Ham and the Meth Head

As a reporter, I usually hated making the cop run. It’s when reporters go to the police station to gather a tally on who was arrested, what accidents occurred and what reports of interest have been filed. It’s dealing with the real underbelly of society, but at times interesting.

Years ago, I was taking notes as an officer for the Springdale Police Department was explaining why a woman had been charged with a crime for purchasing the ingredients to make meth. He listed off items she had bought at the local Wal-Mart. They included things like lighter fluid, pseudoephedrine and other ridiculous things the drug-addicted will mix together for the crazy concoction.

As he neared the end of the list, I heard from behind a shout, “Don’t forget the ham.”

I ignored it, but she said it again.

“Don’t forget the ham.”

The woman was handcuffed to the bench when I came in, but I hadn’t paid any attention, until now. As I turned and looked at her, I saw a woman with an open sore she had obviously picked at on one cheek, discolored teeth, straggly hair and grubby clothes. It couldn’t be the 26-year-old the officer had apprehended.

“I was just getting stuff for dinner, stuff for the house,” she said.

“Shut up, we know what you were getting,” the officer said.

“Well just don’t forget the ham.”

I couldn’t say a thing to her. I was shocked. She looked to be at least 40 years old. I stared.

She pulled at her handcuffed wrist and looked up at me. “Don’t forget the ham.”

I nodded and added it to the list in my reporter’s pad.