[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]
Some people might call it entrapment–his idea of offering free rides–but to Robert A. Jones, he'd be doing a service, helping out those boys in blue, ridding the city of unwanted trash.
"Did you know, darling, that the vagrancy rate is going up?"
His wife ignored him; or rather, she chose to live together in silent contemplation.
"I think I might need to step up my game," he said. "Liven up the odds, so to speak."
Robert and his wife lived downtown in what was once a quaint little beach community. "Oh, we had our problems," he'd say to anyone who would listen. "But there was a sense of family before these unwelcome travelers came in and tore apart the moral fabric of our town."
Robert was a man of action, and he'd recently learned how to Google on the computer at the library.
"Hmm," he thought, "what did they use in the old days to remove vagrants and undesirables?" He walked into his home office and typed "police truck" into the search bar; three-hundred and ninety-three million results returned, along with Robert's sense of community.
"Look here, dear," he said. "I'm not the only one interested in cleaning up our streets. There's even a song." Robert clicked on a link. "Here you go, darling, have a listen."
Robert was referring to a pop tune by the band the Dead Kennedys. He didn't like their name, and he thought the surf beat a bit too Jan and Dean, but the lyrics were wonderful, and he did his best to sing along. "And ride, ride how we ride," Robert croaked in his 60-year-old voice. "I think today I purchase a vehicle, and tonight, I will ride."
Robert went to his search bar again, and as luck would have it, a nineteen-sixty-five drunk buggy was for sale in his area. It was a Chrysler, built before the company had sucked off the government tit, and according to the seller, it was in excellent condition. Robert called his friend William, an octogenarian whom he had met at the Senior Center. William ran hot; he was ex-military and still ready to serve.
"Can we wear uniforms?" William asked.
"You can wear whatever you want, buddy. The trash we'll be picking up won't be noticing anyway, and yes, uniforms do sound fun."
The two men drove to the address on the ad, and the truck was everything they could've asked for. With his eyes closed, Robert climbed into the rear compartment and caught a slight whiff of urine and fear that still resided within its cool metal walls.
"Are you gentlemen ex-police?" the seller asked.
Robert smiled, his dentures shifting just a touch. "I'm not sure if you're ever not a policeman," he said. "I like my community clean and tight, as does my partner William. Right, Will?"
William was sitting in the driver's seat, ready to ride. "Yes, indeed, Robert," he said, "and now we'll be getting us clubs or guns?"