theater late at night, to finding them fishing along a riverbank and picking them off from long range with a rifle, whenever the opportunity to do it and get away was there. I figured most of what he was telling me was fantasy, another lying storyteller trying to stand taller and seem more important than he was. Whoever he was, he was creepy, and a little scary considering the present circumstances. Just him and I, and a desk clerk downstairs in a seven-story hotel with no security in it.
"Like you, he said to me, if I had to kill you I’d feel bad for your kids. But if you ever crossed me I’d kill you. "
Passage-As an Obetz police officer I quickly learned not only the town’s history and its quirks, but who the good guys and bad guys were, as well as who the monkey-wrench throwers of village politics were. Sometimes, the latter group was more aggravating than the lawbreakers.
These were adults who saw themselves as way more important than they were, people who had a hard-on for cops, and sought daily ways to complicate not only their duty, but their personal lives as well. People who would phone in phony complaints to the mayor’s office, follow officers nightly with video cameras, hoping to catch them misbehaving and even going as far as to write anonymous letters to officers wives accusing their spouses of infidelity.
Passage-As the public information officer for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for a number of years, I was summoned to one ugly place after another to gather releasable facts and disperse them to the news media. Seeing body parts strewn through trees from a plane crash near Port Columbus International to a head embedded into a truck axle as the result of a motorcycle crash were just a few of the horrific things I photographed.
A severed arm from a guy who rolled his pickup truck down a hill, something that when I picked it up and laid it on a gurney all I could think about was that it was heavier than it looked, and an ax still left in a young woman’s head after she had been executed, and a man beaten severely and found impaled on a fence post are a few more. For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org