By Stacey Pearson, retired Louisiana State Police
My guest Stacey Pearson sent me this fun story:
This is a humorous piece that I wrote in response to someone asking me what it was like to go the bathroom in uniform! Rory is a character I’m developing. She’s kind of a cross between Angie Dickinson and Mr. Magoo.
Rory in the Restroom
Rory pressed her palms against the door and gave it a shove as she walked. Inside the sanctity of the women’s restroom, Rory bent at her waist and peered under each stall door. All the stalls were empty, including the handicapped stall. She tapped the bottom of each door with the toe of her boot, swinging the door open enough for her to judge the stall’s cleanliness. She lingered at the spacious handicapped stall and weighed the ramifications.
“You’ll end up on YouTube,” she thought.
Rory stepped into the cleanest stall, the last one on her right. She shuffled around to her left in the tiny space, knocking the metal toilet paper holder with her holster. She tried sliding the door’s latch closed. Once. Again. She tried focusing, lining up the male and female parts. She tried muscling it. Broken.
Rory pulled the door towards her, squeezed sideways, and rattled past the toilet paper holder. She repeated the opening-entering-shuffling-and-banging-into process with the adjacent stall. This stall’s latch worked, and Rory began her bathroom stall ballet.
From muscle memory and in one smooth movement, Rory slid her thumb in between the two pieces of joined leather on her holster and popped open the snap. She spread her hand a bit and pressed down. Her thumb and forefinger separated, and the flat of her palm found its home on the grip. She extended her forefinger along the slide’s underside, above the trigger guard, and pulled her weapon straight up and out of the holster.
Rory gingerly positioned her gun on the top of the toilet lid. The lid was slick with humidity. And not level. She gaped as her fully loaded Glock 17 with one 9mm round in the chamber slid off the lid and tumbled towards the floor. Rory snatched her gun in mid-air like a chameleon catching a fly with its tongue. She jerked her head away from the gun and slammed her eyelids shut. She flinched. And waited. Hearing – and feeling – no accidental discharge, she exhaled. With no regard for muzzle safety, Rory unzipped her uniform shirt and shoved her Glock down the front of her ballistic vest.
Rory unsnapped the three belt keepers on her duty belt and peeled it back to separate it from her underbelt. The creak of leather, the jingling of handcuffs, and the rip and tear of Velcro was the music of police work. She turned to hang her duty belt on the back of the door only to discover three rusty screw holes forming a triangle. No clothes hook. Just holes.
Rory pawed at the spider web of a cord that attached her portable radio to her shoulder mic. The cord was now wrapped around her neck. She released the mic from her left shoulder lapel by pinching the clip and then re-clipped the mic to her radio’s antenna. The antenna swayed with too much weight.
Rory shouldered open the third stall’s door like she was making a SWAT entry. This stall had a working latch, a clothes hook, but no toilet paper. Rory commandeered the last roll from the handicapped stall, thought better of it, and then returned it. She pilfered a roll from the stall with the broken latch. She backed into this fully-equipped stall, still lugging her duty belt and squawking radio.
Rory slammed the latch closed. She yanked on the clothes hook to make sure it could withstand the weight of her leather duty belt and all its accoutrements – polished-by-hand brass buckle, holster, two pairs of Smith & Wesson handcuffs, two ammunition magazines, and a Motorola XTS 5000 portable radio valued at 10% of her yearly salary. Not unlike the slippery toilet lid, Rory had a similar bad experience with a faulty clothes hook. This was the reason she had removed her weapon from its holster and now had it nestled between her 36Cs and her Second Chance ballistic vest.
Satisfied the hook was worthy, Rory hung her duty belt like a Renoir landscape. She leaned back, looking left then right, to admire her work. With the most delicate touch, Rory took hold of her duty belt with both hands, one on each side of the hook. She hoisted it up, eyeballed it, then set it down. Balanced! On queue, a pair of Rory’s handcuffs slipped from their case and clattered to the tile floor.
Rory pressed her hand against her chest to keep her gun from falling out and bent over to pick up her handcuffs. When she raised her head, she bumped into her radio. Her shoulder mic came unclipped from the flopping antenna and skidded to rest in the handicapped stall. Rory jerked hard on the cord. The cord contracted, and the mic popped her in the lower lip like a runaway yo-yo. Rory got her duty belt, radio, mic, and handcuffs in custody. In the commotion, she pressed her radio’s emergency button.
The Dispatcher bleated, “The net is Code 3. 10-33. Dispatch, I-76. Code 4? What is your emergency?”
Stacey Pearson is a retired law enforcement professional with extensive experience in complex missing and exploited children investigations. After a distinguished 20-year career, she retired in July 2018 as a veteran sergeant with the Louisiana State Police where she most recently served as the Manager of the Louisiana Clearinghouse for Missing and Exploited Children (LACMEC), the Statewide Coordinator of the Louisiana AMBER Alert Plan, and as the supervisor of the Lafayette Field Office of the Special Victims Unit (SVU).
Started reading with a chuckle, laughed through and ended with a belly laugh. Want more!
Thanks for your thoughts, Cap’n Dan!
Funny, Funny, Funny, at least she didn’t forget her gun as I remember reading years ago about some copper who left his pistola behind after the flush.
Thank you, Dan!
Love your ability to write detail and put the reader right there in the stall. Recommend that Rory use the handicap stall, as much more room to maneuver! LOL
That’s very kind … thank you, Elaine! She would end up on YouTube haha
So funny. Women in law enforcement deserve combat pay! Well done, Stacey. Glad I wasn’t drinking coffee at the ending!
Thank you … I’m glad you got a good laugh 😂
Good portrayal of the side of police work you don’t see on TV. Reminded me of the time I found that one of the detectives had inadvertently left his gun and his badge on the toilet paper holder. These days we need to remember the lighter moments.
Thanks Mike … that’s a sick feeling when a gun’s not where its supposed to be 😳
Those were the days. I knew every available toilet in the city. We all did. When anyone, male or female, went 908-B – Boy, you gave them plenty of time. 🙂
Thanks for bringing back some funny, and not-so-funny memories.
This conversation reminds me of when we went to plain English as part of an interoperability plan – so we could better communicate with agencies using different codes. “What’s your 20?” was answered with “in the bathroom,” “on the toilet,” and the more diplomatic, “I’d rather not say.” Plain English lasted about 3 days!
I almost dropped my portable radio in the toilet more time than I could count! Thanks for stopping by, George.
I grinned all through this story. Look at the bright side. Having to explain how and why you pushed the radio emergency button was probably a lot easier than when my LAPD partner had an accidental discharge with his gun while in the stall. The hole in the stall door was never repaired. Some other cop mounted a brass plate next to it engraved with John’s name and the words “It must have been something he ate.”
Finding a place to use the toilet was always an adventure filled with chaos. I didn’t realize that it would be double the trouble for female officers. Reading this again was a kick. Thanks, Colin, for reminding me about the story.
Yes, me, too! Thanks, Colin!