Every town has its own distinctive family groups; the fine upstanding members of the community, average families, criminal enterprise families and the Brogan family. I don’t want to reveal their true identity for reasons which will soon become obvious.
OF MICE AND MEN. An exceptionally close family, four generations lived together in the one house. Grandpa was the patriarch and took it upon himself to father children by his wife, three adult daughters and granddaughters who were of age. At any given time of the year the house would be populated by pregnant women. It was a common sight, the family walking into town. Grandpa striding out proudly in front, and all of his pregnant women parading along behind pushing prams, with the toddlers and older ones bringing up the rear.
It never ceased to amaze me that social services didn’t step in, although no complaints had been made against them. I would like to say that they kept to themselves and out of the beady eye of the authorities but they didn’t. They were a constant source of trouble, the children in particular. You can’t keep interbreeding and not have consequences, both mental and physical. The children all looked the same as if some genetic cookie cutter had been at work. Whenever I had anything to do with them I could hear duelling banjos playing in the background.
I know I sound flippant about a serious situation but I can’t help it. Father’s day wouldn’t be a problem. Although it would get mighty interesting when it came to working out what to call your mother, when in reality she was also your half-sister and your….. It’s confusing. I felt sorry for the young children, knowing that they didn’t have a lot to look forward to in life. You can’t save everybody though and the job had enough stresses without taking on other people’s.
The two older boys, let’s call them Bill and Ben, were teenage half-brothers who fought constantly with each other, and turned out to be a real problem. The usual strife, street offences, drunkenness, and fighting brought them into contact with police on a regular basis. Bill, the quiet one bred mice in his bedroom, lots of mice. I think he sold them for snake food and Ben had a mean streak a mile wide.
The call came, ‘Disturbance at the Brogan’s place, take up with Mrs Brogan.’ I replied, ‘Which one?’ We pulled up out front of the house, nobody there, walked up the stairs, still nobody. The television blared and the faint sound of raised voices came from the back of the house, “I’ll effing stab you, you &^%$*.” Oh dear, grandpa and his wife sat in the lounge room watching Days of our Lives. They both looked up and nodded their heads in the direction of the back of the house and returned to the torrid lives of the Horton’s and Tallon’s.
The closer to the bedroom the more intense the argument became, “I’ll effing kill you, you bastard, you killed them, you killed them all.” Out with the revolver and kick the door open, I’ll never forget the scene. Bill stood by his bed, tears streaming down his chubby cheeks, and the point of his flick knife held up to Ben’s throat. Mouse cages were smashed and all of the wee mice beheaded and laid out on Bill’s bed. I had seen angry people before, though not like Bill. His mice were the only decent thing in his life, and I’ve never seen a person so happy to see a copper as Ben was.
Bill had gone beyond angry, his eyes bulged in their sockets and froth bubbled in the corners of his mouth. I yelled at him to drop the knife, no response. I moved closer yelled again and pointed my revolver at him, nothing. You couldn’t call him small, we were the same height and he would’ve been 20 kilos heavier than me, and crazier. I would have loved a Taser, (wrong decade). Instead I holstered my revolver, took out my baton, looked at my off-sider and said, “Drag Ben out of the way, I’ve got Bill.” Ben was whisked away and I landed on Bill, whacking away at his knife hand. We landed on top of the dead mice. He calmed down and sat on the floor crying like a baby. I felt like a real bastard and Ben sneered at him from the door.
The end result was Ben wouldn’t make a complaint against his brother, he coughed up the money to replace the mice and Bill had a sore wrist. It seemed that Bill pissed Ben off over some trivial matter and he retaliated by systematically beheading the mice. The parents continued to watch DOOL, the mice were interred somewhere and we left them to their craziness. I now had a flick knife and no policemen were harmed.
More Knives. I’m beginning to think that I was in fact a knife magnet and this incident amplifies the thought. A midnight until eight shift, I loved them. We had to be in the station 15 minutes before start of shift to check in and catch up with the day’s events. I hadn’t put my sandwiches in the fridge and we were out, ‘burglary in progress, man armed with a knife.’ I seemed to get partnered with the new constables for these shifts, we all have to learn. Another blue light drive and we pulled up in front of a high set house. Nothing unusual there, except for the man hanging by one arm from the front bedroom window, 6 metres from the ground, with a knife in his other hand. A young woman stood at the window either pulling or pushing on his arm and trying to avoid the knife.
We shone the spotlight on him; he dropped to the ground and ran behind the house. There were no streetlights or a light at the rear. Crouched down, hugging the side of the house we moved to the back yard, it was dark. An old car body sat by the back fence and my mate shone his torch on it, our man stood there. A normal person when called on by the police to stop and put your hands up does just that. Not our hero, we’d moved into the centre of the yard and he ran to our left. He stopped about 5 metres in front of me, went into a gunfighter’s crouch, put his hand behind his back and whipped out something metal and shiny.
What do you do? You have an instant to think, to weigh up what is about to happen. Your own life is on the line; your off-sider’s and perhaps even the women in the house. I didn’t have an issue holster. It was an oyster shell type, constructed of thin spring steel, covered in leather. Gripping the butt of your weapon you push down and forward and your sidearm comes out in an instant. The mind works on many levels. It picks up on subtle differences and changes. Remember we were in the dark and he was framed by torchlight. As my .38 came up to chest height and my finger began squeezing the trigger, ‘Knife’ flashed through my mind. His arm had risen in a classic knife throwers position and I tilted my revolver. Bang. The round went up and the knife left his hand, heading towards me. He ran, we followed and hammered him to the ground. I’d holstered my weapon and it was on, he fought like a man possessed. In retrospect I think he must have been on drugs. It would have been easier putting handcuffs on an octopus.
Even with the cuffs on and his arms being lifted from behind he fought. We tossed him in the back of the car, he tried to kick out the windows. When that didn’t work he beat his face against the cage. Bat shit crazy. The woman came down stairs begging us not to hurt him, too late lady he’s doing a good job on his own. Looking at her I could see why he wanted her back, though I couldn’t agree with his methods. I interviewed her and it turned out to be a common tale, boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy loses girl. It turns out girl was stupid, boy was mental.
Yes, I’m judgemental but you had to see it for yourself. He would have stabbed her to death if he could have climbed in that window. At first she wanted him charged, I’d already done him for burglary and assault police. It went as far as a committal hearing when she wanted the charges dropped, why? Easy, she couldn’t live without him. I’d gone to her new house a month earlier to update her statement, guess who lived there with her? Yep, Bat Shit crazy guy.
This event changed the way I approached domestic situations. We had put our lives on the line for a woman who couldn’t stand by her convictions. I’ve written about domestics earlier in this series and I know how people’s minds operate in regards to relationships. I had spoken to the woman’s sister who had been in the bedroom with her. She had honestly believed he would have killed them both and couldn’t convince her sister to keep away from him.