December 22, 2006
By Tim Bohn
A school in Bayou La Battre, Louisiana, April 2006
A reminder that not everyone will be having a Happy New Year
(Here are some suggestions for donations to Katrina and Veteran's organizations)
full grown Chestnut tree turned upside down by the tornado in
Westchester County, N.Y., June 2006
A further reminder that it can happen ANYWHERE.
journal entry, Wrylys with Maddog by Tim
Bohn, is a companion piece to the most recent one I wrote,
Along. While Tim is hardly a stranger to these pages,
this is the first journal entry he has contributed. We hope to
feature more of Tim's writing in 2007.
Along chronicled Joseph Pierson's evening in a patrol car with Liberty County
Sheriff's Deputy, Frank Longoria. As Joseph rode with Frank, Tim rode
with Sergeant Mark Davison. Here, then, is Tim's take on Saturday
night in Liberty County.
* * * * * * * * *
INT. - JOE'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT - EVENING
The Thin Blue Line. Liberty County, Texas. A darkening
Our hero, TIM, for his first-ever police "ride-along" has been assigned to accompany Sheriff's DEPUTY SERGEANT MARK
Tim and Maddog are preparing for their night with a hearty pasta dinner. They are joined by civilian Joseph Pierson and Patrol DEPUTY FRANK LONGORIA.
If I live to write a Cypress Films blog entry about tonight, I think I'll write it in the form of dialogue exchanges. I'll use lots of
(under his breath)
Wrylys are directions for line-readings--cheap substitutes for actual character development.
You don't even have a notepad.
I'll just reconstruct my experience without notes - some stuff may be recovered memories... some stuff might be from old "Adam-12" episodes. It's called "fictionalized memoir style."
You're the expert.
Tim takes a tiny sip of his giant ice tea - he doesn't know if or when he'll be able to pee again tonight.
EXT. - PARKING LOT - MOMENTS LATER
Maddog unlocks the Ford Explorer cruiser, stretches his massive neck and settles into the driver's seat. His cowboy type Sheriff's hat stays firmly on his head.
Is there a protocol for me staying in the car or, you know, getting out when we're on a call?
You'll pretty much figure it out.
EXT. PINE TREE ROAD - NIGHT
First Call - report of dangerous Wild Dogs. Maddog and Tim pull in to the driveway of an abandoned looking trailer. (Many of the area's occupied homes are "abandoned looking.")
Maddog hits his search-beam: no sign of mutts. Deputy Longoria and Joe pull up behind.
(over the radio)
What'd the neighbor say?
These folks left their huge dogs behind and they're starving and running around terrorizing the neighborhood.
DEPUTY LONGORIA (RADIO)
Someone'll just shoot 'em sooner or later.
Isn't there animal control?
No. We tell people to do what they got to do to protect themselves.
He swings the cruiser door open and begins to step out, Maglight aimed carefully forward. Just as he stands, there's a very loud, very frightening and almost metallic
Maddog LEVITATES back into his seat and SLAMS the door shut. He and Tim crane their necks looking for the monster dog. Then, almost as loudly as before...
(over his P.A. loudspeaker)
Maddog wipes his forehead, grinning. The radio squawks.
DEPUTY LONGORIA (RADIO) (CONT'D)
Did you see that thing?
Joe and Frank are guffawing in their cruiser. Maddog smiles.
I'm gonna let Frank believe he scared me - good for morale.
The offenders finally appear: a huge ROTTWEILER and a slightly less huge
PITBULL. Far from "starving," they look like they recently felled and ate a stray cow.
They are, however, starving for affection. They romp up to Maddog's open window, tails wagging merrily and mouths smiling widely. They cavort and whimper for some petting.
DEPUTY LONGORIA (RADIO)
You gonna get out?
DEPUTY LONGORIA (RADIO)
They look rabid?
Nope. They look bored and lonely.
The radio crackles and Dispatch relays a call for assistance on a nearby road.
DEPUTY LONGORIA (RADIO)
We're gone. See you later.
Longoria pulls out of the driveway, hits the gas and speeds away. Maddog grunts, puts the Ford in gear, and exits the driveway in the opposite direction.
Frank was pretty funny, there.
