Dear Detective Hodges,

I hope you do not mind me using your title, even though you have been retired for 6 months. I feel that if incompetent judges, venal politicians, and stupid military commanders can keep their titles after retirement, the same should be true for one of the most decorated police officers in the city's history.

So Detective Hodges it shall be!

Sir (another title you deserve, for you are a true Knight of the Badge and Gun), I write for many reasons, but must begin by congratulating you on your years of service, 27 as a detective and 40 in all. I saw some of the Retirement Ceremony on TV (Public Access Channel 2, a resource over- looked by many), and happen to know there was a party at the Raintree Inn out by the airport the following night.

I bet that was the real Retirement Ceremony!

I have certainly never attended such a "bash," but I watch a lot of TV cop shows, and while I am sure many of them present a very fictional picture of "the policeman's lot," several have shown such retirement parties (NYPD Blue Homicide, The Wire, etc., etc.), and I like to think they are ACCURATE portrayals of how the Knights of the Badge and Gun say "so-long" to one of their compatriots. I think they might be, because I have also read "retirement party scenes" in at least two Joseph Wambaugh books, and they are similar. He should know because he, like you, is a "Det. Ret."

I imagine balloons hanging from the ceiling, a lot of drinking, a lot of bawdy conversation, and plenty of reminiscing about the Old Days and the old cases. There is probably lots of loud and happy music, and possibly a stripper or two "shaking her tailfeathers." There are probably speeches that are a lot funnier and a lot truer than the ones at the "stuffed shirt ceremony."

How am I doing?

According to my research, during your time as a detective, you broke literally hundreds of cases, many of them the kind the press (who Ted Williams called the Knights of the Keyboard) terms "high profile." You have caught Killers and Robbery Gangs and Arsonists and Rapists. In one article (published to coincide with your Retirement Ceremony), your longtime partner (Det. 1st Grade Peter Huntley) described you as "a combination of by-the-book and intuitively brilliant."

A nice compliment!

If it is true, and I think it is, you will have figured out by now that I am one of those few you did not catch. I am, in fact, the man the press chose to call
a.) The Joker
b.) The Clown or
c.) The Mercedes Killer. I prefer the last!

I am sure you gave it "your best shot," but sadly (for you, not me), you failed. I imagine if there was ever a "perk" you wanted to catch, Detective Hodges, it was the man who deliberately drove into the Job Fair crowd at

City Center last year, killing eight and wounding so many more. (I must say I exceeded my own wildest expectations.) Was I on your mind when they gave you that plaque at the Official Retirement Ceremony? Was I on your mind when your fellow Knights of the Badge and Gun were telling stories about (just guessing here) criminals who were caught with their pants actually down or funny practical jokes that were played in the good old Squad Room?

I bet I was!

I have to tell you how much fun it was. (I'm being honest here.) When I "put the pedal to the metal" and drove poor Mrs. Olivia Trelawney's Mercedes at that crowd of people, I had the biggest "hard-on" of my life! And was my heart beating 200 a minute? "Hope to tell ya!"

I'll tell you something that's true "inside dope," and if you want to laugh, go ahead, because it is sort of funny (although I think it also shows just how careful I was). I was wearing a condom! A "rubber"! Because I was afraid of Spontaneous Ejaculation, and the DNA that might result! Well, that did not happen, but I have masturbated many times since while thinking of how they tried to run and couldn't (they were packed in like sardines), and how scared they all looked (that was so funny), and the way I jerked forward when the car "plowed" into them. So hard the seatbelt locked. Gosh it was exciting.

To tell the truth, I didn't know what might happen. I thought the chances were 50-50 that I would get caught. But I am "a cockeyed optimist," and I prepared for Success rather than Failure. The condom is "inside dope," but I bet your Forensics Department (I also watch CSI) was pretty darn disappointed when they didn't get any DNA from inside the clown mask. They must have said, "Damn! That crafty perk must have been wearing a hair net underneath!"

And so I was! I also washed it out with BLEACH!

I still relive the thuds that resulted from hitting them, and the crunching noises, and the way the car bounced on its springs when it went over the bodies. For power and control, give me a Mercedes 12-cylinder every time! When I saw in the paper that a baby was one of my victims, I was delighted!! To snuff out a life that young! Think of all she missed, eh? Patricia Cray, RIP! Got the mom, too! Straw- berry jam in a sleeping bag! What a thrill, eh? I also enjoy thinking of the man who lost his arm and even more of the two who are paralyzed. The man only from the waist down, but Martine Stover is now your basic "head on a stick!" They didn't die but probably WISH they did! How about that Detective Hodges?

