'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

30 November 2012

Cop Tales. Naked Dude

In comments on my "What I really did" post I have been reminded of this story and decided it needed telling.

It's about 1988 or so. I am a green as grass rookie with just a few years in uniform. Working the midnight shift because hey, that's where the rookies go.

Now Monterey is an old city. Among other things it was California's first capitol from 1777 to 1846 and was then conquered by Commodore Sloat and claimed as part of the United States. Lots of old buildings and streets first laid out by the Mexican and Spanish governments a long time ago. One of those streets is Lighthouse Avenue. If you look just below that red line along the coast (where it says Fisherman's Wharf #1) you can see Lighthouse Avenue.

So. One dark and cold morning, about 3 AM,  I was doing routine patrolling in my old and rattle trap of a cop car Dodge Diplomat (remember those?). When I turned from Pacific Avenue onto Lighthouse I espied a person jogging down the sidewalk next to the street. He was far enough away and the street lights were spaced far enough apart that I couldn't see much of him except that he seemed to be dressed kinda sparsely. As I got closer it became apparent that he was very sparsely dressed. Like naked to be exact.

Now I was no jaded and experienced veteran officer but even I was pretty sure that there was something peculiar about the situation. It's no more than 40 degrees out, it's 3 in the morning, it's a very public street and he ain't wearing a stitch. Hmm. Might be I should talk to this guy. I flip a U-Turn and approach. It's my first "naked guy in public" call. It will not be my last.

Aside here. Like all contacts I called this one in to dispatch but I made a rookie mistake. I mentioned a nude man. Usually on all calls and contacts at that time of day another car will roll automatically as backup unless called off which I most emphatically did not do. Except when it's a naked dude. Then you couldn't find another police car in the city available for follow up no matter how hard you tried. Naked chicks are another matter altogether. Then you'll get responses from 5 cities away. Cops.

The Naked Dude (Let's just refer to him as ND for brevity's sake shall we?) sees me approaching, lights rotating on my roof, but he's not making eye contact. He just keeps his head down and continues jogging down the road. Perhaps desperately hoping I'll chalk it up to the full moon and leave him alone. But, alas for him, my curiosity has been piqued and you know, naked guy on public streets and all that. Finally he gives up and stops. He stands there in the harsh glare of a thousand watt street light and surrenders to his fate.

Now anyone who has ever met me knows that I am what is colloquially known as a Smart Ass. But on that morning I was at a temporary loss for words. Here was a man totally starkers casually jogging down a main boulevard. Whatever could be the reason?

"Hi. How you doing tonight? Out for a jog I guess?" Hardly words that will go down in the annals of snarkish history but hey, I was a bit put off at the time. I took immediate pity on the man, not to mention any motorists passing by at 3 in the morning, and grabbed my emergency blanket from the trunk and threw it around his shoulders. As I did so I noticed a fine oily sheen on his skin. All his skin if you catch my drift. Everywhere is the idea I'm trying to get across here. He was grateful for the wrap and covered himself as best he could.

"Anything you want to tell me? Like what you're doing, where you're going and why you're doing any of that sans suitable body covering materials?"

He indicated his home was nearby and that he was just trying to get there. I offered him a ride as it was apparent by that time that he was neither under the influence of dangerous and intoxicating substances at that moment nor absent his saner wits. During the ride he volunteered the story of how he came to be running down the streets of my fair city is a state is disrobedness. This was a story I was dying to hear.

Seems our intrepid ND was hitchhiking south down Highway 1 toward the Big Sur area,. Why was unclear but as he was being forthcoming I declined to interrupt to the extent I could stand the suspense. Along the way he was picked up by two men....in a van. At this point my every cop sense was tingling and I was starting to get the idea that this story was going to go downhill in a hurry. I was correct.

