I went to the Writer’s Police Academy full of hope and excitement. The first evening we went into the parking lot to see a dangerous traffic stop. Two volunteers agreed to be the perps as the staff showed us how to control a suspect at a traffic stop without anyone getting hurt. They had several police vehicles and lights trained on the suspect’s car to keep the Officer’s invisible to any potential shooters. The process of getting the driver out of the car was an agonizingly slow process, the passenger sat with their arms crossed and hanging out the window.
It was hot and humid that evening. I started to feel sick, the lights were actually painful and I tried to hide behind tall people but since they weren’t trees, they would continually move, then I’d get a good dose of flashing and strobe lights. I stuck it out and what a mistake that was! I got back to my room feeling dizzy so I went straight to sleep. I woke at 3 am in the midst of a full-blown blinding migraine. I ended up spending the day in bed, the pain was gone by 8:30 but I was left with what felt like a major hangover. I had heard some people get migraines triggered by strobe lights but since I’ve never been exposed to them or arrested, I had no idea. Now, I do. It was an oddly surreal experience to be so ill and not have anyone to call for help. No one missed me, so I spent a while contemplating how long it would be before my body was found.
Then, I realized that the police assumed the perp was the driver. I imagined the perp was actually the passenger, who could easily take out the one police officer keeping an eye on her and cunningly escape into the woods or city streets.
I wasn’t alone. By the time, I joined my classmates I discovered we were all poisoning, shooting, maiming and killing a wide variety of people in our minds, a prep for murder on the page. A sweet grandmotherly woman chuckled as the exploits of a real-life serial killer listed. Psychotic vs. Pathological, serial vs. spree, the numbers of mass murderers and their varieties was a real eye-opener. I couldn’t help notice how often I wanted the handsome men whose photos smiled at us from the white board to be victims not cold-hearted murderers.
The members of Sisters in Crime were delightfully deranged as they gleefully shared fictional deviants. It was nice to know that I was not alone, everyone murdered their childhood bullies and bitchy backstabbing cohorts! It is truly amazing how often in-laws went under the knife and into the ground in shallow graves. No one was safe, murders and victims were everywhere you looked. RWA members stood out in their tenuous grasp on sanity with their happy ever after endings and energetic sex. The true crime writers had an enormous appetite for headline grabbing evil doers. Was I the only one who momentarily thought of Cuba when Castro’s name came up? Sargent Netters didn’t show a ‘he got what he deserved’ response. To her this was a job failure of a cluster-flack proportion. Heads will roll, promotions delayed and demotions passed out, the prisoner is not supposed to check out early on their watch!
I came with a few questions, eager for FATs and Building Search experiences, which I sadly missed, but I managed to leave with a brain full of new scenarios and victims. I met some wonderful people and will most likely return next year. But, for now I will try to avoid strobe lights and evening arrests this goody-two-shoes is not going to go barefoot into crime any time soon! On paper, that’s a different matter! So, now I need to determine who drops to the ground with a seizure as the strobe lights decapitate them, the officer, the criminal or the victim?