Mrs. Broadway liked to lay down naked, right in the middle of the road, on the double yellow lines. She really wouldn’t give me an answer when I inquired about why she did this at least once a month. She wasn’t working with PETA and making some statement against furs. She wasn’t trying to block construction of the new Super Target in town…she just liked being a human traffic control device. I first met her when working a year stint on the evening shift.
It would have been bearable (pun intended) if she looked like Heidi Klum, but alas…she did not. Mrs. Broadway was 76 years old, weighed about 90 pounds and bathed rarely.
221? 221, go ahead. That 10/96 is up to her old tricks again, can you be en-route? The technical term for 10/96 was “bat-shit crazy.” I got stuck with the call EVERY time because I was the only female officer on the shift. 221 en-route.
The procedure was always the same for the “laying of the hands” on Mrs. Broadway. I would pull the car over, put on my latex gloves, and shove Vicks Vapor Rub up my nostrils. Vicks was often used on welfare check calls. You know the type…call to 911 comes in on a hot summer day and caller says they haven’t heard from Uncle Fred in two weeks, can you send someone out to his house? Vicks was always mandatory in that situation…good old Uncle Fred was usually pretty ripe after two weeks of sitting in the bark-o-lounger.
But getting back to Mrs. Broadway… notice the dispatcher didn’t give me a street name and block…because Mrs. Broadway always chose the same site. She liked a road just south of the downtown area, right in front of a convenience store. There would always be one kind stranger standing over her…sacrificing his jacket. The locals at the store would be yelling at the kind stranger to save the jacket, not the old woman!
Now before you start thinking I didn’t try with Mrs. Broadway, I did. She had been taken into custody on mental detention warrants twice before and released. Mrs. Broadway had answered the young admitting doctor’s questions correctly, devised to measure sanity, and had been quite proud of herself on both occasions. I particularly loved the 3 hour wait in the ER, handcuffed to her, that preceded each quiz.
Once again, I arrived at the scene, scooped up Mrs. Broadway and delivered her safely home. She always reveled in the walk back into her house, wearing a yellow police officer raincoat and strutting for the benefit of her nosey neighbors. I let her wear the coat, it belonged to an officer that shared the patrol car with me on the day shift. His name was Chancellor and believe me, he deserved it. One night, just for kicks, he had stayed late after his shift and filled my personal car, from floor to ceiling, with the department’s weekly total of shredded paper.
The behavior continued for another six months until the little old threadbare eventually got a legal guardian and moved into an assisted living facility. Mrs. Broadway’s days of terrorizing passing motorists and small children were over. I heard she liked to walk the halls in a long yellow raincoat that hit right about her ankles and had a funky smell.
Officer Chancellor hadn’t noticed it until one day several weeks later when a mighty rainstorm hit town. He telephoned me angrily at home asking where his yellow raincoat was? I told him it was “on Broadway.”