One of the interesting sociological facts about Kokomo, apart from its extensive Ku Klux Klan history, is that a significant portion of our population are persons who immigrated north from such places as Beaver Tail, Tennessee, and Coon Holler, Kentucky. These persons and their offspring can be identified easily, apart from being grossly overweight and habitually beating their mouth-breathers in Walmart, by the shotgun and compound bow they have on a rack in the rear window of their jacked up, 4-wheel-drive pickup truck. In addition, they all have police scanners in their home, right next to the 52 inch flatscreen which is always tuned to whatever channel is showing “wrasslin.”
Police scanners allow anyone to hear radio transmissions from the police, which can be really useful if you are hiding young Otis in your house, because the cops in Kentucky have a warrant for him for back support, said warrant now being in the hands of the Kokomo cops who are anxious to apprehend young Otis, put his sorry butt in jail and ship him back to the patiently waiting judge in Beaver Tail.
Also, the radio calls often say where the cops are going, which might tip you off that it might not be a good time to go weed that secret plot of ground that you are using to grow your own weed, for personal use only, or to access your stash of shine that you ran up here to Indiana from Uncle Floyd’s still back home.
Even better, you can hear the cops talking about being enroute to an often-visited residence, because Harlen is beating the snot out of Geraldine, yet again. If you get the call early enough, you can mosey on down to Harlen’s house to watch the fireworks, where four officers try to drag an irritated, liquored-up Harlen out of the house, clad only in his wifebeater T-shirt and boxers, while roaring that he will never be taken alive, all the while Geraldine trying to smack the cops, screaming that she will love Harlen forever and will visit him every Wednesday in the jail.
Rowdy, but home sweet home.
As it's understood that every kid whose parents have a scanner is listening, it has long been the tradition with the police in Kokomo that on Christmas Eve, the on-duty officers are to call in to dispatch about 9:30 to report that an unidentified flying object has been sighted over Kokomo. Another cop will then respond that the UFO has a red light on the front and appears to be stopping on the roof of each house.
Yet another cop will report that a very fat man with a white beard, clad in a red suit is going down the chimney of each house. This scenario is limited only by the creativeness of the officers, or their boredom, pick one. It is safe to say that a substantial portion of the police force view this task as beneath their dignity and professionalism. It is also safe to say that some police officers are in possession of, shall we say, a perverted, twisted sense of humor, sometimes not kept in check. Such was the case on one legendary Christmas Eve.
Which leads me to the two subjects of this tale of woe, Officers Thomas Dinardo and his evil accomplice, Thomas Kelly, who on a peaceful Christmas Eve were bored (not a good thing) and who managed cleverly to create a Christmas Eve, in our burg, that lives on in infamy. This daring duo cleverly managed to put countless mouthbreathers in therapy, thoroughly tick off half the community, and to incur the wrath of their commanding officers, all in the space of 5 minutes, and in so doing upheld the highest traditions of the Kokomo Police Department…
and became local legends.
Now before this tale continues, let the reader envision eight year old, buck-toothed Elmer, fresh out of his once-a-week bath, clad in his jammies, with his oversized left ear glued to the scanner, anticipating the report of Santa Claus being in the vicinity. Perhaps he frequently glances toward the Christmas tree, noting that there are no presents underneath and thinking that Santa has yet to deliver down the chimney and if he doesn’t bring him that set of broadhead arrows he asked for, well…Santa just might get to find out what a load of 12 gauge double ought buckshot feels like where the sun don’t shine. After all, Elmer left out by the chimney one of those special brownies that only Ma and Pa eat, just for Santa Claus.
All the while young Elmer’s parents are sitting by the scanner, also with their own thoughts. Pa is thinking that if the cops would just get on with it, Elmer could be sent off to beddy-bye, he could get a ball mason jar of shine out of the garage and he and Ma could maybe share a little toke and then hop into the sack together for some serious substance abuse-enhanced, sheet time. Little did they know of the diabolical plot concocted by the vile, two Toms.
It seems that when 9:30 rolled around and the Santa Claus schtick was scheduled to commence, the two Tom’s decided to deviate from the script and do a bit of, shall we say, ad-libbing. As ordered, Officer Dinardo called in to report an unidentified flying object. Right on cue, Officer Kelly reported the red light out front. Dinardo then reported that the UFO was east bound at low level and appeared to be a sleigh being pulled by reindeer. Kelly observed that a fat man in a red suit was going down the chimney of each house. Dinardo opined that Rudolph was doing a good job guiding the sleigh, but that the bad weather was making it difficult to see. Kelly then observed that Santa was now crossing the Delphi and Chrysler plants at low altitude. And then the fun began… with thousands of tiny ears glued to the scanners.
Kelly: Man, Santa is awfully low.
Dinardo: I hope Rudolph sees those high tension wires east of the Delphi plant.
Kelly: Oh man, he’s too low! He’s going to hit those wires!
Dinardo: I see sparks! Pull up, Rudolph! Pull up! You are going to hit the wires!
Kelly: Oh my God, they’re in the wires! Oh no, the sleigh is tangled up in the wires. The sleigh is burning! The reindeer are on fire. They are going down! Oh man, Santa just fell out of the sleigh! Oh, the humanity!
Dinardo: Santa just hit the ground! He’s splattered! All the presents are burning! I smell burning reindeer meat! Call the ambulance! Santa is on fire! I am at the scene and it looks like Rudolph and the other reindeer are extra crispy and Santa is well done!
Kelly: You think we could get some of that reindeer meat? I hear it tastes just like deer meat. I think we better get out of here. You know, some people can’t take a joke and might not appreciate this.
Dinardo: I am thinking that it is an hour before we get off for the night. I am heading to Dunkin Donut for a donut and coffee. I am going off the air, too. Meet you there. I think we had better lay low for the rest of the shift.
Of course, young Elmer and hundreds of other mouthbreathers, realizing that Santa was toast and Rudolph and the boys were on the way to the weigh station, screamed and promptly went into a catatonic state. Children all over the county were traumatized by the vision of Santa and Rudolph going down in flames and being turned into reindeer steak and Santa burgers. Even worse was the collective wail that rose over the city as the mouthbreathers figured out that their presents were incinerated, despite assurances from their parents that that was not the case.
Of course, the Sheriff and the Chief of Police were, strangely enough, not amused by the deviation from the script. The dispatchers were furious as their switchboards melted down with hundreds of incoming telephone calls from furious parents. The Sheriff and the Chief sent out directives to the two Tom’s that they had better “fix this thing," or their heads would roll. But, of course, the two Toms were nowhere to be found.
So, there you have it. The legend of the Two Toms. Where else could this have happened, but Kokomo, Indiana. Smokin’ Santa and barbecued Rudolph! Merry Christmas!