In which Officer Alex attempts to recruit a new partner
He sat in the center of the back seat, his front legs locked, yet still nimble enough to deal with the G-forces as I occasionally slowed or turned more quickly than inertia allows a 60-pound quadruped sitting on cushioned vinyl to deal with.
“Easy, Justice,” I said as we turned left through a green light.
“What was that?” my partner said over the phone. (We were on speaker, relax.) “What are you talking about?”
“Not what,” I replied. “Who. Justice the Dog, of course.”
“You have a dog? What, in your car?”
Why was he making it sound so weird? “Well, duh,” I said. “He couldn’t stay on the interstate.” And for once, this was pleasantly true. Traffic was swerving and locking up their brakes up ahead of me near the three-mile marker of I-75 and I went towards the cause, only to discover a medium-sized brown lump huddled up against the inside wall, occasionally trying to dart back across the interstate to get to the other side. He was shivering with fear.
I used the traffic already stopped behind me (because fast-lane traffic on an Interstate is the last place on Earth I want to be unless the other alternatives involve spiders), shut my front door and opened the rear. After a quick series of “G’boy, g’boy!’s” and kissy-sounds, he got the picture and bolted into the back of my car. I shut the door quickly and raised my arms in a “V” for victory as those stopped in view of me could see what was being done and began to honk and clap.
“We’re going to have such Adventures!” I said to my new friend. He squinted his brown eyes and began to rapidly thump his tale, and I immediately smelled urine. (Dog urine, for a change.) “Great,” I muttered. Catching myself, I quickly spun it on a positive note: “It’s perfectly natural! Now that I think about it, I probably ‘spotted’ a bit just now myself!” It’s all about self-esteem, you see. It wasn’t long afterwards that my partner called and I threw him on speakerphone.
“Are you going to McKamey then?” he asked.
“Why the hell would I do that?” I replied. “This is a CRACK dog, I’m sure of it. You can see it in his eyes. RIGHT, BOY?!” I said excitedly as I looked into my rearview mirror. He squinted again, and I heard a fart.
“OK, so he’s a little excitable,” I said, wincing at the other distinct dog smell usually reserved for late-night games of “poo foot” among co-workers who have unknowingly stepped on a dog-mine, “but he is mine. And we are going to have adventures together.” My partner audibly sighed.
“And you’re calling him ‘Justice’?” he asked.
“Of course. All great sidekicks get a name.”
At this, we concluded the conversation and a call came in from dispatch. “We’re on, boy!” I said, but with much less enthusiasm this time in fear for both my upholstery and olfactory glands.
I worked Brainerd so, naturally, I received “the other kind of call” there (as opposed to wrecks): a shoplifter. Maybe they had “the weed” or crack on them? Justice would be so excited! (And he was. He now just squinted automatically when we made eye contact in the mirror, and without pee or poo sounds.)
I arrived and found two customers waiting, already in irons thanks to the astute loss-prevention staff at Dillard’s Hamilton Place, and I prayed they lacked identification or had been previously banned so I could transport them since this world was still too prejudiced to allow my dog to accompany me inside…and lo and behold? My wish came true. We were going downtown—but not before I ran my dog around them.
I got them all the way to the car and was beginning to wonder how I was actually going to get the dog into the front seat when I noticed something in the back seat.
Apparently, that wasn’t just a fart earlier. (Now it was my turn to audibly sigh.)
“What’s that smell?” Customer #1 asked.
I looked him in the eye and replied, “That smell? That’s the smell…of Justice.”
(I stopped at McKamey on the way back from the jail. He was a crappy partner after all, it seemed.)