Going on Duty.
When I was first posted to Special Branch I was still relatively new to the government and still at the lowest end of the pay scale. As a result of this, I avoided the numerous social events my section organised whenever possible. On one occasion I had no excuse and therefore had to turn up. The dinner was to be held in the Junior Police Officer’s (JPO) mess and as I lived some distance from the station there was no point in going home, only to return almost immediately. I, therefore, picked up a good book and went up to the Inspectorate Officer’s mess to while away the hour and a half before the function. It was there that I witnessed the following event.
There was a group of officers drinking at the bar who had been there for most of the afternoon (if not the whole day). The beer was flowing and they were tired and emotional. (Interestingly, police officers do not use the expression, ‘drunk’ but rather say a fellow is, ‘tired and emotional,’ or ‘the worse for wear,’ or ‘very relaxed,’ etc.) I ignored them politely and left them to their festivities, and it was only when one of them got up to leave that I paid any attention.
This officer was so ‘relaxed’ that he could barely walk and had to hold on to the edge of the bar to remain upright. I watched as he ricocheted down the bar holding on for dear life as if it were a life raft. One of the party realised he had left and called out, ‘Fred, Fred, come back and have one for the road.’
Fred managed to stand upright, a Herculean task in itself and looked back at the party. It took him some time to gather his thoughts, and then he slurred,
“No, no. Got to go. I’m on duty in five minutes.”
Copyright John Stewart Sloan – 2007 – Not for Publication