A BartCop Reader Goes To A Halloween Party

 On the night after Halloween I went to a costume party put on by a friend.
 I usually just scrape by with a lame costume but this year inspiration struck me
 and since my friend holding the party is a political science professor, I knew that
 political costumes would be appreciated.

My costume consisted of:

- Black flight/jump suit from the Army/Navy store - new
- Black beret
- Black boots
- Sunglasses
- Homeland Security logo printed, laminated and placed on right shoulder
- Homeland Security logo printed, laminated and placed on beret
- Fictional Homeland Security nametag badge identifying myself as "John R. Smith - Field Informant & Information Officer"
- American flag on left shoulder
- The words "Homeland Security" in iron-on letters on the back of the suit
- A bundle of plastic wrist ties on my belt, later cleverly named "liberty bands" and "freedom ties" by party goers.

My girlfriend and I stopped at the local ABC (liquor store) and I pleaded with her to go get our libations for the night.
Jealous about my worryingly official looking costume, she refused.

I strode into the store, making eye contact with the person behind the counter, but otherwise making a bee-line for the beer aisle.
Tsing Tao was on sale for $4.99 so I snapped it up.  My mouth watering at the prospect of soon enjoying my favorite Asian beer
I turned around and was face-to-face with a man about 5' 6", around sixty years old.  Evidently he had seen me enter and followed me
to the beer aisle.  Soberly, he thrust his hand out and stated, "I'd just like to shake your hand and thank you for everything that you've been doing for us."

As the Cliff notes version of my life flitted before my eyes, my brain hit the gas and took hold like bald tires in 3 feet of mud.
My human instincts to flee, be a smart-ass and/or go on a leftist tirade swirled.  The words "thank you citizen, on behalf of all
Homeland Security personnel I'd like to say thank you.  By the way, is everything nominal in this zone?" stuck in my throat.
Not having the heart to confront such sincerity with deception I blurted, "I'm sorry, I'm not really Homeland Security.
This is a costume and I'm on my way to a day-late costume party."

He paused and I saw his eyes focus off in the distance for a moment.  He then smiled and said,
"I'm sorry, I thought you were. Well, if you do see someone who is, tell them what I told you, OK?"

By this time I was cradling my six pack of beer and walking toward the checkout, heart pounding.
I responded over my shoulder, smiling back, "Well, let's hope we don't see any of them that look like I do anytime soon."

I passed another guy walking toward the beer aisle who had heard my explanation and he sheepishly smiled at me in knowing
what had just occurred.  I paid for my beer and walked out to the car.  I sat down and breathlessly told my girlfriend what had
just happened.  At the party my costume was a big hit and the story of my encounter soon made the rounds.

I'm not sure if my getup breaks any laws but 40 seconds out in public in my crypto-fascist outfit and I had already earned
the trust of at least one of my fellow citizens.

Signed a Reader in Tampa

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