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Ramblings: Not Your Usual Strawberry

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

This is a story I wish I could present to teen age school kids. It might just discourage a few from drug use. The dictionary defines a “Strawberry” as a woman who trades or sells sex for crack cocaine! I don’t know what a male who does the same thing is called. I was working graveyard shift in Hollywood when we received a domestic dispute radio call. It was about 2:30 in the morning and we figured some man came home drunk after spending the rent money at the bar.

We couldn’t have been more wrong.

teacherThe apartment was an upper-scale building and I’d never had radio calls there before. We were met at the door by a male who stated, “Come in officers, I called you!” The man stated he and his wife had been married for over five years but the marriage was over. He pointed to an attractive well-dressed woman sitting on the couch. He said his wife was a school teacher and a very smart woman. He then said, “That is, until she tried crack cocaine at a party a while back. She now spends her entire pay check to support her habit. Now she’s removing household items and selling or trading them for more cocaine. She’s about to lose her job and I just can’t take it anymore.”
She had become a strawberry! I asked the wife if this was true, she nodded her head, yes. I could tell she was high on drugs. I gave the man the best advice that I could under the circumstances and wished him luck. A few months later I ran into the woman at Hollywood and Western. Yea, she was high and not even close to the attractive woman I had seen months earlier.


woman on meth

Okay, this woman was on meth, but you get the idea, right?

She told me her husband had thrown her out of the apartment and changed the locks. She was now living on the streets. A year later I got a radio call of a woman down in a doorway of the taco stand at Hollywood and Western. I stirred the woman awake and when she rolled over I was shocked to see it was the same school teacher. She was dirty and had open oozing sores on her arms. She had really gone downhill fast. She was barely coherent and had that vacant stare. I might have taken pity on her but I had seen too many follow the path to self-destruction by drugs. I wish I had a camera and took a picture of her that first day and a picture a year later. Showing it to kids, it might just save a few lives. I saw a lot of strawberries in my career but I never saw one fall this far this soon!




Read Thonie Hevron’s books: By Force or Fear, Intent to Hold, and With Malice Aforethought are all available through Amazon.

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7 comments on “Ramblings: Not Your Usual Strawberry

  1. shalanna
    July 9, 2017

    Tell me WHY they like drugs. I hate even taking the stuff I’ve been prescribed for diabetes, allergies, etc. I would rather not have any dependencies. I can’t imagine taking things that are mind-bending and obviously destructive. I don’t know why they start. There’s all this sympathy for addicts, but they made a choice to start (irrational choice!) that they didn’t need to make. No one needs those drugs to live.


    • Thonie Hevron
      July 9, 2017

      I suspect if we knew the answer to this question, we could facilitate a cure. Thanks for your comments!


  2. marilynm
    July 9, 2017

    Sad, sad, sad.


  3. John Schick
    July 9, 2017

    The male counterparts are called “Raspberries”, Hal.


    • lapd16336
      July 9, 2017

      Thanks John, I don’t think I have a story about Raspberries, probably a good thing. Hal


  4. fuzthatwaslapd7612
    July 9, 2017



  5. lapd20048
    July 9, 2017

    How many professions take things/memories like this into retirement? Well done Hal.


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This entry was posted on July 9, 2017 by in Ramblings by Hal and tagged , , , .

Cop Talk

For all things about cop culture-the work, the family, the days off.

The purpose of this page is to educate writers of all genres to be accurate in their portrayal of law enforcement professionals. This includes meter maids (I was a "lovely Rita" many years ago), dispatcher, patrol officers, detectives, and administrators.

I have many resources in my 35 year career in California law enforcement. I index and explain common errors that found in all media. Guests will also post about police professionalism today and tomorrow as well as historical articles about the way things used to be, "back in the day".

Examples of police media myths: missing persons cannot be reported by anyone but the family; missing persons reports can't be taken until the subject has been missing 24 hours; all cops eat donuts.

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Just the Facts, Ma'am posts Sundays and Fridays. Sundays scheduled writers Hal Collier, Ed Meckle, Mikey, and John Schick take us through the days and nights of those who protect and serve.
Friday postings feature authors sharing their thoughts about this journey we call authorship.
Extra postings will include California 'Officer Down' notices or something special. I will update progress of my current literary project as they develop.
--Thonie Hevron

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