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Ron Cruger
The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
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I know but I ain't tellin'
          Everyone in the area could hear the crackling, fuzzy voices coming from the radios of the 6 police squad cars parked helter skelter on the street in front of the restaurant. Two cars were headed north and 4 facing south. The police had raced to the restaurant following the call from the police dispatcher downtown. 
          The lead black and white had screeched to a sliding halt in front of the restaurant. 
          Unfolding himself from the passenger seat, Officer Daniel O’Brian emerged, straightened his utility belt and nightstick. The driver, Officer Nancy Landon, slid out from under the steering wheel and did the same. 
          Daniel O’Brian is not the kind of cop law breakers mess around with. He’s 6 foot, 5 inches of solid muscle. An avid weightlifter. He’s large, bulky and powerful. 
          Nancy Landon is 9 inches shorter than her partner. She grew up thin and fragile, but her desire to join the police force pushed her to add muscle and quickness through her devotion to various forms of Asian self defense techniques. 
          The two quickly walked to the sidewalk area of the restaurant. There, the owner, a short, stubby, excited man, was pointing towards an ordinary looking man in his mid 30’s. 
          “That’s the guy, that’s him,” the owner screeched to the two officers. 
          The accused stood, leaning on the wrought iron fence enclosing the outside dining tables of the restaurant. He glared defiantly at the two officers walking towards him. 
          The officers from the 5 police cars parked on the street stood talking to each other, but all kept a wary eye on the scene at the restaurant. They could assist their fellow cops in seconds if needed. 
          O’Brian walked towards the accused and said, “Hello, sir. What is your name?” 
          “Greg Nelson. What’s yours?” 
          “I’m Officer O’Brian, sir. We’ve had a report that you’ve broken the law and we’re going to have to take you to the station.” 
          “This is a crock. I ain’t done nothin’ wrong. 
          “Sir, it’s best that you take it easy. We will have to place you under arrest and we will put you in handcuffs.” 
          “This really is a crock. I’m just doin’ what I always do. I ain’t broken any law.” 
           At that, Officer Landon, slowly walked behind Nelson and asked him to place his two hands behind his back. Nelson complied and Officer Landon quickly placed the chrome plated handcuffs on Nelson and led him past the dining tables, out past the restaurant’s sidewalk entrance and to the patrol car. 
          At the car O’Brian placed his meaty, flat right palm on Nelson’s head, protecting him from the metal edge surrounding the rear doorway of the patrol car. Quickly, Nelson was under arrest and located in the back seat of the cop car. 
          The 5 other black and whites left the scene and resumed their normal Friday night patrols of the city. 
          Arriving at the precinct, Officers O’Brian and Landon opened the rear door and assisted Nelson in his exit. 
          Shortly, the two officers approached the booking sergeant with the accused. 
          The booking sergeant looked up from his copy of “People” and asked, “What’s up Landon, O’Brian?” 
          Landon spoke. “We arrested this guy at that restaurant, you know, the one with the seating area on the sidewalk. The one with the black, iron fence around those outside tables.” 
          “What you get him for?” 
         O’Brian answered. “This guys a dangerous one, Sarge. The restaurant owner caught him smoking inside the fenced area. Inside! He smoked two cigarettes and then defiantly stomped them out on the sidewalk when he was done. This guy is a menace!” 
          Officer Landon added, “Yeah, we gotta lock this guy up. Imagine, he actually smoked in public, right there in the forbidden area on the sidewalk. We outta throw the book at him. Smoking right there in public with complete disregard for the law and the people around him.” 
          The booking sergeant added, “Lock him up. We have to keep these guys off our streets. They’re too dangerous.” 
          Okay, so all of this didn’t actually happen, but it could. 
          California law prohibits smoking inside restaurants, cafes and bars. Concerns about the dangers of secondhand smoke has prompted a number of cities to take things even further by banning smoking in outdoor venues. 
          Calabasas, Santa Monica and Burbank have banned smoking in outdoor venues. Beverly Hills just joined these cities in banning outdoor smoking. The cities of Belmont and Calabasas want to pass legislation that would ban smoking in apartments and condominiums. 
          And so, the tide has turned. The smoker’s world is shrinking. 
          Now, diners will be sitting at their outdoor tables cigarette smoke free. They’ll be enjoying their Cobb salads and Reuben sandwiches as they watch the cars and SUV’s drive by belching their toxic fumes.