“Swampville Police Department. How can I help you?”
“Joe? Joe! Can you hear me?”
“Hank? Is that you? Why are you whispering?” Joe pressed the receiver tightly to his ear. “Speak up, man!”
“Joe, I’ve got trouble here. Someone is breaking into my store. Get over here fast!” The urgency in Hank’s voice was unmistakable. “Don’t worry, Hank. We’ll get there as soon as we can. Any idea how many guys?”
“I can’t tell. I just heard breaking glass and a lot of shuffling. Hurry!”
“Hang in there! We’re coming.”
Frustration welled up inside as Joe slammed the telephone down so hard the table shook. His partner came in from the other room. Leaning on the door jam, coffee in hand, Pete looked at him with his bushy eyebrow raised questioningly. “Pete, we’ve got a problem. Hank needs us out at his store. A break and enter in progress. Where can we borrow a car?”
Pete now understood completely Joe’s frustration. “Ach! This is no way to run a police department! How can they think we can go two weeks without wheels? They could have at least given us a loaner car!”
“Pete! There is no time for that now, man. Try to find a car. I need to get that old pistol put back together. I have a hunch we’ll need it before the night is over!”
A few minutes later, Pete was back. Hearing the car drive up, Joe ran outside. A neon-pink Beetle with a bright yellow sunflower emblazoned on the hood seemed to prance before him like some strange creature heading to a rainbow ball. Joe cringed and rolled his eyes heavenward. “Come on!” Pete called. “It’s the best I could do!”
Fifteen minutes later, with the Beetle trying valiantly to find camouflage in a nearby flowering bush, Joe and Pete crept around as close as they could to the jewelry shop. The front door stood wide open and broken glass sparkled on the front step. Giving Pete the nod, Joe peeked around the corner swinging his ancient pistol ahead of him and yelled, “Police!”
Joe could not immediately take in what greeted his eyes.
“Oh. Hi, Joe.” Hank was standing behind his counter as if everything was completely normal. In a chair pulled up close to the counter, sat Grandpa Wilson, a teacup in hand. He looked a little annoyed at the interruption.
Hank came around the counter and placed his hand affectionately on the old man’s floral printed shoulder. “There’s been a little misunderstanding. I was out back in my office when Grandpa Dub came in. He tripped on the step and his cane broke the window. Everything’s all fine now though. Sorry to alarm you fellas!”
Joe and Pete looked at each other and shook their heads, as though trying to decide whether to laugh or cry. Pete’s quivering eyebrows and mustache gave every indication that a good old belly laugh was about to win the day.
“By the way, there is one thing you could do, since you’re here.” Hank said. “Could you please give Grandpa Dub a ride home?”
The guffaw echoed through the county. “Come on Grandpa. We would be glad to give you a ride. You don’t happen to have a pair of sunglasses with you, do you?”
As strange as it may seem, there are places in the world where the police are so under-equipped that they really do ask you to come and get them if you have a problem requiring their attention. Weapons are often so old as to be completely unreliable, and communication is next to impossible once the police officer is on the road without radio equipment. Further complications arise when underpaid officers have the power to demand bribes in exchange for services. Honest, hardworking officers with the necessary tools and training to do the job are a truly a blessing from the Lord. Thank God for our police force!
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