Officer Alex fills us in on another unsalubrious aspect of his job.
We spot him on the front porch of his house on Foust Street before he spots us, which is kind of surprising since we are very distinctly dressed as “cops” and he is a thief and a robber with three felony warrants out for his arrest.
I smile because I’m a nice guy, and also because it makes me look like I don’t know how many warrants he has despite the fact that I do, because I’m also a clever little guy.
So I’m smiling, we’re talking, and we all start walking across the yard to the front porch. I point down the street as if to apparently ask about a particularly fascinating utility pole when Mr. Cleveland’s eyes begin to narrow ever so slightly. He realizes the five cops in his yard may actually be here on business despite his acumen in the crime game, and thusly, he turns to flee.
His direction of travel is toward the front door, and my smile doesn’t quite fade as I top the porch to try to block the closing of the door. My attempt fails as does my smile, and I put a shoulder to it so that I may continue my journey towards great justice.
(*Before you contact an attorney, know that “hot pursuit” allows this in the Buford T. Justice method for which it was clearly named.)
The door gives under my weight as shitty East Lake doors tend to do, and I see Mr. Cleveland change course from what must have been another (inconveniently locked) door to across the room where I intercept him. Which is where this stopped being normal.
When I dove, I clasped his midriff in my Grover-from-Sesame-Street-like-arms and allowed years of convenience-store food and alcohol to bring him to the ground (as it was metaphorically doing to me), and down we went. And then my partner landed on top of me. And his partner landed on top of us. And their partner landed on top of them. And someone else’s partner landed on top of all of us.
The Dog Pile (or “Pig Pen” depending on who you ask) is a horrible thing, and I’m not talking about for the felon at the bottom of it, despite the great swell of pity I normally feel for my fellow man.
It’s a spaghetti mound of polyester and leather and guns and adrenaline and there’s never so much as a statistical chance that everyone involved has bathed, so there’s a club-sandwich layer of funk to contend with, as well as the adrenaline-pumping aspect of someone grabbing your gun. You really just tend to focus on that, as compared to whether or not you turned off the stove-eye prior to leaving for work.
We were writhing there on the floor when I heard someone yell out “Mother #$@%&!, quit moving or I’ll break your damn foot!” and at that instant, I realized with no small amount of horror that I was, in fact, the mother #$@%&! whose foot was in a death grip and inexorably being twisted in an attempt to get its owner to give up.
“HEY! THAT’S MY FOOT!” I screamed in attempt to relay the obvious, but my partner (or his partner, or their partner) was having none of that and my foot continued to twist. The boots you wear for stability and comfort? They were not helping in this case the least little bit, either. “What the shit?!” I thought. “Does he think this idiot is wearing a zippered leather Danners?!”
I actually felt a tangible “pop” in the area of my upper calf as the contortion continued, and then as quickly as the horror began—it stopped.
“OH! Sorry, bruh!” my partner (or his partner, or their partner) said. I went limp.
Mr. Cleveland had no sympathy for my plight, as he was contending with somewhere in the area of 600 pounds of “cop” on top of him as I traversed my mountains of pain, but I didn’t hold it against him. He had six weeks of pretrial hearings before him while I had six weeks of light duty to recover.
In the end, I got to see daylight whereas he got to see shift changes of guards and a load of orange suits for about ten times that amount of time.
Was it a fair trade? No. Color me biased, but he was a rotten-ass thief and robber. Me? I’m a nice guy and an authority on utility poles. Why would anyone hurt me?
Another sidewalk, another day. I love my job.