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Posts Tagged ‘police’

Bugger

Bugger

“It’ll just be a junkie messing about,” said Fran as the intercom started buzzing at 2.30am.

Little did she know that the buzzer had already infiltrated Bruce’s dreams and quickly convinced him that they were expecting visitors at this early hour.

“No. We’re not expecting anyone. Get back into bed,” she added sternly as he pulled a pair of trousers from the floor.

Too late: he was off.

Just as well really. Walking towards the intercom the flecks of bright, reflected light on the black and white monitor slowly coagulated into the word: “POLICE”.

“Are you the owner of car registration *******?” said the officer. “Your car has just been involved in an accident.”

Is that it?

His brain’s REM state still lingering, Bruce was filled not with panic, but with excitement. His bright red Magna stolen by underworld crims, used in a bank robbery then forced off the road into a ditch in a high speed police chase. Ace!

Or maybe a joyrider had taken it for a spin, lost control and gone flying off the edge of the West Gate Bridge, plummeting onto the deck of a passing tanker.

“Er, OK,” he said. “I’ll be out in a sec.”

Truth stranger than fiction? My arse. Some idiot had backed a removal van into a big old Ford Ute, ploughing it into three other cars, of which Bruce’s was part of the sandwich filling. Thankfully, the car behind came off far worse – a write off – and the Hoonmobile was still mobile.

But still, if you’re going to be woken at 2.30am by cops telling you your car’s been involved in an accident, you want something a bit spicier than that. Should have listened to Fran and stayed in bed after all.

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The heroin hotline

“Hello, this is the heroin hotline. Please dial 1 if you need more smack, 2 if you’re out of syringes or 3 if you’ve missed a vein and need medical attention. Thank you!”

We live in the heart of Melbourne’s red light district (albeit one lacking in red lights). On one 20 minute walk home from Acland Street just after 11pm, Bruce spotted:

  • A guy in the front of his white Ute on Robe Street asking for $30 change off a girl in his passenger seat. Her boyfriend / pimp / ponce / dealer was crouched, as he usually is, in a doorway about six houses away
  • Another girl negotiating a price with a driver on the opposite corner across Grey Street
  • A young, long-haired blond man inviting another prostitute into his blue, sports model Falcon. By the time Bruce reached his home, the car was parked outside and the driver was pulling down his trousers.

On top of this, dozens of bars, cafes, nightclubs – some open until 5am or later and attracting inebriated kids and tossers with attitude – and halfway houses for junkies and alcoholics are located within a few minutes’ walk of our front door. Even the phone boxes are little more than the local dealers’ equivalent of Bruce Wayne’s Batphone.

In England, we lived in one of Nottingham’s “better” suburbs, on a street inhabited mostly by families and pensioners. There were no clubs or halfway houses nearby, just a few pubs and restaurants. The red light district was miles away. The worst you got was a few kids hanging around on the street, occasionally running riot when the mood took them.

Reality

Yet we used to hear sirens – police, ambulance, fire engines attending arsons – every day and night, especially in summer when we’d leave the windows open at night in the heat (yes, we do sometimes get heat in the UK). The worst thing about leaving Glastonbury Festival every year (apart from the come down) was knowing that as soon as we hit Nottingham, a police car – lights flashing, siren blaring – would fly past us. It always did, without fail: “Welcome back to reality,” it said.

Since moving to Australia and St Kilda in particular, we’ve seen police in action just twice on Fitzroy Street and only heard sirens once: fire trucks responding to a call. Sure, there are regular outbursts of “Get facked, you facking cant” followed by “Sorry, you’re me best maaate” from the hysterical junkies living nearby.

But no overbearing police presence. No climate of fear. No sirens.

Go figure.

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