When I was a wee thing, my parents moved out the the Highly dubious condo in East Palo Alto and into a relatively nice suburban neighborhood, into a house immediately across the street from my new elementary school. Immediate, as in, less than 40 feet from the traffic circle. Mom would wave at me from the driveway sometimes while I was in class. This should have made getting me to and from school easy, but there was an issue:
I still had to cross the street, and because I was living in the over-caffeinated heart of silicon valley at the time, that meant dodging the local commuters barreling through the school zone at upwards of 40 miles per hour with no regard for the stop signs.
The flashing “School Zone” signs were ignored. The city refused to put in speed bumps or devote extra patrol cars. One of my classmates grandmother’s volunteered as crossing guard, and some jackass in a BMW ran over her foot on the first day.
Now, mom declared as we drove Mrs. Manchez to the hospital her foot in a beer cooler full of ice, Would be a good time to take the law into my own hands.
So after dropping Mrs. Manchez off at the hospital, we drove to the thrift store, where my mom found a navy blazer, aviator sunglasses, a pilot’s cap and an old, clunky-looking hair dryer.
The next morning, mom went out to the sidewalk in her new “uniform”, with the hair dryer and a legal pad so she could write down the grocery list. Every time a car would come roaring down the road, Mom would look up, point the hairdryer at them, and, and write something down.
I remember listening to brakes squeal all day the first time she tried it, Mercedes and BMWs screeching to a crawl as they passed the school, glaring at her. By that afternoon, cars were creeping along at an over-cautious 10mph, and I was able to get home without taking my life into my hands.
After that, Mom went out “in uniform” every couple of days, because intermittent re-enforcement is what REALLY gets a change in behavior going, and point the hair dryer at anyone speeding through the school zone, usually while writing down grocery lists or short stories, or drawing unflattering caricatures of the other PTA moms.
Eventually, however, one of the cars that came through was a patrol car, and he slowly pulled to a halt in front of mom, glaring at her though his own reflective glasses.
She smiled an waved the hair dryer. “Good afternoon!”
“…What’re you doing?” he groaned, 3 in the afternoon entirely too early for this shit.
“Writin’ a grocery list.” She beamed, and when that failed to satisfy him, she explained about the speeding problem and that if they couldn’t send a partol car out here to ticket people regularly, she figured that a hair dryer would be the next best thing. Working like a charm so far. They didn’t even notice the little airplanes on the Pilot’s hat.
The officer stared at her for a moment longer before his face broke out into a slow grin. “Y’know, when we’re out of a car, we usually wear visibility vests. So more people see you and your… Phaser.”
And that’s the story of how Mom and Officer Brown met and started the neighborhood watch program.
Uncle Popeye Fucks Up Hunting So Bad Legislation Happens
(Gun use, alcohol mention, amazingly- no animal death)
So you may remember Uncle Popeye from A Holiday Story, when he and grandpa tried to shoot a pheasant and fucked it up real bad. I called the Ohio Relatives. They have no idea how the family knew Popeye either, but that his given name was Richard, but got tired of being called “Dick” and after losing an eye in WW2, went by Popeye.
Look man, Ohio DOES things to people.
Popeye fancied himself the Great Outdoors-man, despite a long list of evidence to the contrary- besides the shooting incident, there was the time he got lost in the woods behind his house for a week despite being less than a mile from his house and six major roads, the time he almost poisoned the whole family after mushrooming in the hills only to be stopped by GG, and the time he got in a fight with a Woodcock and Lost.
The worst though, was Snowflake.
Near where my Ohio relatives lived, and continue to live, there is a Military Armory. (You know that joke about “If all your relatives all live in the same postcode, you might be a redneck?” Yeah, check that. Mom was the first to leave the state, and keeps urging the others that they are free to leave, they can’t keep you there. But I digress). The armory is actually kind of a large campus, several hundred acres in size, where they take lots of old munitions and aircraft and whatnot, and figure out how to take apart and dispose of them without blowing everything up to fuck. The whole area is fenced off to keep the locals from helping themselves to the munitions (A serious issue in redneck country), which trapped the deer in the forest inside.
The deer, no longer having to worry about hunters, but cut off from the outside population, basically went full Deliverance, and the resulting mutants are… rather pretty.
The mutation is Luecistism, not albinism, but it makes for pretty, pretty very stupid deer. Like, even dumber than white-tail already are, and whitetail are DUMB. But the deer on the armory could afford to be easy to spot and have no natural fear of anything, because there were no predators or hunters, and the soldiers stationed there had better things to do
The prettiest of them all was Snowflake, the large white buck named Snowflake, because soldiers are great at naming things. He was, by all accounts, a truly splendid creature- snow-white and shapely, with a well-developed rack. Not unlike a porn star, apparently. And many a man Lusted after snowflake, desperate for his head.
Or other things. Ohio’s a pretty fucked up place.
