Monday, February 25, 2008

Living History

This is a slightly edited version of a little essay I composed as a fond reminiscence about the happy days of my youth. I hope that I have removed any references that might identify the individuals involved.


In the summer of 1971 two students at a fine academic institution that I had once attended, were apprehended by a member of staff when attempting to load a cupboard into the back of a vehicle. I cannot identify these people, but they bore a resemblance to two chaps who shared a house with me.

“What are doing with that?” enquired the fine representative of the establishment.

“We are taking it home to empty it”, was the reply.

Shortly afterwards, the above mentioned students could have been witnessed moving items from their deluxe town centre dwelling to stash them at the nearby house of friends. There is no suggestion that any of these items were other than their own property.

Later that day we were visited by two members of the constabulary, who although merely there to investigate possible theft of college property, were members of the drug squad. Actually they were the drug squad. The town in question didn’t have many drugs to speak of in those days. It didn’t have much of a drug squad to speak of either.

I can’t recall whether they had a warrant, but they were allowed to search the house. Upstairs, they found a young lady in a state of undress in a bed. No mars bars were present.

“Is that what you students get up to then?” said Morse or whatever his name was.

“Yes!” she replied, with more enthusiasm than was called for.

Having searched the house and found nothing, Poirot and Marple decided to use a more subtle approach.

“Have you got any cannabis on the premises, then?”

“I’m sorry, but we’ve completely run out” was my helpful reply. This moment is the one in which my card was marked.

And this is where the story really begins

One evening in late 1971 I was spending a pleasant evening in the company of a friend in a nearby flat, one of his flatmates having gone out to procure some herbal remedies.

This flatmate came running up the stairs, saying something about cops, and proceeded to throw a tin that he was carrying out of the window. To prove that he was not hallucinating, he was followed into the room by the Sweeney, who proceeded to serve us with a search warrant and place us under arrest.

Several objects had already been thrown into the fire. I was wearing a cardboard badge bearing the motto “Cheshire Constabulary”. This was, somewhat unfairly, ripped from my coat and thrown into the fire.

Another member of her majesty’s finest then came into the room, rubbing his head, and asking in a manner which was somewhat short of being polite, who had thrown the tin that he was holding in his hand. I could not swear under oath that it was the same tin that I had seen being hurled a few moments earlier, but neither could I deny it.

The flatmate was then hauled off to the nick to be given a demonstration of police brutality, without the need to have bought a ticket.

I was given a free ride in a police car round the corner to my house. Somehow, news of the imminent arrival of Starsky and Hutch had reached there already. As I entered through the front door with my new friends, one inhabitant was in the back room trying to swallow a large lump of what may or may not have been cannabis resin. He failed in this attempt, and hit on the brilliant scheme of hiding it by throwing it on the floor.

There follows a couple of lists of what Dalziel and Pascoe removed from the premises, and some of the things they did not.

What they took:

  • A stool from a local hostelry called “The Dirty Duck”. (This was the name of the hostelry, not the stool, you soft twat). This item resulted in the only charge and prosecution from my house – the naughty boy was charged, tried, fined, and lost his job.
  • Some drug paraphernalia, viz: 1 pipe. This pipe had been left on the premises by a peripheral character. Said person, probably with the surname “Fuckwit” had been too intimidated by the legal strictures surrounding the smoking of dope, and had instead tried to smoke banana skins, having been assured by some other fuckwit that there was virtually no difference in the effects. I would like to think that Constabulary spent £20,000 trying to identify the traces of the exotic substance found in this pipe.
  • Some correspondence from an innocent third party, containing details, among other things of his first born. “He’s got his granddad’s teeth – none, his dad’s balls – big and his mother’s tits – one in each hand”
  • They removed, but may not have taken away, a notice that I had in the front room window that advised passers-by “Help the Police, Your Home may be in Danger”.

What they didn’t take:

  • A large lump of what may or may not have been cannabis resin, lying in plain view on the back room floor.
  • A packet of suspicious looking tablets, sellotaped to the ceiling above my bed. These tablets were almost certainly birth control tablets left by some passing young lady. Discretion demands that I say no more on this matter.
  • A poster on my bedroom wall which displayed the photograph of a young lady, which had had the caption “Cops eat shit” added to it.

To this day, due to this appalling incompetence, I have no criminal record.


Dave said...

The Long Arm of the Law will get you in the end.

Once they get your DNA, they'll be sure to mix up the disc containing the records, and charge you with being Jack the Ripper.

Vicus Scurra said...

More like Jack the Tripper.

Richard said...

This wasn't in a certain north-western town was it?

I can attest to some of the constabularymen's blind incompetence when it comes to being presented with the evidence right under their noses. I shared a house with 3 others in Chatham in 1980 and one evening I was charged with the onerous task picking up my flatmate Dan's Honda C50 from the garage while he was off hitching to Cornwall. Somehow I managed to lose the bike by the next morning. I reported it to Kent County Constabulary and they duly sent a couple of officers round to take details. We enjoyed a pleasant chat for a good 20 minutes and I made them the tea and biscuits they'd politely asked for on entry. While doing so, I noticed that Dan's successful efforts at cultivation were flourishing grandly all along the windowsill. Despite managing to draw attention to them by extravagantly positioning myself between law and window, they thankfully went unnoticed. They were later eaten in a fit of annoyance by my future ex-wife (the plants, not the police officers).

Vicus Scurra said...

Names and placenames have been changed to protect the guilty.
Apart from Fuckwit, that really was his name.

Homey said...

That is a phantastical tale. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.

I am exceedingly pleased that 'The MAN' was unable to prosecute and send you off to the continental penal colony now known as Australia...
which was de rigeur back in '71.

With any luck this didactic morality play will force the younger members of your audience to re-evaluate their neoconservative stance on mind altering pharmacological substances.
Hey kids! Just say MAYBE to drugs.

I suspect that your community service announcement shall not go unrewarded in this lifetime...
depending of course on the current statute of limitations code in your constituency.

I, still, like the views said...

I now feel so well informed, thank you! and a joke thrown in amongst the comments too, just to raise the entertainment value


dinahmow said...

A project for your good self and your readers:
In damp peat, sow the seeds of a) passion fruit b)orange c) grape

When the law enforcement officers break the glass panes and the lock of your front door at 4.23am, have these erstwhile idiots identify these seedlings.
If you can't be bothered doing this, Google images of these plants and compare them to that of Cannabis resin.

(Oh! And I had to fix the door, then submit a damages claim.The miscreant they said they were looking for was long gone.)