Better Than Fiction

No Telling


I love our local newspaper. Not that I would consult The Log Cabin Democrat for any national or global news, but that was never this newspaper’s purpose. This journalistic wonder was the heartbeat of our community for over a hundred years before Kris Allen, and I hope it weathers another hundred. Maybe only the conglomerated, big-city newspapers will die out. Maybe the small-town rags will outlive us all.

Why? The Police Beat. There’s nothing like it. I’ll give you a taste from today’s shock and awe. These are numbered in the paper. I have no idea why.

4. Theft of property at 3900 block of [deleted by me]. A woman called police to say she’d accidentally left her purse at Walmart and someone had stolen it before she could get back to claim it. In the purse were keys, credit cards and a Kel-Tec .380 handgun.

What? Are other women in the checkout line pushing buggies and packing heat? Apparently so. I’m a complete gun nerd, so I had to look up this particular weapon. The fine people at Kel-Tek advertise this as “…mainly intended for plainclothes police officers as a secondary weapon, or for concealed carry by licensed citizens. The small grip size and light trigger pull make the P-3AT ideal for female shooters.” At Wal-Mart. They left that part out.

That’s not the day’s favorite from the police blotter, though. This one is.

6. Assault at 500 block [deleted by me]. A woman answered a knock on her door Friday morning to encounter a heavyset white female wearing a brown hat and scarf and “big dark glasses” spraying her in the face with what seemed to be hairspray and beating her with what is described in the report as “a plastic dump truck.” After the attack the assailant fled in “a black, foreign-type passenger car,” according to the report.

This is why the South produces so many good writers. It’s not that we’re all literarily gifted, it’s because the local newspapers sweetly dump these prizes right into our laps like birthday presents. We don’t have to make it up. The stuff of fiction happens all around us. There’s no such thing as writer’s block when there’s a good hairspray-and-plastic-dump truck incident to get us over the hump.

Was it Aquanet? Tonka? Did that unfortunate woman at Wal-Mart lose irreplaceable pictures of her grandbabies along with that Kel-Tek .380? These are questions a writer must answer.

So keep on plugging away, Log Cabin Democrat. Just to make sure you do, I’m re-upping my subscription. Sure, you’re free on the internet, but my loyalty to the Police Beat requires hard cash and a fresh year-long commitment.

9 thoughts on “Better Than Fiction

  1. If the lady with the gun at the Wal-Mart was just up visiting from Ward, there's a good chance it was my aunt. She scares me to death toting that gun around in her purse with all her make-up, crackers, gum, mace and all the other stuff that floats around in there. I swear to God, one day she's going to mean to hand someone a stick of gum and accidentally blow their toe off.

    Small town police blotters kick ass!

  2. Our police blotter is usually full of gun assaults, domestic violence, and drug busts. Nothing ever funny like that. People's cars get stolen and stuff. And we're a really tiny town…must be the South that gets all these cool things, cuz up in Michigan it's never anything but bad news.

  3. Candace, I'm willing to bet about every third woman in Wal-Mart is just like your aunt.

    Julia, that sounds just awful. I'll regularly post the good ones on here just to cheer you up.

  4. I love small-town police blotters. Our local paper never gives the good details. They can be better than gossip for finding out who's up to what.

    We have a newspaper we picked up in a bump-in-the-road town on the North Shore. It's one of those areas where there is one newspaper–a weekly–for the entire county. We kept it just for the police blotter. Items such as:

    “Report of youth 'shaking their booty' on highway. Officer investigated. No booty found on highway.”

    “Report of an overturned boat in the bay. Turns out, it's just a rock.”

  5. I, too, wondered if it was Aquanet and Tonka. Great minds think alike, don't they? Or maybe it's just that we both lived through a time when Aquanet and Tonkas were daily occurrences, though putting the two together is quite unique.

  6. Shannon, every day is a new adventure in strangeness. i love that about us.

    You're killing me, Olivander! “No booty found on highway.” As much as I love my newspaper, I love the smaller town papers even more. I'll pick up a few in my travels tis summer and share the “booty.”

    Sans, I'm fairly convinced on the Aquanet thing. A random act of hairspray violence wouldn't have the same oomph without aerosol, and all the newer aerosols aren't meaty enough. I'm also figuring the Tonka truck came out of her car and was the last desperate decision she made. The glasses and scarf – well, that was clearly preplanned.

  7. OK, now you've really messed up my lunch. I bit my tongue so hard laughing with my mouth full that now I've got blood all over my PB&J. This is a HOOT.

    I moved from Little Rock to DC about 20 years ago and missed the police blotter feature of the Arkansas Democrat. In DC, you could see flames and smoke all day and never be able to find out what it was from the paper. It was so dang frustrating!

    Then 8 years ago I moved from DC to Belgium, and we're back in a small town. Complete with police reports. WAHOO! Thanks for reminding me how much fun they were in ARK.

  8. Kate, you're so very far from home! Don't worry, I'll keep you up to date on the more important police blotter ditties.

    More importantly, how's the flea marketing in Belgium?

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