Now you are probably thinking, "What kind of sick and twisted Pervo do we have here?" Can't really blame you, but we could argue about that! I think a great many people would enjoy doing what I did, and that is why they enjoy books and movies (and even TV shows these days) that feature Torture and Dismemberment, etc., etc., etc. The only difference is I really did it. Not

because I'm mad, though (in either sense of the word). Just because I didn't know exactly what the experience would be like, only that it would be totally thrilling, with "memories to last a lifetime," as they say. Most people are fitted with Lead Boots when they are just little kids and have to wear them all their lives. These Lead Boots are called A CONSCIENCE. I have none, so I can soar high above the heads of the Normal Crowd. And if they had caught me? Well if it had been right there, if Mrs. Trelawney's Mercedes had stalled or something (small chance of that as it seemed very well maintained), I suppose the crowd might have torn me apart, I understood that possibility going in, and it added to the excitement. But I didn't think they really would, because most people are sheep and sheep don't eat meat. (I suppose I might have been beaten up a little, but I can take a beating.) Probably I would have been arrested and gone to trial, where I would have pleaded insanity. Maybe I even am insane (the idea has certainly crossed my mind), but it is a peculiar kind of insanity. Any- way, the coin came down heads and I got away.

The fog helped!

Now here is something else I saw, this time in a movie. (I don't remember the name.) There was a Serial Killer who was very clever and at first the cops (one was Bruce Willis, back when he still had some hair) couldn't catch him. So Bruce Willis said, "He'll do it again because he can't help himself and sooner or later he'll make a mistake and we will catch him."

Which they did!

That is not true in my case, Detective Hodges, because I have absolutely no urge to do it again. In my case, once was enough. I have my memories, and they are as clear as a bell. And of course, there was how frightened people were after- ward, because they were sure I would do it again. Remember the public gatherings that were cancelled? That wasn't as much fun, but it was "tres amusant."

So you see, we are both "Ret."

Speaking of which, my one regret is that I couldn't attend your Retirement Party at the Raintree Inn and raise a toast to you, my good Sir Detective. You absolutely did give it your best shot. Detective Huntley too, of course, but if the papers and Internet reports of your respective careers are right, you were Major League and he was and always will be Triple A. I'm sure the case is still in the Active File, and that he takes those old reports out every now and then to study them, but he won't get anywhere. I think we both know that.

May I close on a Note of Concern?

In some of those TV shows (and also in one of the Wambaugh books, I think, but it might have been a James Patterson), the big party with the balloons and drinking and music is followed by a sad final scene. The Detective goes home and finds out that without his Gun and Badge, his life is pointless. Which I can understand. When you think of it, what is sadder than an Old Retired Knight? Anyway, the Detective finally shoots himself (with his Service Revolver). I looked it up on the Internet and discovered this type of thing isn't just fiction. It really happens!

Retired police have an extremely high suicide rate!!

In most cases, the cops who do this sad thing have no close family members who might see the Warning Signs. Many, like you, are divorced. Many have grown children living far away from home. I think of you all alone in your house on Harper Road, Detective Hodges, and I grow concerned. What kind of life do you have, now that the "thrill of the hunt" is behind you? Are you watching a lot of TV? Probably. Are you drinking more? Possibly. Do the hours go by more slowly because your life is now so empty? Are you suffering from insomnia? Gee, I hope not.

But I fear that might be the case!

You probably need a Hobby, so you'll have something to think about instead of "the one that got away" and how you will never catch me. It would be too bad if you started thinking your whole career had been a waste of time because the fellow who killed all those Innocent People "slipped through your fingers."

I wouldn't want you to start thinking about your gun. But you are thinking of it, aren't you?

I would like to close with one final thought from "the one that got away." That thought is:


Just kidding! Very truly yours,


PS! Sorry about Mrs. Trelawney, but when you turn this letter over to Det. Huntley, tell him not to bother looking at any photos I'm sure the police took at her funeral. I attended, but only in my imagination. (My imagination is very powerful.)

PPS: Want to get in touch with me? Give me your "feed- back"? Try Under Debbie's Blue Umbrella. I even got you a username: "kermitfrog19." I might not reply, but "hey, you never know."

PPPS: Hope this letter has cheered you up!