Reprinted from November 1994
Watchmaker Hubby’s Hobby: Crime Busting
Every husband should have a stimulating hobby. To be effective, a hobby should balance what a man does during the week for a living. After all, a gardener would not enjoy a weekend of yard work at home.
So in keeping with this line of thought, my watchmaker husband (who sits at a bench all week totally immobilized) selected radio communications for his hobby. After all, operating a radio takes a great deal of physical energy and body motion which he doesn’t get at the bench.
His assortment of modern inventions include radios for listening and for broadcasting. For his “Christmas present to himself” (that Myron Everts suggests) he gave himself another type, which is called a “scanner.”
Somehow this Eighth Wonder of the world constantly scans pre-inserted crystals for such things as police calls, ambulance communications, radio telephone and any other locally broadcast station one chooses to hear on the high frequency band.
Here in El Paso we have those who deal in narcotics, which are purchased in Mexico and smuggled across the border. RB thought it would be great to monitor the communications between the “T Men” who track down and arrest these culprits. The only thing standing in his way was securing the proper crystal for the right frequency – a task not easily accomplished. After all, one does not call up the Treasury Department and ask for their radio broadcast frequency. At least no one around here does.
RB was discussing all this with a customer one day, lamenting that he hadn’t been able to secure the proper crystal. “I’d give anything to know that frequency,” he sighed.
“Anything?” the customer perked. “Say, Ben. I’ll bet I can get you that frequency. I have a buddy who worked for the department. He’ll give it to me if you could…ah, give me something to…ah, tempt him with.”
“Great!” responded RB. “Do you think ten bucks would do the job?”
“Well, I could try. I think I could get it for $10.”
Within a week RB had the frequency and was $10 poorer. Ordering the crystal was simple, so within a month the crystal was in operation. But alas, even though RB monitored the radio during his every leisure minute the selector never picked that channel and RB started to fear the long-awaited crystal was a dud.
Then one day it happened! RB was monitoring during the daytime rather than at night as was his usual custom. Suddenly the selector came to rest on the long silent channel. RB was ecstatic.
“Martha! Everybody. Come quick. The T Men are on the air!”
Then it unfolded like a TV thriller.
“Are you in there 129?”
“Okay, let’s go about this right. We don’t want any slipups. Be sure they don’t get away.”
“There they are! Do you see them?”
“Not yet, 188. I’m not in range.”
“I see them on the corner…”
“Yes, I can see them now. They’re starting to run. Wow!”
“How many would you estimate?”
“Well, one female and about seven males.”
“Gawd! Don’t let ‘em get away!”
“Will do my best, 188…”
“There she is. Do you see her now?”
“You bet I do.”
“Oh, oh! Seems like they have spotted us…”
“You go down Brown Street, and I’ll go up Green. Hang in there, buddy!”
The tension mounted as our dedicated public-spirited servants went so willingly on their darling mission.
The conversation picked up again:
“Be careful, 129. We don’t want you to get hurt…”
“Ten Four. I’ll watch it. This is a tough bunch.”
“If you don’t pick it up they’re going to get her! Snap it up, boy!”
“Get in there, 129. You’ve got to do your job, too, man! They’re right in range. Do something!”
“There must be nine. Some I hadn’t seen before. Head them off. Hurry!”
“I’m trying. Oh no, it can’t be!”
One could picture a dedicated T Man or female agent lying dead on the street.
Finally after what seemed an eternity, the radio click back on.
“We’re too late, 129. We tried. But we were just too late.”
“Do you want to write the report?”
“I suppose so. What should I say?”
“Just put down the truth, 129. List it Bitch in Heat…Arrived Too Late.”
And to think, I gave up the Lawrence Welk show to listen to that!