Monday, July 30, 2018

Sneak Peek for BLUE

August 19, 1998

Cardin Sentinel
Issue 497
Local Police Updates

Thursday afternoon: Sergeant Rollins answered a call to 72 Blacksmith Avenue on the afternoon of August 19, 1998. Jeremy Welsh, age 75, placed the call at approximately 1:49 pm.
Mr. Welsh complained in the phone call that a family of raccoons had ransacked his dumpster, ripping out trash and flinging it around his backyard. Mr. Welsh was extremely upset because he was hosting a family picnic for later that day, and the raccoons had left a huge mess.
“I already had the picnic tables set with the good paper plates.”
Sergeant Rollins took a cruiser down to Blacksmith to investigate.
He arrived at 3:09 pm.
According to Sergeant Rollins, the Welsh property was in pristine condition when he arrived and Mr. Welsh was sheepish.
Recording of conversation between Sergeant Rollins and Mr. Welsh:
WELSH: They cleaned it up already. Sorry you had to made a trip. How about I get you a cold beer for your troubles?
ROLLINS: I’m sorry Mr. Welsh, but I’m on duty. No beers until I punch out. [pause, background noise of glass] Who exactly cleaned it up?
WELSH: Well, now. That’s a funny thing. It’s a real funny thing.
ROLLINS: Yes, sir. Why don’t you tell me about it?
WELSH: This family of raccoons, they’ve been nothing but trouble. All summer long. They’re driving me crazy.
ROLLINS: What exactly are they doing?
WELSH: [snort] Honest to God, they’re like a bunch of drunk frat boys. They gorge themselves on my garbage, litter, fight in the backyard. They’re noisy, too. Chirping and grunting and whining. I throw bottles at them, and they just duck. I think...they’re laughing at me.
ROLLINS: Mr. Welsh, raccoons can’t laugh.
WELSH: I’m telling you, boy, these raccoons are taunting me. They duck and keep right on ripping apart my KFC buckets.
ROLLINS: Okay, if you say so, Mr. Welsh. [sound of rustling paper] The thing is, Mr. Welsh, I don’t see any sign of litter or vandalism.
WELSH: Yup. That’s the part I’m getting to. The bears.
WELSH: Bears.
ROLLINS: I don’t see any bears, Mr. Welsh.
WELSH: For cripes sakes, the bears are gone! They already cleaned up, and then they took off. It didn’t take them more than ten minutes to straighten up.
ROLLINS: I have no idea what you’re talking about, Mr. Welsh. How many beers have you had? I thought the party didn’t start until 7 pm.
WELSH: [sigh] Damn it, listen to me. The bears showed up, scared off the ‘coons. Then they...then they...
ROLLINS: You sure the bears weren’t your nephews, Mr. Welsh? Maybe playing a joke on you?
WELSH: I think I know the difference between my good-for-nothing nephews and a Black bear. For one thing, the bears have hella better manners. And probably more brain cells to boot.
ROLLINS: So...what happened after that?
WELSH: The bears started to collect the trash. And they chucked it back into the dumpster. [sound of cigarette lighter and Mr. Welsh coughing] There were a bunch of them. Maybe five. Or six? I’ve got the dumpster because I’m fixing up the basement. Wife wants a place to do her crafty stuff. Sewing. And quilting. Already picked out new wallpaper.
ROLLINS: Mr. Welsh, are you telling me that half a dozen Black bears showed up in your backyard, scared off a bunch of unruly raccoons, and then proceeded to clean up your yard?
WELSH: Damned straight. That’s what I’m saying. Look, I gotta get goin’. I have a pick-up order waiting for me at Brighton Burgers. And I think I need more beer.
ROLLINS: Mr. Welsh, no more beer before dinner time. And it would help us out a lot if you stopped calling the station. Okay?
WELSH: I pay taxes just like everyone else. I’ll call when I want to, boy. How old are you, son? You look like you’re about sixteen. Do you even shave yet?
ROLLINS: [speaking into radio] All clear at Welsh residence. No sign of vandalism or rabid animals. Just a bunch of empties in the recycling bin.
James McNichol, PhD and town naturalist, with a degree in zoology from Maine State College, inspected the property the following week. He reported prints from both Procyon lotor (common raccoon) and Ursus americanus (American black bear). There were also copious amounts of raccoon scat, but no bear droppings. He made the observation that the raccoon prints were scattered haphazardly all over the rear property, about a quarter of mile back, just to the forest line. The bear prints were orderly and neat.
Dr. McNichol’s assessment: “Interesting.”