I’m mystified about what’s out there too but when believers put lives at risk, well…
THE ALIENS ARE COMING. Some days as a copper you think that nothing can happen that could surprise you in any way, shape or form. I’d taken ill and when I returned to work I was seconded to the Inquiry Office, chasing down people for outstanding warrants, serve summonses, take statements etc. A job that could get iffy at times but mainly dull. I decided to work on a Saturday morning and started at six (a flexible job) on my own. I was in the process of signing the car keys out when a call came in, ‘Woman with a knife at the Country women’s hostel.’ The night crew were at a fatal accident and the next crew weren’t due on until seven. The Sarge looks at me and raises an eyebrow, ‘Yeah, I’ll take it.’ The Hostel, a beautiful two storey building from the late 1800’s, was situated in the main street. I brought the car to a stop 50 metres down from it, next to a small group of young women who had obviously just got out of bed. Three of them sobbed and hugged each other, another, I’ll call her Tracey was made of sterner stuff.
The story was that an older woman had arrived the night before and taken a room upstairs. Throughout the night she went from room to room taking any electrical appliance she found to the kitchen, where she dismantled them. When the girls woke up she herded them into the TV room and locked them in. The woman yelled and had strange conversations throughout the night, talking to someone from the Galactic Overlords.
One of the girls had a horse on agistment outside of town, it had an infection so she kept several vials of penicillin and syringes in the fridge. At 5 a.m the woman took each girl from the room at knife-point, and tried to inject them with penicillin (to avoid the interstellar plague). When that failed she put them back in the room. The cook, a Filipino woman came in at 5.30 and received an injection for her troubles and she was still in the house. The hostel reminded me of one of those southern style houses, it had verandas top and bottom with wisterias growing on trellises. If you stood at the front door you could see straight through to the kitchen at the rear.
Tracy informed me that the woman’s name was Mary and that she could be anywhere in the hostel, also the cook was tied up in the kitchen. There are times when you have to think like the offender, this was one of them. Not knowing what to expect I walked up to the open front door and knocked, a voice echoed through the building, ‘Who is it?’ – ‘My name’s Laurie and I’ve been sent by the Supreme Commander of the Galaxy, you’re needed elsewhere.’ This happened thirty years ago and I can still see her clearly. Mary was tall, about forty, heavily built with long black hair, she wore black horn rimmed glasses, a long black dress and white sand shoes. And held a huge Chef’s knife in her hand.
‘Come in, come in, thank God they’ve finally sent someone.’ Her face beamed, she beckoned me down to the kitchen, the cook sat there, eyes almost popping from her head, as she struggled against her bonds. I had to ignore her and keep eye contact with Mary. It was hard, the kitchen had been transformed into something resembling an electrical retailers workshop. Every appliance had their power leads tied together. Bare wiring hung from wall sockets and long strips of aluminium foil hung from the windows. Mary had radio circuit boards pinned to her dress. She saw me looking, ‘I had to do something to contact them, I couldn’t hear their voices anymore.’
Still holding the knife (which seemed to have grown) she stood by the cook, ‘Now what do the Supreme Commanders want? Don’t they realise I’ve done all this work to bring them through on Monday?’ I put on my best, gee I’m sorry to have to tell you look, ‘They want you to go to the hospital for a medical Mary. I have to take you so I can report back to them on your progress. Now give me the knife, you don’t need it anymore,’ she looked from the knife to me, to the cook. I held my hand out, ‘they have a ray gun for you at the hospital.” She handed the knife over, sweet as pie and I hustled her outside to the car. I didn’t have a cage in mine so I sat her in the front, told Tracy to free the cook then drove to the hospital.
Mary became agitated so I kept the dialogue going, thanking her for the wonderful work she’d been doing. A one minute, blue light dash to the hospital seemed like forever. The street ends at the hospital driveway, I parked in the ambulance bay at the entry to Emergency and helped Mary out of the car. The Sister came out, ready to tear me a new one for parking there. I cut her off with, ‘Here we are Mary, Sister here is the Medical Officer for Galactic Command, she’ll look after you.” I received a withering glare from Sister until I whispered in her ear, quickly filling her in.
Feeling a little shaky I went out and sat against my car, the sound of an engine revving at high-speed made me look up. A Holden sedan with the Filipino cook in the passenger seat, headed straight for me. At the last moment the driver swerved and smashed into the brick wall, next to the main entry. He stormed out and attacked me, screaming about his wife being poisoned, blah, blah. I pushed him away and he ran to his wife, dragged her out of the car and into emergency. It took some talking from me and the staff before he calmed down and realised a horse sized dose of penicillin injected into her thigh wouldn’t kill her.
A sad, strange tale but true. I never saw Mary again, apparently she had run off from a mental home on the outskirts of town that Friday night and made a beeline for the Hostel. She was admitted back into the institution. Tracy thought I was Galahad and Lancelot rolled into one and she stalked me for the next twelve months, bless her. And the cook, well I can only imagine that she didn’t get ill for years.
Remember, the Truth is out there.
WATCH WHERE YOU’RE STICKING THAT NEEDLE NURSE. Country station Coppers invariably work on their own. For most of the time they get the usual run of the mill jobs and can manage quite well. Then what begins as a normal week can turn into hell. I’ll tell that story in a later post when I run out of humorous tales. For now we’ll have to do with this one.
