It was a dark and snowy night. That's quite rare in south Louisiana. And I was on duty.
Here, we consider snow like having a hurricane during an earthquake during a plague outbreak. No one was moving about that night. I did what any sensible ER type would do. I went for a nap.
I was awakened about 2 AM by the receptionist, saying "We've got a walk-in". Consciousness returned, and I went in. It's amazing how much you can see in the first seconds of an exam.
There, swaying slightly, stood a rather disheveled client. On his hip was a revolver. As a shooter, I notice such things. The revolver had rust and was in a very cheap holster. It was the sort of holster you'd see sold for a dollar on the junk table at a gun show. He also had a badge that said "Special Officer", also dollar gun show type thing.
As soon as I entered he started talking, rambling slurred words that only a drunk can do. He told me he was a US Marshall, in some detail. Look, I know Federal Marshalls socially and as clients. They are well groomed in public, not drunk. They hadn't carried revolvers in a generation. And I've never met a Fed, ever, who's sidearm was rusty.
So drunk? Check. Armed? Check. Liar? Check. I've handled drunks and don't mind guns. But combined they are dangerous. Add in liar, and I wanted him GONE. I was getting pissed.
It took several tries to divert him from the David Koresh ramblings. (The Waco standoff was in progress.) When I asked about why his dog was there, I got silence or "umms". To this day, I don't know why the dog was there. To speed things up, I tried asking multiple choice questions. Whatever I asked he always picked the "B" answer. On physical, the dog looked fine. I think I gave some pen and sent him out as fast as I could.
As I said, I was annoyed. I do not like people impersonating Federal agents. I decided to act.
I called the US Marshall's office and asked to speak to the duty officer. I told him I'd had a client impersonating one of their people. The agent said that was a serious allegation, and asked how I knew. I described the inebriation and dress, and the officer said it was possible that he was not a Fed. When I mentioned the rusty revolver, he said, "Nope, that's DEFINITELY not one of ours. I think we'd like to have a chat with him. Do you have any information on him?" Sure, I got the client info sheet, and gave the officer the client's name. Then we got to the address.
I had not looked at the address until then. "Holy crap!" I said. The duty officer asked what was wrong. I caught my breath. "Let me explain to you that I am not the drunk here. I'll be happy to hand you a copy of this or fax it to you. But I am not making this up.", I said. "Sir what are you talking about?" "It's his address. It's PO Box 0423 1/4". No that is not a typo. The drunk wrote down box 0423 and a quarter. The officer said "Sir? Are you kidding?"
We faxed the sheet. When he got it, the officer said, "Holy crap, you were telling the truth!" I asked what next. The officer promised that they would find the client, and he promised that if I ever saw him again, he would not be drunk, nor armed, and that he would never, ever claim to be a Marshall again.
That suited me. I went back to bed. But to this day, I still wonder what sort of conversation the man with the fractional address had with the real Marshalls.