That is how rookie Deputy Candy Pumpkin of the Spector County Sheriff’s department started her report of the 2013 Halloween patrol.
Department budget cuts were the cause; the effect was that for the first time she was on patrol alone. Last year she rode along with a veteran of the department. Sargent Duncan Cookies was a bit wide around the belt area and his grey hair was a bit thin, but he had steely blue eyes and great reflexes. Candy was not yet thirty. Though, she stood eye to eye with her old partner she was reed thin with a big mop of curly orangish red hair that was difficult to subdue. Braid, pony tail, or bun some wild tendrils would always escape confinement. her eyes were a deep dark chocolate. She had empathy for most of the human world and every animal large or small. As for Duncan, his people skills weren’t exactly up to today’s media driven standards. He took early retirement the end of 2012 and never looked back.
Candy sighed as she worked on her report. She sure missed partnering with Duncan when she got behind the wheel of the beater of a cruiser that she’d been assigned. It was the rural areas of the county that the sheriff and his deputies patrolled. Most of the cities, towns, and a few of the more affluent townships had police departments responsible for maintaining the peace and making the streets and walks safe for trick or treaters as well as party goers.
When she’d started out that evening daylight was already fading. The first call she received involved some tween and older bullies snatching little goblins and princesses treats from their small hands. They were brazen and pulled off their heists under the watchful eyes of parents. The trio of candy snatchers was hitting the few developments that had sprung up recently in her patrol zone. She spotted the described small red SUV witnesses had provided entering a development of modest sized homes.
She blocked the escape of the vehicle and subsequently cuffed the driver. However, the other three made a huge mistake by targeting a pair of twin girls who belonged to a soldier home on leave with his canine partner. It was the easiest apprehension on record. The band of bullies all but ran to the safety of her patrol unit.
After dropping off the four offenders at the county lock up, Candy headed back to resume her assignment for the night. It was pitch dark on the country roads with only brief spotlight from the moon filtering through thick clouds. Trick or treat curfew was at 9pm and she only had an hour to go on that front. Her next call was to assist a township police officer on a drunk and disorderly at a private party.
That was a parents worst nightmare. What had started as a small private party for their teens and a few high school friends was tweeted several times. Uninvited guests from the cyber world began showing up with beer, harder alcohol, and the officers confiscated small quantities of drugs. Turns out it was the home owner who called the township police for assistance.
Candy was helping round up the most impaired of the group when her portable radio unit alerted her that she had an urgent call to deal with.
Candy figured she must have heard the message wrong. “Excuse me? Dispatch, will you please repeat that?”
“We have a report of a pair of ghosts over on County Road 20 just east of the Booker Road intersection. Several drivers have been so startled they nearly went off the road.”
Candy shook her head as she turned her vehicle in the directions. “Heads are going to roll she mumbled.” She was of the opinion that this was another prank by her male counter parts.
She drove the described section of road twice before she spotted any abnormal activity. An overhead light lit the drive of a long brick ranch house which sat back several hundred feet from the road. A van pulled up the drive and a load of kids disembarked with large plastic pumpkin carriers and decorated trick or treat bags. Then she saw the ghostly pair, who appeared to float in the darkness. The children were squealing with delight. As the pair of spooks passed beneath the light Candy broke into a fit of laughter. The human ghost was riding a black horse, the rider was wearing a white sheet and a black cowboy hat. The ghost rider was handing out treats from a pillow case attached to the saddle horn. The ghostly canine was wearing a skeletal doggie costume with bones that glowed in the dark.
Candy introduced herself and was invited around the back of the house for some cider and donuts. It seemed this horse farm was a regular stop for Sargent Duncan. The owners invited the local 4-H Clubs and Scout Troops that their children belonged to for a Trick or treat stop with a small party for parents and children. It was a tradition that was skipped last year because the daughter of the house was down with a terrible case of the flu. The influx of city folks in the area were the gawkers who reported ghosts to 911 where the call was routed to the Sheriff’s Office.
Things quieted down a bit after 10pm. with only a few incidents of pumpkins splattered on the roads, some TP reports, and a few calls of boys in the back of pick up trucks mooning folks in the developments. The elementary school principal stomped out a flaming bag of poo left on his front steps.
Candy was patrolling one last time before calling it a night around two in the morning. She slowed up and turned on the spotlight to identify movement in the road. “Crap!”
She called it in. “Dispatch, this is Deputy Pumpkin.” The woman actually laughed. Candy took a deep breath, counted to ten, and responded. “I need back up on County Road 115 near the Interstate overpass. There are about thirty head of Angus beef cattle in the middle of the road. I have blocked the southern end of the road about five hundred feet from the overpass. Some one needs to do the same at the north end.”
“Officer, it’s late and I’m tired of all these prank calls.”
She called her old partner, and after apologizing for the hour, she explained her dilemma. “The old witch just hung up on me!”
“Call the State Patrol. They may have an officer they can send over since the cattle are so close to the Interstate.”
“Will do. Thanks Duncan.”
“I’ll call in a few favors to see if we can add a few cattle wranglers to the mix. Hang tight kid. Help is on the way.”
Candy clicked enter and sent in her finished report. She rested her head over her desk on her crossed arms. Duncan had come through and then some, he was among the cattle herders that showed up. The State Patrol sent over two officers to assist in rerouting any traffic. They also made an arrest of two inebriated twenty something guys who had been using mail boxes for batting practice when they lost control of their Nova and crashed into the fence confining the cattle.
Well, she figured that she made it through Halloween night. If she could muster up some energy to go home to sleep, Halloween night 2014 should be a peace of cake. At least she won’t have to battle with the dispatcher witch from hell next year. She got on her broom and left after the Sheriff got an ear full from retired Sargent Duncan Cookies.