He was a big man in his own former neighborhood, to be sure. Rumor has it that as a young man he was quite the High School athlete. Captain of the Fighting Wolverines football team, who managed to beat the Plaza Del Sol Panthers, the Hickory Hollow Hillbillies, The Canal Plaza Cougars, the Dynamo Wildcats, the Bigtown Braves, and the Mayfair Millionaires. Big fella–6 foot 3 and 220 pounds of pure muscle. After the games, no matter what the coach would say about it, he and his cronies and teammates would raise hell at all the drinking establishments in that quiet community which counted approximately 2,000 souls–back in the Gay Nineties. He’d be seen making his drunken rounds at the many gin mills and low dives the place managed to support, such as Beer “n” Skittles, The Black Cat Saloon, The Blind Kitten, Crazy Joe’s, The Crown and Garter, Dizzy’s Lounge, The Drinking Club, The Eight Ball, The Glass Bar, The Glove, The Golden Horn, Huzzah’s, The Last Stand, The Lion, The Pleasure Bar, Pro’s, The Purple Zebra, The Rack, The Red Barn, The Shuttle, Thirsty Acres, and The Tip Inn. Then he and his pals would then drunkenly climb High Point Hill where, even on a frosty fall night, you could see the smoldering slag heaps of Wazooville. There they would engage in the usual horseplay, and it wouldn’t be unusual if one or two of them went home with a black eye or even a busted wing. These were stag affairs. Ladyfolk in them says were expected to sit at home and curl their eyelashes and wash their hair in stale beer or some such tomfool doins.
So he might have been a big man is his own tiny patch o’ heaven, but instead, after a stint in the Army, he came East and he worked the beat in Noxtown and he was surely an arrogant son of a bitch, if you’ll pardon my French. He broke enough heads to make his way to Police Captain.
Now, Yob, if you know how many fixes a Police Captain has to handle among the high mucky-mucks, you would hardly envy him the job. When even the lowliest civilian got jugged, usually for soliticing a whore, Aston wanted to know about it, usually so he could solicit a donation to the Policeman’s ball in exchange for dropping the charges. A C-note would square any beef, but usually only gamblers and pickpockets had access to that much dough, so Aston would give you a pass if you would press a twenty or even a ten-spot into his greedy fist. The Looey and the Sarge were expected to kick back a portion in the absence of the Captain, who, where there was money to be made, was seemingly everywhere.
He liked particularly to shake down the parents of drunken young rowdies such as he himself used to be.
Here’s a fine story to lighten your days. One time Captain Aston sees both Joe Rumbuster and Smash Conklin breaking into the Seven Stars Saloon to work off a booze thirst. Sure and the Devil not only looks the other way, but joins the pair of miscreants in looting the place. Sure and every bottle of top-shelf booze was drunk down to the dregs before the three thirsty big galoots managed to slake their thirst. They might have got away with it scot free, only two of them started in to smashing crockery and tables because Aston had taunted Rumbuster and Conklin into having themselves a little fist fight to see which of the two of them was the tougher Mugg. Things got a bit out of hand, and the two of them suddenly turned on Aston in a fit of drunken bravado. Now boys, says he, remember it’s a Police Captain you’d be after assaultin’ and the law don’t take kindly to–and POW! Conklin flattens him with one of them heavy wooden chairs which don’t smash into flinders when you merely sit on them hard but are built to last. Even though the booze fog, Aston could feel that blow. So he takes out his pistol and holds it dead level on the two of the b’hoys, snarling at them not to make another move. A big hero he was, when the other coppers came to the rescue and jugged the rascals. Conklin and Rumbuster knew better’n to peach on the Cap’n. He had connections to the Big Man and it wouldn’t do to cross him. I was glad to hear that Conklin had gotten his come-uppance, of course, because I hated him like poison, but you ought to have heard Tipsy Smith moaning about all the damage they done to his bar. Never fear–someone–and who’s to say it wasn’t Aston himself–shook down Rumbuster and Conklin and made good the damage. The only thing Aston got out of the deal was the armchair that had nearly flattened him. That piece o’ furniture he installed in a place of honor in his office. I suppose that if he ever got into another bar fight at the Seven Stars, he didn’t mean to be clobbered again by the very same chair. Once a philosopher, twice a pervert, as the wise man said.