Help is always a radio call away and that’s fine when you’re in town. If you are on your own: in the dark, down on the ground wrestling a drug fueled alcoholic, on a bender, who suffers from schizophrenia and he’s three times bigger than you – then – you’re in trouble. The officer involved, I’ll call him Cedric was the sergeant in charge of a two officer station in a country town about 30 kilometres away. I’d worked with him when I’d relieved at his station and found him to be a good copper.
When a call comes through that an officer needs assistance, you head your patrol car in his direction, waiting for the operator to send you. That way you’re closer if needed. Cedric needed assistance, he had been called to help the manager of a rehab centre restrain a client who had gone berserk. I knew where the centre was (hard to find even in daylight) and the dispatcher sent us on our way. There is nothing quite as thrilling than driving a police car at speed, sirens and lights on. The anticipation of the unknown tickling at your gut.
Google maps reminds me that the distance I had to travel was 24.4 klms and that it would take 25 minutes. Let’s halve that shall we? I drove in through the main gate of the centre and pulled up by the reception office. Cedric, in his late 50’s: red-faced, hair tousled, nose bleeding, winter parka minus a sleeve, was being piggy backed and flung around the grounds by the patient. I’d seen some people going off over time, this bloke took the cake.
When you are sitting at home watching the evening news and a story comes on about police having to shoot a violent, mentally deranged person, stop and have a think before judging. The situation is made worse if you have limited resources, we couldn’t count on the person who ran the place. His patient needed urgent medical assistance before he killed somebody (us) or hurt himself.
A person in this mental state can’t be reasoned with. God alone knows what is going through their minds, they could see you as a monster or someone trying to kill them. I’ll tell you now, it was scary.
Call it good luck, timing or the efforts of three adrenalin fueled coppers but we got him in the back seat. Then the fun began, he started on the windows, smashing his head against them. Then the cage across the back of the front seat. Cedric looks at me, then at my off-sider a young, short fellow, and says, ‘How about I drive Smithy? You can get in the back and stop him from hurting himself.’ I take another look in the back: a large white face, eyes popping, lips bared, is pressed up against the side window. Spittle drooling out of his mouth slides down the glass as he hammers away at it with hands the size of Christmas hams.
By this time my mate is back in our car and turning it around. I take off my utility belt which holds my firearm and give it to Cedric. He knocks at the window to keep our friend occupied, while I go around and get in through the other door. The doors had child proof locks on them, so they couldn’t be opened from the inside. Along with the cage it meant that once inside I had nowhere to go. Charming. It was at times like that I thought about how much I was being paid to do this stuff, not enough. Remember, this bloke is off his tree, six-foot four and big enough to hold a bull out to pee. Add a complete lack of pain sensations on his part and a suspicion that I was there to kill him, and…
I open the door and dive into the dark interior, landing across his back I attempt to put him in a restraining hold – yeah right. Cedric slams the door behind me, gets behind the wheel and we’re off. It’s fine driving a car at high-speed, for the driver. Not for the poor bugger hanging onto 250 lbs of crazy in the cage. It was mid winter and I had on long underpants,(under my trousers) with footy socks and also wearing a parka. It didn’t take long to get hot. After a few minutes of catch as catch can wrestling, I managed to get him in a full nelson hold. This consisted of me on my back, my arms under his and around the back of his neck and my legs wrapped around his legs from behind. Very up close and personal.
Try doing that for fifteen minutes. Now the worrying aspect of this was, we had to take him to the hospital first to get an injection, before we took him to the mental home. Cedric radioed ahead to arrange for a Doctor or Nurse to be waiting at emergency to sedate this bloke. He hadn’t stopped struggling, I was worried he would die on me from all the effort, then the penny dropped – needle? His pants were the same colour as mine, navy blue. The interior light had gone in the car and our legs were entwined. Cedric brought the car to a sliding halt at the ambulance entrance, this flung us onto the floor, he ran around and opened the back door.
You may have seen the movie, filmed in 3D where some deranged Nurse comes at a patient, enormous syringe in hand. That was my perspective from the floor, hers was four entwined legs kicking and wriggling like mating octopuses. I felt the syringe go through my pants, footy sock, long johns and touch my skin before screaming, ‘I’ve got the darker navy pants on for %$&*’* sake. Jab him, not me.’ Cedric, bless him finally grabs hold of the blokes foot and hangs on. Nursey, after my subtle instructions as to where to put the syringe, holds it in her fist and drives it straight into his upper thigh. He bucked like a castrated calf, then a few moments later he was out to it.
Thank goodness for sedatives, she’d made up a dose that would’ve put a horse to sleep. And sleep he did, on my shoulder as I sat next to him all the way to his new home. I firmly believe that without back up, Cedric would probably have had to use deadly force on the bloke. I found out later that he’d beaten up the manager, trashed the facility and began beating patients before Cedric arrived on the scene.
It’s well after midnight as I’m writing this and the imagery has flooded my mind. My back hurts at the thought of it and I’m thankful that at the time I was fit and young. Today’s police have Tasers and pepper spray at their disposal. Though in retrospect I don’t think it would have affected him, perhaps we could have taken a therapist along and thrown them in the back of the car.