Concept: The Guy from Animal Control
AKA: Nobody really calls him “Augustus” even though that is the name on his birth certificate. Mama just liked the way it sounded and since Daddy was long gone by the time he turned up, she got to name him what she wanted. But people refer to him interchangeably as either “Gus” or “Augie”
Desc: Bulky framed and not terribly tall. Lousy posture. Normally encountered wearing a dark navy coverall and a beat-up yellow ball cap (which has a tiny battery in the back and switch that turns on the two bead-like LED lights on the edge of the cap’s brim.) Broken capillaries and ruddy complexion attest to his habit of putting away a six Miller High Life nearly every other night. Wristwatch and heavy black shoes with non-slip tread. Squinty eyes and a way of talking like the words are falling out of the side of his mouth. Losing his hair, and just a slight amount of his eyesight too. He is thinking about getting contacts. His hands look like he’s worked on a lot of cars or punched a lot of faces.
History: Gus is one of those guys who never seems to catch a break. The sort of fella that Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen have made a fortune writing about. They never had much growing up. But Gus loved his mom and his older sister Rita. And they loved him. He went to school, wasn’t much of a student and this shocked exactly no one. Played football, but not well enough that anyone wanted to pay him to do it or send him to a nice school.
He got a gig working for Animal Control because a drinking buddy recommended him for it. Gus settled into the job which had a distinct lack of schedule or routine. Also, it paid decently and there were government bennies. He even got Government holidays off, but of course, had to stay on call, just in case. Of course, if he had to fetch a raccoon out of somebodies crawlspace on Christmas day, well...it was double time and he’d shrug his shoulders and do it.
Gus has stories. He’s actually a pretty decent storyteller now because it’s one of the best ways to pass on the bulk of the accumulated knowledge of the Animal Control staff to the FNG’s coming in the door. Also, it’s a good way to pass the time. As time wore, he got more seniority and now he’s essentially the most senior guy they’ve got. They’d promote him except for the fact that while Gus is a generally gentle soul, he has some pretty regressive attitudes. The sort of attitudes that have kept Animal Control a “boys club” and occasionally causes him to start a thought with the phrase, “Now, I’m not a racist, but...”
The sad thing is that Gus is coming up on retirement and he strenuously resists doing any thinking about what he’s going to do after he doesn’t have the AC office to come into every day. Most guys that Gus knows who have retired were dead or dying within a month of it.
it should be noted that while Payton Breckinridge is likely to notice patterns of weirdness in the animal kingdom of PC Town, Gus is far more likely to have to deal with whatever is happening up close and personal. It’s too bad they don’t know one another because if they ever compared notes, things could get “interesting” real quick.
Attitude: “Look you stupid fucknut. I’m going ta explain this real slow because you went to school on the little bus. By the time we’ve gotten the fucking call, the animal in question is already frightened out of his tiny mind. Do you understand that fucknut? He or she is terrified. if not for his or her own life, then for the life of their offspring. Fear will fuck you up pretty good. When was the last time you made a GOOD decision when you was scared out of your tits? Hah?
So go slow. soothe with your voice, don’t move suddenly unless you have to MOVE. and be as fucking gentle as you fucking can. Get me?”
Skills: I won’t lie, Gus is far from a paragon of physicality. He’s got no wind to speak of and since he’s been smoking since junior high and is creeping up on 60 now, That’s not likely to change. He’s got some muscle under all that fat but again, a flight of stairs can wind him a bit. However, it should be noted that he has a LOT of quick. He’s actually caught a venomous snake in mid-strike. (Not that he wants to make a habit of THAT.) Socially, Gus is something of a loner. He’s had a few women in his life, but none that seemed to want to stick around for the long haul. Most of the people he knows work in the same government building where AC hangs its hat. Although, because of the nature of the work, Gus and the rest of his crew eat all over town. I mean, it’s not like these guys are FOODIES or anything like that, but get them onto the topic of ‘Best Sammich in town” and things could get complicated and heated. As a result, Gus and his crew are usually on a first-name basis with a lot of food vendors in town.
Mentally. Well, it’s like this. He’s got an obscene amount of Animal Ken obviously, with lots of specialties loaded onto it. He’s got some dots of Medicine and Science to the point of knowing whether to call a vet or not. (Also, he’s become something of a backdoor entomologist) he’s got the kind of smart that doesn’t exactly look like smart because most of it is come by through experience rather book learning. He might even have a dot or two of investigation.
He’ll have a couple of dots of weaponry for the gear he carries below. He is very likely to have "Common Sense" as a merit
Gear: Flip-phone but with a blue-tooth earpiece. Pocketknife, Roll of tape, Tool bag, Ketch-All Dog noose, Pepper-Spray, Stun baton.(Always his last resort, unless a human being is the problem.)
Home: Gus has a trailer home. It’s a single wide. He doesn’t need a lot of room for himself and he’s not terribly sentimental about anything, so he doesn’t really hang on to much. He likes detective and spy fiction but never bothers with having his own bookshelf, He just goes over to the book exchange and trades for new stuff. He doesn’t have to very often. He doesn’t read terribly fast. He has a relatively nice TV, but not so nice that someone else in the trailer park is going to make off with it. He keeps a fish tank in his bedroom though and he finds it utterly soothing to watch the fish until he nods off.
Periodically, his sister Rita turns up and ends up crashing in the other bedroom until she takes up with some new asshole. Rita’s taste in men is somewhat suspect. Technically, Rita now owes Gus about 10,000 dollars in back rent. She swears she’s gonna pay him back. Really!
Circle: Other than the guys in his crew, Gus is not really a fan of people. This is one of those things that he shares in common with Dr. Breckinridge. He likes the animals better, and frankly, if Gus ever bumped into the gravy train, or settled down with someone with someone with money AND sense, he’d have a number of his own.
“Shh! Do you smell something?”
If something is going on with a potentially wild or rabid animal, Gus is liable to turn up just like a homicide detective is going to turn up if someone finds a corpse. Weirdly, it’s like he’s in his element. If you like, maybe he even has some weird gift of animal empathy, or the ability to chill them out with a touch.
In any event, Gus falls squarely into the category of “A Guy who has SEEN some Shit.” He may know fuck-all about the supernatural world, but you never know when an event might spur him to talk to some experts or check out some weird books from the University library.
“...And that’s when I snapped your honor.”
Gus cannot abide cruelty to animals. If he finds that he’s been called to corral an animal, and then the owner starts beating it in front of him...Well. the Stun Baton is coming out, and as I may have mentioned, he’s far quicker than he looks. More than one defense attorney in an animal cruelty case has discovered to their shock that Gus is a steamroller of an expert witness. Has his “I’s” dotted and his “T’s” crossed and speaks very well. Capable of moving a jury with his compassion.
* Rita and Krieger used to date. If Gus sees Krieger moving in his direction. He will assume that Krieger is there to kill him and will react accordingly. Both of them are likely to be dead at the end of the fight. Krieger, for his part barely remembers Rita.
* Alex Mahoney's radio program usually touches off interesting debates in the AC office. Attitudes go back and forth on issues depending on who's been laid recently and who's hungover this morning.
* Robert Nathan Herbert is a cousin or something. Helped with the financing on his pick-up truck.
* Rita considers Ezekiel Stubbs to be "The one that got away" Of the guys that Rita's been with, Gus hates him least.
* The guys on the Animal Control crew LOVE Rory O'Halloran. Love him to pieces. They keep up with his truck's location on Facebook. Irish cuisine. Who knew?