Due to the overwhelming response to my first Characters Welcome article, (thanks Frank) I’ve decided to squeeze all I can out of this subject. God knows, I have enough meat to carve. Of course some of the names have been changed to avert any legal repercussions, and nobody here reads my stuff anyway. Well, except for Frank, and we all know his state of mind.
So, years ago, the one police chief we had at the beach retired, being replaced by one Marshall Morgan. The Marshall was a feisty law enforcement officer known for making national headlines by confiscating a bicycle stashed in the fire station for official transportation, because the town refused him a new cruiser.
Marshall Morgan caught wind of a potentially lethal situation and snapped into action. Word had it that the Hell’s Angels would be visiting our tiny town that summer day, and the natives were shaking in their boots, demanding action. Always prepared to answer the call to protect and serve, Marshall Morgan hopped on his bicycle and intercepted the grisly interlopers.
The deal struck amid guffaws and sneers of the Angels remained top secret, but I am happy to report that no rapes, murders, or destructive behavior occurred during the visit. I think the gang was so stunned by Marshall Morgan’s er, intestinal fortitude, that they were temporarily neutralized by respect. Either that or they decided any one stupid enough to pull such a stunt didn’t need any additional brain injuries.
Along the same lines, my father and one other young man named Gunny eventually rounded out Marshall Morgan’s entire summer police force. Gunny was our own Barney Fife, in thought, word, looks, and deed. The one difference being, he carried a loaded gun.
Late one night, a call was received reporting an intruder in an abandoned “grand hotel” on a cliff overlooking the beach. Marshall Morgan dispatched his finest to investigate. On the walk up the hill to the monstrosity, Gunny mentioned his fear of the dark, and how easily spooked he was by it. My father thought he was kidding.
Upon entering the hotel, they split up and my dad took the stairway to the second floor. While wandering through the rooms and hallways, his search was interrupted by a woman’s screams and a gunshot. He descended the stairs according to police procedure, (which forty five years ago wasn’t very scientific or disciplined) and entered the grand foyer. He heard loud sobbing and moans, and thought someone had been shot…but who?
He called out Gunny’s name. Louder sobs. Dad shined his flashlight toward the sounds and in a corner stood Gunny, weapon in hand, shaking uncontrollably. He asked Gunny if he was shot. A series of blubbering and howls led him to believe he was. He shouldered him out of the hotel, back down the hill and to our house for temporary treatment from my mother the nurse.
The catatonic cop was given the once over by my mother, who whispered to my father that he wasn’t shot, and was now resting comfortably on the couch. The next morning the truth was squeezed out of Gunny by my father, Columbo. It seems my dad was convinced by a full recount of the investigation that Gunny had blasted his shadow.