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Night of the One Armed Drunk

OasisCache Creek, British Colombia is a Canadian desert town in rain shadow of Mount Whistler. On the way southward the green forests fade and the rolling countryside becomes brown and parched. It reminds me of my own drought stricken California.

I pulled into town and reserved a campsite at the Brookside RV Park. I usually avoid these places but it looked better than all the motels in town put together. Once checked in, I headed into town for dinner. The choices were of doubtful quality as is par for the course in these parts. When I stopped at a red light, the only light in town, and saw a blue and white sign for liquor I sensed that it was the only game in town. I drove in and parked beneath the larger sign for the Oasis Hotel.

I went in and asked the clerk about the local restaurant scene. He said the place next door had just opened. “The Greeks that run it used to have another place in town. It’s good food.” Taking a Canadian’s word for good food is hit or miss. Fortunately this one was a hit. I took a seat, placed my order and opened my book.

I wOne armasn’t more than a few pages in when the cook came to my table. He said “There’s a drunk outside, messing with your truck.”

I went out and saw the one armed man. He was the same drunk native I avoided on the way into the restaurant. I shouted, “Hey, don’t fuck with my truck.” He swung around flapping his empty short sleeve threateningly. “What’s the matter, you wanna fight?” he said.

I’ll fight a drunk, but a one armed drunk is beyond the pale. It’s so unfair. I decided to use my words. “There’s a mean dog inside my truck that will eat your motherfucking ass.” At that I opened the door and Cody leapt out to see what was happening. The sight of 100 pounds of canine energy had the drunk backing up. He was too far gone to see the golden retriever’s tail wagging.

The drunk’s attention was drawn to the cook now. “Come on you pussy, I’ll slap you around.” The cook said “do it, man” while dialing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He got the popo on the phone and started describing the perp. He gave the man’s description but he neglected to mention a key identifier. Finally he said “Oh yeah, he’s only got one arm.”

By this time I decided to sit outside on the patio and finish my excellent chicken souvlaki and enjoy another glass of white. The altercation continued and the drunk ambled about. At one point he wandered off the property. That was when the RCMP arrived. The officer started taking statements from the witnesses when someone from the side of the building said he’s over here…

The solo officer went to investigate. As he rounded the right corner, the drunk came out of the kitchen and disappeared around the opposite corner of the building. I assumed that they’d meet in the back and have a talk. When the officer came around to the front he didn’t have the suspect. I was beginning to think that Dudley Doright was not going to get his man.Perp&Cop

That’s when someone else yelled, he’s in the pub. The officer emerged with his quarry a few moments later. He questioned the drunk about his behavior and the drunk denied everything. He acted like a first grader caught in the act.

As he was being prepared for his ride to the jail cell I realized the officer’s dilemma. How do you handcuff a one armed man? After the squad car departed, I told the cook that I was glad he included the one armedness in the perp’s description. After all, how many one armed men are there in a town of 300? The cook paused and said “We used to have 2 one-armed men. The other one left a few years ago…”

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