Posted on 25 Jul 2023 @ 12:31 by Deputy Sheriff III Elijah Gillett
1,448 words; about a 7 minute read
Location: Nag's Head, NC
Timeline: April 8th, 2023
“Two-Nine, Justice,” the radio squawked, catching Eli’s attention as he motored down Highway 12, keeping an eye on traffic and letting the patrol vehicle’s presence promote safe driving amongst the start of the lunch rush.
“Go ahead, Justice,” Eli said, keying the mike and thumbing the stereos mute button. “Animal in distress. Priority three. See the manager at the Holiday Inn, Oceanside: 4701 South Virginia Dare Trail in Nags Head.”
Frowning, Eli keyed the mike again, “Two-Nine responding, Justice. What about Animal Control?” He changed lanes, watching the on-coming traffic and flipped on the light bar when traffic responded by slowing down. He performed a U-turn and got up to speed before turning the light bar off.
“Animal Control is at least an hour out, Two-Nine,” the dispatcher informed him. He could hear amusement in the dispatcher’s voice and prompted. “Any other information to go with the call, Justice,”
“Two-Nine. Primary caller states that there’s is a pig on the beach that is being uncooperative. Multiple concerned patrons have also called in.”
“Received,” Eli said. He dropped the mic into his lap and increased his speed. Once he sure he was cleared out, he muttered to himself. “A freaking pig? What the hell.”
Eight minutes later he was pulling into the parking lot and he paused, once he was out of traffic and looked at the computer screen. “Back parking area. Manager named Peebles. Marisha Peebles,” he mumbled to himself as he steered the vehicle around to the beach side of the hotel and caught sight of two different knots of people. A group down the beach, in a circle and another up on the border of the parking lots and sand.
Eli hung an almost sincere smile on his face as he legally parked and retrieved the mic. “Justice, Two-Nine, show me on scene and out of vehicle.” Justice acknowledged as he hung the mic, thumbed the seatbelt release, and cracked the door. A woman in light blue dress made her way toward him as he stood from the vehicle and he cleared the door and locked the unit as she said, “Hello Officer. Thank you for responding.”
Eli took her in professionally, as he pulled his sunglasses off. Blonde. More or less in shape. Decently tanned and wearing sandals with her outfit. Eli nodded in response. “Deputy Gillette, Ms. Peebles,” he corrected, identifying her from her name plate. His eyes met hers, then swept toward the knot of people on the beach. “So, there’s a pig…”
Her own eyes narrowed as he corrected her, but she let it pass and turned with him. “Yes. We’re not sure where he came from, and we thought he’d go away but it’s been two hours and our guests began to be concerned that the sun might hurt him.”
Eli cocked his eye toward the sky, taking in the sun’s position and clouds and nodded. “Right. But still an unknown. I take it none of your guests registered a pet?”
Ms. Peebles fell into step with him as Eli paced onto the beach and he felt the squishy-ness of the sand and sighed as the knot of concerned patrons. The subject of the call was half buried in sand and had a beach towel cast over its back with two children pouring water on the towel.
“Hi,” a young girl in the act of pouring water called at him, giggling as the pig wiggled in content.
The group caught sight of him and parted and he hooked his thumbs in his duty belt as he contemplated the apparently happy, pig grinning up at him.
Eli was pretty sure pigs couldn’t actually grin but that’s what he looked like. “Ok,” he said. “No one here knows Mr. Pig here?” He heard a chorus of no’s but he noted one man look at a woman beside him nervously and noted the kids giggling as they started pushing sand up around the swine.
Rubbing at his jaw, Eli said. “Well, Animal control will be here shortly, and we’ll transport the ol’ Bacon here to County lockup and we’ll start looking for an owner. He noticed more nervous fidgeting and he looked at Ms. Peebles directly and said, “But, for safety’s sake I’ll stay here until those officers arrive, just in case.” He casually dropped the palm of his hand to rest on the butt of his service weapon and was rewarded when he heard a woman gasp slightly.
There was a whispered conversation he pointedly ignored as Ms. Peebles made agreeable noises and cast her eyes about for other patrons. Eli decided she was worried about PR matters, and he said, “I don’t think it’ll be much of a problem, Ms. Peebles,” he stated. “Good on you for taking care of things like this. It says a lot about your Hotel.”
That stalled off any protests from the manager and he heard footsteps in the sand but kept his peace as a man said, “Umm. Officer?”
Turning, Eli nearly grinned when Ms. Peebles said, “It’s Deputy, Mr. Gillin.”
The flustered man seemed to redden, and Eli said, “Yes sir?”
“Um. Well. Bacaroni is ours. The pig, I mean. We were supposed to have a sitter for him but they backed out at the last minute… And. Well…”
Eli folded his arms and regarded the man, then his eyes flickered toward the woman who was biting her lip. “Right. Well, that turns the matter over to Ms. Peebles for the moment. You folks talk and I’ll be with you in a moment.”
Eli stepped away and keyed his mic. “Justice. Two-Nine. Cancel Animal control. I should be wrapping this up shortly.”
“Received, Two-Five,” came the response. “Cancelling Animal control. Advise when you are One-Thirty-Eight.”
Eli turned back to the Ms. Peebles and the family. With the acknowledgement of ownership, interest in a free-range, roving pig had evaporated and he glanced between the adults expectantly.
“We’re sorry for the confusion,” Deputy, the apparent Mrs. Gillin said. “Like Ronnie said, we were just not sure about what to do with Bacaroni and. Well things got away from us. You understand.”
Eli felt his neck muscles tighten at her condescending tone but kept his voice mild and said, “Yes ma’am.” Glancing over to Ms. Peebles, he asked. “You’re satisfied, Ms. Peebles? Anything else I before I resume patrol?”
The blonde woman shook her head and said, “No Deputy Gillett. We’ll make an accommodation and room change. They assure me Bacaroni is house trained…”
Eli nodded and knelt, offering his hand to the pig who was grunting contentedly, pleased with the humans who were now providing him shade while the children opened more water bottles to douse him with. The pig’s snout was curiously rubbery, but the animal was friendly enough as it breathed against his hand and Eli rubbed its nose. “Ok. Get Bacaroni off the beach though. The sun is a concern. Looks like he gets really good care though. Nice job.” He smiled to the children who chorused on about how good a pig Bacaroni was and Eli smiled at them both. “Mind if take a snap?”
The family agreed and he snapped a couple of quick shots with his phone, then tucked it away before turning to the adults.
“Alright. You folks enjoy your day then,” he said as he turned and made his way back up the beach to the parking lot. He popped his trunk and pulled out a hand whisk and worked at brushing the sand away from his shoes. He’d have to clean them tonight to get all of the grains out.
Sliding back into the patrol vehicle, he started it and got the air conditioning rolling as he called in, “Justice. Two-Nine.”
“Go ahead Two-Nine,” the response came back.
“Two-Nine is available for calls.”
“Received, Two-Nine,” dispatch responded. “Respond to Nine-Nine-One-Two, South Sandy Court. Nags Head. One-One-Seven complaint. Priority Three. See the caller.”
Shaking his head and pulling his sunglasses back on, Eli buckled himself in and saw the computer flag the new information.
“Justice. Two-Nine. Received. Responding Code three,” Eli said into the mic before replacing it. He updated his call log with a few bullet points, noted the time and then opened the next call, getting it queued up.
He turned the radio back up as he reversed the car and made his way back to the Highway. Eli made a mental note to send the pictures to dispatch later. Chuckling he shook his head and merged into traffic.