The residents of our yishuv (settlement) are responsible for doing the evening and night shift of guard duty (the few soldiers stationed by us do the daytime shift). Three shifts a night - 365 days a year - including Shabbat and holidays of course (protecting lives takes precedence over the laws of the Sabbath).
There are different opinions about what is considered the worst shift to get, but arguably the night of Purim is way up there on the list. A few years ago westbankpapa was assigned the 11:00pm to 2:00am shift.
For those of you who are not familiar with Purim, it is a joyous holiday requiring, in addition to the hearing of the Book of Esther read in the synagogue, the giving of charity to the poor and gifts of food to friends, and the eating of a festive meal. In addition most communities have a big party on the night of Purim which includes food, alcoholic drinks and dancing (men and women separately, in our case). There are usually skits performed, and many take this opportunity to dress in costumes - the more outlandish the better. Purim is also the one day of the Jewish year where it is not only permitted, but actually recommended to get drunk.
In our community the party is usually called for 10:00pm, which means that people start coming at 10:30 and things don't get really started until about 11:00. Pappa's guard duty meant that he was going to miss all of the fun (or so he thought).
Pappa went to the butka (guard duty booth) and the first hour went pretty quietly - while th party for the yishuv slowly warmed up. Then an army jeep pulled up to the gate and stopped, and an officer came over to talk to pappa. It turns out that two 17 year olds from our settlement, after fully getting into the spirit of Purim by imbibing copious amounts of alcohol, had decided to take the injunction to wipe out Amalek a bit too "locally", and had started to walk towards the nearest Arab village to "look for trouble". Luckily for all concerned, the IDF patrol jeep found them first, and they were now passed out in the back. The officer needed to report the incident to the Ravshatz (the person on each yishuv who is in charge of security), so he asked pappa to bring him to the gate.
Purim is the one time of year when even serious people "let go" a bit. Some people take it even further, and dress in wild costumes and drink to their hearts content. The Ravshatz is in this second category. Pappa clung to the hope that it wouldn't be that bad.
He hoped in vain.
After first finding him, it took a good five minutes of explanations for pappa to make himself understood. When the situation finally became clear, they slowly made their way to the gate.
Pappa found himself in the delightfully absurd position of escorting the Ravshatz of the yishuv "three sheets to the wind", swaying dangerously, and dressed as - a belly dancer.
A very ugly belly dancer.
Pappa said afterwards the he didn't know which was funnier, the look on the IDF officer's face as they approached, who kept staring with morbid fascination at a very hairy midriff - or the comical attempts of the Ravshatz himself to quickly sober up.
It turned out not to be such a bad shift after all.