Came the time to pay he didn't want to. Then he decided he was going to pay €2 instead of €3. The dirtball spoke almost no German, and as I found out when I tried to ask, no Russian or Polish, either. I guessed Serbo-Croatian and I don't speak a word of that. Things were going downhill and though he wouldn't have had a chance to even try hurting me without hurting himself worse (before I could do it for him), we're not that kind of place. Half the customers were regulars. He tried emptying his posckets for a coin or two, to no avail. Once he started making vague treats and calling me an asshole I called the cops, having warned him at least five times I would do so. He never made a break for the door.
I had to keep up the verbal parrying waiting for the Polizei to arrive. As two cops finally walked in the door, another car pulled up outside with two more. They came over and immediately saw where the problem was before I could even nod in dickhead's direction. Luckily it never got too loud to be a problem for other customers but again, this is not something that happens in our bistro. Ever. The last time the cops were called was before my time, more than four years ago.
Apparently it's been a very slow night in town. Two more arrived and I was wondering if I shouldn't offer them all a cup of coffee. "Nein, danke." There were almost as many cops as customers. They realised it would be slow going in dealing with this mook but German cops are rather patient. From experience I know that American cops would've had this guy cuffed and been dragging him out in less time than it took this idiot to register they weren't joking when they wanted to see his ID. No point in using any pain holds; he never would've noticed.
There was some suspicion as he claimed to be a Croat but had a Bosnian ID card, and still he wasn't arrested. Officer-in-Charge asked me why the hell I'd served the guy. "I didn't. I was in back." And I immediately realised that I'd just set my server girl up for some shit so I quickly added that when I'd first come out, the guy seemed OK. It was only a couple minutes later that he then appeared under the influence. It happens with some people and I should know since I'm one of them. I'll drink a bottle of booze and be fine, then maybe have a beer or three. At some point, I have that one sip too many and I go from normal, able-to-function-and-focus-my-eyes, non-wavering guy to so-ratted-he'll-probably-need-help-to-crawl-home. It was at least plausible. Lead cop went to talk to idiot girl.
Four of the cops took the drunk Serb/Croat outside and I figured he was headed for the drunk tank. No, we've never seen him before. No, we're not filing criminal charges over the €3 beer. No, we're not filing criminal or civil charges because we "felt threatened" even though that was precisely the reason for calling the cops to begin with. Yes, he has a permanent Hausverbot (banned), not that he'll remember this in the morning.
And then the inevitable happened. Lead Cop wanted my information. I'm here legally and have lifelong residence and work permits, but my work at the bistro is, shall we say, rather informal and unofficial. BG was sitting at the employee's table having a beer and I had to send her home for my passport because, as usual, the cop didn't believe my name was what it is. Name, address, phone, citizenship, etc., he wrote it all down. BG returned a couple minutes later with my passport and we got back into a discussion over my name and how the hell it came to be. Fair enough. Was I sure I didn't want to press charges? Not really, but what's the fucking point?
They didn't take him to the drunk tank but instead let him walk home. Before the first of the three cop cars could leave, drunk fuck headed back for our door. All three cars stopped, all six cops got back out of their cars and quickly guided him past our door. While I'm more or less OK with the idea that they'd let him stumble home1, I have no idea why the hell they didn't take him to the drunk tank after he tried to come back in. Paperwork, probably.
In summary, I had to call the police into a place where police never have to visit. A number of our regulars witnessed the events. This comes on the heels of some bullshit with a "customer" last month that cost me more than a few brownie points (long story, not worth it). In eight hours I'll be on the phone with the owner to explain exactly what happened and to get our stories straight: we've known each other since I lived in Regensburg 13 years ago, he wasn't feeling well, he couldn't get anyone else to come in, and he asked if I could help him out of his jam.
All of this stone cold sober.
1 No, I'm not. I'm used to the mentality, but I'm not OK with it.
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