We rotate around for a week of night duty. I enjoy it because I sometimes forget the joy of sleep deprivation.
11 p.m. Did you know “male-enhancement” ads are very popular on TV between 2 and 4 a.m.? They all say “See our ad in Golf Magazine.” Is there a connection?
11:30 p.m. I discover bus fires are very colorful. Fortunately, there are no injuries, so I can concentrate on the 30-foot flames.
Around midnight: I find a couple of regular homeless guys behind a building on Roswell Road. We talk awhile. They’re living in the woods. (These two don’t prefer the various shelters because they can’t drink at the shelter.)
Raul tells me he’s a former millionaire, boxing champ and Green Beret. He’s about five-feet-five with a head full of Harpo Marx hair. I remind him that the last time we spoke he was a Navy Seal. He puts some thought to it and decides he was both a Navy Seal and a Green Beret at some point.
His friend Beotis just wants a cigarette. He asks me five times if I have a smoke. Five times I tell him that I already told him I don’t smoke. He’s not happy with that. He cusses, smiles and sits back down. The conversation costs me two bucks.
I suggest they hit the shelter for the night, preferring not to see them sleeping in the woods again. I’ll see them tomorrow to find out what branch of the service Raul was in. I’m sure it’s jet pilot for the Air Force.
3:30 a.m. A tragic “head-shop” related crime. A guys steals another guy’s wallet at a “tobacco and tobacco accessories” shop in one of the cities north of Sandy Springs. The dude’s wallet is lifted while checking out the bongs on aisle five.
The bad guys flee and the victim gives chase. They wreck. They run. They run across some fashionable Dunwoody yards, on pristine Bermuda grass full of 3 a.m. dew, where they leave really good dew-tracks.
The tracks end at the edge of the woods. There are three of them, six eyes total, looking out of the woods when the flashlights light them up. They’re trying to be invisible. It isn’t working. They’re arrested.
None of them look older than 18. It’s almost 4 a.m. and they should be home. Wrecked car and going to jail. It doesn’t look good on your resume.
Raul and Beotis are walking north. I drive by and they turn and begin walking south. That was our deal. One night in the shelter won’t kill you. Beotis has a cigarette. He’s happy, looks back at me and waves just before he walks into a trash can.
Nights are different, that’s for sure.