Rising to the challenge

I’ve just completed my training at the Writer’s Police Academy—an odyssey of self-discovery. What I learned was … I’m short. You kind of get used to looking up at people all the time, but I’d say that the majority of the attendees were post-menopausal, osteoporitic, and vertically challenged. Put a group of us next to a strapping young fireman, and it looks like a munchkin convention.

When it was my turn to knee the tackling dummy in the groin, I had to jump up to reach it. Most assailants lack the patience to wait while you get a ladder. Fortunately, put a gun in my hands and I turn into a major badass. I managed not to shoot any innocent bystanders, but that’s only because my aim was off. I was firing at anybody who looked remotely suspicious. Hey, that blue-haired old lady was asking for it. My finely manicured trigger finger was flying. Moral of the story: don’t mess with a dwarf holding a standard-issue police glock.

I have a new appreciation for the police who have to stare down a knife or gun and make split-second decisions. I got to talk to bomb squad guys, canine handlers, divers, and motorcycle cops. Of course, as a writer, my hard-hitting questions were not exactly typical. “Does your unit have cadaver dogs? When recovering a body underwater, does it gross you out to know that you’re swimming in people soup? How do you pee when you’re on a stakeout?”

When you get the facts wrong in a mystery, people respond like rabid beavers on crack. Generally, that’s not a good thing, since you’re likely to get your ass chewed. I know more than I care to about dismembered, charred human remains, dripping with melted fat. The slide show featuring said body parts came right after lunch. Note to self: take the morgue tour on an empty stomach.

I’ll just have to content myself with writing about crime rather than fighting it. They don’t have standard-issue police ladders, and the gendarmes are not likely to issue me a glock anytime soon. Those kids should really learn how to duck and cover.

8 thoughts on “Rising to the challenge

  1. Sounds like an adventure! And I’ll bet they enjoyed having your sassy self in the class. Looking forward to your next mystery, especially now that you’re equipped with all that extra gun and people soup knowledge. You rock!

    • I’m feeling pretty cocky because I didn’t send my partner to the emergency room. And, I’m still able to eat soup without gagging. I call that a win.

  2. A dwarf with a glock, huh?

    I consulted with police for my book, particularly in terms of firearms issues. One of the things I picked up on is just how far a rifle shell might get tossed away during a shooting…

    • With any luck, far enough that forensics won’t be able to pin anything on me. It’s amazing how important those little details are to the readers.

  3. Sounds like fun. Not. I guess I’ll stick to writing romantic or humorous adventures and leave the spy thrillers to you and William.

    • OMG, yes! You all did such an amazing job putting the weekend together. I actually bought Dr. Murray’s book on forensic identification. Her lecture was fascinating (in a graphic sort of way).

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