AUTHOR'S NOTE: Wondering where I got this crazy idea for a story? Animal Planet: Amazing Animal Videos. LoL, too much time. Thanks to Anne for Beta Reading this and my other two SOT stories (which have been reposted now that they're edited.)
~*~Love & Condolences to the American people~*~
Officer Carlos Sandoval sighed as he cruised slowly up and down the streets of Dallas in his squad car. The day had been nothing short of dull. A few minor disturbances here and there, and a speeding ticket. Boring would be putting it lightly. At the moment he was wishing for anything even remotely exciting, or even out of the ordinary to make his day not completely pathetic.
He could just imagine the comments from his best friend when they had dinner that night. Somewhere along the lines of; 'tough day, huh?' or 'my tax dollars at work'. Humph. Trent's day was probably ten times more exciting than his...and he was just following a man, accused by his wife of cheating on her.
He sighed. Two more hours and his shift was done. He could go home, take a shower, change into something a hell of lot more fashionable than his uniform, and have a few drinks with his friend. Maybe Lakeesha would be there too...or Tammy...or...
Suddenly his radio came to life. "Any officers in the vicinity of Craig and 4th. We have a situation at a back lot by the old mill store."
Carlos perked up. He was near there. "Dispatch this is Officer Sandoval, I'm not too far from there, I'll take it."
"What's your ETA Officer?"
"About 5 minutes, I'll call for back-up if needed when I get there. Sandoval out."
Carlos picked up his speed, still careful of pedestrians as he made his way toward the scene.
When he arrived, he saw a group of people surrounding...nothing, in the open field of the lot. Shutting off the engine, he got out of the cruiser and made his way over to the small crowd. "Someone called the police here? What's going on?"
A frantic older lady spoke, as the crowd looked up. "Oh Officer, it's just terrible. Petunia took her little ones for a walk today. They were headed back to the pond, when the wee ones fell down that drainage pipe. The poor things didn't see it coming, and dropped in one after the other, all 5 of them."
Carlos was confused. 5 children? Dropping down a drainage pipe? He looked to where the crowd was gazing anxiously at. The pipe couldn't be more than 6 inches wide. No human child could...
Wait a second. "And Petunia is?" he asked the woman, who was hugging what he assumed were her grand kids close to her side. The children were sobbing pathetically, wiping their runny noses on their grandmothers apron.
"Petunia," she said, as if the answer was obvious. At his look she sighed exasperated. "Petunia, the local mother duck. She's wild, but she lives here all year round. Let's the children feed her and her ducklings every year. She's the pride of the block. Dear thing, she's frantic."
Carlos' eyebrows quirked, but he suddenly noticed the frantic squawking of an adult duck a few meters away from the group. She was waddling back and forth, flapping her wings at every turn. Carlos sighed. Well, he got his wish. This was definitely out of the ordinary...now what was he supposed to do?
He walked forward, and crouched down by the hole. Unhooking a small flashlight from his belt, he flipped it on and peered down into the dark abyss. He faintly made out 5 pairs of beady eyes, about a meter and a half down. He heard the rustle of little feet and their tiny squawks. His heart melted. He had a soft spot for baby animals. He'd always liked animals in general, but he especially loved baby animals. His grandfather owned a farm about an hour outside of Dallas. Him and Trent had gone there often as kids. It was where Carlos has learned to ride, and soon after Trent, though somewhat more reluctantly. They'd also helped raise plenty of farm animals, including sheep and fuzzy little ducklings.
He sat back and thought for a moment. What was it that Trent and him had given to the baby ducks as treats? Peanuts? No, that wasn't it. Bread? Well, they'd liked that, but there was something else... What as it that the ducklings had been crazy about...? He snapped his fingers, now he remembered.
He turned to the grandmother who was hovering near by with her grandchildren. The crowd had backed away to give him room, but were still there, in support of their feathered friends.
"Do you have any chips, the salt and vinegar kind?"
The grandmother looked at him strangely, but nodded. "Yes..."
"Great, go grab some. I also need someone to grab a rubber jar opened, you know, the flat, flimsy ones?"
A woman perked up. "Oh yeah, I've got one of those."
Carlos nodded. "Okay, I'll need that. Anyone have some string, or thin rope, and some safety pins?"
An older man moved forward. "I reckon I got some in my garage."
"Good, bring me some of that."
The man nodded and went to retrieve the items.
Carlos took the opportunity to return to his squad car, and radio dispatch.
"Sandoval here at Craig and 4th. Nothing serious, just uh...pet distress." He supplied. "No back up required, I'll let you know when I'm clear."
"Another cat up a tree? Are you sure you don't need the fire department?"
"Uh, it's something like that, but no I'm fine. Sandoval out."
He quickly ended the conversation, not wanting to elaborate further. He headed back to the 'scene'.
All three people had returned and were waiting impatiently for him.
He rolled his eyes, taking the items thrust at him. He knelt down by the small hole, setting the bag of chips to the side. Carefully he punctured the rubber jar opened with 4 safety pins, then tied 4 pieces of string to each pin. He secured a knot about 8 inches from the base.
The crowd looked on in confusion, wondering if the police had perhaps sent some crazed cop who wasn't allowed to deal with people on a regular basis to them.
He looked up for a moment at the old woman's grandchildren. "Hey Son," he addressed the little boy. "You got a tennis ball or something?"
The boys brow furrowed, then he grinned, nodding. "I'll go get it," he cried, glad to be of some help.
