EXCUSE ME ARE YOU A POLICEMAN?
by Anton Wills-Eve
reacting to a crisis
EXCUSE ME ARE YOU A POLICEMAN?
We were faced with a crisis once, the whole family, and it was my little boy, Freddie, aged eleven who whispered in his sister Ginney’s, ear an idea of how to save us all. She ran to the front door and shouted, “Help, Rape! Rape!”
Imagine for a start our dilemma. We had just received a last demand for payment on an item we still owed about two hundred dollars on. At first sight Ginny’s action outlined above would appear completely useless. But just think. Who would you get flocking round your house?
The Police? Yes that’s a good answer. About ten of them, three women and seven men. The chief male cop burst into our hall screaming, “Let me get at the bastard. Where is the little girl? ” This is the point where granny came in very useful.
“I was the victim, officer, 52 years ago. You know, down by the canal on a sunny evening. Young Jimmy Johnson went just that bit too far, you know how fellas do, and I whacked him a backhander that sent him straight into the water amongst those iron girders and other rubbish. He didn’t try that again, did you Jimmy?”
“No I Goddam didn’t, wheezed grandad from his Norman Rockwell pose in the kitchen nook. But see here, officer. Next time I saw Jessie here she was awful nice and forgave me and was real sorry for cutting my leg so badly. We told our parents about my acident and they left us at home, even though we was too young, and that’s when we first had it off, while she was bandaging me up. Tricky position, officer, you should try it some day.”
“Then the woman cop said to the chief, “Heston, your weapon’s slipping out,…..”
“Yeah, just what Jessie said to me , ma’m,” grandad butted in and effectively closed the conversation. But think how much we benefitted. The newspaper reporters were round en masse, and they got quite a different picture. My eighteen year old girl was crying, prostrate across her mother’s lap, and I was screaming obscenities throught the open French windows into an empty garden.
“Yes sir, he was about six foot seven and muscles like a wrestler. Little Ginny here didn’t have a chance ’til my wife spun round with the skillet and nearly knocket him out. But he still got away. All these police are chasing after him even now. These are just the few who stayed to make sure we was alright.”
Then A lot of the people who lived in our street started using our house as a museum, open to the public for just one day, and started calculating the value of all our possessions. But when Hal Billbender tried to pocket my silver pen holder enough was enough and I grabbed a cop and said “That fellow looks very like the guy”, and pointed at Hal. I’ve never seen a man put a silver penholder back on a desk so fast. But a few of the others got the message and a lot of our things were given back in haste when the felons saw we really were prepared to shop them.
Eventually the crisis cooled down as my daughter refused a medical examination, although grandrad got quite chatty and suggested the chief cop ought to have one. He also asked the chief woman cop if she’d heard the one about the police station that put up a notice ‘man wanted for rape’ and they got a hundred volunteers in ten minutes. Through gritted teeth she told him she had, many times. One of the reporters had heard it too and thinking it was a party at which such stories should be told the female cop smacked her baton across the back of his hand breaking his quarter bottle of bourbon. The neighbours gradually left. Finally at one in the morning everything was back to normal and we went to bed.
The next day the local papers were full of “Brave Ginny beats off band of abusers” and such like headlines, but it was a huge help at eleven am. That was when a smart dressed man in a necktie and glasses rang the door bell. I asked him what he wanted.
“Oh how do you do Sir. I am sure this won’t take a moment. I believe you have gotten some two hundreed dollars behind in your … Oh my God.”
“Ginney appeared behind me with a hankie to her face and grasping my arm. Not more of them dad. Oh please I couldn’t recite it all again.”
The impeccably dressed man told me he would not dream of intruding at such an awful time for us and told me not think any more about the bill.
I didn’t. But I often think about how to deal with a crisis.