Folks, you’ve known me for years. Detective Tough Shit. Sergeant Nails. Officer Iron Will. Humphrey. I’m a fan of the law. And I never want to see its gentle heart broken. I’ve made it known, throughout my career, that I consider crime to be the most heinous of all of man’s follies.
“We’re tough on crime!”
“Report it, don’t support it!”
“No crime too small!”
And now, on the eve of my 30th year as the head of police here in our fertile little hamlet of Pine Water, I have to say, boy, maybe I’ve been coming on a bit too strong.
For nearly three decades, I’ve followed up on every lead, responded to every complaint, scuffed every collar, and honestly, I’m beginning to feel that not all of it has been positively received.
Children involuntarily shudder when they see our boys in blue making rounds. Families spend more time visiting the clink than getting milkshakes and pralines. Sexually aggressive graffiti has been permanently inscribed onto the revolving doors of our station.
There was once a time when families would invite their local officers into their home for a drink or a meal. But now, those invites seem so much more forced than they used to, a lovely halibut dinner made so needlessly tense by frigid silverware and stifled coughs.
Many of you will recall that I also have a reputation of pushing for longer prison sentences. I believed that it provided strong incentive to abide by the law, that kindly mistress, but I’ve been told that these extended sentences are “pointlessly cruel” and “look bad on resumes.”
I visited our cells for the first time in many moons the other day and they were surprisingly overcrowded, with nary a bright expression in sight. The prison pastimes of yore that we all remember so well have also been absent, the arts and crafts activities cancelled when the Maple River Meth boys burned holes into all of the plastic spoons.
Many released inmates have had trouble readjusting to civilian life, mentioning that modern technology is hostile and confusing. I’ve been told that the cordless phone is an especially unwelcome addition to the household, although we have noticed a distinct drop in suicides by rotary.
In any matter, it paints an unsavory and restrictive picture of our system, with the town’s recidivism rate recently climbing past 100, a near-record high of the past fifteen months.
So today, as Chief of Police, I make a promise that we will sometimes look the other way. That some crimes really might be a bit too small. That if you get three strikes, maybe that’s not that many and calling you out is a bit harsh, so maybe we’re playing with t-ball rules and you should really get back up there and keep on swinging, slugger.
And to the glorious citizens of this great water hollow, I implore you thusly: You can, you know, like, cool down, just a bit. Let Jedidiah get away with a few stolen threads of candied yeast. Calm down when your neighbor makes some rolling stops by the Yuca farm. It’ll do all of us some good.
And I can already hear some of the voices of dissent that will crop up, telling me the horror stories of how much worse our community has gotten.
“I was mugged on my way home!”
“I was left for dead by the E Street Band!”
“My niece’s fiance is now black AND gay!”
I hear you, I truly do. As the head of our great department and our resident expert on law, that coy little minx, I guarantee that I will never let its leash out my grasp. But somedays, maybe it’ll be good if it goes for a walk. Or two.
Aditya Mayya – 3.6.2020