When Shorty ate the Cat!

About the Author

This is a short remembrance written by my grandfather Michael D. Martin of Eden, NC. These stories pertain mostly to our family and his time serving in the Eden City Police Dept. Michael Martin was born Oct. 6th 1943 and passed away Oct. 1st 2010. They are transcribed as he wrote them to keep his writing style alive in the stories. Some are historical and some are just for the humor. If you find these stories enjoyable and would like to read more there is a link at the bottom to more of his stories.

When Shorty ate the Cat!

I can pin the date of this tale to almost a certainty, it was November of 1967. We had voted to consolidate the towns of Leaksville, Spray and Draper into the City of Eden and there was progress being made in consolidating the three police departments into one building near the traffic circle at Spray. I had the good fortune to be partnered with the toughest man I ever knew, Clarence W. "Fat" Vestal. I have no idea where he got the nickname "Fat" because he was five foot, nine inches tall, two hundred and twelve pounds and there was not a scrap of fat on his body.


In 1966 and 1967 when I rode with Fat, we worked the third shift, cause both of us worked day jobs. Police Officers were not paid much back then. Fat always brought his nickle plated Harrington and Richardson .22 pistol and it was always loaded with .22 shorts. Back then, when the second shift got out of the mills and the third shift was safely working in the mills, a strange thing happened.....everybody went home, The only people moving were late night lovers, people with problems and burglars. When things quieted down around three AM,Fat would go "Rabbit Hunting" around the far edges of the city. We would look thru fields and shine the spotlight looking for the shinning pink eyes. Fat would put a .22 short between them and I would go fetch the rabbit. When we got five or six we would go have a "Rabbit Fry" at the old Sheriff's department where there was a kitchen. Great fried rabbit, rabbit gravy, biscuits and RC colas from the vending machine. State, County and local officers from all over would come by for a meal.


Very close to moving time, I was working the Spray beat by myself and I was patrolling the Flint Hill area when I saw a big, beautiful buck rabbit sitting on the side of the road and just as I passed, I heard a "thump" and I said "aw naw" no no no!..I stopped the squad car and found a fine rabbit, he had jumped and my bumper had broken his neck. I picked him up and wrapped him in my newspaper and put him in the back floorboard. At this time, the only people left at the Spray station was our dispatcher and a fireman named Demus Agee. Things were getting moved to the new central HQ. I cleaned the rabbit, washed him and quartered him and put him in plastic baggies and put him in the freezer at Spray. We got real busy for the next two weeks moving and I forgot about the rabbit. One night Fat and I were patrolling and I thought of the rabbit and asked Fat if his wife, Louise would cook the rabbit for him and he said no, you take it. So we went to the fire station and went to the fridge.......and the rabbit was gone. We rode around the rest of the night and decided that Demus Agee had eaten the rabbit and late in the morning, we decided to get even. We knew that our dispatcher, Shorty Dunnovant was a friend of Demus's and Shorty was working that night so we went to the office and got in Shorty's room and began to laugh and slap our legs. Shorty asked, "what are you two clowns laughing about?" and I told him..."me and Fat got a call to Carolina Heights last week, and an old woman had a sick cat she was scared of and wanted it done away with, Fat shot it and I took it to the Spray office and cleaned it and cut it up and put it in the freezer and that fool Demus Agee ate it......Shorty stopped dead, his face got white, then it got kinda greenish looking and he said....uurrrph!! oh god ummph and he made a dive into the bathroom and grabbed the commode, he laid there for a full five minutes, heaving. Me and Fat were getting scared when he finally rolled over and looked up and said "you two....you two would actually do that, wouldn't you??" Fat asked, "What's the matter Shorty," and he said..I eat that blessed old sick cat!...later on, when he had regained his composure a little, I couldn't resist...Shorty, tell me, exactly what does a cat taste like??? Shorty looked a little pale...and finally said, I guess it tastes a lot like a rabbit.


Me and Fat had to ride this one a little and we told everyone about Shorty eating the cat but Shorty was the best dispatcher we had and we decided to tell him the truth, Shorty thought we were lying just to get back in his good graces and Shorty died believing he had actually fried up and eaten an old sick cat.

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