That a was the sixth time in the last hour the negro waiter had walked past them with a tray of beer mugs on his shoulder.
Three times he’d walked past them to the polling station, mugs filled to the brim. Three times he’d walked back to the saloon he’d come from, mugs drained to the bottom.
“Should we do something about that?” Thompson said, pointing his nightstick at the waiter as he turned into the saloon.
Shrugging, Leopold pointed out that this might be the last time for anyone gets a decent drink in the whole state.
They’d been pulled from their regular beats to keep an eye on the polling station during the state’s prohibition vote. With the exception of rattling beer mugs, it had been completely uneventful.
“I’m tellin’ you, we really should do something about that,” Thompson nagged.
“Fine, fine, fine.” Leopold said, pulling a handkerchief from his breast pocket. “Waiter! Over here!”
The waiter stopped, looked anxiously at the two white patrolmen and walked over, slowly.
“There a problem, mister?”
“Your fermentation is showing,” Leopold said with a smile, draping the handkerchief over the mugs. “Bring two more for us next time you fill up.”
One of the few things Tennessee has ever been ahead of the curve on was the prohibition of alcohol. The state dried out close to a decade before the rest of the country. Or, at least it was supposed to. But thanks to the loose politics of Boss Crump and select enforcement of state laws, Memphis stayed wet much longer than the rest of the state.