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Car crime? Leave it to the professionals...
SO, a car has been “abandoned” on our street.
The Mother Superior says it’s been there for days with its window down. A bit of damage on the driver’s wing.
“Maybe it’s been stolen and dumped,” she speculates.
“No, it’s worse than that,” I tell her. “It’s been inconsiderately parked...”
It appears other neighbours aren’t pleased.
Next Door, Next Door On This Side, Them Over The Road, Next Door But One and This One On This Side. The close is full of harumphing.
A day later, the offending car is still there – oozing criminality.
“I’m calling the police,” I decisively announce. Then I realise I’d have to call it on 101 – the non-emergency line.
“Hello, I wish to report something that isn’t important,” I imagine myself saying to an uninterested call handler.
It sounds pathetic. I’ve called 101 before; sometimes it’s engaged.
This might involve being put on hold. Or having to ring them back – long after the initial excitement has worn off.
I put down the phone quietly. “I might send an email,” I offer.
My conscience sniggers: “Welcome to the Big Society Mr Cameron! Or is it Blair's Britain?”
At mention of the police, the six-year-old’s eyes are like saucers.
“Is the robber going to go to jail?” she asks, convicting “him” of “robbery” without trial.
“No…” I reply half-heartedly.
“Is he going to rot?” she continues, colouring in a butterfly.
“And get no food nor hot water.”
Her image of jail is rooted in nursery rhymes.
“Jails aren’t like that anymore,” explains the Mother Superior.
My instinctive reaction is to concur.
“No – they’re like holiday camps now. Except you come out with a degree in FIFA 14.” I decide not to say this out loud because it will only confuse her even more.
The Mother Superior is sucked into an explanation of the shortcomings of the justice system.
“Some of them get off scot-free,” she tells the six-year-old.
I intervene at this point: “All right Richard Littlejohn! Calm down. Can we get back to the main plot?”
Undercover of darkness, we visit the ‘crime scene’.
I have a torch which kind of makes me senior investigating officer.
“We first saw it on Sunday morning,” I say across the bonnet, a bit like Bodie (RIP).
“Which means whoever dumped it, did so sometime on Saturday night, right?”
The Mother Superior nods. “Maybe it was a drunk driver?” she says. “They dumped it then fled the scene?”
I think for a minute: “Well, whatever it was, we better crack this case or the DA’s gonna bust both our...you know.”
Two days later the truth is revealed. Driving into the close, a woman is driving the car away.
A neighbour (Her Down The Bottom End On This Side) explains she was visiting when she broke down.
“We never even noticed!” squeals the Mother Superior.
I notice that no one apologises for the car being in the way all that time...