Imagine my surprise when I walked in to find the Chief, both Captains a slew of Lieutenants and Sergeants, Internal Affairs, and all the office managers and assorted brass that I never get to see on night shift. My allergies were in full self defense mode.
"So, Michael, what are you here for?" the Chief asked. The Chief of Police in the US is the most dictatorial job I've ever seen, If he told us to come to work in one white and one black shoe that's what we would do. He can promote, demote and make life hell without explanation or even motive. There are some seriously shitty jobs in police departments and everyone knows which job you hate and which job you crave. A Chief of Police is an August Presence.
"Er," I stammered, "my Evaluation?"
"Well, here it is" he said, presenting me with a certificate in front of God and Everybody.
Everybody happened to include my wife who had been in the know for a week and never got around to breaking the secret to me. "Oh, by the way," she said. "Carol wanted me to tell you congratulations." Everybody knew except me. Besides which the very decent folks at Cypress House presented me with a check for $125 which my wife snagged saying it was reserved for brunch at Little Palm Island. I guess this whole thing was well thought out.
As I stood outside the Police Station in the sunshine having my picture taken with Chief Lee, along with Kevin O'Connell, Officer of the Quarter, I thought how pleasant this all was, and how lucky I am to have a job which I like and where my Evaluation went so swimmingly. The bonhomie did not last long.On the drive home from work the Nissan crapped out around Mile Marker 22 and I managed to nurse the car a few more miles at 20 mph until we reached the foot of the 40-foot Niles Channel Bridge and there, at 6:15 this morning, in the dark, I realized the hill was just too much for the feeble state of my formerly six cylinder missile. I parked the car and started to walk the last three miles home. My wife woke up just in time to pick me up 200 yards from the house and I fell into a coma after greeting Cheyenne and taking her out on a very abbreviated stroll.
John from Alex's Towing, the AAA company around here met me at the car and swiftly loaded the Maxima onto his flatbed. Funnily enough John and I have been talking over the years every time he picks up a tow and he has to call it in. Six years is a long time to hold down jobs in the Keys...John has three kids at home and he is as grateful for his job as I am for mine. It was nice to meet a cheerful friendly voice in the abomination of desolation of a roadside breakdown.
And off she went over the cursed hill that is the Niles Channel Bridge to Big Pine Key and Monroe Tire and Auto...