Those guys'll probably get hit by a car before too long.
EXT. FARM ROAD - NIGHT
Is this a David Lynch movie? No - it's 9:00pm on an ordinary fall night, on an average country road. But...
There's a brand new 2006 FORD MUSTANG upside-down in a ditch, its brake lights and headlights half-covered by dirt and weeds but still eerily coloring the night.
There's a blue and gold Varsity LETTER JACKET hanging out of the shattered back window, covered in glass. There's a pile of schoolbooks and notes strewn across the ditch. The lights of an ambulance play over the scene.
The jacket and books belong to two TEENAGE GIRLS. They are incredibly lucky, which is to say they are not dead. They weren't drunk when they left the party - just new drivers speeding in a fast car. Their high school friends have gathered around the ambulance, talking quietly.
The driver's father arrives. He introduces himself to
(trying for tough)
Any idea what happened here?
Looks like they hooked a tire off the road and over-corrected.
I just gave it to her for her birthday.
The father steps over to the ambulance to take a look at his daughter.
(peering past the blue lights)
Is that the Trooper who was first on the scene at the fatality head-on collision last night?
Is he still shaken up from that call?
He wouldn't have thought much of last night. After a while you don't really notice or mind much, unless it's a kid or someone you know pretty well. He's a good guy.
INT. SHERIFF'S CRUISER - LATER
Maddog's on the phone with his Mom.
I love you too, Mom.
He hangs up, with zero self-consciousness about a stranger overhearing his familial intimacy. Tim is overwhelmed with respect for Maddog's style of manliness.
Do you have to be a different person when you're working?
Well... my soon-to-be ex-wife thought I worked too much. She wanted me to come home for lunch sometimes. But when I'm at work I have to be in 100% total control of every situation. So it was hard to go home for an hour and turn that off and not act like I was in control of that room.
(He shakes his head, puts a wad of Copenhagen in his cheek)
I like going to Vegas with my buddies.
Tim nods. He looks at the dip in the center console. Maddog holds the tin out to him.
INT. SHERIFF'S CRUISER - LATER
Maddog explains how he got his nickname. Suffice to say he earned the name honestly. The telling of the tale is worthy of vintage
Spalding Gray. It includes a prison, a dive bar, tequila shots, a brawl, and concludes:
... so the only way for me to get out from the bottom of the pile was to bite the nose of the guy on top of me.
(Perfectly timed, dry pause)
Which I did.
Be advised suspect vehicle, a brown pickup truck, exited route 105 and is now southbound County 11 at 120 miles an hour.
INT. SHERIFF'S CRUISER - NIGHT
Tim is gripping his knees and gritting his teeth; his eyes scan left-to-right, right-to-left, as his neck gets tenser and tenser.
This is easier to understand when we pan over to the dashboard and note that Maddog is driving the Ford Explorer at just over
110 MILES PER HOUR.
Good - comin' towards us.
DEPUTY JON DEWEY (RADIO)
(short of breath)
He's off the road, he's into Dirt Hills Park, over.
Is he short of breath like that because he's got adrenaline going from this?
(still completely mellow)
Oh, yeah, high-speed chase can get you pumped up pretty good.
Oh God, Oh God, Oh God, Oh God.
(sneaks a look at the speedometer)
Oh, God, Oh, shit. Does he see that car coming up at the cross? But that guy can hear our siren, right? Oh, God. Did I remember to name my baby on my life insurance policy?
EXT. DIRT ROAD - NIGHT
Maddog eases the cruiser through rutted, overgrown dirt trails that are called "roads" in Dirt Hills, Texas. He passes the high-beam across tiny huts and trailers that are called "homes." All is quiet.
DEPUTY JON DEWEY (RADIO)
He's still in here. He's between Roadies and the swamp. Brown maybe Chevy pickup.
Every fugly hut has a brown pickup truck or two parked outside.
Where are all the people who live in these places?
In bed asleep, I hope.
EXT. DARK TRAILER - MOMENTS LATER
An assortment of police vehicles - Sheriff, State Troopers, Liberty Police - surround a dark circa 1975 mobile home.
The cops are certain that the pickup truck parked in the driveway is the one they've been chasing; they have no idea who's inside the trailer.
