Babyshit brown suit

“… I had bought a summer suit which I thought looked pretty nice, which had been altered for me, and which I decided to wear home. … the minute I stepped outside, two policemen grabbed me for hard questioning. Then they let me go with an apology, explaining that a man had just robbed a bank down the street, with a lady’s nylon stocking over his head. ‘All that anybody could tell us about him,’ one of them said to me, ‘was that his suit was babyshit brown.’” – Kurt Vonnegut in Bluebeard.

My wife and I had a similar experience many years ago. We had just arrived in my old home town the night before, and we decided to hitchhike downtown on Hardy Street in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Neither of us was wearing a babyshit brown suit. We stuck out our thumbs as the first group of cars approached, and a cop car pulled up, and a cop said, “Get in the back seat.”

“What’s the matter, officer, is hitchhiking illegal here?” one of us asked.

“Just get in,” he growled.

We got in the back seat, and he drove us downtown to the police place and marched us inside and told us to sit on a bench in a hallway. We sat. We watched a few people—police and civilians— walk past as we sat in bewilderment and silence on the bench. And then the cop who had marched us in came back and said, “You can go now.”

We asked if he could explain what was going on. He said a couple matching our description had robbed a store in the mall and the woman who owned the store was one of the people who walked past where we were seated and reported to the cops that we were not the robbers.

My wife said, “Well, thank you, sir, for the ride downtown.





1 thought on “Babyshit brown suit”

  1. Ah, thanks Alec — a memory from way-way back during my first twenty-four hours in the deep-deep South. True story, folks! Yikes!

    We then visited Alec’s parents at their store (house paints, sporting goods, and collectible stamps and coins) and when they closed it at the end of the day we went across the street to the gas station/mechanic shop where they parked their station wagon. The owner came out and said to Alec, “Hey, is this your Commie New York Yankee Jew bride?”
    Alec said, “Yep.” and we got in the car and went home for supper.


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