I never expected that this past weekend’s running event would end with eight Capitol Police patrol cars responding to break up my ground fighting match against an honest-to-goodness soldier of fortune wearing a red dress. Actually we were both wearing red dresses. I admit that we were both a little intoxicated. OK, I was a little intoxicated and he was a lot intoxicated. I’m not sure how he was remaining conscious. Chalk it up to toughness and tenacity.

I swore to get his back that day after multiple in-my-face interrogations about whether I knew what it meant to have his back. This mostly consisted of us getting nose-to-nose and him yelling into my face “have you got my back?” and my yelling back “hell yeah I’ve got your back” followed by his yelling “do you know what that means to have my back?” and my yelling back “hell yeah I know what that means” or something along those lines anyway. We carried on mingling independently among the crowd until I heard another man tell him something like “if you lay a hand on me one more time, I am going to call the police.”

I took that as a sign that I might need to intervene. I did this by telling the somewhat frightened and fully annoyed party “I got this” and then engaging my new friend in some manly horse play. Unfortunately that ended with our knocking over one of the poolside bars. It was the one serving the Heavy SeasLoose Cannon” beer I had been sipping all afternoon. Yep, Loose Cannon. You can’t make this stuff up, people.  

I pulled him out of the pre-party to begin the run just as hotel security were arriving to explain to me that my new-found friend’s exit from the immediate area was not optional. After we made it about 50 meters around to the sidewalk next to the hotel, (which was something of an out-of-the-way location with a little grass strip next to it)  it seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess, to have a little sparring match. This went on for about, uh, fifteen or twenty minutes or maybe a little longer before the police showed up. The fact that we were both wearing red dresses at least did help to give the officers at least some sense of humor about it.

Yes, that is what I said. We were two men wearing red dresses ground fighting alongside what turned out to be the Capitol Police Vehicle Maintenance Facility. Brilliant tactic. Right where they never expected it. If somebody from the hotel hadn’t called them, we might have been able to go at it for an hour or so. At least I had grown bored with it by the time the cops showed up. He always got the advantage, but I was too slippery and stubborn for him to finish the job. Everything always seemed to end in stalemate. I guess I can be proud of that since he is an “Operations and Intelligence Consultant” for a shadowy contrator with a somewhat intimidating profile and corporate image.

I guess you might be interested in why in the hell we were wearing red dresses. Well, I am an infrequent participant in a self described “drinking club with a running problem” known as the Hash House Harriers. This is a worldwide disorganization that is mismanaged by numerous local groups in cities everywhere. It is something of an underground running cult with cultural ties to rugby players, lacrosse players and other singers of bawdy drinking songs. It also tends to attract a disproportionate share of current and former military servicemembers.

From time to time, a local hash will put on a “Red Dress Run” where all participants put on a red dress and run through the city. I was running the DC Red Dress Run. People inevitably think it is to support some sort of worthy cause. They tend to yell “what are you running for?” Invariably the response is “BEER.” This simultaneous and spirited reply tends to create even more of an expression of confusion upon the querent than the sight of a throng of men and women running down the street while wearing red dresses.

So, there we were, wearing red dresses and fighting on the ground next to the Capitol Police facility. The officers suggested that we should probably stop that, and then they separated us and asked us a few questions. To the extent possible I answered these questions with “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am” and “yes sir” and “no sir.” That seemed to help things go a bit more smoothly than they otherwise might have.

The most important questions came at the very end of the exchange. The officer in charge asked me where we were staying. I pointed at the building right behind us and verbally emphasized our incredible proximity to the location where we could disappear never to be seen again for the rest of the evening. The officer then asked me if I could get my friend up to his room, and I gave an emphatic “yes ma’am” that seemed to register fairly well with her. After a minute or two of discussion among the officers on the scene the officer in charge asked me if I was willing to take responsibility for my friend and I agreed that I would. She then explained that if anybody saw us anywhere outside of that hotel until the next day they were going to haul in both of our sorry butts. I was good with that. It seemed better than getting hauled in right away.

I managed to coax, assist, carry and drag my friend back to his room. I made sure that he lived to experience the hellish hangover that awaited him the next day. I bet he wondered where all of the bruises and scrapes came from.

I never expected that my run would end up not being a run at all, but at least it gave me an interesting story.



C.S. Trimmier was born in Birmingham, Alabama and grew up playing in the woods on the banks of the Cahaba River. After earning a degree in political science, he studied law and worked with his father's firm until he left to serve as general counsel for a defense contractor in the Washington, DC area. When he isn't working or writing, he can still be found running through the woods training for his next ultramarathon.
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One Response to CODE RED

  1. Turtle says:

    You should have put on a green dress after you got busted, and gone out incognito. The cops would’ve never noticed…

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