Wig Cop Issues An APB For American Crime Story
A Follicular Tragedy.
Wig Cop's a lonely beat. I've been working alone for a good long while, and I've been all right with that. If I'm at my desk with two gooseneck lamps pointed a wig crime scene photo I'm staring at through a magnifying glass and I'm trying to concentrate on the work at hand/scalp, I don't need Larry in my ear trying to sell me some of his kid's Girl Scout cookies. I mean, don't get me wrong. Trish is a sweet kid. Or was -- she's a grown woman now with kids of her own. Larry was a good man too. Of course, he's long in the ground after aspirating some tainted Taiwanese goat strands on the last case we worked together. I swore then and there that I'd never watch another second of Hardcastle And McCormick for what that production did to my partner, and I never have. My Wig Cap decided to give me a little time before partnering me up with someone else, and I broke so many cases on my own that before we knew it, we both looked up and five years had gone by. If he'd had any thoughts of breaking me in with a new guy, Season 2 of Beauty And The Beast was definitely not the right time.
..."Wig Cap." I just got that.
At any rate, now I've got to start thinking about retirement -- so says my wife, at least -- and I don't like the idea of a whole new generation of cops coming up who haven't been trained on the Wig beat. We got a new class of rookies coming into the precinct, and I told my cap, "Any of them wants to start thinking about specializing in hair fraud, I'll show them the ropes." That's how I ended up with my new partner, Mason. And for the record: Mason's his FIRST name.
Now, Mason just had a birthday. Mason's all of twenty-five years old. So when I got a CI report about The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and had a feeling that was going to be the first case Mason and I ended up working together, I knew this was going to give us a lot of teachable moments. When O.J. Simpson got into that white Bronco and took a ride, Mason was just about getting the hang of using the big-boy potty. Those of us who followed this whole circus when it was actually happened have been buzzing about the casting and the styling as each new cast member's been announced. Mason doesn't care. Mason's more curious about when he gets to go to the Four Seasons in Mexico City and bust one of the girls dating Ben for leaving her clip-ins on the nightstand next to some friggin' shoes.
(I had to tell him we didn't have enough evidence to pin that piece on anyone. As it were.)
Point is: taking Mason through this miniseries is going to be a challenge. He's a smart kid -- top of his class at the Academy -- but book smarts are one thing; they don't replace the kind of life experience I have. One of our first wigs is on this Billy Magnussen, kid who's playing Kato Kaelin.
"This is already a pretty crazy story," says Mason. I don't know why someone thought they needed to make it even more ridiculous by giving a guy the Skyler." "First of all, it's the Rachel," I tell him. "Skyler White copied her. Second, that's what the real Kato's hair looked like at the time," I tell him.
"If anything, American Crime Story improved on it -- the colour on Magnussen's so much brighter and fresher," I tell him. "Third: that's a solid piece. It can take some abuse."
I tell him I got no beef with this one. Mason looks like I could knock him over with a feathering comb.
First time he sees David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian Sr.? Same thing.
Kid bursts out laughing. I have to be the one to tell him, "Mason, that's actually not bad." "HOW is that not bad, boss?" he asks. I tell him to get on Yahoo and search "Robert Kardashian." Comes up with this.
"You're telling me Kim and Kourtney let him walk around like that?" Mason says. He's flabbergasted. I tell him Kim and Kourtney were barely in training bras at the time, so yeah, their dad could keep his skunk streak if he wanted. Turns out saying "training bra" about Kim or Kourtney Kardashian is a mistake. Mason had to take a powder for a good fifteen minutes. Oh, to be young again.
Mason comes back. We turn the show back on. Seems like he's starting to get nervous. Kids, they just want to be in the middle of the action, whatever the action is. It takes them a while to understand that a cop -- any cop -- just wants to get through the day without any kind of excitement. He doesn't know that in almost forty years on the job, I've only pulled my service flat iron once in the line of duty. So when Marcia Clark shows up, he's all, "How about this one, boss? You're telling me that's up to code?"
I gotta tell him, "That's a complicated question. Did Marcia Clark have famously bad hair? Sure she did."
But there's more: "This hair's also bad. But it's not bad in the same way," I tell him.
"And I never got to see Marcia Clark's part up close, but I'm pretty sure it didn't look like a brown Raggedy Ann."
Episode's getting close to being over before we get to the production's biggest name: John Travolta. I've seen some set photos. I know what's coming. Rookie has no friggin' idea. And I don't warn him, 'cause he's gotta learn: the wig beat's not for wimps.
I turn away to grab my coffee off my desk, and when I turn back: sure enough, rookie's got the wastepaper basket and he's yakkin' up his morning bagel. Every Wig Cop's got a story of a time seeing the hideous acts humans are capable of just got to be too much, and they couldn't help upchucking right there at the scene. Now Mason's got his. I hand him a napkin, trying not to crack up, and as he's wiping the sick out of the corners of his mouth, he tries to make sense of what's just happened to him. "The eyebrows," he says. "How'd they train the caterpillars?" "That's a good one, kid," I tell him, clapping him on the back, thinking, "At least he can get to the other side of this and laugh. "I'm serious," he whispers.
I hate to do it. But I gotta. I get on Yahoo myself and search "Robert Shapiro." Mason's just come back from the water cooler and is rinsing his mouth out when I tell him, "You like those Kardashians, huh? Check out this new shot of Kourtney at the beach."
Mason's getting PTSD counselling on the Department, and he'll be back from his paid leave in two weeks. We had a rocky start, but I'm sure he's just as eager to keep learning as I am to keep teaching.