Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Fifth Moron

The story I'm about to tell you is true. I have no interest in making something like this up nor do I possess the requisite imagination to do so. This story taught me a very valuable lesson. It is not mathematically impossible for four morons, all in various walks of life, to find each other at approximately the same time on the same day. I have learned one other thing. Sometimes it is very difficult to avoid becoming the fifth moron.

There are several people who read this blog that know this story. They were there along with me. I can only tell you my role in this because quite honestly, I was never interested in discussing this with the other parties involved. The other people involved in the Moonbat City Anthrax Incident did not think it was very funny. In fact, I believe, they would call my behavior unprofessional. To that allegation I would enter a plea of nolo contendere.

I was the Chief of Police in Moonbat City during the weeks immediately following 09/11/2001. Moonbat City is a small rural town, very out of the way and normally very peaceful and quiet. It is the last place on the planet that any terrorist would target. No secret military installations, no CIA headquarters, nothing like that. In the weeks following 09/11- some insane person began sending anthrax through the mail which was widely reported on national television and in the newspapers. Most people will remember that. Citizens all over the country began seeing anthrax everywhere and calling the police. This became a real headache for small police departments everywhere, including ours, because all of these reports were unfounded. By the time this particular call came in- I had already been schooled. Once because of a package of seeds in an envelope, the other incident involved some drywall dust on the bottom of a pair of boots. That was how it was in mid October, 2011.

Shortly after noon on that October day, I received a frantic call from dispatch telling me to shut down the local McDonald's Restaurant and barricade the parking lot. In fact initially, I didn't even get an explanation. So I waited. After a few minutes had transpired, dispatch explained to me that a McDonald's patron had found a balloon with a white powdery substance inside of it which he declared was anthrax. He had found the balloon on the ground in the parking lot. Rather than simply call for help, this guy had picked up the balloon and hit the highway, northbound in his car. He had called the Moonbat County dispatch center on his cellphone while driving toward parts unknown. Just a man and his anthrax.

Now I remember thinking, this must be somebody's dope. Then I thought, who carries dope in balloons anymore? I was lulled out of that semi-conscious state by an insistent dispatcher who apparently had decided to take control of the situation. She ordered me over the radio to shut down the McDonald's parking lot. I could not ignore her much longer. Eventually, I told her that shutting down the parking lot and that whole McDonald's vicinity was not going to happen. I tried to be nice, I think. That's when shit started getting really nasty.

While all of this goodwill was taking place over the police radio, the anthrax guy drove into a neighboring town's local hospital. He walked into the E.R. area, announced that he had been exposed to anthrax, and kicked off a general shutdown of the entire hospital. He was placed in the decontamination booth and hosed down after scaring the hell out of the nurses. Thankfully, he left his anthrax in the car.

In the meantime, I am thinking geezus. I better do something. I contacted my local fire chief. He agreed to come down and hose off the McDonald's parking lot after sprinkling it with anti anthrax fairy dust.

Back at the hospital, fire department personnel from a neighboring city were summoned to the parking lot by hospital employees. Following procedures, firefighters donned those white hazardous materials bunny suits with breathing apparatus' and retrieved the anthrax from the car. I was told they decontaminated the car although I am not sure exactly what that entailed. By that time, my ears were burning. Not only was dispatch thoroughly pissed at me, but they had gotten their supervisors involved. I did the only thing that made sense. I went home, avoided the lynch mob, and probably had a couple of drinks although I am not confessing. Sometime around 9 PM that evening, officers called me at my house. The Sheriff's Office wanted our department to take the now packaged and sealed anthrax to the state crime lab, 150 miles away.

I know what I said next. I said, "You've got to be fucking kidding me."

The following morning, the night shift cops told me how mad the Sheriff's Office and dispatch was at me. They were angry that they were forced to take the anthrax to the crime lab when in fact, this whole episode started at the McDonald's in Moonbat City. In our jurisdiction.

A day or two later, we found out that the white powdery substance in the balloon was in fact- lethal. It could kill you, but only if you were to choke on a pancake. It was Bisquick. Some sort of lab experiment at the high school. Apparently some kid had either kicked it out of his car or disposed of it during lunch at McDonald's. I very nearly pissed my pants while being told that news.

Interestingly enough, the local newspapers never reported on the Moonbat City Anthrax Incident. I don't remember reading anything about this anywhere. Very often, we would have these valley wide debriefings after these large scale, multi-jurisdictional incidents would take place. Maybe they had some debriefing or perhaps they simply forgot to invite Mrs. Butterworth's or myself.

I never took any interest in identifying the original anthrax reporting motorist. I think it best, that he remain anonymous. Sort of a moron legend. I have also been very vague about identifying all of the morons in the Moonbat City Anthrax Incident. A few of them are still working. You will just have to take my word that there were four.

I have one other observation to report on. There were times during my career, when I simply could not abandon all common sense when I needed to. My ego and I have always had this internal struggle. In government work, very often you are better off just being an obedient worker and doing what you are told. That way you will look like a team player and you won't make everyone else look bad. If you get really good at this, you can advance quickly. Sometimes, you are far better off just becoming the fifth moron.


Airstikes for Peace said...

Anthrax. I remember this like yesterday. Idiots running amok. No common sense working that day. Luckily the "renegade " police department could delineate between fact and outright lunacy. What a proud day!!!!!

Brian said...

I just had a feeling you would giggle about this. I still can't believe it. Nearly 10 years ago and I am still drooling...