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Barney Fife, report for duty
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You know, I am a big fan of law enforcement. I totally believe we need our police force, our military, all that. I know that there are some officers who absolutely love what they do, and they do it well. There are others, and it’s probably just a handful, that think they wrote the law and by golly, they own the law! You know the ones. You’ve seen them in movies. All spit and polish and will throw down an old lady at the fruit stand for sniffin’ a lemon.

Well, how about the one where the officer is patrolling at night, late at night, like, say, between 2 and 3 a.m., when he spots a Bronco with no light over the license plate. He flips on his ice creams and says into the loudspeaker, “pull over.”

The Bronco pulls over. The officer pulls up behind the Bronco, gets out of his vehicle and approaches. The window goes down in the Bronco and a lovely young face appears behind the glass.

“Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over?”

“No, officer.”

“You have no light over your license plate.”

“I didn’t know that. Is it an offense?”

“It is where I patrol, ma’am. May I have your license and registration?”

“My purse is at my mom’s. I was just over there. I forgot it. But I do have the registration.” At which point she reaches over and extracts the papers from the glove compartment.

She hands them over to Maxwell Smart and he goes back to his vehicle, no doubt scratching himself on the way back. Hikin’ up the Jockeys, if you will.

He runs the information through and heads back to the Bronco.

“Ma’am, I’m gonna have to ask you to step out of the vehicle.”

“Excuse me?”

He steps back and puts his hand over his holster.

“Ma’am, I ask you again, please step out of your vehicle.”

She blanches and opens the door, sliding her obviously pregnant body out to the ground.

“I’m placing you under arrest. You have an outstanding warrant.”

“A what?”

“An outstanding warrant. I have to arrest you. Put your hands out in front of you.”

“Wait a minute. Can I call my dad first?”

He allows her to make a call and at the other end, her dad is tripping over the bedroom furniture in his Jockeys to get out the door to where she is, a mere two blocks from his house. He is at the scene before she even hangs up.

He talks to the officer and tries to convince him to let her go, she wasn’t doing anything wrong, she’d been at his home all evening sewing clothes and baby items for a single expectant mother at their church who had nothing. She was a good girl, sings in the choir, has three boys at home, straight A student...

The officer asked him to return to his vehicle.

He put the plastic thingies on her wrists as she held her hands out in front of her. He sure enough took her to the pokey.

Her dad raced home, called her husband and yelled something incoherent into the phone, all the husband heard was his wife’s name and he was up. He called her dad back but got no answer. He called his wife’s cell phone and got no answer. He checked on the three sleeping cherubs and left the house. He drove around her parents’ neighborhood, all the lights were out at their house. He saw nothing out of line. He went home and paced, sick to his stomach.

An hour later, the criminal returned. The hardened Sally of hard-knock jail time. She went into the bathroom quietly and brushed her teeth.

Her husband was following her, asking a million questions all at once.

She turned to him and said, “I was arrested, went to jail, Daddy came and bailed me out.”

Husband fell back, feeling faint.

“Arrested? For what?”

“Remember the old truck we had two years ago? Remember I got a ticket because the mud flaps weren’t long enough on it? And then we sold it a week later? Well, I didn’t know I was supposed to tell anyone about that. I didn’t understand the rigid laws of this state or county. So when Officer Smackdown saw that the light over my license plate was out, I got busted, baby — mudflaps and a two-watt bulb. I asked if I was going to be the poster girl at the post office, and fortunately, I was told that wouldn’t happen. I was just waiting for the crew from “Cops” to show up.”

“What happened at the jail?”

“Oh. I got fingerprinted and had my mugshot taken. I told them to be sure to get my belly in the photo, too. Good thing I don’t smoke. If I’d tossed a butt out the window, I’m sure I’d have been frisked, forced to the dirt, and tasered.”

All for the cause of justice.

We miss you, Barn.