There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute

Does your beer taste funny?

I don’t know if drinking pee is good for you, but experience shows it won’t kill you. I guess we were ahead of our time.

Forty years ago the area I patrolled was graced with a pair of homeless drunks. They were a husband, Ralph, and wife, Erlene, who followed their idiot child to town. The future serial killer was made a ward of a northern state and promptly shipped to a residential facility in Texas. (He really turned into a serial murderer).

The couple were drunks, petty thieves and all around pains in the ass. We would find Ralph, roaming around the downtown area. This, after the bars had closed. He would prowl the alleys and parking lots gathering beer cans. He also gathered cassette tapes, sunglasses, and spare change from unlocked vehicles he came across.

We would find the “loot”, on him. College students couldn’t be bothered to file a police report. The District Attorney couldn’t be bothered to prosecute.

In effort to put a stop to Ralph’s antics, we took to the roof tops. We monitored his progress, as he made his rounds. We never caught him in the act of burglarizing a vehicle. We did observe him picking up beer cans.

Ralph had a routine down. He would pick up a beer can. If it was empty it went into the bag. If it wasn’t empty he would give it a shake. If the contents sloshed like liquid, then he drank it. Once empty the can went in the bag. This soon became common knowledge to the dog watch cops.

I don’t know who started it. It may have had its genesis as many great ideas do. The time was right. Pretty soon cops were collecting empty beer cans, ducking behind a dumpster and pissing in the cans. They would then set the partially filled beer can along the normal route. Impatient cops would flag Ralph down to tell him about a cache of beer cans.

At first, the lone witness would be the cop conducting surveillance. Then the pissers wanted to see the results of their labor. Soon there would be patrol cars parked at a vantage points. It started with the City cops, then the University cops showed up, soon the highway patrol joined in. Ralph never disappointed. Apparently there is something to the complaint that warm beer tastes like piss.

I thought it was over the top when the game warden showed up. He popped the trunk, pulled out the Coleman stove and was soon serving coffee to the crew. I was wrong.

Ralph would make his appearance, pick up a spiked beer can, give it a shake raise it to his mouth and drink. At first, the peanut gallery was content to chant chug, chug among themselves. This got old. Pretty soon the chant was repeated over a patrol car PA system. This didn’t phase Ralph, but it drew an irate Sergeant who put a stop to the coffee klatch.

Cops, if it’s worth doing, it is worth doing it to excess.