Literature & FictionFiction, poetry, and literature

Being a teenage theater usher at the Saenger Theater on Palafox Street in Pensacola in 1963 was pretty safe. But there was this night that a couple of sailors on shore leave took on a local citizen who later got to meet one BIG Pensacola police officer

The Second Biggest Cop I've Ever Seen!

Copyright 2012Donovan Baldwin

One night while I was working as an usher at the Saenger Theater, probably in 1963, I was walking in the lobby when I passed a big guy who seemed a little mussed up.

Right after that, someone came up to me and said, "There's been a fight in the men's room, and that guy (the big guy I had passed) just beat the hell out of two sailors!"

I immediately went to the men's room, and, sure enough, there were two drunk sailors pretty well beat up. To put it simply, there was blood everywhere!

Now, many people today would ask how I knew they were sailors. Well, in those days, when sailors got shore leave, they wore their uniforms, just like these two poor schmucks.

Actually, when I saw them, their uniforms "used" to be white! At the moment, however, they were pretty bloody, as were the walls of the men's room.

I haven't seen the men's room at the Saenger theater since about 1963, but at that time, it was white tile. On that night, the tile was bloody too.

Another question people might have is how I could say they were drunk.

Well, as I opened the door, they were both seated on the floor leaning against the wall obviously the worse for wear, and one said to the other rather sarcastically, but in a slurred voice, "Well, I guess we showed him, didn't we?"

I had told Jim, my partner on duty, to watch the big guy, while I checked the bathroom, and when I came back out, we got hold of the manager on duty, who was probably Mr. Lyles. Whoever, he called the cops, and in a couple of minutes, a Pensacola police car pulled up outside, and the biggest cop I ever saw got out and came inside.

Now, you may ask why the title of this article says, "The Second Biggest Cop I've Ever Seen" when I just wrote the "biggest cop I ever saw". Well, at THAT time, he WAS the biggest cop I had ever seen. As of now, I saw one bigger in 1976 in Milton, but that's another story. Suffice it to say that HE was wearing a .357 magnum, but I didn't know it until he took his hand off his hip!

Meanwhile, back at the Saenger in 1963, I was feeling good because the cop WAS so big. The guy who appeared to have whupped up on the two sailors was just a breath or two shy of huge, and his ability to take out two sailors spoke to his ability to take care of himself...and anyone who bothered him.

After we briefed the cop, he asked if we knew where the big guy was sitting. Jim volunteered that he had seen where he had sat down in the auditorium, and the cop told Jim to go tell him to come up to the lobby.

It seemed to me that Jim turned a little pale, but he went down the side aisle and tapped the guy on the shoulder.

I saw Jim duck!

The guy came part way out of his seat, drawing back his fist, and Jim chose the "discretion is the better part of valor" thing.

He did NOT deliver his message at that time, but DID immediately return to the lobby to tell Pensacola's answer to King Kong that he would have to go get the guy himself.

And he did.

Big cop strode down the aisle, and, after Jim pointed him out, tapped the guy on the shoulder. Once again, the big guy came up with fist cocked, but, when he realized he was looking UP at a uniformed police officer, he became quite docile.

As it turned out, the two sailors, who had not yet recovered very much, had picked a fight with him in the bathroom, and he had mopped up the floor with them and then returned to his seat to enjoy the movie with his date.

It was a kinder, gentler time. No charges were filed. The Shore Patrol had also been called, and they showed up to collect the two wounded warriors, who I presume enjoyed a personal participation in the military customs referred to as the brig and Captain's mast.

I never found out who the cop was, but a friend of mine on the force told me later that he sometimes wrestled in the area. For a while, I took comfort in the thought that Pensacola had a least one cop that could put the fear of God into troublemakers.

After all, he scared the hell out of me!

About The Author:
Donovan Baldwin is a freelance SEO copywriter living in Texas, and a University of West Florida alumnus. He is a member of Mensa and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. In his career, he has held many managerial and supervisory positions. However, his main pleasures have long been writing, nature, .and fitness. In the last few years, he has been able to combine these pleasures by writing poetry and articles on subjects such as health, fitness,yoga, writing, the environment, happiness, self improvement, and weight loss.

Don's writing and poetry blog can be found at

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Page Updated 10:56 AM Saturday 6/29/2013