Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Old Watchman

Dec. 31, 1907
Los Angeles

His name was W.H. Reynolds and the old watchman for E.H. Howard Contracting had laid out all night after being beaten up and thrown in the weeds by two robbers who said they were garbage men looking for the closest dump.

A woman who saw the assault contacted the University Station and police searched all night in the area around Alameda Street and Washington Boulevard, where Reynolds lived in a small, ragged tent. It wasn’t until daylight that two patrolmen found him lying face down and he was taken to the Receiving Hospital.

When Reynolds was undressed, the hospital staff found his arms and legs covered with needle marks from where he had injected himself with cocaine. “He always has a small vial containing cocaine in liquid form about his person,” The Times says. “Such had become the grip of the drug upon him that he could not do without it for more than an hour.”

Reynolds told police that he went to bed, but didn’t feel well so he decided to get dressed and shoot up with cocaine. There was a knock at the door and when he went outside, he found two men with a team of horses who said they were looking for a garbage dump. When he began giving them directions, one of the men hit him on the head and they stole his drugs and syringe as well as $7.50 ($153.93 USD 2005).

“Despite the pain of the operation, Reynolds begged for cocaine and the surgeons, in view of the old man’s weakened condition, finally gave him a weak solution of the drug,” The Times says.

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