Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Nothing Comes For Free

PC Costos Mutch was left wondering whether the free bus travel available to Police Officers was all it was cracked up to be last week when a fellow passenger considered it decidedly unfair of the bus driver to expect him to have change of a twenty pound note in his pocket at 06.30h in the morning. Remonstrating loudly with the driver - who refused to allow him to travel until such time as change was available - he caused PC Mutch, one of the Force's more mature officers, to weigh the odds of his winning a tussle against the strapping young bricklayer. In the event another passenger provided change for the hapless brickie who sat quietly muttering and cursing to himself.

Leaving the bus at his destination the still sulking tradesman could not resist a parting shot at the driver as he disembarked. The affronted driver stood from his seat and declared to the full bus that he had been threatened and needed the help of the Police Officer sat at the back, at whom he helpfully pointed. All heads turned as Costos left his belongings, drew himself to his full height and marched to the front of the bus.

The bellicose brickie, now even angrier, squared up for a confrontation; Costos feeling vulnerable without his usual police accoutrements, took a conciliatory stance and, using the gravitas that comes naturally with maturity, encouraged the man to leave the bus for a chat

Barely had the men set foot on the curb when the driver, clearly feeling relieved of his burden and any responsibility for the situation, drove off leaving PC Mutch to deal with the younger angry man alone and with his belongings sailing off into the cool morning light.

After glancing at each other for a couple of moments, neither sure what to make of this unexpected turn, the bricklayer spoke first:
"What are you going to do now then?"
"Buggered if I know, get another bus I suppose" replied PC Mutch sulkily losing interest in any confrontation,
"What a tosser he was" said the brickie; PC Mutch feeling that he ought to retain at least some semblance of authority, replied,
"That's as well be, young man, but you were out of order kicking off like that"
The young man expressed the opinion that he considered Police Officers to be only slightly higher than tosser bus drivers in the great scheme of things but, given that they were both victims of this particular tosser bus driver, was prepared to leave it at that, accept the advice, and part on matey terms.

PC Mutch departed to find another bus and, somehow retrieve his possessions. Boarding the next bus to town, he uttered a paraphrase of those immortal words: follow that bus.

Arriving in town in time to see the original bus disgorging its passengers PC Mutch was alarmed to recognise his swish - and nearly new - shoulder bag slung jauntily over the shoulder of a small Polish plumber. On being challenged
the plumber, who bore a striking resemblance to one of the Mario Bros. made great show of returning the bag and seemed mighty relieved to be able to repatriate it to its owner. Accepting the kind plumber's broken English account of his having taken care of the bag following the public transport fracas PC Mutch strode onwards to share a few choice words of advice with the bus driver about how to support a Police Officer when called upon to execute his duty in this manner; this done he harrumphed off to his regular station-bound police duty to reflect on whether free transport was worth it and to wonder about the merit of pedal cycles.

Safe in the office he reached into his bag to put his salad in the office fridge but
found it necessary to re-evaluate the motives of the helpful Polish Plumber when he found a Tesco bag containing Polish sausage sandwiches, a peach and an Aero bar. Not one to let sleeping dogs lie he rested the sandwiches on the office radiator all day and then repeated the process at home that evening intending to return the sandwiches to the thieving tradesman the following day; but to this day the plumber has not boarded the bus again - all PC Mutch got was funny looks at the strong unpleasant garlic odour that surrounded him on his bus journey the following day.

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