It began with a simple traffic stop - though in retrospect, it wasn’t all that simple. See, the man in the white Escalade was wanted by the Secret Service for scamming the elderly out of their nest eggs. When the Greensboro police officer pulled him over, he panicked. As the officer approached on foot, the man behind the wheel shot himself in the head. Soon he was in the back of a screaming ambulance as it sped toward the closest ER. There doctors pronounced him Dead On Arrival.
A half hour later, I paced the perimeter of what was now a crime scene, wondering what the hell caused so many undercover police cars to clog this anonymous parking lot. ’Suicide’ muttered a passing cop, but that didn’t explain the haphazard fleet of Crown Vics. After shooting just enough footage to prove I’d been there, I stashed my fancycam in Unit 4 and grabbed the battered Fuji snapshot camera that lives in my run-bag. Down the way, fellow El Ocho staffers Angela Rodriguez and Tim Bateson had a police spokesman framed and cornered. But the portly detective wasn’t what I wanted in the crosshairs. Rather, I yearned for a close-up of Bateson’s most righteous Fu Manchu. Moving in for a proper shot of the twisted whiskers, I snapped a few frames before turning toward my trusty steed.
That’s when my Fuji’s lens-hood, a stout plastic tube warped from earlier abuse, separated from the small camera’s body. In slow motion it fell toward the pavement. I lunged forward to catch it, but could only it watch as it stuck the pavement. On impact. the battery door broke off and four half-dead double AA’s took flight. But it wasn’t over. The camera…bounced - off the sidewalk and over the curb. “Nooooooooo!” I screamed as I dove toward the waiting storm drain. Before I could reach it though, the mortally wounded digital camera took another bounce and passed through the underground gutter’s gaping mouth like some pool shark’s trademark trick-shot. The sound of crashing plastic and the dull thud of my forty year old torso caused the intrepid news team to look my way. Bateson, photog that he is, began to roll.
Would you believe the stinky thing still works?