I was casing up the mail on City Route 3, when Mark, a mailman with thirty plus years of service, poked his head around the corner.  We had already been talking about the past, swapping stories and what not, so he jumped right in.

“Hey, did I tell you about Jim Morgan?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

He grinned.  “Yeah, good old Jim retired just before I started.  He used to cover North Street.  Well, anyway, Mike’s Tavern was on his route, so he swung by as usual to drop off the mail.  Come to find out, there was this old friend of his in there downing some drinks.  Naturally Jim sat down and before long they were laughing and carrying on.  Jim had a drink…  And then another drink…  Then another…  Next thing he knew, he was lit up.  Like really drunk.  And he’s thinking, ‘Oh, crap [this wasn’t the word used], I gotta finish my rounds.’  So out he goes, stumbling all over the place, trying to get the job done.”

“Are you serious?” I interrupted.

“I’m dead serious.”

“You’re telling me,” I began with an incredulous look, “that he got drunk while on the job?”

“He did.”

I shook my head. 

Mark continued, “Sometime later, he starts gettin’ real sleepy and decides it’s time to sit down under a tree.  And before long, he’s sound asleep- completely passed out, just lying there in the grass.”

“He passed out?”

Mark nodded.  “It gets better.  Some neighbor sees him asleep under the tree and calls the post office.  So, naturally, here comes the supervisor to see what’s going on.  But when he tries to wake him up, Jim’s all confused and starts swinging at old Freeman- thinks he wants to fight or something.  The supervisor tries to get him under control, but Jim just keeps flailing around.”

I started to laugh. 

“Now here’s the funny thing,” Mark quickly added. “Apparently some other neighbor looks out the window and sees Jim fighting off Freeman, swinging like a wild man, and yelling too.  They think the mailman’s being attacked, fighting for his life or something, so they call the cops!”

“Ha!  The cops?” I asked, shaking my head in disbelief.  “What happened?” 

“Well, it all got sorted out and Freeman sent Jim home to sleep it off.”

“Did they fire him?”

“Nope.”

“What!?!  They didn’t fire him?”

“Oh, no.  They gave him a one week suspension.”

“Is that all?  How in the world did he pull that off?”

“Things were different back then, Austin.  A lot different.”

“Yeah, I’d say so.”

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