A Word from Dirty Harry

by C. M. Albrecht

I happened to be in the neighborhood recently, so I dropped by the retirement home where Dirty Harry Callahan presently resides.

 I found him out on the grounds a hundred yards from the main building. He sat dozing in his wheelchair in the shade of an ash tree.  A peaceful scene. But it was sad, seeing him sitting there with his head bowed and a blanket covering his legs.

In the hope of making my visit more welcome, I had brought a couple of bottles of cold beer in a container, so I didn’t hesitate to give him a gentle tap on the shoulder.

Wow! That man can still move. A .357 Magnum shot out from beneath that blanket so fast that I almost dropped my beer container. As he realized it was me, he relaxed a bit and tucked the weapon back under the blanket.

 “Be careful,” he said in a low voice. 

 I breathed a sigh of relief, remembering that I should have made more noise on my approach.

“Hi Dirty,” I said. I’ve known him since the first time he got suspended for insubordination, so we’ve long been on a first name basis. “How about a cold beer?

I wouldn’t say no.” He glanced around to make sure none of the attendants were hovering nearby.

 I popped a bottle and handed it to him.

 We chatted.  

 By the time he had finished his second bottle and wiped his mouth with the back of a purpleish hand, he managed a contented smile.

 “Dirty,” I said. “You know, over the years you’ve come up with some pretty good ones like, “Make my day.” But the world has changed a lot since you were active on the force. What do you think about life today and man’s place in this modern world? Anything for today?”

Dirty looked at me for a long moment and then smiled faintly. “Yeah, I’d like to say one thing: A man has to know his computer’s limitations.”