December 19, 8:37 PM Eastern
Jim turned the radio off when the program switched to people shouting over each other to explain what the president had just said. With a shrug, he got out of the truck and climbed back onto the tailgate.
“Well, shit,” Gloria said from her perch on the truck’s side, “that was about as useful as tits on a boar hog.” Jim looked up at her in surprise.
“Gloria,” he said with a smile, “until just now, I wouldn’t have thought you’d say ‘shit’ if you had a mouthful of it.”
The others on the truck laughed and nodded. A moment later, they all turned and watched a police cruiser, its lights painting the street red and blue, turn the corner and pull up slowly. A lone figure got out of the driver’s door, approaching them with its hands out and empty. His partner stayed in the sedan, her patrol rifle between her legs and the handset to their radio in her hand. None of the people guarding the roadblock pointed their weapons at the officers, but none of them put their guns away, either.
“Evening, folks,” he said. The policeman was wearing his normal uniform and gun belt, but had a carbine in a patrol sling across his body armor.
“Evening, officer,” Bob said, peering over the hood of his SUV, “what can we do for you?”
“Someone called in that people were harassing motorists along here, and we just wanted to check it out,” the officer answered, looking around at the roadblock.
“Haven’t seen a thing, officer,” Bob answered, “Matter of fact, haven’t seen any traffic through here except you in hours.”
“Good,” the policeman said, nodding, “Wouldn’t want any trouble tonight. People are kinda jumpy.” He looked at each of the men and women on the other side of the trucks and asked, “Y’all think having all those guns out is a good idea? Might worry folks.”
Henry stood up in the back of the truck and raised the heavy wood and metal of his rifle up in one hand. “Boy,” he growled in a menacing tone, “I carried this sumbitch all over Okinawa while your granddaddy was still sucking on his mama’s tit, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna put it away now!”
Jim’s lips turned up in a small smile as he watched the policeman realize the old veteran was serious. “Well,” he said after a moment, his voice calm, “let’s just make sure nobody’s drinking tonight, all right, folks? Don’t want any accidents.”
“No problem, officer,” Bob said. All of the others nodded their agreement, even Henry once he had retaken his seat and wrapped back up in his blankets.
“Good, wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt,” the policeman replied, “Well, y’all stay warm and call us if you have any problems.” He slowly turned and walked back to his cruiser. His partner waited until he opened his door to climb into her seat and close hers.