Carlson hooked the corner, turning into the alley off the street. James Pealson, Jimmy the One-Eye, was there waiting for him.
“You got it?” Jimmy asked, his voice low.
Carlson pulled out two hand-rolled cigarettes from the breast pocket of his uniform and handed one to Jimmy.
“Got the light?” Responded Carlson.
Jimmy struck a match off the brick of the building beside them and lit their cigarettes with it. The fire from the match twinkled in his one good eye.
The other boys had give him his titular epithet on account of Jimmy One-Eye only having one eye.
No one ever said the boys were very smart.
But for the most part, you didn’t need to be smart to do the job. You just had to keep the rich folks safe, the Irish and Italians from killing each other, and hope to God you never pissed off anyone bad enough to be assigned a night patrol on the docks.
“Still can’t believe those sons of a –,” Jimmy started up.
“Hey, hey, hey! Watch your mouth, you know the rules.”
In unison, they erupted into laughter.
Swearing, as well as smoking, was forbidden while in uniform.
In 1861, the state of the Memphis police was so shameful that the chief of police was forced to give an address to his men, which was reprinted in the local newspaper, instructing them of the proper way to behave as uniformed police. Among his list of things were clean dress, a civil attitude, refraining from speaking to anyone not directly involved with police matters, an abstention from smoking and a prohibition on any and all profanity. Also, keeping an eye one troublemakers and in general doing their jobs. Apparently, these were all things that the Memphis police were having trouble accomplishing at the time.