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Great Falls, MT Tribune

Park romp ends with Christmas rump roast

It was 1:15 Christmas morning, and the more sensible of Great Falls' citizenry were nestled all snug in their beds, visions of the upcoming post-holiday credit apocalypse dancing in their heads.

When out in Gibson Park, there arose such a clatter, the cops had to be called to see what was the matter.

So, what to their wondering eyes did appear?

Some silly schmo stuck in one of those feet-first plastic kiddie swings, buck nekkid and hollering his head off, with everything swingin' in the breeze.

Pity the poor police: Just when they thought they'd seen it all, they saw it all - then had to get a blanket to cover it up. After all, it was 20 degrees and dropping fast, and Jack Frost was nipping at this guy's, um, nose.

Unable to pry the now very subdued 19-year-old from his rubber perch, officers called out the heavy artillery - the firefighters. After all, they've got all the cool tools, and paramedic training to boot.

In the words of one firefighter, there's good naked calls and there's bad naked calls. This was not a good naked call.

But they said not a word and went straight to their work, trying to figure a way to pop loose the poor jerk. (OK, you're right, enough of that.)

Unable to wiggle our blue boy free, Capt. Max Bailey and his crew cut him down, chains and all, and took him back to the nonjudgmental warmth of Station One.

They tried to cut through the swing with a hacksaw, but the plastic was too thick.

They tried to cut it apart with bolt cutters, to no avail.

They raided the firehouse pantry and tried to Crisco him up like a Christmas goose, but still he wouldn't slide loose.

"We tried everything," Bailey said.

Then someone got the brilliant idea to take a steel grinder to the rivets on the swing clasp, and not nearly as fast as you can say au naturel, he was free.

Drenched in hot-buttered rue, utterly humiliated, bruised, battered and emotionally scarred for life, but free.

"It was way more torture than he deserved for what he did," said kind-hearted Capt. Max, who relayed the tale with nary a snicker.

Apparently, no one could get a straight answer as to what in the world possessed our little nature lover in the first place. I'm guessing a bit too much eggnog. Abandonment by evil friends was mentioned.

At any rate, he's not being charged with anything, and discretion being the better part of valor, neither the cops nor the firefighters will give up his name.

Perhaps the holiday spirit inspired their generosity. No doubt their dude in distress appreciates the gesture.

Have a swingin' season, whatever your name is, but don't take the Baby New Year thing quite so far next time.

- Kathleen A. Schultz
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