Fred Colon

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Fred Colon
Sgt. Fred Colon by Kit Cox
Name Fred Colon
Race Human
Age close to retirement
Occupation Ankh-Morpork City Watch
Physical appearance
Residence Ankh-Morpork
Death
Parents
Relatives brother, with an anchor shaped birthmark
Children Yes, even grandchildren
Marital Status Married
Appearances
Books Guards! Guards!
Men at Arms
Soul Music
Feet of Clay
Jingo
The Fifth Elephant
The Truth
The Last Hero
Night Watch
Thud!.
Cameos The Colour of Magic
Going Postal
Making Money

Fred Colon is a long-time member of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, for most of that time a sergeant. Currently the most senior member of the Watch, he is "one of nature's sergeants": good at organizing small tasks, rotas of various descriptions, whip-rounds and other informal funds; he is extremely bad at paperwork, keeping the wage chitty safe, and other officer's tasks. He is generally upfront about these deficiencies and subsequently has a low opinion about the practical capabilities of most formal Officers, with the major exclusion of Carrot and Sam Vimes (whom he considers to be honorary sergeants). He tends to be partnered with Nobby Nobbs.

In between his first period of service in the Watch (described in Night Watch) and his subsequent service (described in Guards! Guards! and subsequent books) Colon served in various Armies. His first service was with the Duke of Quirm's Middleweight Infantry Regiment, followed by service with the Duke of Eorle's First Heavy Infantry Regiment (the Pheasant Pluckers). Colon has seen front-line service, but still manages to cherish illusions about it, except when talking to Angua von Überwald.

Physically, he is somewhat rotund and has been described as looking something like a pork butcher. Colon is a very average-Ankh-Morporkian, complete with somewhat shallow prejudices against other nationalities and species, though he tends to mentally exclude fellow Watchmen and anyone he personally knows for any length of time. Like many Ankh-Morporkians, Colon likes street theatre, is nervous in the presence of city dignitaries, and is mildly illiterate. Colon may also be seen as representative of the "old Watch" . He doesn't actively ask for bribes or "protection fees" (unlike his predecessor Sergeant Knock) but if a restaurant owner or a shop owner needs a small favor (like having a clamped cart released; see Traffic Division, Ankh-Morpork City Watch), they can give him a free meal or other things, and the problem will be easily solved. He doesn't like to chase criminals or rush into the fracas, because no good comes from dying on duty. He spends most of his patrol time leaning against some wall and having a quiet smoke. Thanks to this policy, almost none of the city's major landmarks have ever been stolen (except for the Unseen University, once, but that turned out to be a student prank).

For a short period of time, Colon was acting Captain of the Watch (in The Fifth Elephant) and confirmed what everyone, including himself, suspected. He was completely inadequate, having attacks of paranoia over the number of sugar cubes (which added up differently each time) and disciplining many other officers for largely imagined petty insubordination. This resulted in the other officers forming the Watchmen's Guild. He is currently holding dual position of Custody Officer and Watch Liaison Officer; chosen by Vimes because they are jobs so vague that no one is entirely sure what they entail, least of all Colon himself. They serve the dual purpose of preventing his brain from becoming overburdened with responsibility and avoiding the catastrophic possibility that he might be given a task of any real importance.

Fred has been married for many years. He has a wife, children, and even grandchildren, something of a rare achievement among Watchmen who tend to live hard and/or short lives. The success of his marriage has largely been put down to the fact that Mrs Colon works days and he works nights. Although he has talked about retirement, this does not seem likely to happen any time soon. In Feet of Clay he originally planned to buy a farm, but after a rather unpleasant experience with animals he may have decided to postpone this. Fred is extremely ingrained to his job; apart from anything else, the only non-uniform clothing he owns is a badly-fitting suit.

Closer examination, though, shows that Colon has some hidden depths. As Vimes thought it, most of the other watch officers saw a fat, stupid, lazy, cowardly man and that was mostly what was there, but Colon and Nobby have a street-level knowledge of Ankh-Morpork on a par with Vimes and are good at sensing tension in a crowd. Both are also survivors of the Glorious 25th of May, accompanied the Patrician deep into enemy territory (albeit unwillingly) during a war (see Jingo) and shot an arrow at an actual Noble dragon from a rooftop (even though he had to change his underwear afterwards). Colon also performs his duties in Thud! fairly well. He is an amiable jailer, and bright enough to keep the keys in a closed tin box in the bottom drawer of his desk, well out of reach of anything an inmate would be able to use. His office, in a separate building from the main watch house, is frequented by old acquaintances who want somewhere quiet to get away from the wife, hear what's happening on the street and - in Vimes' words - "gossip like washerwomen." For this free-flowing source of information, Vimes considers the cost of donuts on an expense voucher a very favorable trade. As a survival of the old-style Watch, Fred is not above accepting those little gifts and inducements that oil the wheels of consensus policing. He is sensible enough to know the dividing line between a "perk" and an outright bribe and will not do anything Sam Vimes would disapprove of. He can also be presumed to ensure new Watch members know the difference too. In The Truth, it is revealed that he is not above trading information with journalists in return for "a little drinkie".

There are Colons everywhere. Due to morphic resonance, you will find incarnations of Fred all over the multiverse. Some of the more major known incarnations are Sergeant Doppelpunkt in Bad Blintz, the officer Sam Vimes thinks of as "Colonesque" in Überwald and even Sergeant Ray Comely on Roundworld.

Annotation

The actual name "Fred Colon" may be a reference to Fred Organ, a fat, benign, placid-tempered sergeant in The Virgin Soldiers by Leslie Thomas.

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