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The Incident at Lake 20.
The Security Cruiser was in the Lake and Tracy wasn't talking.

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The Incident at Lake 20 . . .

It's being handled on a 'need to know' basis. And, it appears, nobody needs to know how one of the Security Department patrol cruisers ended up in the lake. Tracy sure isn't talking.

Giving two raps on the doorjamb, Carlos stepped into John's office. "Hey John - -"

John looked up from reading the morning mail, "Hello Carlos. What's up?"

Carlos grinned, "Patrol Car Number Two is stashed behind the dumpsters this morning."

John took a sip of coffee, "Huh? Why?"

"It kind of looks like they are trying to hide it."

John carefully placed his coffee cup on the desk. "OK, Carlos. Tell me what happened."

Carlos shook his head, "I don't really know exactly what happened. A tow truck pulled Patrol Number Two inside the garbage fence and dropped it in the little open area behind the dumpsters. The car is covered with mud. Soaking wet inside and out. It's all smashed up. The front bumper and grill are torn off. Both front rims are crushed. The airbags have been deployed. I would say, with all the front-end damage, that the car is 'totaled'. "

John stood up. "Verrry interesting. Let's go have a look!"

In a few minutes, John and Carlos walked to the area where the garbage dumpsters stood. There, they met Randy, the first-shift Security patrolman, who was intently studying the damage to Patrol Number Two.

Randy patted the crumpled hood. "That's too bad. I liked this car. It drove better than Patrol One."

John circled the wrecked vehicle then looked up at Randy. "What happened?"

Randy, shrugged, "I guess third-shift drove it into Lake 20 some time about 3:00 this morning. Frank was driving. He is fine, I hear. A little beat up - bruises. But, no serious injuries"

With his finger, John drew a line in the mud on the windshield. He muttered, "How in the world did Frank manage to drive a car into Lake 20?"

Randy smiled, "It would take some doing. Wouldn't it?"

John motioned to Carlos. "Come on! I HAVE to see Lake 20."

John and Carlos walked back to the Maintenance Yard. Carlos swung into the passenger seat of the Flatbed Gator while John started the engine. They quickly drove to the other side of the property to arrive at the service entrance of the ninth fairway. John pulled the Gator to a stop on a rise overlooking Lake 20. Four men from Golf Maintenance were already busy shoveling sand / seed into the tire tracks on the fairway.Another man was raking the shoreline of Lake 20.
Lake 20 is a water-hazard located on Fairway Nine
John glanced at Carlos. "Looks like people have been tampering with the evidence."

Carlos grinned, "Right. That will make it tougher to break this case."

"Let's go have a look."

John and Carlos strode down to the shoreline of Lake 20. A hubcap was barely visible in the murky waters. Despite the best efforts of Golf Maintenance, tire tracks were plainly visible in the fairway.

The tire tracks showed that the Patrol Car had made a bee-line from the service entrance of the ninth fairway directly into the Lake. One its way to the lake, the car jumped a rock curb, drove through a hedge and smashed a post light. Then, it crossed the fairway with enough speed to propel itself to the center of Lake 20 before settling nose-first in the muddy water.

John shook his head, "Man! Old Frank must have been really moving!"

Carlos nodded in agreement, "I'd say he had his foot on the gas all the way into the water."

John hopped into the driver's seat of the Flatbed Gator. "Carlos, we'll need to send two guys down here to repair the damage. But now, I'm going to pay a little visit to the Director of Security."

Carlos chuckled, "Good idea."

It is hard to imagine that any boy named Tracy could survive his grade school years without some emotional scarring. Maybe that is why Tracy, the Director of Security, was so paranoid. But even as an adult, Tracy was the subject of ridicule. Tracy was a master at turning any minor condition into a major crisis. John made a hobby of teasing Tracy every chance he could. And, a patrol car in the lake was certainly a golden opportunity .

John took a seat in Tracy's office. "Tracy, did anything . . . unusual . . . happen last night?"

Thinking hard, Tracy squinted at the ceiling for a second. He shook his head. "Nope. Nothing."

"That's funny. I've got a broken rock wall and lights out on Fairway Nine. There's a smashed patrol car behind the dumpsters. There is a hubcap in Lake 20. That seems . . . hmmm . . .unusual."

Tracy waved an open hand. "Oh that. Yes. Patrol had an incident last night."

John smiled. "It's not like you to be so . . . easygoing"

"What do you mean?"

John held one finger. "For instance - That time when the trash bin caught fire, you posted a security watch to guard it continuously for four days."

"That was a clear case of arson. We needed to protect the evidence until the Fire Marshall had a chance to look at it - if he wanted to."

"The Fire Marshall? Somebody probably just tossed a cigarette in the trash."

"See? That means the fire was intentionally set. That is arson."

"As I recall, the Fire Marshall wasn't interested in examining a burned trash bin."

Tracy twirled a pencil on his desk. "Well, no. But, that doesn't absolve us of our duty to protect the evidence until we are advised otherwise. That is what we are here for. We are Security."

John thought for a second. He held out a second finger. "You called for the Sheriff's SWAT Helicopter to help you corner those dangerous gunmen loose on the golf course. They sent us a bill for $11,000 for that fiasco."

"There were shots fired."

"It was two kids with a pellet gun."

"We were not able to ascertain that fact until the investigation was complete."

John touched his third finger. "You dusted for fingerprints when the 'Admin Office' fax machine was found smashed on the floor."

"We had reason to believe that there was perpetrator conducting malicious vandalism."

"Most likely, somebody - like the cleaning lady - accidentally caught the phone cord - like with a vacuum cleaner - and accidentally pulled the fax machine off the counter."

"All employees with access to said instrument denied any involvement with its destruction."

John smiled. "Who would admit anything to you? They would be afraid of being executed!"

Tracy scowled. "Don't be ridiculous. Malicious vandalism is not a capital offense."

John extended an open hand toward Tracy. "So, you see? I am curious how Patrol Number Two can end up in Lake 20 and there is total silence from the Director of Security. It's as if nothing happened."

Tracy pulled on his chin and studied the ceiling again. "That sums it up. Nothing happened."

John leaned back and looked at the ceiling too. Based on what I saw this morning . . . I would have to say that . . . Frank fell asleep at the wheel and floored the gas pedal."

Tracy glared. "My men do NOT fall asleep on the job."

John explained, "Well, there really aren't too many other possible scenarios. Obviously, we can rule out mechanical failure in the car. If the accelerator stuck - or something like that - you would have overreacted in your typical fashion. There would certainly be 24 hour armed guard on that car pending an investigation by Ralph Nader or the Department of Homeland Security or OSHA. . ."

Tracy interrupted, "I don't think the Department of Homeland Security has jurisdiction over automobiles."

John continued," . . . And we can rule out hot pursuit. Frank did not drive into the lake while chasing some dastardly evil-doer across the fairway."

Tracy looked confused. "How can you be so sure of that?"

John grinned triumphantly. "Because there was only one patrol car in the lake! If there was a hot pursuit on property, both patrol cars would surely be wrecked today - not just one!"

Tracy frowned, "Oh, ha ha. Very funny. But there is once scenario that you haven't described and that is the one that actually happened"

John leaned forward, "Really? What actually happened?"

Tracy sat back in his chair and squinted at John. "It's being handled on a 'need to know' basis. . . And, you don't need to know."

With the usual two raps on the jamb, Carlos stepped through the open doorway into John's office. "So . . . Did Tracy tell you what happened ?"

John shook his head, "Not in words. But, the odds are that Frank fell asleep at the wheel."

Carlos nodded, "Yah. That's what I thought, too."


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