They spent some time together, the three of them imbibing intoxicating beverages of the Hops and Malt variety. At some point in the (allegedly moderate) party in the van he lost consciousness. Nd claimed that the next thing he knew he was waking up behind a bush in a park in downtown Carmel (for reference about 4 or 5 miles from where I picked him up). He was also quite naked and covered with the aforementioned oily substance. ND decided his best bet was just to try and get home as best he could.

Now I want you to envision yourself in my place. Rookie police officer confronted with an oil covered man with that story. The questions boggle the mind. Who? Why? What? What kind. How much? How many times? Etc.etc. etc.

"You jogged from Carmel to here!? Naked!?"

But I knew my duty and asked him two things. First, Do you want to go to the hospital because I'm pretty sure stuff may have been done to you and perhaps a medical checkup is in order? ND quickly and flatly declined stating he was fine and just wanted to go home. Second, is there anything you'd like to report because see question the First? Again ND stated he was certain nothing untoward had happened to him, oily skin and state of nakedness notwithstanding. Ok then.

We reached his home and I let him out. He politely offered the emergency blanket back to me but I took another look at that oil on his skin and hastily declined. " No, no, That's Ok. You keep that." I gave him my card and asked again if there was anything I could do for him but he refused.

In those days and in that small town we had a lot more discretion than is the norm now. It wasn't unusual for any officer to decide that an arrest in a situation like that was probably not the best solution. SoI tipped my cap to ND, wished him a good evening and left.

In looking back on that contact both in the short term and again years later, I am absolutely positive ND was lying or at least not telling all he knew or remembered. My attitude toward weird police contacts like this has always been to appraise the situation and if it's not clear police action is warranted leave it with "Do you need help? You Ok? Need to report something, a crime maybe? No? Well, call if you do and have a nice day." Clearly something untoward happened that resulted in the state I found him in but I'm pretty sure he was more of a willing participant that he wanted me to guess. Perhaps not to the extent it ended up but if you're gonna play those kind of games the night may end with a naked moonlit stroll down a city street. Intoxicants stronger than beer were unquestionably involved but again, I got the clear impression of chagrin as opposed to horror so I was pretty sure the imbibing was consensual even if the end result was somewhat unexpected. All in all it seemed to be a case of  "Oh shit, he passed out. Now what?" as opposed to something felonious.

So. Word to the wise there kids, drugs/alcohol, sex games and strangers in vans are a bad mix. Don't be Naked Dude.



Old NFO said...

LOL, at least he wasn't being chased down the street by a guy with a shotgun... :-)

innominatus said...

My mom's side of the family is mostly Italian/Sicilian. When I was really little (like 8 or so), my great-grandma lived in San Jose and we stopped in to visit her. I remember clear as day how she said "Remember, if you ever get in trouble -ANY kind of trouble- in Marina, Monterey or Carmel, just tell 'em your great grandma is Rosa Ferranti and they'll let you go."

I'm guessing that area used to be pretty mobbed-up!

Six said...

Heh heh. Not that time NFO but I once had a wife chasing her naked husband down the street wielding a 10 inch butcher knife. Seems she caught him Inflagrente Dilecto. With her sister!

You know it Inno. The east coast Mob used to send out guys who were having 'issues'. A lot of them either stayed or moved their families in permanently. Many of the big restaurants, like The Sardine Factory, were started with Mob money they were trying to launder. Monterey has a lot of very interesting history, including brothels right downtown on Alvarado!

LauraB said...

Slippery tale indeed!!
I wish the times permitted such self-directed policing...instead, everyone is afraid of a lawsuit and those getting caught have no appreciation for being given a break. Not if they can drum up a bruise and a lie.

I have been given a great gift from officers twice in my delinquent life...and then God saw fit to gift me with another when I'd learned all my lessons.

The good ol' days...

instinct said...

So, you mean I should stop doing that???

So what should I do for weekend fun now?!

Six said...

The plethora of lawsuits have indeed changed policing and not for the better Laura. Sarge and you understand that well. Speaking of Sarge. A blessing indeed!

Naked Instinct? Saints preserve us!! :)