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The Object of the Game

Image: PV Bella

When I was in Forensic Services, I had to take a few days of in-service training at the Chicago Police Academy. The F.B.I taught the course. It was an advanced crime scene processing course.

After each scenario, it would take 20-30 minutes to reset the various crime scenes, so there were many breaks. I watched the new recruits go through a red man role-playing exercise during one of these periods.

The red man was an instructor wearing a stuffed red rubberized suit that made him look like the Michelin Tire Man. These classes were real-world training and hilarious to watch.

The role playroom was narrow and had a long rectangular window so others could watch their fellow recruits try to solve problems. This exercise was to convince an angry, loud drunken bar patron to leave. The scenario was the bartender called the police to get the patron out. The red man/patron was about six foot two and well over 200 lbs. He looked like a giant in the suit.

The object of the game was to convince the red man to leave. That was it. Just get him out of the bar. The recruits were armed with red plastic training pistols and rolled-up newspapers as nightsticks.

The recruits would go in, one by one. The red man would wave his hands frantically and yell at the top of his lungs. One short Black female officer walked in, got yelled at, and “shot” him.

Others immediately went to the nightsticks, even though the red man did nothing but yell at the top of his lungs and wave his hands around. A few ran out and pretended to call for help.

The lead instructor was a sergeant. We worked together for a while, some years before he was promoted. He asked if I could show the recruits how it’s done.

 I started to walk through the door. The recruits offered me guns and newspaper nightsticks. I turned them down. I had a real gun and did not need a nightstick, especially a paper one.

When I walked in the door, the red man yelled at the top of his lungs, “All I want is just one more fucking drink, one more fucking drink, and I will leave. One more fucking drink.” He was waving his hands wildly.

I yelled louder, “Shut the fuck up, asshole.”

I talked to the bartender/instructor. He played the role, saying the guy was too drunk and he would not serve him anymore because of his behavior. I asked him if he wanted the guy gone. Being a typical smart ass, he said, “What the fuck do you think I called the cops for.”

I turned to the red man.

“One more drink and you are gone, right.”

“Yeah, just one more fucking drink, he yelled at the top of his lungs.”


I reached into my pocket, pretended to pull some money out, and threw it on the bar. “Get my new friend one more drink.”

The bartender/instructor pretended to pour a drink and put it in front of the red man.

Before the red man could grab it, I slid the glass towards me. I turned and grabbed his shoulder, pulling him down so I could whisper in his ear. I said what I wanted to say, then slid the glass to him. He drank it and pretended to stagger out of the bar. Then, he pretended to trip while walking out, giving me a body slam, just to be a wise ass.

The recruits were all wide-eyed and agog. The sergeant asked me if I had time to come into the classroom and tell the recruits how I got the red man out. I had about fifteen minutes left, so I went to the classroom.

The sergeant told the class the game’s object was to convince the red man to leave the bar. It appears I did that. Then he asked if they had questions. They had accusations.

One recruit told me I broke the rules, regulations, policies and procedures by buying the red man a drink. I asked him where is it written that I could not buy anyone a drink in a bar while on duty. I reminded him that the only person I could not buy a drink for was myself. Hell, I could buy the whole bar a drink as long as I did not buy one for myself and drink it.

Another said I should not have gone into the bar unarmed. I raised my tee shirt and showed him my real gun. Another was concerned about my yelling and using inappropriate language, which got a laugh from the instructors.

I told them that the uniforms they wear are expensive. Getting into a bar fight with a drunk and rolling on the floor would mean spending hard-earned money to repair or replace shirts and pants. Plus, the trip to the emergency room was not worth it. “Been there, done that. I was young and stupid once.”

I pointed at the Black female recruit. “He yelled at you, and you shot him. Guess what? You are going to prison. All those who beat him with the nightsticks will get suspended or fired. All the guy did was yell at you. Geez, if you can’t take shit here, how are you going to take it in the real world on the street.”

Finally, one recruit asked me the right question. He asked what I said in the red man’s ear.

I responded, “Ask him.”

The red man blushed. Then, he said that the object was to convince him to leave the bar, convince being the operative word.

“It was not what he said but how he said it. It was like an evil sneer. After that, I had no doubt I was leaving that bar. “Drink your drink. If you do not walk out after that, I will break every fucking bone in your body twice. I did not doubt he would do it.”

After a few more questions, I went back to my class. Later in the day, I ran into the sergeant and the red man. We had a good laugh. The red man had a similar background to the sergeant and mine. Working in the rough and tumble dangerous areas.

The sergeant offered me a position teaching tactics. I told him I am all about money. The pay cut would impact my life.   

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