Looking to the next phase of Dave Kramer’s career, only one thing it can be

By Mike Weland

Boundary County Sheriff Dave Kramer is out of town training for life after his long and illustrious law enforcement career draws to a close early next year. He is polite, but mum on what his friends and admirers might expect.

Speculation, at least in my feeble mind, runs rampant. My bet, based solely on the certainty that no other job fits, is that he’s in a hard-to-reach cave somewhere on the outskirts of Gotham, training with Alfred to become … the next Batman.

Consider his career since his 1976 high school graduation just shy of a half century ago; police officer, police chief, NIC law enforcement professor, Boundary County Sheriff.

What else fits? That’s right. Nothing.

Need further proof? I asked him, he chuckled.

“Ha! I’m too fat and old!” Which is just what Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, would say … and undeniable proof that I’m onto something.

If I’m right, in January 2025 a newly elected sheriff will officially be sworn at, Dave will retire and all Boundary County peace officers, whether in bed or on shift, will be able to sleep easy, knowing that the Batman is ever viligeh … villagun … awake, just waiting for that moment of need when the dark forces of evil; the Joker, the Penguin Plunger or the Cat Lady, loom large and sinister and the mayor of Bonners Ferry calls for …

The Bartman!”

SLAP! KAPOW!! OWWW! … “DOH! wrong show, Mr. Mayor.”

“Oh yeah, sorry, Maurice …” “It’s Robin, Mr. Mayor.”

“Ssshhh! Don’t be a distraction, Barry … uh … uh … UH” A loud sneeze rent the night. “Gesundheit, Mr. Mayor.” “Shut up, BG … turn that big light on.”

And overhead, a bright light ripped through the dark night, the silhouette of the Dark Knight dancing on the bottoms of clouds, to and fro, fro and to … reaching out for … The Batman!

And back at the Batcave, the Batman fought and grunted, squeezed and rolled on the floor trying to pull into his polytriennial quadlayer unbreakable armored combat grade leotard … sweat beading his forehead, teeth clenched in a painful grimace.

Outside, the dark silhouette of Batman danced nimbly across the darkened bottoms of the storm-threatening clouds, carried on the leading edge of the blinding white light. Distant lightning rumbled. Thunder flashed. A freshening wind blew leaves and dust down the mean street of Bonners Ferry. Mayor Alonzo, squinting against the brilliant glare, checked his watch.

“Curses!” he exclaimed. “This is taking too long. Drat.”

“Oh Jeez, Rick,” Jeannie burst out laughing. “How come you only talk like that in the funny papers?”

In the darkened hills and dales, a stirring. Dogs barked furiously, cows lowed and sheep and goats bleated as only sheep and goats do. Tractors left the fields, chugging for the barn, where they cowered under the hay ricks. Chickens stopped clucking in hundreds of coops throughout the county … in the morning, there would be few eggs to be had for breakfast. Out in the ponds, frogs croaked.

In the Selkirks, a phalanx of grizzlies, black and brown bears, seven polar bears, three koalas and a panda stirred awake, roared menacingly and began lumbering toward the Kootenai Valley, the koalas, not used to roaring, nursing eucalyptus lozenges to ease their sore, scratchy throats. Coyotes, moose, wolverines, three ducks and a herd of riled-up ground squirrels began marching toward the valley in the bears’ wake … down from the Purcells and from the Cabinets eagles swooped, deer loped, mouses darted.

And then, like a loudening sigh, growing and gaining voice from the Bonner County line to the Canadian, from Montana to Washington … a whispering grew in intensity to a deafening, single-voiced crescendo … and all the creatures of mountain forests stopped, silent …

“IT’S 2 A.M. … WOULD SOMEBODY TURN THAT @#!% LIGHT OFF?!!!!” roared angrily as one voice from the estimated 13,842 human throats resident in the county, according to the U .S. Census Bureau.

And somewhere on the outskirts of Gotham, lying utterly exhausted in a pool of sweat on the pristine floor in a cave full of bats, the Batman conceded defeat.

“Alfred!” “Yes. Master Wayne?”

Weakly holding up his polytriennial quadlayer unbreakable armored combat grade leotard … “Need let out … can’t fit … call Callie’s Niche … let’s see if she can squeeze me in soon.”

“Oh dear me, sir … that pun was the most atrocious ever.”

“Thank you, Alfred. I do my best.”

That night, the Mayor and city staff were alarmed. People from every brook and cranny in the county were at the city council meeting, spilling out of city hall, down the side walk and into the street, angry, tired. Bleary-eyed. Pitch forks and tiki torches adding an air of menace. Answers were demanded.

“Now calm down, everybody,” Mayor Alonzo said soothingly. “Just calm down … It was only a pager test!”