Mary's Farm: Police Reports
Here in this quiet place, I have rarely had the opportunity to call the police. Once, I called about someone hunting out of season; once, about a possibly rabid fox; and another time, I reported young men dancing naked in the middle of the road at midnight. (My parents were visiting at the time and were shocked and frightened by the spectacle. Otherwise, I would not have called.) But, according to the “police log,” which appears in our weekly paper, my fellow residents have many reasons to call for help. Or assurance. The police log is the section of the paper to which I turn first. The entries are brief (three or four lines at most), cryptic renditions of fender-benders or lost wallets, a weekly sketch of law and order in our area. A longtime favorite, posted sometime back, cited a car parked at the shopping plaza with a goat inside, the windows rolled up. It was a hot day. An officer was dispatched, but by the time he arrived, the car was gone. Did the goat live or die? We will never know.
Another of my favorites was the item about a landlord who called in to ask that the police evict his tenant. The police asked the caller the reason for his request, and the man replied, “Because he’s a snot.” The police told him that there are no laws against being a snot.
We are often treated to the caller’s exact quotes, like the one above. Without that quote, we would have missed the salient detail: tenant as snot. In that report resides a short story, maybe even a novel.
Other entries simply enlarge my impression that it is almost absurdly safe here, perhaps even comically so. This one was listed under the heading “Road Hazard”: At 1:07 a.m. [police] found a fully intact toilet on the center line of Peterborough Street. According to police, the lid was up.
That was it in its entirety. No explanation or resolution to that particular whodunit. (But I did like knowing that the toilet was “fully intact” and that the lid was up.)
Sometimes we are left to wonder whether it is the person being reported or the person reporting who is out of touch with reality. At 9:40 p.m., police responded to the shopping plaza for a report of a man walking with a light on his head. Police located the man and determined that nothing was wrong.
A more recent entry recounted that a “large bong” had been found in the parking lot of a local supermarket. (For those in the dark about such things, a bong is a somewhat exotic pipe through which illegal substances are smoked.) The report included the information that the bong had a “heavy residue” and ended by saying that the police were holding the lost item at the station and the owner could come and claim it. Our police at times have a sense of humor.
Here is one from a couple of years ago: At 4 a.m., police responded to a burglar alarm at the Bank of New Hampshire. A snowflake decoration had fallen from the ceiling and set off the motion detector.
We do have robberies, and we even have had a murder or two over the years. But most of what happens here is like that. May it ever be so.