I’ve been a little heavy as of late so today I’m gonna tell a funny story about alcohol.
Drunks find inspiration while under the influence sometimes helpful and sometimes not so much. One chilly winter night a few weeks before Christmas we were hanging out late in the evening at station number 8.
We had decided it would be fun to decorate the BRT with Christmas lights and other festive elements. Our officer Captain Tubby didn’t really care what the hell we were doing, he had been feed a salt free dinner and retired to his office to read his Louis L’Amour novels and eat tootsie rolls.
My crew was a little goofy and a pretty junior bunch, so the idea of decorating the BRT for the holiday sounded like a great way to kill some time. 8’s was the busiest house on the job and we ran 20 plus calls a shift. Going to bed before midnight on a weekend night during any holiday weekend was an exercise in futility.
We were trying to figure the best way to attach a Christmas wreath to the front of the truck without damaging the ancient old beast and making sure it wouldn’t be stolen at a scene. 8’s district was a pretty rough area of town and many times we had to leave a firefighter with the truck to make sure it wasn’t stripped while we were away from it.
So the wreath had to be well secured. Half way through attaching it we got the call. Dispatch informed us we were responding to a police call for assistance. P.D. was out with a possible psyche patient and need us to evaluate the person.
So in other words the cops had a nut case on their hands and didn’t know what to do with them. Now we didn’t know what to do with the crazies either, we would make a basic assessment about the general well being of the person to rule out poisonings, overdoses, or some kind of medical condition like diabetes. Diabetics when low on blood sugar can appear very strangely.
It was freaking cold out that night and Stormy my companion in the back seats and I wrapped ourselves up tight in our gear, because at that time the back seats were not enclosed we were exposed to the elements. By the way Stormy was called Stormy because his last name was Night, so because of a bit of a temper he had been labeled a dark and Stormy Night.
When we arrived a couple of cops greeted us outside.
“We don’t know what to do with this guy, he’s drunk for sure but he is in his house and not causing any trouble.”
“So why the hell are we here?” asked Stormy
“He called us because he thinks his chimney is haunted and he was gonna shot his gun up the chimney and kill the devil.”
The two cops were smiling at us like it’s not our problem now. You guys deal with the crazy guy. Cops love dropping stuff like that on us for some reason.
“Did you take the gun away?” asked Captain Tubby.
“Yeah we have the gun. He’s in there in the living room talking to the chimney.” Another cop grin.
We went inside and found a very drunk older man standing in front of his fire place trying to light a fire, he had the firebox loaded up with construction scraps, pieces of 2X4’s, plywood, and a ton of newspaper. He was so wobbly that each matches he struck went out before he could get it to the paper.
Tubby looked at me, “This looks like a good one for you TimO.”
For some reason I was able my whole career to bond with the disturbed and mentally impaired, yeah I know birds of a feather.
“Hello mister? My name is Tim I’m with the fire department and the police asked us to come help you. What are you doing tonight?” I kept my distance you always wanted to be just out of reach in case they made a move for you.
He turned and looked at me dumbfounded.
“You ain’t much of a fireman if you can’t tell what I’m doing here boy. I’m starting a fire, devils up in there and I’m gonna run him off.” He went back to his matches.
“What’s the devil doing in your fireplace?”
“Well hell if I know son, but he’s been talking to me ever since I got home, now I’m drunk and wanna go to sleep, so he got’s to go.”
“You hear him talking to you?” he just gave me a you’re a dumb shit look.
“Right now you hear him?” I asked.
“Do you hear him?” the man asked me.
“Then neither do I, he speaks out loud to me not in my head. I ain’t crazy son, when he speaks again you’ll hear him too, especially when this fire commences to licking his ass up in there.”
He got the fire going finally. We all just kind of stood there staring at each other waiting to hear if the devil was gonna start talking.
Then we heard it. Screams started coming out of the fire place, real screams.
“Hep me, hep me. Oh please hep me.”
We all just about jumped out of our skin. It wasn’t a devilish voice it was more of a young southern male voice, a now terrified voice.
“Wholly shit.” Yelled Captain Tubby.
“Put that damn fire out boys.”
Easier said than done, we hadn’t brought any kind of firefighting gear with us. We were all standing around with medical boxes and oxygen stuff.
The good news is because of the cold me and Stormy at least had our big coats and gloves on. We ran over to the fireplace, but now the older man we were there to evaluate grabbed the fire poker like a weapon. He yelled at us and held the poker overhead.
“Stay back, that devil is gonna wish he hadn’t come to my house on this sacred holiday, he gonna learn a lesson about the power of Christ right now. You just go on and stay back while he commences to burn.”
There it is again 1000 words, sorry and see you tomorrow.