Tim stands next to the cruiser with a
Maglight in one hand for protection, and his other hand on the door handle.
Eight or ten police officers, all with guns drawn, approach the trailer on the crouch and surround it. It is Maddog who pounds on the door.
POLICE! OPEN THE DOOR!
He repeats this maybe once. Then the door is opened slightly and, in a flash, in the dark, the police PULL a figure from the door and PIN him to the ground near Tim.
DON'T MOVE! DON'T MOVE! WHO ELSE IS IN THE HOUSE?
perp, a skinny, pimply twenty-something kid, stutters some reply. The OFFICER with his knee in the kid's back stands up, makes a "watch him" gesture to Tim, and returns to the scrum of officers at the trailer door.
Tim, completely shocked and blushingly honored that he has been asked to assist in this scene, sidles over to the prone kid, trying to project a neutral (yet very, very tough) attitude. He spits a stream of tobacco juice on the ground.
(neutral, yet tough)
Relax. Don't move.
Nice. The cops pull two more MISCREANT TEENAGERS out of the trailer and line all three up on the ground. They are blubbering and scared and obviously idiotic.
MISCREANT TEEN ONE
Fuck this shit - we was just asleep and all, man...
MISCREANT TEEN TWO
(to M.T. One)
I love you, man.
MISCREANT TEEN THREE
Officers, hey, we're cool, man. Can you loosen these cuffs?
MISCREANT TEEN TWO
(to M.T. Three)
I love you man - be cool - We're gonna get outta this. Yo, officer, can I talk to you? We were just tired, that's all, we just -
The three stooges are read their rights, but they drunkenly describe a night spent drinking and getting stoned and then choosing to try to outrun a traffic stop.
(speaking to himself in muffled tones, inexplicably pretending to talk into a small recording device)
The officers from several departments ignore the pathetic blathering of the drunk teen perps, and trade a little gossip. They are in no hurry to drive off and go their separate ways, probably for a few reasons: One, they are letting the stress and adrenaline of the chase and the arrest slowly cool off; Two, they spend most of their nights alone in their individual patrol cars, and the conversation and company is a welcome break from patrolling hundreds of square miles of back country solo, hoping they will be able to handle whatever they come across, or that backup will speed to them in time; And Three, they seem to really like each other. They are genuinely, generously nice to each other. And in fact, come to think of it, every officer I have seen tonight has been incredibly nice to me, and even, I swear, completely respectful of every complainant and detainee. Maddog is a thoughtful, sophisticated, good-hearted guy inside his cruiser and out of it, and I'm proud to be with him tonight. Gotta remember to send him that Leon Russell CD. And send Deputy Longoria that Jim Harrison book. Frank is a really good writer, style a bit like Harrison - solid, manly construction, direct observations, none of this so-post-modernist shit where the kids stick the narrative in footnotes or whatever.
(to the handcuffed kid who has just rolled over and begged to have his neck scratched)
Relax. No, I don't have a piece of gum.
Finally Maddog loads all three into the back seat of the Explorer. He and Tim get into the front and start the (slower) drive back to Liberty County lock-up.
MISCREANT TEEN TWO
(high as shit, talking at full volume to his buddies)
Okay, they definitely got us for the speeding but they didn't see us drinking, they can't prove it, we'll just say we were sleeping and all when they came in.
Tim leans over in the front seat and speaks quietly:
Is this stuff admissible?
Maddog doesn't even say anything wry. He just rolls his eyes and nods his head in weary affirmation. He doesn't speak much on the way back, just radiates authority to the back seat.
INT. - LIBERTY COUNTY JAIL - LATER
The idiot kids are already in a holding cell. Joe and Frank have joined Maddog and Tim in the deputies' office. All four relax and debrief for a minute.
That was a great night - a whole range of interesting action, and nothing too horrible. Plus, that hot EMT is totally into you.
The DISPATCHER leans into the room.
Hey guys, accident on route 44, partial ejection.
We're on the way.
Tim pales, and gives Joe a meaningful look.
"Partial ejection?" Sounds good, but we should get going. We have meetings tomorrow, location scouting, you know, stuff like that.
