September 14, 2008

"Officer, do your duty!"

  The lady opens the door for the young cop. "He's in the back," she says, leading the officer hurriedly down the long hallway of her lakeside home. She swings open the kitchen door and points to the three-foot-long snake in the middle of the floor of her newly decorated kitchen.

  "Ma'am, maybe we ought to call Wildlife," the young cop says. "I'm really not that-all familiar with snakes."

  "There isn't time," the woman insists with a genuine sense of urgency. "You must do your duty right this minute!"

  "That's just it, ma'am, I'm not really sure if it'd be proper for me to take a law enforcement action in this particular case," the officer says. "A lot of wildlife is protected. Maybe I could use your phone?"

  "That snake may be wildlife when he's outdoors," the woman says, "but when he's in my house he's a dangerous wild animal. Now, as I said before, do your duty, officer, and shoot that beast!"

  The young cop is well trained in police work. But he has even more years of training obeying his elders. Reluctantly the cop draws his revolver, takes aim, and fires—three times he fires.

  I'd like to be able to say, "No animals were harmed in the writing of this column," but that's not true. A snake died this day on orders from a kindly little old lady who had no time for "indoor wildlife."

  Moments later, standing over the reptile's corpse, the woman reacts with horror: "You didn't tell me it'd leave holes in my kitchen floor!"

  After talking to the woman for over an hour, the Chief of Police ordered the cop to pay carpenters to plug the holes in the woman's kitchen floor. The young cop was also assigned to retake — on his days off — a "shoot-don't-shoot" rookie class.

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