“Why can’t you be sociable,” the belligerent drunk asked.
“Just go away and leave me alone,” the young woman said.
He put his hands on her, which was the step over the line as far as I was concerned. I walked up and showed him my badge. “You need to go on home. You can either leave here now and come back, or you can wait for the manager to ask you to leave in which case you won’t be welcome again.” I tried to be calm and reasonable.
“Bullshit, I ain’t going nowhere,” he said
“Sure you are, it’s a matter of where and how. You can walk out and go where you choose or you can wait for the manager to tell you to leave. Then it is trespass and that is illegal. So for that I take you to jail.
“You ain’t big or bad enough to take me anywhere,” he said.
“Sweetie, I been fighting rag heads for the last four years off and on, I won’t even think twice would putting your ass in the hospital,” I did say it with a smile.
“Then you got it to do.” He reached to put me in a bear hug I suppose. I chopped him once in the pit of the stomach and once in the throat. He went down like a tree.
I had been a Deputy Sheriff less than a day. I did not want to arrest anyone so soon. I rolled him over and helped him breath. He was more or less breathing when I said to him, “Now get up and walk out and we will both forget this, or stay and go to jail, your choice.”
The man struggled to his feet and then he staggered out the front door. I watched him leave to be sure he didn’t change his mind, then I went to Sarah. “Well it appears you trouble maker has called it a night. He might be back but lets hope not.”
It was a strange bed, as well as the new life opening for me, so I slept poorly. I made it to the courthouse on time even though I stopped for breakfast. There was only one cafe in town open at 6am. I got plenty of looks as I had breakfast. A few of them even spoke to me.
After that breakfast I was absolutely sure of one thing. If I lasted a month, I would be buying uniforms that fit. I looked like a fucking orphan. I pulled into the downtown to begin my search for a parking space.
“If worse comes to worse, you can part at the 1st Baptist Church and walk two blocks to work.” Chief Deputy Webster had suggested. It wasn’t my plan, but it was a possibility. There was no time limit on the curb side parking, so I worked the Toyota into one of those instead.
Once inside the basement of the courthouse I heard, “Hey Porter come here,” I headed toward a deputy with sergeant strips. When I reached him he added, “I’m Sergeant Michaels I am assigning you to ride with Deputy Letter. Nothing much happens around here, so just take it easy and assimilate.”
“Sounds reasonable,” I said.
“Here is deputy Letter now,” the sergeant said.
So much for a perfect job, I thought. Eddie Letter was about forty or so. He was also very, very close to being bald. Not only all that but he was the owner of belly the size of a steamer trunk. Yes that is an exaggeration, but was at least forty pounds over weight.
“Come on Porter Let’s roll,” he said in a strong commander’s voice. I had a strong suspicion that most of it was an act for me. He didn’t seem like a command kind of guy. “Stop by the armory and pick up a shotgun,” he demanded. I’ll wait for you at the car.”
The shotgun was a really old Winchester Pump. It looked as though it might have been surplus from a federal prison. I have no idea why I thought that I just did. I also drew a bandoleer of shotgun shells.
“Put it in the trunk and lets go,” Letter said.
I sat quietly answering the questions letter asked, but not really volunteering anything. We had to take an incident report about a burglary as our first official action of the day. I expected it was the kind of thing that would occupy me most days. We also took a report on a stolen bicycle later in the day. Other than those two we rode around all day just keeping an eye on the county. There was a large land mass but most of it was undeveloped. Land sitting empty was hardly ever of concern to a cop of any kind. It took people to create crime.
Letter and I stopped for lunch at the shopping center near the highway. There was more than one small restaurant out there. Letter wanted Chinese so we had Chinese. I can eat almost anything. I found that I don’t care for lamb and goat, but almost anything else I can manage.
Before I knew it the day was over. I left the station and headed back to the motel. I was back in the room before 4PM, so I took a nap. When I woke up I dressed in my own clothes, then headed to dinner.
I found that the downtown cafe was closed, so I drove the mile or so out to the highway junction. People from all over the county came to the mall, so they had restaurants open until midnight. Well one of them was open till midnight anyway.
I had a chili dish at a Mexican fast food restaurant. I was actually surprised by the number of Latino people wandering around the sidewalks. It wasn’t wall to wall, but there was a great many of them.
