Lately, there seems to be a bit of an upsurge of people impersonating police officers in connection with the commission of serious crimes. There are also those instances where the impersonator is arrested, but it is not readily apparent why the person decided to pretend to be a cop.
It’s the latter instance that reminded of a brief episode that took place when I was probably about seventeen years old.
My friend and I were in his car just cruising around the town on a Saturday afternoon. It was common to drive up and down the main street, which ran through my hometown, as well as one town to the south and three towns to the North. We would cruise on the same street through the five towns for hours on end, listening to the radio, shooting the breeze, and trying to look cool. We were young, and gas was cheap.
On this particular Saturday, after several hours of this mindless back and forth on Main Street, we became hungry and took a turn off the main drag to the part of the town where my friend lived so that we could go to “Big Nick’s Pizzeria” for a soda and a couple slices. The place was aptly named, because Big Nick was pushing 500 pounds, but I digress.
Parking was tight by Big Nick’s place, so my friend parked in front of a fire hydrant near the pizzeria. As he was turning the ignition off, the conversation went as follows:
Me: “I don’t think we should park here.”
Friend: “Waddya mean? We won’t be here that long.”
Me: “There’s a cop over there, and he is watching us.”
Friend: “Where’s the cop?”
Me: (pointing) “For Chrissakes, he’s right there on the sidewalk. He’s twenty feet away and he’s looking at where you parked the car.”
Friend: (pointing) “You mean him?”
Me: “Yeah. You better start the car before he starts to write a ticket.”
Friend: (laughing) “Don’t worry about him. He’s not a cop. That’s Sookie.” [rhymes with “rookie”]
Friend: “Yeah, everybody around here knows Sookie. He’s not all there, but his thing is dressing up like a cop. He doesn’t bother anybody, so nobody pays much attention to him. Besides, if you look closer, you can see he’s not a real cop. Check it out. He’s wearing black sneakers with holes in them and he’s got no gun.”
Me: “I can’t believe that the cops haven’t arrested the guy, or at least give him a hard time.”
Friend: “Nah, they all know Sookie means no harm. They leave him alone. No, wait! There was one time that he got himself in a little trouble. Skippy the cop must have dropped his book of summonses; Sookie found it and was walking up and down the street “ticketing” cars. When Skippy saw what Sookie was doing, he took back his Summons book and raised hell with Sookie. Supposedly, Sookie told Skippy that he was sorry and it wouldn’t happen again, and that was the end of it.”
I have no doubt that Skippy had to explain to his boss why a bunch of summonses were missing from his book, but I also have no doubt that Skippy’s boss knew Sookie and that’s where it ended.
Sadly, this would never happen now. Today’s “Sookie” would be cuffed, and arrested and would wind up in the lockup until someone bailed him out. Counsel would be appointed for him, and he would either have to plead or face a trial and a sentence. Some group would then surface claiming that Sookie’s rights were violated by the police and sue the town. The press would be all over it. The case would probably wind up in the Supreme Court.
I liked it the way it was.