TITLE: Dragon Net 2009
By mark walters
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It’s 8:00 a.m. and I’m Sgt. Joe Fireday, working day watch out of homicidal. A beautiful day dawns here in L.A. Rain and smog cover the valley in a beautiful blanket of grey. News on the wire tells of stabbings, assaults and fatal wounds. Truly it fills my darkened heart with glee. But sometimes good things happen to bad people. It’s my job to see that doesn’t happen.
This is Dragon Net 2009
8:20 a.m. My partner, Detective Bill Z. Bub and I were cruising the strip in our unmarked Beer truck, when the call came in for a 3:16 at the corner mart in Watts.
“Step on it, Bub. We’ve got an emergency. Make an illegal u-turn here and head for Watts”.
With a quick jerking motion of the wheel, Bub caused the truck to careen out of control. We slid sideways down the side street, dumping kegs of swill in front of the corner mission. Then we changed direction and headed immediately across town to investigate. Upon arrival we questioned witnesses at the scene.
8:45 a.m. Lots of folks were milling around, shoplifting, smoking crack, listening to ungodly music and engaging in various types of degenerate behavior. Noticing that nothing seemed out of order here, we were about to call in to central to confirm our location. Suddenly a rotund woman in her 40s, with the smell of gin on her breath, spun around and caught Officer Bub off guard. Staring glassy eyed into his face, Officer Bub was almost overcome by the fumes.
“Officers! Thank whatever powers that be! There has been a terrible social faux pas committed here just now.”
I took a deep breath to avoid asphyxiation and continued on. “Excuse me, Ma’am. Did you see what went down here?”
“Why yes, Officer. I was minding my neighbor’s business when this polite looking young woman I was talking to interrupted my gossip with some kind of thing she called good news. I’m not sure what the news was, but I sensed she was up to nothing bad. When I saw she wasn’t interested in my story, I cut her off in mid sentence and told her to take that God stuff out of here.”
“Yes ma’am. Did you see which way she went from here?”
“Yes officers. I knew she was up to some kind of trouble, disturbing good meaning church folk with that “Jesus” stuff. You know how those goodie two shoes girls are. Well, I watched her cross the street at the light over there. Of course she just had to wait for the walk light signal before she crossed. You know what kind of girl that is.”
“Yes, ma’am. Now which way did you say she went?”
“I’m not sure where she went after she turned the next corner, Officers. But I do know she must be stopped.”
“Yes ma’am. We’ll catch here alright. That’s our job, taking Jesus freaks off the streets. Thanks for your help.”
Not having much of a description to go on, we cruised around the block, searching for a Christian type person. Knowing how far down hill this end of town has gone, we knew we were dealing with a real wierdo. Who else would be walking around trying to help these dirt bags?
Suddenly my partner blurted out, “There she is Joe.”
“Sure enough Bub. Call for backup. We’ll need at least two Mormons and a cute babe in a tank top with some wine.”
9:45 a.m. We stopped in front of a pleasant looking, well dressed young lady on the street corner, obviously someone out of place here. She was holding a Bible while witnessing to a denizen from the darker side of L.A. As we exited the beer truck with badges in hand, we prepared for action. Bible thumpers can be a dangerous lot.
“Excuse me, Miss. I’m Sgt. Joe Fireday and this is my partner Officer Bill Z. Bub. We need to ask you a few questions. What is your name, ma’am?”
“Well Officers. I’m Polly Purebred. I’m here with my church group doing street corner witnessing. We’re trying to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Can I talk to you about Jesus?”
“No ma’am. We already know the person of whom you speak. Please don’t use His name in our presence. It is the right of every peace loving citizen in L.A., such as this fine young drug addict, to believe in whatever deity they choose, if they choose. May I see your peddler’s permit, ma’am?”
“I don’t have one, Officer Fireday”.
“I see ma’am. You must have a permit to distribute religious materials or collect for religious purposes.”
“But Officers, I’m not passing out tracts or collecting money. I’m just trying to shed the light of Jesus Christ in a darkened world and invite them to the corner mission. My church is giving away money and goods to the needy. We don’t charge for anything that we do.”
When she made her defense I knew this one was going to be a hard case. Obviously, despite the innocent looking demeanor, she was no stranger to the wrong side of the law. She knew just how far she could go without crossing the line. She had all the right answers. I stepped back and motioned to Bub.
“Yo Bub. This one’s gonna be tricky. We can’t just cuff and stuff her. She hasn’t technically done anything wrong yet, but I know she’ll trip up sooner or later. We’ll have to fall back and watch for an entry. She’ll trip herself up in a while and we’ll have her then. Remember the Annas and Ciaphas technique. It’s good for cross-examining witnesses. If we can’t twist her words and use them against her, we can always bring up false witnesses later. After all, the ends justify the means. We’ve got to get a good apple off the streets. In the mean time we can make her plenty nervous.”
We returned to the suspect, who was trying to ruin the rest of the life of the aforementioned young dirt bag. “I’m sorry ma’am. We didn’t mean to disturb your conversation. Please continue on. Don’t mind our menacing manner, or large shiny badges and cocked firearms.”
“Thank you, Officer,” she said without even diverting her gaze from her target audience. “Young man, as I was saying, you too can receive the love of God in your heart today. He loves you with all His heart and wants you to be a part of His family”.
As the young man started to gain interest in her efforts, another woman walked into his peripheral field of view.
“Wow”, said the young man. “Can you believe that? What a babe.”
The “babe” continued on past the respectable young lady and winked at the young man lying in the gutter. She flashed the label of the wine bottle and a little leg his way. Suddenly he arose and followed the babe, leaving the respectable young lady for the tramp. We knew we snatched victory from the mouth of defeat.
She had no audience now. We had won by a very narrow margin that time. At last acknowledging defeat, she let out a shrug of her shoulders. Then the young woman did something unexpected. She shot a glance towards me and Officer Bub. She knew the enemy of her soul had dealt a blow to the kingdom. But she was not to be bested by the son of perdition.
“Say gentlemen. You know, God loves you too. You can accept the blood of Jesus Christ and He will save you from your sins“.
“I’m sorry young lady, I said. You can’t convince us. We’re hardened against God in our hearts. Isn’t that right, Officer Bub?”
“Well, I don’t know Joe. I listened to what she said. The lady makes a lot of sense to me. You know, Joe, I’d kind of like to get rid of this monkey on my back. What do you think? Couldn’t she be right about this Gospel stuff? We could at least hear her out.”
With a look turning from disbelief to disgust, I turned my gaze from Polly Purebred to Officer Bub. “Guess that’s it for you Bub. Turn in your badge and pitchfork, uh sidearm.”
With that I turned away in disgrace from Officer Bub, forcing him to bow his head in shame. Slowly I walked back to the truck. The nice young lady was now witnessing to Officer Bub. There’s no telling how much trouble she could stir up down here in the mean streets.
“I’m Joe Fireday and this is my beat, turning up the heat on the street, on the children of God. Can you take it, or will we make it - shut you down?”
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