by Randall Beaird
A security guard was one of many jobs I held throughout college. I wasn’t paranoid of being killed, but I had a few concerns. I often pulled the graveyard shift–twelve hours of solitude with only the burglar coming. In the middle of the night, all alone, your imagination does not help. After guarding one construction yard all night long, and seeing keys in everything with wheels, I thought I needed a weapon.
A six ounce can of mace started riding in my back pocket. The “expert” said it would knock the attacker down, and it didn’t matter where it hit him. To help stay alert, I would move from cab to cab, playing my favorite tunes. One evening, at the beginning of my twelve hour shift, I was sitting in an 18 wheeler leaning over to look in the glovebox for a pen. By the time I felt the wet sensation, it had reached my right sock. It was the mace.
From the rig to the trailer was one hundred yards. In full uniform with polished shoes, I could have still qualified for the Olympics. The initial tingle was soon a fire. I hopped around the water faucet, pants down, water flying everywhere.
Out of nowhere, the construction foreman drove up. Things were too painful to care; I just barked out my predicament. “I know this looks funny…I had this mace… MY LEG IS ON FIRE!”
He never laughed, but there was a chuckle. After he left I had ten hours more on patrol, but wasn’t about to call for another pair of pants. Standing at the trailer sink, I rinsed my trousers with pride for fifteen minutes. They were a little wrinkled, and I would have killed for some baby powder, but I pitied the poor burglar that tried trespassing that hot summer night. Someone was a little irritable.