Bjorn was enjoying the last few puffs of his cigarette when Geir appeared from behind the barracks on his way to relieve Bjorn from his duty. Geir was wearing a bomber jacket, and dark pilot sunglasses under the military cap that no one had been wearing thus far. And this surprised Bjorn since those were parts of the uniform that Frank had specifically told everybody that they should avoid. However, what surprised Bjorn the most was the fact that Geir was carrying a handgun in his right hand, and a belt and gun holster in his left, as if this was the most normal thing in the world.
"So what do you think?" Geir asked as he got up close to Bjorn, striking his usual self important pose.
"Are you serious?" Bjorn asked. He had always found the full uniform a little over the top, and it was weird to see his colleague wearing it like that. Keeping a low profile and not coming across as too aggressive or fearsome was after all the unwritten rule of the place, and this was pretty much the complete opposite of the friendly approachable watchman look that had been strived for.
"Dead serious!" Geir replied, handing the gun, holster and belt over to Bjorn. "And from now on, you too will have to look your best."
Bjorn looked at the gun, and the belt. "So I'm supposed to wear this thing while on duty?" Bjorn asked.
"Not only while on duty," Geir corrected. "We will from now on wear these handguns all the time, and only take them off at night."
"These are the new rules," Geir said with a smile. "Frank has long been unhappy with the fact that no one has done anything to prevent the villagers from arming themselves. And last night's riot in Lier was the last straw for him I guess. He called Oslo this morning, informing them that from now on there will be no more Mr. Nice Guy up here."
"He did? And they went along with that?" Bjorn asked, finding this very much out of character with typical Norwegian policies.
"Yes! Frank and Trond had a quick talk this morning, and together they have informed Oslo that they will no longer risk their men's safety."
"And they got their way?" Bjorn asked in disbelief. "Imagine that Frank and Trond have that sort of clout with the lawmakers in Oslo."
Bjorn was impressed by the story which he thought almost too good to be true. But he saw no reason to doubt the truthfulness of Geir's rendition of Frank's instructions, so he turned his attention back to the gun in his hand.
"So I might as well put this on right away, then?" he asked.
"Yep! That's the idea."
The two men went into the glass cage where Bjorn proceeded to assemble the various parts. Geir held Bjorn's gun while Bjorn put the holster on the belt, put the belt diagonally over his shoulder, and fastened it around his body. Then, getting the gun back from Geir, Bjorn checked that its safety clasp was in the right position, and that it was indeed armed with live ammo, before strapping it into the holster.
"And the semi-automatic..." Geir continued after giving Bjorn a nod of approval. "We are from now on always going to have it by the hand while on duty."
"We are?" Bjorn asked, still surprised. "Well, that does make more sense than having it always locked away like this, I guess."
"It does, doesn't it?" Geir agreed. "So, do you have the key?"
Bjorn handed the key to Geir, who proceeded to take the semi-automatic out of the gun rack and load it with a long black cartage of live ammo. Then, with a big smile, he put a belt on it which he swung over his shoulder so that the gun ended up hanging across his abdomen.
"Well, that certainly does make you look fearsome," Bjorn said honestly, knowing that Geir would take that as a compliment.
"It does, doesn't it?" Geir replied, smiling even broader.