Thursday, 7 August 2008

28 July 2008

ing our guns off our asses and yawning, and the old cops told stories. It was a horrible crew of men, men with copsouls, all except Henri and I. Henri was only trying to make a living, so was I, but these men wanted to make arrests and get compliments from the Chief in town. They even went so far as to say that if you didn’t make at least one arrest a month you’d be fired. I gulped at the prospect of making an arrest. What actually happened was that I was as drunk as anybody in the barracks the night all hell broke loose. This was the night when the schedule was so arranged that I was alone for six hours…the only cop on the grounds; and not that anybody knew it, but everybody in the barracks seemed to have gotten drunk that night. It was because their ship was leaving in the morning. They drank like seamen do the night before the anchor goes up. I sat in the office, in a rolltop chair, with my feet on the desk, reading Blue Book adventures about Oregon and the north country, when I suddenly realized there was a great hum of activity in the usually quiet night. I went out. Lights were burning in practically every damned shack on the grounds. Men were shouting, bottles were breaking. It was do or die for me. I took my flashlight and went to the noisiest door and knocked. Someone opened it about six inches. “What do you want?” I said “I’m guarding these barracks tonight and you boys are supposed to keep quiet as much as you can” or some such silly remark. They slamd the door in my face. I stood looking at the wood of it against my nose. It was like a western movie; the time had come for me to assert myself. I knocked again. They opened up wide this time. “Listen” I said “I don’t want to come around bothering you fellows but I’ll lose my job if you make too much noise.” “Who are you?” “I’m a guard here.” “Never seen you before.” “Well, here’s my badge.” “What are you doing with that pistolcracker on your ass?” “It isn’t mine” I apologized “I borrowed it.” “Have a drink, for krissakes.” I didn’t mind if I would. I took two. I said “Okay boys? You’ll keep quiet boys? I’ll get hell you know.” “It’s allright kid,” they said, “go make your rounds, come back for another drink if you want one.” And I went to all the doors in this manner and pretty soon I was as drunk as anybody else. Come dawn,

No comments: