It was a simple call.
Under-age drinking party.
Come on…a rural county…summer time? We get those constantly.
Sometimes we find kids drinking. Sometimes not. Sometimes those parties get out of control (a few years ago, two drunk teens ended up dead in a car crash), sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re in houses, sometimes at the canal, sometimes in odd, random places that are difficult to get to.
But because of the toxic brew of kids and booze, we take them fairly seriously. Thus when I got the call, I got my entire team together, had a little pow wow, and off we went, in search of drinking youths.
Which was…not quite what we found.
When we were still fifty yards away, through the fog, I saw the cars parked in a field entrance. That surprised me because probably better than three-quarters of the time, the calls are empty. Some old lady who’s cranked off that teenagers are having fun. Or a concerned citizen who assumes the worst when they see teenagers together…sort of an updated version of the teenagers-as-monsters movies from the ’50s.
So as I got closer to the cars, I blasted them with my spotlight, expecting to see heads lolling back and forth in the seats, or kids splayed out over hoods, drunk off their asses.
Instead, I immediately see eight or ten pale-like-the-belly-of-a-fish bodies explode from one soybean field, past the cars, and into another soybean field. And I mean GONE! Like they never existed.
I know they’re not getting far because they’ve left their cars behind and they’re running into a bean field. Tends to slow the escape down.
But I jump from my squad anyway, damn near before it stops moving. “Whoa. Get your asses back here! Freeze!”
There are certain clues you look for as a cop. One of those basic clues is: are they following my orders. When it comes to a foot chase, the suspects never follow my commands. They’re scared to death, thinking they’re going to jail. They run and run and run some more.
So I yell out my commands and sure as hell they –
Freaked me out so badly I almost didn’t know what to do next.
Luckily, I had my guys with me and they are absolutely professional. They immediately jumped out of their squads, started running plates, started checking the area looking for others, etc. Top shelf professional. Best guys on the road.
The problem was, when they started doing their thing, they left me with these eight or ten young men.
“Hey,” I said. “You guys are naked.”
“Duh,” one of them said, with a tone that actually said, ‘Wow, cain’t get nothing past these professionally trained cops, huh?’
“Why are you naked?”
To this day, I haven’t gotten an adequate answer.
So now I have eight or ten guys in front of me, pale as the moonlight, slowly shrinking in the chill air, and trying to cover themselves.
Except one guy. He’s very obviously not covering up. In fact, he’s just staring at me, a satisfied grin on his face. I half-expected him to give me a thumbs up.
What I almost said was, ‘Somebody get me a camera! That’s impressive!’
(Which is why he was grinning so big.)
What I actually said was, “What in hell are you guys doing?”
And behind me, I heard my guys laughing. Did I mention professionals? Top shelf professionals, I think I wrote. Yeah, whatever.
“Well, see…uh…,” one of them said. “I know the guy who lives here and…well…we prank each other a lot.”
“So getting naked for him is a prank?”
He looked confused, standing there still naked. “What? No, no, the naked…that’s just…well, we just got naked. No, the prank was the toilet paper.”
Inside their cars, we found probably fifty empty bags of toilet paper. No booze, no drugs, no girlie mags. Just toilet paper wrappers.
“So you’re TPing the house?”
Then they all smiled and I gotta tell you, there is nothing more disconcerting than seeing ten naked guys, each holding their schvantzes while they grin at you.
“Dudes, put your clothes on.”
I had thought I was torturing them by making them stand naked in the chill, but I think they were actually torturing me. And enjoying the hell out of it.
“Uh,” I said. “There isn’t anyone else, is there? Any chicks, maybe?”
And they all looked so disgusted, like they still believed girls had cooties. What I realized was that this was a male-bonding thing, not a cross-gender bonding thing.
While they got dressed and my guys finished up their thing, I went and checked the TPing.
And was horrified.
It was terrible. Utterly, pathetically, mind-numbingly terrible.
“Who’s responsible for this?” I fairly yelled.
Lots of mumbled ‘whats?’ and ‘uhs’ came back at me.
So I marched back to them and said, “What in the hell is all that? First of all, there are only two or three strands of toilet paper even visible, and secondly, it’s mostly on the ground.”
“Yeah, we bought cheap.”
“One ply?” one of my guys asked.
“Hardly even half-ply,” I said. “Look guys, don’t go cheap. See how humid it is? That shit fell apart before you barely got it out of the package. So now it’s flaccid.”
You guys would be so proud of me. I did not give him the obvious definition, which would have been more show and tell than anything. Instead, I continued on exactly how to best TP a house.
“You’ve done this before, haven’t you?” one of them asked me.
“Yeah, but the difference is, I did it better…and dressed.”
“But we were in a hot tub and – ”
“Naked?” I asked.
“Yeah.” Again, with the tone that implied, ‘Duh.’
“So this isn’t your first communal nude experience.”
At some point, I realized I probably shouldn’t explain to them how to better get away with vandalism. So I became Mr. Cop. Furrowed brows and cocked stance and gruff voice.
“It’s three in the morning,” I said. “You’re playing around a man’s house. I get you’re pranking his son, but he doesn’t know that. All he knows is that there are eight or ten guys out here fucking with his castle.”
They blanched, having not thought about where I was taking them.
“Yeah. What if he’s got a shotgun?”
They got appropriately freaked out by that thought, which was good. If you can’t scare them with jail, scare them with death, I always say.
I told them to leave and as my guys and I were getting ready to leave, one of the Naked Vandals said, “You want us to clean up first?”
I frowned. What? Never had a vandal offer to clean up his mess. I looked around. It was pretty clean already. “Uh…yeah. Uh…don’t let me find any trash in that farmer’s bean field.” I frowned and played the hardass again, then I drove away with my guys.
Laughing my ass off and feeling sort of left out.
‘Cause it wasn’t that I’d been smart enough not to do it naked…it was that I hadn’t had the balls to do it naked.