Thursday, 7 August 2008

30 July 2008

of jail---got thirty days---here it is SIXTY days and he ain’t showed up.” And this was the big point of the story. They’d put such a fear in him that he was too yellow to come back and try to kill them. I began to worry he might try it and mistake me for Tex in a dark barrack alley. The old cop went on, sweetly reminiscing about the horrors of San Quentin. “We used to march ‘em like an Army platoon to breakfast. Wasn’t one man out of step. Everything went like clockwork. You should have seen it. I was a guard there for thirty years. Never had any trouble. Those boys knew we meant business. Now a lot of fellows get soft guarding prisoners and they’re the ones that usually get in trouble. Now you take you- -from what I’ve been observing about you , you seem to me a little bit too LEENIENT with the men.” He raised his pipe and looked at me sharp. “They take advantage of that, you know.” I knew that. I told him I wasn’t cut out to be a cop. “Yes, but that’s the job that you APPLIED FOR. Now you got to make up your mind one way or the other, or you’ll never get anywhere. It’s your duty. You’re sworn in. You can’t compromise with things like this. Law & order’s got to be kept.” I didn’t know what to say: he was right: but all I wanted to do was sneak out into the night and disappear somewhere, and go and find what everybody was doing all over the country. The other cop, Tex, was short, squat, muscular, with a blond crewcut, and a nervous twitch in his neck like a boxer always punching one fist into another. He rigged himself out like a Texas ranger of old. He wore a revolver down low, with ammunition belt, and carried a small quirt of some kind and pieces of leather hanging everywhere like if he was a walking torture chamber: shiny shoes, low-hanging jacket, cocky hat, everything but boots. He was always showing me holds: reaching down under my crotch and lifting me up nimbly. In point of strength I could have thrown him clear to the ceiling with the same hold and I knew it well; but I never let him know for fear he’d want a wrestling match. A wrestling match with a guy like that could end up in shooting. I’m sure he was a better shot; I’d never had a gun in my life. It scared me to even load one. He desperately wanted to make arrests. One night we were alone on duty

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