NEXT WEEK'S EPISODE: PREVIEW
Wherein Tim and Joe visit the Liberty County Jail and see what they (luckily) missed on their ride-alongs. While it is true that idiots and dogs and drunks cause a lot of the mayhem in the world, the jail's inmates remind our hero that there are also plenty of truly hard, violent, dangerous evil-doers out there. Be safe,
Maddog and Frank.
In other news, we note with sadness the passing of the Pig Stands, a slow-food staple of San Antonio and Houston--and a
featured location in
EvenHand. Here is a link to the
Houston Chronicle article from their archives (you must be a registered user to view the article, but it's
free). Thanks to Frank Longoria for the heads-up.
There was yet another recent references to the kind of justice that was dispensed so liberally in San
Lovisa (for the origins, please see Day 8 of the EvenHand production journal,
A Good Plan). Cosmo Inserra reports:
UNION, S.C. - A man who parked illegally in a space
reserved for handicapped drivers was sentenced to stand outside the store with a
sign telling everyone about his crime.
Ragheem Smith, 29, stood in front of a Bi-Lo grocery store Thursday with a
handmade sign that read "I am not handicapped. I just parked there, sorry."
Magistrate Jeff Bailey imposed the sentence. "I figured he needed to
apologize in a public way," Bailey said.
Smith told Bailey he didn't have the money and couldn't afford the time away
from work that a jail sentence would require. He could have been sentenced to 30
days in jail or fined $325.
"That was better than having to pay a lot of money," Smith said of his
punishment. "I know I won't do it no more." (Yahoo News)
* * * * * * * * *
Here is a suggestion for contributing to the
ongoing Hurricane Katrina relief effort: The Baton Rouge Area Foundation,
which runs the Hurricane Katrina Displaced residents Fund and the Hurricane Katrina New Orleans Recovery Fund.
You have one of those yellow ribbon magnets on the
back of your car. Now please do something to meaningfully support
the brave men and women in our armed forces. Retired NYPD Detective
Bill Burns brought IRAQ
and AFGHANISTAN VETERANS of AMERICA to my attention. Please
visit their website and join me in making a donation.
IAVA's primary aim is to give American Troops and
Veterans of the current conflicts a voice in the public dialogue.
The Pentagon's stranglehold on the flow of information coming out
of Iraq, combined with the increasing risk to Western journalists
posed by the insurgency, has limited the media's ability to report
on the war. In addition, because less than 0.5% of the population
has served in Iraq, civilians are unlikely to learn about the war
from veterans in their communities. Furthermore, the culture of the
professional military has left many service members reluctant to
speak out. As a result, people do not understand what life is like
for our Troops and are generally unaware of the issues that face
them. Beyond buying a yellow ribbon, most Americans do not know how
to tangibly support the Troops.
IAVA bridges the gap between the military and the
public by connecting American civilians with Veterans and Troops
who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and empowers citizens to
support the Troops and become more engaged in our nation's decisions
regarding how our military is used and cared for. IAVA highlights
the concerns of our soldiers both at home and abroad, including
issues like underfunded veterans' programs, the armor shortage,
Stop Loss, and the problematic use of private contractors, so that
these problems can quickly be remedied.
A longstanding member of the San
Antonio 100 Club, I joined the Houston area 100 Club this month,
which covers Liberty County as well. Established
in Houston, Texas in 1953, The 100 Club is a well-recognized
organization within the communities it serves. The 100 Club began
when 100 men, each contributing $100, wanted to help the families of
Houston Police Officers that were killed in the line of duty.
The effort put
forth by these men has developed into a half century of support for
law enforcement in not only Harris County, but seventeen surrounding
counties – Austin, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Chambers, Colorado,
Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Liberty, Madison, Montgomery,
San Jacinto, Walker, Waller, and Washington counties. In October
2001, The 100 Club reached another milestone in its history by
providing benefits to the dependents of Firefighters killed on the
line of duty.
growth of The 100 Club is only possible through its members and
donations made from the community. Your membership helps The 100
Club continue to support the Law Enforcement Officers and
Firefighters that protect you.
a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!
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the 9/11/06 EvenHand Journal entry, "To Never Forget" by
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