He returned a few moments later, handing the dirty ball to the officer. Holding the contraption about a foot off the ground, Carlos place the ball in the base, breathing a sigh of relief when it held. This should work. He then handed the ball back to the boy.
With that, he opened the bag of chips, and upon picking out a broken piece, he placed it on the rubber base.
This was too much for the people standing around him. "What on Gods green earth are you doing?" A young woman asked him.
He grinned up at her. "My best friend and I used to feed the ducks at my Grandfather's farm when we were kids. We discovered they had an insatiable love for salt and vinegar chips. I'm hoping these guys will to, and they'll climb onto this to get the chip and I can haul them out, one or two at a time."
"Ooohhhhh." Many of them said at once, nodding in understanding.
Carlos chuckled, shaking his head as he lowered the chip toting contraption into the hole.
When he felt the rubber base settle on something, he stopped and waited. A moment later he felt a slight shift, so he carefully began lifting the contraption back out. He could feel a distinct increase in the weight of it. Now, he just had to be careful not to jostle the duckling off of the flimsy base.
He held his breath, along with the rest of the small crowd as the 'rescue craft' neared the opening of the pipe.
He released the breath in a woosh as a tiny beak, head, then fuzzy body appeared, quacking curiously. The duckling blinked at the bright sunlight. He quickly moved it away from the hole, and set the contraption onto the ground. He carefully picked the baby duck up and looked her over critically.
"Seems all right," he said, handing the trusting duckling over to the nearest spectator. He then proceeded to repeat the slow, agonizing process two, three, four more times, with a few minor mishaps in between. Twice one of the ducklings panicked and scurried of the platform, but soon, upon seeing their brothers and sisters get out, took to the rescue more agreeably. When the last duckling was out of the hole, the crowd erupted into cheers.
Carlos held the last duckling in his palm, talking softly to it, as he stood, motioning for the other duckling holders to do the same. He gently stroked the baby ducks head as him and the 4 others approached Mama duck, and carefully set the little ones down. The others backed off right away, but Carlos waited a moment, making sure all was well between the babies and there distraught mother.
The adult duck seemed to ignore Carlos, waddling forward she proceeded to gently peck at all her children, her squawks softening to soothing coos. Carlos smiled, struggling to his feet he turned back toward the crowd.
He smirked, saying sarcastically. "Well, that was interesting. Anything else? Any cats stuck in bird houses?" He smiled to show he was teasing.
The older woman smiled back. "No, but we'll be sure to request you specifically next time something as memorable comes up, Officer..."
Carlos smiled, gently shaking the frail offered hand. "Sandoval."
"Well, we can't thank you enough Officer Sandoval. This was very noble of you, to take time out of your busy crime busting schedule."
Carlos smiled, fighting the urge to grunt at that. "You're welcome, and really, it was no problem. Glad to help." Smiling, he added, "However I should get back out there, there may be a chicken in desperate need to cross the road."
The people that had hung around, laughed, waving goodbye as Carlos made his way back to his squad car.
Sitting in the drivers seat, he grabbed his radio, and called in. "Dispatch, this is Sandoval at Craig and 4th. Situation resolved. I'm clear."
"10-4 Officer, looks like you're done for the day. Go home and get some rest."
"Will do, thanks. Sandoval out."
Carlos cut the connection with a sigh. Buckling his belt, he started the car and pulled away from the old mill store. He smiled as he glanced back in his mirror and saw his feathered rescuees splashing into the pond at the back of the lot.
His smile widened. Strange, he really did feel like he accomplished something today...
Later at CD's...
"So, how was your day?" Trent asked his Cuban friend as they sat down at the bar.
Carlos thought Trent had an amused edge to his voice, but he brushed it off as paranoia.
"Fine," he answered. "Yours?"
"Great. Caught the guy on camera. The woman paid up, then proceeded to cuss out her husband in German."
Carlos laughed along with his friend. Carlos took another sip of his beer, then set it down and turned to look at his friend, who's eyes hadn't left him.
"What?" He asked, annoyed.
Trent tried to hide a smirk. "Nothing... So, tell me about your day?"
Carlos tensed. What did he know? How could he know? Carlos had had to file a brief report, and handed it into his Lieutenant. The Lieutenant was the only one that knew, wasn't he?
He thought for a moment. Had he recently pissed off his Lieutenant enough that the older man would seek vengeance by telling Trent, who the whole department knew well as Carlos' best friend. He wouldn't...would he?
Carlos frowned, snapping at his friend. "What's to tell? There's nothing. Nothing happened. Nothing exciting, nothing strange, nothing! Why? What did you hear? Tell me! No, never mind, I don't wanna know. There's nothing to know." Carlos finished his rambling hastily.
Trent quirked his eyebrows. "Apparently. Geez Pal, it was just a question..."
Carlos sighed. Maybe he didn't know.
However, Trent wasn't finished. "Take it easy Buddy... Don't go quackers on me."
Carlos groaned, dropping his head into his arms that were crossed before him on the bar. He shook his head in despair as Trent burst out laughing, patting Carlos on the back.
Carlos lifted his head, rolling his eyes at his friend. "Ha ha ha. Funny man. Now if we could GROW UP!"
Trent chuckled. "Fine, fine. But really Buddy, tell me about your day... I want to hear the unedited version of your, uh...Ducktales."
Carlos shook his head, allowing a chuckle as his friend burst into another fit of laughter.
He sighed, "Just another day."