But unlike other men, who would only stare wistfully from afar, Popeye was absolutely determined to have Snowflake. The issue was, the military, having a few moments of sense, had decreed that having people wandering around a munitions decommissioning plant with firearms was likely to result in fire and death, declared that there was to be no hunting on their grounds. The only way Popeye could feasibly shoot Snowflake would be if he were somehow able to get him on the other side of the fence. But he couldn’t just cut a hole in the fence- it was fairly regularly checked, and he’d be caught. Nope. Somehow, Popeye had to get Snowflake on the other side of the fence without damaging it or the Military noticing.
It was during an afternoon of boozing and watching western documentaries, Popeye hit upon a solution. He was watching a tourism promotion for all the great outdoor activities in Colorado, when he saw the solution to his problem.
He could FISH for deer.
Specifically, he fly-fish. In his mind, he could clearly see how it would play out. he’d simply find a heavy-duty line, cast it over the fence, tangling it in Snowflake’s antlers, and then reel him over the fence, where it would be perfectly legal to shoot him and then he’d be the envy of all the men down at the elks lodge. Hah! Genius!
So that spring, Popeye began tossing corn over the fence to lure deer to that particular secluded corner, and was immensely pleased when Snowflake started turning up regularly. He’d get his trophy AND some fat venison! All summer and into fall, he continued this, with the deer getting entirely too casual about his presence. he also got his hands on some deep-sea fishing line and practiced ensnaring the antlers of his dummy deer in the backyard. Just to make sure he had the leverage to haul Snowflake in, he got the harness that attaches the pole to your hip. All was going according to plan.
So the first day of hunting season, Popeye goes to his corner where he’s been feeding the deer, and Snowflake is there, waiting for breakfast. Great. Popeye backs his pickup truck up to the fence, and stands on the bed so he can cast over the fence. The deer, being imbeciles, fail to notice anything amiss. He casts, and miracle of miracles, he gets the loop over Snowflake’s antlers on the first try! Popeye whips the line around some more, making sure Snowflake is good and tangled, before reeling him in.
Apparently snowflake just stood there for this part, presumably looking confused. Then the line began to pull on him.
As Popeye would later recount from the hospital: “That’s when I realized. Deer ain’t Mackinaw.”
Popeye had, in all his planning, not taken into consideration that a 200-pound buck at the height of his testosterone-riddled rut might be somewhat disinclined to be pulled over a fence. Furthermore, Popeye had failed to account that at 5′5″, he was of similar size to the deer, and in nowhere near as good of shape.
He recalled ALMOST flying over the fence as Snowlfake turned and ran for the safety of the base. He did not quite make it, and cracked both knees as they slammed into the fence, jeans and harness shredding on the barbed wire. it was not enough to separate him from the harness, only enough to slide it down his legs and tangle around his ankles, so that once he hit the ground, Popeye was dragged for half a goddamn mile by his feet as Snowflake frantically tried to get away.
Once at the base, and all manner of bruised, cut up and abused, Popeye was relieved when they finally came to a halt. he regretted it half a second later when he realized that Snowflake had only turned around, and was now bearing down on his sorry ass full-tilt. Several puncture and kick wounds later, Popeye managed to kick off the harness, freeing himself from Snowflake, and had to run back to where he thought he’d left the truck. In the middle of the night, in the woods, with cracked patellas and without pants.
It took him all night to find the fence and truck, but managed to get back over the fence and to the hospital without being spotted. In a fit of paranoia that almost pased for good sense, he drove to three counties away to be treated, so the police wouldn’t find him, bleeding all the way. He neglected beforehand, to tell any of his friends or family where he was going, except that he was deer-hunting.
He was very disappointed when he turned up a week later and found out nobody had gone looking for him.
Snowflake was found tangled up in a tree, and was cut loose by the soldiers, apparently upset but unharmed. Concerned that the poachers were getting too creative for their own good, the base petitioned the state legislature to maybe make a law that you aren’t allowed to fish for deer, Christ, we only found the poor man’s pants.
The state legislature, in a fit of rabid libertarianism, declared that such a law would be too restrictive upon the freedom of Ohioans, so the Army tried the country. The county, which had to actually deal with this kind of bullshit on a semi-regular basis, agreed, and it is now illegal to Hunt any bird, fish or quadruped with devices and equipment not intended for such purpose.
Popeye never went deer-hunting after that, and Snowflake went on to sire many many more pretty inbred deer.
“Herondales.“ Zachariah’s voice was a breath, half laughter, half pain. "I had almost forgotten. No other family does so much for love, or feels so much guilt for it. Don’t carry the weight of the world on you, Jace. It’s too heavy for even a Herondale to bear.”
—and Alfred is my grandpa, while Babs is like a sister and mentor to me. Going out from there is when things can get tricky. Former Commissioner Gordon is somewhat like a grandpa, though he’s more like a cool uncle I get to hang out with sometimes, and while Ivy and Harley are technically rivals like the Joker they treat me and padre like family, so they’re sort of like my aunts, and—