When I got back from dinner I watched TV till 9PM then I walked through the lounge. The lounge was quiet which was nice in comparison to the night before. My first full day as a deputy sheriff ended at 11pm with nothing significant having occurred.
Day two was pretty much just as boring. I did managed to have a real conversation with a young woman who appeared to be an addict. “So what do you do for a living Shauna?” I asked.
“I’m unemployed,” she said.
“Tough time to be out of work. So where are you living?” I asked.
“I’m living with my mom and dad,” she said. “Well stay out of trouble. I don’t think you will like the county lock up,” I suggested.
“You just can’t get anything for the pain in jail,” Letter said.
“Yeah,” Shauna said.
“She has a beautiful name,” Letter said. “Especially to be so scruffy looking.”
“One thing I learned early on, you can’t reason with a junkie,” I informed him.
“That is so true,” Letter said. Letter was only a little pretentious and that mostly came with the trainer’s job. Nobody wanted to teach rookies bad habits. So everyone tried to be on their best behavior and do the best possible job when dealing with us new guys. I knew that and accepted that rules would be bent later but not at that moment.
The four wheel drive vehicles we drove were Chevy, but they had no markings. “They made by Chevy and came with some model name, the Sheriff had it stripped. off.” Letter explained, “He said we paid for them. He would be damned if he would advertise for them as well.”
It was petty but it was none of my business. That day came to an end, hell the whole month came to an end. Letter tried to play nice and so did I. At the end of the month he gave Webster a green light on me. I was thrilled but had expected no less.
“I had already proved that I would fight. It was the number one question with rookies. It happened when we went into a chicken house on a small farm. The neighbor reported strange smells and lots of cars coming and going.
Letter and I got the call, so we rode up to the chicken house expecting anything at all. When we pulled up people took off running in every direction. I took off after one of the slightly larger than average men. I got close enough to push him. He lost his balance of course and went down hard.
I went down hard on him and put the cuffs on before he recovered. We had them on the tailgate of the SUV surrounded by several cops of different branches. Letter and I took a look at the meth lab buried in the floor of the chicken house.
“Now that was a good day’s work,” Letter said to me.
“Yeah, we were at least lucky. Maybe those two will give up something,” I suggested.
“Maybe who knows,” he said.
“Nice work you two,” Webster said. “This is going to look good in the stats.”
“Well that should do some good, maybe I can get a uniform that fits now,” I suggested to Letter.
“Hey Chief Deputy do you think we could get Sylvia here a uniform that doesn’t make her look like a refuge. She showed us what she has?”
“Tell you what Letter, I will provide two uniforms that fit, and others she will have to buy. Did you get that Deputy Porter?” he asked.
“I got it and thanks,” I said.
The very next day I dropped of two new shirts. They were the uniform shirt size medium. I took off my top in his dressing room and he pinned it up. Then I put on the pants and listened to him huff and puff. He didn’t think too much of the amount of work required to alter them.
On my first four day break, I drove to the uniform shop with my uniform in tow. The girl in the fitting room found me four shirts and two pairs of pants that were actually my size. When I left, I had lots of uniforms to wear, so I felt very good about that part of my job at least.
I couldn’t wait to get away from Letter. Of course I knew that he was no worse than any other trainer. I just wanted to be on my own. I had been working over a month for Warren county, when it came to a head. A drunk was home and most likely beating his wife and kids. Letter and I went to stop him if possible.
“Hey come on out with need to talk,” I suggested.
“Got nothing to say to the cops, get off my property,” the man inside shouted out through the door.
“If you come out no one has to get hurt, if not there is no telling what is liable to happen.” I suggested.
“Why don’t you just leave,” he asked
“You know I can’t do that. I have to resolve this before I go. So come on out and we can work it out together.” I suggested.
“Nothing to work out, I’m in my house on my own property and you can’t come in,” he shouted out to me.
“Sure I can come in watch,” I said as I climbed onto the deck of the mobile home. I didn’t even knock on the door I just pushed it open.
“You get back, I don’t want to hurt her but I will,” the dirty drunk said.
“And what do you think I’m going to do to you. So far you have had men arrest you for assaulting you wife. Well sweetie I’m not a man. You injure her and you are going to state prison. The one where men get to feel what it’s like to be raped.