Rockin’ the Local Police Force
by Donald K. Sanders
I like to collect unique rocks and fossils. I’ve got rocks in my living room. I’ve got rocks next to the keyboard of my computer, and I’ve got rocks on the back porch, the shed and all over the yard — front and back.
Sometimes, collecting rocks can be rather hazardous. I’ve fallen in the creek, gotten poison oak a million times, stepped on rattlesnakes and dropped rocks on my toe.
Most of the time, I hike and look for fossils alone but recently my friend Steve joined me. Steve grew up around here, so he knows all the best places to find rocks that resemble some type of dead animal.
Steve likes to look for rocks at the end of county road outside of town. There are a lot of really nice rocks out there, so we’ve rock hunted there several times in recent months. We both carry backpacks, with digging utensils, bottled water and a snack. We both also carry a cross-country ski pole as a walking stick. Mine is bamboo and his is steel. Both have leather handles with a strap to go around your wrist and a little pointy thing at the end.
I know we’re looking pretty good as we mosey along, looking at this rock or that one. We must look like those explorer guys, Pike and Armstrong, who found the North Pole in Alaska. Sometimes I play like I’m Davey Crockett and Steve is my trusty sidekick Tonto, but I don’t tell Steve about that.
So, we were walking the creek bed at the end of Road 32 one day. We’d been at it for about half an hour when it turned cold and started to rain. I don’t like the rain much because it leaves little bitty clean spots all over my face, and when I get home I look like a prune.
After awhile Steve started whining about being wet and cold, so I reconnoitered that we’d better start back toward our trucks that were parked well over a quarter of a mile away. I was rubbing my forehead because I ran into a tree limb while looking at the rocks on the ground, when Steve says, “Hey there’s a bunch of cops over there.”
Sure enough, there were about 20 cops looking around our trucks like they were going to steal something. My mind works like a well-oiled tractor, so I was thinking, “I better run.” I turned this way and that but every time I did, the rocks that I had in my coat pockets swung around and hit me where it really hurts. One of those cops looked like a track star, and I’m an old man carrying 100 pounds of rocks, so I decided not to run.
I was getting scared, so I asked Steve, “What the hell did you do?” It looked like he’d parked in the middle of the road because all the cop cars were parked behind his truck. I looked at Steve and sure enough, he looked guilty of something.
We figured that heading toward those cops would be the smart thing to do or they’d be poking holes in our tires. We yelled to get their attention because one of them looked like he was going to shoot my truck. I tried to quicken my pace but those darn rocks were heavy and I was recovering from a case of pneumonia that had kept me in bed a week before.
With the rocks, the pneumonia and the hurrying, I looked like a sweaty crackhead with a pocket full of rocks. Just for a second, I thought about throwing those rocks at the cops and then take off running like the rabbit that I am. Then I thought that if Steve could hold them down, I could beat the hell out of them. Then I remembered what happened to people that threw rocks and hit a cop. I decided against that, because I knew they were after Steve and not me anyway.
Steve is an officer of the law too, so I figured that he must have done something pretty bad. When we reached the cops I tried to act like I didn’t know him and it was just a coincidence that we were both looking for rocks in the same place. I decided to keep my mouth closed so I wouldn’t say something stupid.
One cop asked if we had been hunting. I thought he meant rock hunting so I says, “yeah.” He told us that someone had called in and said that there were two guys out there angrily waving guns around. I said, “Not me, maybe Steve was.” At that, they searched Steve’s backpack and found all those rocks. By now it was raining pretty good and it was cold too.
They checked our IDs and asked us a few questions. I started telling rock stories and right in the middle of my story, they jumped in their cars and sped off down the road. We tried to catch them but they were going too fast.
Steve went to his house and I went to mine so we could check out our rocks where the other fella couldn’t lay claim to the other’s rocks. I washed off my rocks and started to think. That guy who called the cops must be really stupid. He can’t even tell a ski pole from a gun. He’s so dumb that he probably thought our rocks were hand grenades. I bet he’s ugly too and beats his kids. Geez, even I’m not that dumb.