Typically, disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor offense, like at protests staged around the country on a regular basis. Until something goes terribly wrong. I’ve never been accused of disorderly conduct, but I have encountered it several times as a police volunteer. I’ve been “working” for the Livermore PD for ten years and have only had to radio for police assistance three or four times when the person ranting at me got into my face, screamed up and down in the middle of the street, and accused me of vandalizing their vehicle, the one I just tagged. To my surprise, it was usually the women who used abusive language and were a threat.
Cait Pepper, my protagonist, was a cop until she inherited a Shakespeare festival and a vineyard in northern California. Sometimes she struggled to follow her department’s rules of conduct, but it wasn’t always easy, especially where children were concerned. She thought of herself as a protector of children and had been reprimanded on more than one occasion when she crossed the line against the offender, often an abusive parent. In the three months she’s been involved with the Shakespeare festival, there have been times when she’s had to curb her instincts to shoot the bad guys for disturbing the peace, causing harm to the people who came to see her plays, the actors whose safety is in her hands as they spend the weekend on stage in her theaters, and for hurting her friends. As a certain LPD detective often has to remind her, she is no longer a cop and has to rely on the police to do their job. Patience is not one of Cait’s virtues. When murder and mayhem occur, she silently mouths her own code of conduct—principles, values, and practices—as she plans her next move to capture the offenders, but sometimes she just has to follow her own instincts. Now if she only had a fairy Godmother to watch over her.