The Pizzas and Mermaid sessions produced an abundance of creative material that could not all fit into the book. Here are some of the outtakes. Once they’ve wet your whistle, follow this link https://www.createspace.com/4929451.
POETS AND COPS
I’d just dropped the cab off at the motor and was about to go home when I heard screaming in the distance.
“Help! Help! Help!” a woman’s voice was saying.
I was worn out from a full night of work and just wanted to go home and have a popsicle. A fresh four-pack of strawberry ones were waiting in the freezer. But something about those desperate cries made me start running toward them. It was out of pure instinct and it felt great. There was no neurotic voice in my head making the decision, and I ran faster than I ever had before.
I got to the brush next to the highway 36 onramp and there was a girl on the ground.
“Oh, thank god, you’re here!” she said. “I tripped over this barbed wire fence and gashed my leg.”
I saw the fence and the leg and there was blood on it. I didn’t know why or how it happened, but that didn’t matter.
“What do you need?” I said.
“Call an ambulance. I’m hurt really bad.”
“Alright,” I said and got out my phone and dialed 911.
I told the operator there was an injured woman who needed help at once. Then I told her our location.
“There’s already an officer on his way,” the operator said.
“It’s gonna be alright,” I said to the girl. “They’re coming.”
“Thank you so much,” she said.
A police officer got there soon. He pulled his police car right up to where we were and turned on a bright spotlight. Then he came out and he was big and strong and his uniform was cleaned and unwrinkled and black. He had a big long flashlight and flashed it at my face.
“WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?!” he said. “WHO ARE YOU?!”
“This woman is hurt,” I said and pointed to her. “I just found her here.”
“STEP AWAY!” he said. “LET ME HANDLE THIS!”
Then I stepped aside and he started yelling at her.
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO YOURSELF?! WHY ARE YOU HERE?!”
“Please,” she said, “I just need to go to the hospital. My leg is caught.”
The cop bent down next to her to take a closer look. He was stiff and flexing. He looked like he was about to lift weights.
“WHY DID YOU DO THIS?!” he said.
“Ow!” she said. “It hurts.”
“There’s still some in my leg. It needs to be snipped out.”
“WE’RE GOING TO SNIP IT! CALM DOWN!”
“Hey,” I said, “I don’t think she did anything wrong. I think you can just be gentle with her.”
He turned back and flashed the flashlight at my face again.
“YOU’RE NOT NEEDED HERE ANYMORE!” he said. “GO!”
And then I left. As I walked away I couldn’t hear exactly what they were saying, but I could hear the tones. Her-fear. Him-anger. I kinduv wished the cop had never come.
I wish there was a Gentleness Police Force just for these situations. An organization of citizens who soothe people in emergencies with soft voices and a comforting touch. Someone to say, “I’ve been caught in barbed wire too before and I know it’ll be alright.”
But there’s not. There’s just the one regular police force made of guys who break up bar fights and bust drunk drivers and put handcuffs on people. They can only send a soldier to handle everything.
If there was a gentleness force I’d want to be on it. I’d want to be the captain. But there’s not. I left the scene and went home and had a popsicle and wrote a poem that got there too late.