Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ostriches, Peacocks, and Snakes, Oh My!

     I spent ten years in Law Enforcement, and I've got plenty of fabulous stories from my time as a police officer.  Some of the most entertaining stories seemed to involve animals.  I've chased a horse down Main St., herded goats on U.S. Hwy 31, and had to corner a raging bull on I-65.  However, none of those incidents compared to the following animal stories.  Just keep in mind:  This edition of the Uber Dad Chronicles is filmed on location with the men and women of Law Enforcement.  All animals are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
     One fine Saturday many years ago a very young Officer Chris Perry was on routine patrol.  The following call came in, "Lady called, said she was attacked by a Snapping Peacock.  She wants the peacock arrested.  314 (my call # at the time) can you respond?"  I wanted to say, "Well, no," but you gotta do what you gotta do.  While I was en route to this "Snapping Peacock" call I began to think, there's no way there actually is a peacock, more less a "Snapping" one, whatever the heck that is.  Upon arrival I saw the culprit immediately.  A bowed-up peacock was on the front porch, and the lady that called was trapped inside her glass door.  I thought, "Well, what do you know....an actual peacock."  I began to walk toward the suspect peacock, and the lady cracked the door open and said, "This thing won't let me leave, and be careful it's violent."  I said, "Don't worry ma'am we're professionals."  We were professionals at putting drunk rednecks in jail, not peacock removal, but you have to try and keep the populous calm in times of danger.  I really had no idea what in the hell I was going to do with a peacock, but I took the bird (It is a bird, right?) on like a boss.  I approached the suspect, and tried to grab it.  The peacock proceeded to flog me at this point.  He got after it too, flogged me real good.  I wish I could set this scene for you:  Multi-colored peacock feathered monster flogging me, and my immediate retreat.  Feathers flying.  Me running.  Fast.  I started to shoot the thing for assaulting an Officer, but I wasn't sure if it would have been a justifiable homicide or birdicide (It is a bird, right?)  I narrowly escaped, and the peacock went back up on the porch.  I then did what any self-respecting tough Cop would do.....I called the Fire Department.  The fail safe Fire Department call.  I figured, these guys eat smoke for a living so they should be able to handle a peacock.  The peacock put up a valiant fight, but at the end of the day the Fire Department won the battle.  The peacock was relocated.  I didn't ask where it was relocated, I was just glad the thing was gone.  As far as I know one of the Firemen ate the thing, and I say "Good Riddance, Peacock!"  A bit of advice:  If you see a peacock, be careful.  I know they're cute and all, but Devil Birds are they!  It is a bird, Right?
     Snake calls happened regularly, and were never one of my favorite things to do.  There was one occasion when my immediate supervisor and I thought we had outsmarted the snake call.  The call concerned a snake in the ceiling of the basement of a nice lady's house, and we were tasked with the removal of said snake.  Well we thought, "We've got fire extinguishers in the car, let's just freeze the snake and then we can extract him all easy like."  So we sprayed the snake repeatedly with our trusty fire-extinguishers.  We were all proud of ourselves, and thought we were some kind of genius snake wranglers.  Then it dawned on me; these aren't the freezing kind of fire extinguishers.  These were dry-powder fire extinguishers not the CO2 freezing variety.  By the time I realized our mistake, we had already filled this poor woman's house with so much dry powder from those extinguishers that it looked like a mushroom cloud inside.  We tried to play all of this off by blaming the fire extinguisher company.  We called the Fire Department (happened a lot in these cases, I know.)  Snake gone.  House was extremely powder-filled from the fire extinguisher faux pas, but the sweet female resident thanked us anyway powder issues and all.  You see that's what it is all about, helping folks.
     One of the best practical jokes ever played in the history of practical jokes, in my opinion, involved an animal call at good old Fultondale PD.  I'll set the scene for you:  My immediate supervisor was off this particular day playing golf, and a fellow officer in the department decided to play a joke on him.  He called him on the golf course and said, "Perry's got a rabid possum at a lady's house down by the park, and he want's permission to shoot it."  At first the response was, "Don't shoot it, find a stick or something and...." but then realizing that this stick maneuver may be cruel and unusual punishment for the poor possum (rabies or not) my supervisor changed his mind and said, "Ok, go ahead and shoot it." This wasn't that unusual, and you would be surprised at how many times animals had to be dispatched in this manner.  A few moments later my fellow officer called the boss back and said, "Perry used the shotgun, and missed and hit that poor woman in the leg!"  The fun and hijinks ensued from there.  It was a perfectly executed joke, and I wish I could take credit for coming up with it.  I was only a minor participant, but I can't remember laughing harder than I did that day.  I got school traffic duty for a few days, but it was worth it. 
     Well, that was three of the best animal stories I got from my years in law enforcement.  Wait a minute, I forgot the one about the ostrich.  That one wasn't technically a "police story," but involved my brother and his run in with an ostrich in Graysville, Alabama.  He called me up one day and said, "Chris, I got an Ostrich running around in my backyard!"  He decided to become an Ostrich hunter and go on Safari or something.  I initially thought that maybe he had been shaking Jim Beam's hand that day, but it turned out to be an accurate description of a large bird.  It just wasn't an ostrich.  It was an Emu.  There supposed to be really tasty.  I guess we could have found out if the Ostrich Hunter of Graysville, Alabama (Frank Perry Jr.) would have been successful at actually catching the big bird.  It is a bird, Right?