Bill the Cop
October 1993, I remember the year and month because I was soon to meet the mother of my three daughters the following month. Its not that the women left that much of an impression on me but that fact of the three women that I now love was the product of meeting her. The love I have for my daughters is true love that most people seek but never find…
Bill the cop is a long time friend that dates back to the mid eighties. When we first meet He had a 1970 Chevy el-Camino and I had a 1969 Chevy el-Camino. Apparently we had something in common, choice of cars. Bill the cop wasn’t actually a cop for a long time. Bill the cop hangs out with cops, chats with cops, races cars with cops, invites cops over for dinner, talks to cops wives, phones cops, emails cops, visits cops, works on cop cars, collects cop memorabilia yet for the longest time Bill the cop wasn’t a cop. He recently became a cop by default. He flat hung around cops so much they made a cop. I was visiting a junk yard in Billerica Massachusetts, Holland’s Auto Salvage, in the early nineties looking for a transmission for my Caprice, when I notice spray painted on an old Monte Carlo “save for Bill the cop.” I knew who they meant and so did everybody else who seen it. Bill the cop collected and raced Monte Carlos at local race tracks and on occasion would demolish one and need replacing.
In the early days Bill the cop didn’t drink much which was handy to the rest of us who did drink a lot on weekends. Bill the cop was the official designated drive again by default, he didn’t drink. I don’t remember him ever complaining about the one who drove all the time as a matter of fact he seemed to enjoy it. Constantly reminding us on what went on the night before. Remember we were in our early twenties and going out meant an adventure. You never knew what was going to happen, some good, some bad. Over the years people have asked me how I was able to hold on to my license and not losing by drinking and driving which was common place in the late eighties and early nineties. Real simple I never really drove drunk nor did anybody else who hung around us, bill the cop drove. If Bill the cop wasn’t driving I took the bus knowing I was going to drink. There is a retired Sergeant by the name of Charlie Sergeant who would pick me up while walking home and give me a ride. A good cop by anybody’s standards rather than giving me hard time for being drunk at 1 in the morning he would give me ride home with some small talk. Bill also enjoyed being in front during motorcycle rides with a group blasting behind. On one particular night coming out of Cambridge MA, we hung at a place called the Bow and Arrow, short story on Bow and Arrow Pub coming later.
One afternoon I phoned Bill to see if he would like to join me for a cocktail at a local watering hole in Billerica Ma. The early nineties were pre cell phone days and calls were made at home or at phone booths this call went from phone booth. He informed me it was a bit early to venture out and call in an hour to let the sun set first. I agreed it was early but that I was bored and looking for venture. I decided to kill some time at a local gin mill. I don’t recall the name of the place nor do I remember the place having a sign out front either. It was a local place and that’s the way they wanted it. Earlier that day I had missed place my license to drive and formally had no ID. There are three things that I keep track of when going out, my keys, money and ID, having all three accounted for, meant I was in good shape. During these days I wore a bucket hat as they were called or still are. It made me look younger than I was but this is not the reason why I wore it; I wore it because I liked it.
When I walked into the local gin mill it was dead quite inside. The day shift crowd was still perched on the stools consisting of 4 or 5 40+ year olds who looked 60 from hard days of boozing. Nobody was talking when I entered and the only sound was the flicker from a TV set hanging from wire from the ceiling. Entering the door way was a straight shot to the bar. Behind the bar was a man over 60 and still mean like he was at 20. Stocky build with meaty arms from years of working iron at the gym. An x marine or military by the way he had his hair cut. Short on the sides and slightly longer on top. Military hair cut rang out. His arms were the size of cow legs and he was leaning forward with both hands on the bar and a deep intimidating stare I have never forgotten. Entering he had his eyes fixed upon my without a blink. He appeared to be the owner who had worked behind the bar far too many years and somebody had called in sick that day and he was stuck tending bar. Dressed in a cooks all white outfit including an all white apron. He was going to throw somebody out that day and I was a prime target with long hair and funny looking hat on my head complete with black leather jacket, I was soon to be gone. As I walked toward the bar he kept fixed on me, I tried to act as if I had been there many times before with a real casual walk. The boards creaked under my walk. Old wooden boards that have seen plenty of action over the years. His face had a worn leather look and an x bar room brawler that never blinked. I stopped in front of him at the bar and asked for a Bud bottle. “You got an ID,” he had me. No was the answer yet I didn’t say it, only thought it. Without saying a word I bent over slightly, took off my bucket hat and showed him my balding head. Straighten back up and put my hat back on, he stated “that works” and bounced himself off the lean forward stance to get me the Bud. The day shift crowd erupted in laughter and kept laughing until I finished the Bud and left. I finished the bottle quickly and placed it down. The bar tender was still in front of me. I said “thanks” and his reply was “good day.”
creative commons copyright