After graduating from college, I went into law enforcement and worked the streets as a uniformed officer on the evening shift because that’s when the most action happened. And I saw plenty, including the aftermath of a knife fight in a bar. Walking in, it looked like the backroom of a butcher shop. This scene formed the basis for Chapter Three in my book.
Three years later, I found myself teaching criminal justice classes to US Army and Air Force personnel in West Berlin, Germany. During that tour, I visited Garmisch-Partenkirchen which would become the hometown of Dani Mueller, Price of Justice’s co-protagonist.
After returning to Texas and the police department, the Chief thought enough of my abilities he promoted me to detective. As such, I worked with some really outstanding investigators, both in the Department and with other agencies. Solving cases bore no resemblance to TV crime shows. We worked hard to find and arrest the person(s) of interest. Sometimes we got it done and other times, the evidence just wasn’t there. To lighten up our frustrations, pranks abounded.
Back then, I smoked cigars which my investigator-associates didn’t appreciate (I quit all smoking over 20 years ago). One detective laced my cigars with ‘cigarette loads” — tiny firecrackers, which, when lit, caused the cigar to explode, spraying ember and ash a fair distance. Lighting it up, I never expected what happened next: several small burn spots on my shirt.
One day soon thereafter, I got my revenge. Loading the first three cigarettes in his pack (I knew he’d check the first two), I bided my time. It came at the most enjoyable moment—a group of us went to lunch with a Texas Ranger Captain.
He sat directly across from the Captain and, after lunch, he lit up cigarette #3. The look on his face when it exploded made my day. I must have bitten a hole in my lip to keep from laughing. Of course, the Ranger Captain failed to see the humor as he glared at the man. And that incident ended the use of ‘cigarette loads’ in our Division.
By Alan Brenham