Monday, December 9, 2013

The Game Warden Files--911, Part 4

November was approaching with deer season and all the busyness that it brings; at the same time volunteers were needed to go back to New York for another rotation of duty. I took the first week of November to do my part and still be free for the work load of deer season. Our mission had been scaled back considerably and when I drew the midnight shift I was a one man show. My shift had half a night in the command post and half within the area of Ground Zero with some specific missions to be accomplished each night. At least we had a decent hotel downtown and I had a room on an upper floor far away from the noise of the daytime.
The biggest problem faced by that shift was a matter of the endless line of diesel trucks that queued up to be loaded with debris for transportation off-site. Truckers tend to be lazy and would rather leave their trucks running and the law allows only ten minutes unless the temperature is low. The idling trucks created one more level of noise and air pollution in already loud and foul environment. Our job was to stop keep the waiting trucks shut down unless they were moving. My first night in there there was no problem until I'd been there about an hour, then it started to become a problem. It was as though the drivers got lazier as the nights went on. This would be a no-win battle dealing with each trucker, so I chased down the union steward. I explained the problem and told him that either he could solve the problem, or I could--and the fine was a thousand dollars per truck per violation. Within minutes, drivers were walking toward their trucks and trucks were being shut down. Each night I made it a point to drive by the union steward's shack and we didn't have a problem for the rest of my tour.
Other than that, the rest of my tour was pretty much uneventful. The only other event was more humorous than anything else. My oldest son Bill was living in northern New Jersey at the time and offered to come over and take me out to lunch at a favorite BBQ place in mid-town Manhattan. He came over by ferry and met me at the hotel. As we walked uptown, all of a sudden there was an awful commotion brewing in front of us. Three women were engaged in something of a cat fight and it was getting uglier by the moment. Even though it was "not my job" to intervene in such things, I can't watch people get hurt. I handed Bill my coffee, identified myself as a police officer and waded into the fray. I pushed and threw bodies until they were separated. By that time, there was a sea of blue suits materializing from the crowd. I extricated myself from the tangle of arms, took my coffee back from Bill, and faded into the crowd.
Two days later, when my shift was over, I took a quick nap, packed my car and headed north. I have not been back to New York since. Someday, I'll go see the new monument, but I'm still not ready for it.

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