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I Am A Security Guard

My lowly status as a security guard finally became very clear on a recent Tuesday night. A cleaning crew had starting waxing my store's floor. That did not deter a customer from requesting a lighter. The man wore a black jacket and black pants. His right eye sported a red shade. The other had a bluish tint. His breath reeked of hard liquor.

I told him no one could not get to the lighters because of the wax job. He left, but returned 15 minutes later. I repeated my earlier message. He walked out of the store and called the cops on me. Three squad cars rolled up. I explained the situation to an officer, who simply nodded and left.

The idea that a bum could call the cops on me made two managers laugh at my expense.

Such is my life in the current economic downturn. While completing college years ago, I wrote a short story about a hapless security guard. One liberal arts degree and a layoff later, I am a hapless security guard. Or what my father once derisively called a "door shaker."

For slightly better than minimum wage, I stand at my post and get my kicks by observing human frailty. Some customers sneeze without covering their mouths. Folks shoehorn into jeans and flash butt crack. One regular with a walker picks his nose while waiting for a ride. A fair number of men take forever sniffing deodorant. Smokers gripe about presenting identification for cigarettes.

*

Company policy dictates that guards can't carry weapons or put their hands on the customers. I regretted those rules when a man in a blue sweatshirt and jeans walked up to me recently. He reached into a black plastic bag and said, "Excuse me." My eyes focused on the bag. But he did not pull out a weapon. Instead, he held three porn DVDs. I told him he couldn't peddle in the store. He asked for a cigarette. I told him to leave. He walked out into the rain.

At least he left quietly. Thieves offer more resistance. The head guard told me that a man had cracked open a can of compressed air and snuck a whiff. I walked near the guy and saw his bloodshot eyes and the can in his cart. The can had disappeared by the time the cart reached the cashier. I told the head guard, who made the man pay for the merchandise. Of course, the man argued before coughing up the money.

One manager showed me a tape of a man stealing nose spray. Another manager and a guard tackled him. But the perp, a short man with a big chest, nearly broke away. It took four cops to drag him away.

Two heavyset women made a habit of showing up late at night. The head guard reviewed the tape and found they were stealing makeup. The manager told me to do something about them. The next time the women showed up, I told them they were banned from the store. One argued with me, claiming I had stalked her, and asked for the manager. The manager arrived and said they were banned from the store for stealing. The pair left and stood outside the store. The same woman yelled at me, making fun of my "fake-ass badge."

Her boyfriend showed up later that night. The manager told him the story. The women haven't been back.

I've managed to avoid physical confrontations, but my luck nearly ran out on a recent Saturday night. Around 1:30 in the morning, a man in a dirty T-shirt and jeans walked to a cash register. He asked the cashier for a pack of Marlboros. She handed it to him. He tried to run out the door without paying. The cashier screamed. I blocked his way and yelled "Don't try me. Don't try me."

He put down the cigarettes and put up his hands. I forgot about the company's rule and took a step toward him. But something flashed in the corner of my eye. It was the manager. He blindsided the thief like Brian Urlacher in his prime. The two fell to the ground. The manager pinned the thief's hands behind his back. I sat on his legs and caught the smell of feces. As we waited for the cops, the perp kept yelling, "Fuck. Fuck. Fuck." My sentiments exactly.

-

A very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earns rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain. Comments welcome.



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Posted on July 7, 2009


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Corporate Spies Like Us.
SPORTS - Why Was This Game Even Scheduled?

BOOKS - Postdictatorship Argentina.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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