Claremore Daily Progress

Columnists

December 13, 2010

Pulp fiction and a doll of a real life caper

CLAREMORE — As the car approached the dark alley, made blacker by the moonless sky, the driver turned off his head lights.

Slowly he drove past a couple of trash bins. Suddenly the second vehicle appeared.

It was virtually hidden behind yet another bin.

The parked car's lights blinked once and the signal was answered.

The first car then continued its approach. When the cars were side by side each driver lowered his window. The first man handed over a pre-determined amount of money and in exchange was given a package.

The transaction was complete.

What was the purpose of this meeting? Was it the sale of illegal drugs, or restricted guns?

Nope, not at all.

Now shortly before his retirement as Claremore Chief of Police, Mickey Perry could write a book about his 41-year career.

First as a patrolman working for Chief Buck Johnson, then an undercover agent for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, and now as the chief himself, he can recall countless stories.

Maybe his most unusual memory comes from that dark alley 26 years ago.

In 1984 the most sought after toy that season was the Cabbage Patch doll. Because these dolls were allegedly born in a cabbage patch, they were orphans.

Once purchased in the stores, the young owners could officially adopt their babies.

Adoption papers and the whole works followed.

Knowing their daughter Jennifer, age nine at the time, was hoping Santa Claus would bring one to the Perry home, mother Kathy started looking for the just right one.

Working in Tulsa at the time and able to hit all the shops, Kathy couldn't find any. It was apparent that every other little girl in Oklahoma wanted a Cabbage Patch doll.

Every store was sold out.

Realizing time was getting short and her determined search of all the retail shops had failed, Kathy called to her last resource.

She told her husband to find one.

As a lawman Mickey had tracked down a lot of bad guys.

Finding a doll was a different matter. How was he suppose to find one if his wife couldn't?

Kathy's reply to his question was, “I don't know, I don't care, BUT find one!

Afterwards Kathy admitted she didn't know how he would do it, but she believed in her husband enough to know he would do his best.

Now charged with an important Christmas mission, Mickey went to work.

Following a lot of thought, he remembered an old friend that had a supervisory position with a major retail store. He called for help. The friend didn't promise anything, but he said he would try to locate one.

After doing a check, the friend called and said there were only two unsold Cabbage Patch dolls left in Oklahoma. Both were in a Durant store in the southern portion of the state.

Arrangements were made to get one transferred to Tulsa. Mickey's friend said he would sell the doll to him for the retail price, but also cautioned Mickey not to tell anyone. No one else could know.

Mickey was also told to have the exact amount of cash and where and what time to meet for the exchange.

A few nights later on the east side of Tulsa, at 10 p.m., the doll was purchased.

The top secret arrangement was carried off without a hitch.

Being a narcotics officer then, Mickey knew the night's actions had the resemblances of a drug buy. The dark alley, passing a product between cars, passing cash, the quick drive off, it had it all.

There was a key difference, however. Instead of dope or guns or anything else illegal, it was a cute little doll soon to be named Selina. It may have felt wrong, but it was so right because it was legal and it was the Christmas present from Santa that Jennifer wanted.

That holiday Jennifer got a new baby doll and Santa and Mom got some help finding the much wanted gift. As for Dad? Well, he didn't get busted in that alley on that dark night.  

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