It’s Always Something

Yesterday, I walked past a field and noticed an object wrapped in plastic and duct tape.  It was triangular and upright, resembling a dog or a small person sitting on haunches.  The duct tape seemed especially concentrated where a neck would be.  I went over to the object cautiously–couldn’t see any holes through which I might identify what was inside.  But one lump looked suspiciously like an open mouth gasping for breath.  With shaking hands, I dialed the police on my cell phone, while terrifying scenarios ran through my mind.

OPERATOR: Dispatch.

Me: Hi, I was just out walking and I found something in a field.  [Thinking but not saying: something dead.]

OPERATOR: Can you give me more information?  What size is it?  Where are you?

ME: I’m behind the high school.  It’s about the size of…a german shepherd, I guess.  [Thinking but not saying: with rigor mortis.]  It’s wrapped in plastic and duct tape.

OPERATOR: I can send someone out.  Will you be staying there for a few minutes?

ME: Yes. [Thinking but not saying: Seriously? Who would leave right now?]

A few minutes later, a police car pulled up and an officer joined me near the object.  He went over and inspected it closely, then nudged the plastic with his black shoe.

ME: Sorry to bother you.  This just didn’t seem right.

OFFICER: It’s fine.  Let’s take a look.

ME: [Anxiously] What do you think it is?

OFFICER: I don’t know but it’s not ticking, so let’s take a closer look.

ME: [Not going any closer] Okay.

OFFICER: [Tugs on the top of the plastic] Let’s pull this up.

ME: [Horrified to see something gray and pelt-like emerge from under the bottom edge]  Whoa, Is that fur?

OFFICER: [Continues removing plastic slowly] Hold on…

ME: [Nauseated] Is it a dog?

OFFICER: [Yanks plastic up, revealing a collection of pipes packed with fuzzy material]  A-ha! Someone must have insulated this for the winter and forgot to take it off.

ME: [Weakly, relieved] Oh, thank goodness.

OFFICER: [Replaces plastic, begins walking toward his car]  Do you need help with anything else?

ME: [Trying to quell sudden wave of embarrassment.]  I’m sorry that I called this in.

OFFICER: [Gruffly] It’s fine.

ME:  I know you’re busy.

OFFICER:  [Getting into car] Really.  It’s fine.

ME: I’m just so very glad that wasn’t a dog wrapped up in plastic and just dumped there.  Or a person.

OFFICER: Well, we did actually have one of those recently.

ME: Wait, what?  We did?

OFFICER: Yep.  Have a good day. 

12 thoughts on “It’s Always Something”

  1. Oh my, and he just casually tosses that out there! Now honestly, were you glad your package was nothing or not? I did a ride along once, where someone called in a “suspicious package” near one of the bridges.It was an empty cardboard box. I asked the officer, “So honestly, is that annoying, amusing, or nothing to you?” He said, “I’d rather they call and me find out it’s nothing that have to respond to the scene of an explosion because no one picked up the phone.”


  2. Mary, I was extremely glad that it was nothing! Good story about your ride along. I hope you’ll write about that…would love to hear more about it.

    Pamela, excellent question. I wanted to ask more but he was already gone…

    Diane, ha! Is there such a thing as flash nonfiction?

    Theresa, you’re right. And people say suburbia is boring…


  3. Lev, it didn’t sound like it but I hope so. Though I did wonder later: isn’t the first rule of working a case that you don’t talk about a case? Or is that Fight Club only? 🙂


  4. Cynthia, about the ride along? I can’t imagine you want to hear about the cardboard box. 🙂 He did apologize nothing “exciting happened” (stolen luggage report, someone tripped the alarm at the local YMCA, and the box), so I’ve been trying to think of a story to spin out of it.


  5. Nice, Sue! (You are clearly a mystery writer.) *ponders*

    Mary, I do! What was it like to be in the car? Where did you sit? How did people respond as you drove by? Maybe a future post…


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