Manhunt Comes a Little Too Close for Comfort

It’s been an exciting week in my little  beachside burg.  A law enforcement manhunt transformed our sleepy, residential street into the eastern edge of a police perimeter lockdown.

A local police chase ended around noon, when a pair of auto thieves  rammed into another car at an intersection a few blocks away from my house.  Officers quickly apprehended one of the suspects, but the other one fled and began jumping fences. The police set up a perimeter, one leg of which ended at the foot of our driveway. When I poked my head out to see what was going on,  a boyish-looking officer ordered me to stay inside the house and lock all doors. Minutes later, a police chopper began buzzing our house.

Of course, I was thrilled by the ruckus. It offered me a rare opportunity to put our overpriced, high-tech security system to good use.  As my husband looked on with a bemused expression,  I ran around the house like a jumpy little chicken hawk,  arming doors while monitoring the progress of the police chase on an iPad pressed to my ear. Then I reviewed every angle of the house from the camera monitor, to make sure no one had snuck in when we weren’t looking. Leaving nothing to chance, I grabbed our Flat-coated retriever to do a perimeter check. (Our dog MacGregor is totally untrained and exuberantly friendly, but I figured he’d at  least throw me a warning bark if he sniffed out a car thief.) We watched from the third-floor balcony as police searched our neighbors’ yards. 

In the end, they caught the bad guy hiding inside a garage a couple of doors down from ours. 

The whole time the manhunt was going on, I was making notes and taking pictures, trying to preserve the finer details in my writer’s memory. 

Maybe my excitement over the manhunt episode had nothing to do with being a writer–maybe it was just a sign that I need to get out more.  I should take up some adrenaline-pumping sport, like sky-diving.

Or what if I tried, say, sky-diving from a police helicopter? That would be exciting.

Right. I definitely need to get out more.

What about you? Do you find yourself enjoying the random bits of excitement you encounter during your everyday life, just so you can “use” them as fodder for writing?


27 thoughts on “Manhunt Comes a Little Too Close for Comfort

  1. Interesting story, Kathryn. We all need some excitement occasionally.

    My kids tell me I need to get a life. I know I’m boring when I get my “excitement” observing and recording my father’s fellow patients in a dementia unit, journaling their bizarre conversations and behavior. But hey, I’ll use that material in my next novel.

    Maybe you can use some of the material you recorded in your next novel or in a short story. But before you jump from one of those choppers, make certain it’s flying a whole lot higher than they normally do, or you won’t have time to open your chute.

    Thanks for an interesting post.

  2. 10-4, Ma’ am… And not only random bits of excitement, but humor and boredom as well… Raised on the airline, I spent more time than most on stand-by, bouncing from gate to gate waiting and hoping for a seat, any seat, and learned the invaluable skill(?) of people watching… which makes my day job in the regional safety net hospital such a valuable resource beyond “underwriting’ my writing…

    • As least our day jobs get us out of the house, G. Maybe that’s why I’ve gotten obsessed by my cats and dog– they’re the ones I’m “people” watching mostly these days! Thanks for visiting.

  3. I do, actually. XD A few years ago, a fire erupted near our house and threatened a bunch of homes. We got right up to the flames trying see what the firefighters were doing.

    I also get stupidly excited about car chases. I am strange.

  4. Oh absolutely. On a flight a couple of years ago I got pulled aside for special attention from TSA. The nice lady apologized and swore it was random.

    The coolest part was getting swabbed for explosives. I didn’t put out my hands, I threw out my hands and then peppered her with questions during the entire procedure.

    Last summer I found myself involved in a police investigation. I learned a lot, I even changed a line in my novel because of it.

    And being emergency manager for the county for a year and working with state and federal FEMA and the incident command system is the basis for a YA novel I am outlining.

    So . . . yeah . . .


  5. Sounds exciting! I remember years ago my father in law and I were at his house on Ft. Meade MD, raking the leaves in his front yard. He’d gotten off work late and we were chatting and doing yard work in the dark by the the light of a flood lamp. Suddenly a helicopter comes over head and hovers above us, shining its spotlight on us for several seconds, then left, turned and came back and shined it on us for several more minutes. We stared up, wondering what it was all about. Eventually they left.

    Found out an hour later on the evening news that two men had machine gunned a couple CIA agents in traffic in DC and had escaped on foot. They were at large, armed and dangerous. Apparently the cops thought it odd to see two men raking the lawn in the dark and checked us out to see if we were them. Guess we were lucky they didn’t send a swat team.

    • It’s a good thing they didn’t rake the area for you, but with something else. “Oh, hello down there. Ya ain’t gotta worry ’bout dem leafs no more.”

  6. I used to get much more excited but now, after a few messages from my sons’ school about perimeter and full scale lockdowns I’m starting to dread that kind of excitement. Last week they were on perimeter lock down as a bank just a few streets away was robbed and the police were in pursuit in the neighborhood. I could have done without that excitement!

  7. Yes I do. It would seem that everything I write about comes from some personal experience. Most usually (not to beg the question), I’m the one supplying all the excitement. Thing is, though, I’ve had plot ideas and characters explode out of some innocuous thing a friend might say. So I have to write it down on the spot or I will forget it. I put all this in a special file. If I can find that, I’ll be crackin’.


  8. One time a novelist friend came to L.A. for research. She wanted me to show her around. I gave her a nice tour. We ended up walking along Hollywood Boulevard in the late afternoon.

    We walked past a bar that was open to the sidewalk. On their big screen TVs they were showing, live, a police chase. The cops were chasing, believe it or not, a tow truck that refused to stop.

    I said to her, “Hey, look, a police chase. Let’s watch for a bit. This is your lucky day.”

    Hand to God, a minute later I see a chopper overhead and hear sirens screaming. We turn around and the actual tow truck comes racing by us on Hollywood Blvd., followed by the cops.

    I’m telling you, only in L.A.

  9. Nearest excitement to yours in the patrolling Hedlus – Welsh police. And our dog chasing the cats – dog is a police dog, because she likes doughnuts. Anyway want some excitement as been working out what it would take for our rural community to fall apart… other than government inefficiency.

    P.S> Love flatcoats and even gave my heroine one in thriller debut, and he chased off a burglar.

  10. Ten years ago next month a group of deer hunters were gunned down at their NW WI cabin by another hunter who snapped when told he was trespassing on their land. This happened about 20mi from our rural home. A friend in town heard it on the radio and called to warn us. It was with some trepidation that I made my way through the furnace room to make sure the back door was locked. It was. The shooter was apprehended about 10mi away.

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