My Dad went to the petrol station yesterday.
When he got home, he found two ‘Bizzies’ (Local Constabulary) waiting to question him. It appears he was wanted for driving away from the Total garage in Torrishome, loaded up with fuel to which he was not entitled – seeing as he hadn’t paid for it. I can´t see it somehow. It’s just not his kind of job. For instance, where were the trademark ghoulish Royal Family facemasks? and the printless, worn Doc Martens? Anyway …
He’d bought some confectionary: presumably to ease his guilty conscience on the getaway. I can can almost imagine him throwing Lemon and Barley boiled sweets into his mouth as he made good his escape at a steady 30 mph up the A6 towards Morecambe (after the heist, he’d popped into Homebase for a few odds and ends) laughing, mockingly at the dopey ‘Bizzies’ in hot pursuit. (I’ll just gloss over the fact that they were at his house before him. Ah! no, thinking about it – these were probably a completely new pair of ‘Bizzies’ freshly scrambled from Morecambe Central.)
‘Good morning sir’ said one of the officers.
‘Is this your car?’ The other asked with distain as he eyed my Dad’s Ford Ka: a villain’s motor, if ever there was one.
‘Hmmmm… The old ‘Good cop Bad cop’ routine eh?’ Thought my Dad. ‘They could do with watching a couple of episodes of ‘The Sweeney’
Come on George ……
Now then, when ‘The Sweeney’ was at its height in the mid/late ’70s, my Dad was, amongst other things the ‘hard case’ deputy head (any school worth its salt had one) in industrially-blighted, tough West Cumbria while these two jokers were still in nappies. He made such an impression that someone even went as far as daubing a slogan on the school sportshall wall in which my Dad´s ‘Strong-arm work’ was compared to that of actor/villain, James Cagney – something of which he was immensely proud. So dealing with Morecambe’s finest plod would I am sure have presented no problem.
‘Yes it is: a jolly good runner too. Very pleased with it. I have the log book and purchase receipt, if that would be helpful. Would you like the dealer’s details – I could put you in touch, if you want?’
‘Thank you sir, but that won’t be necessary … but as you mention receipts, do you have your receipt from the Total garage in Torrishome for a ‘puuurchaaase’ (he deliberately elongated the word and pronounced it ‘…chase…’) earlier today?’
‘Indeed I do, officer’
That’s it: just enough, not allowing anything which might constitute ridicule or condescension, be taken down and used as sarcasm against him and with enough confidence and bottle to suggest they might be dealing with someone who can ‘handle themselves’ (verbally, I mean: my Dad’s never been much of a bareknuckle fighter, and Tae Kwon Do at 60 proved a bridge too far.)
To be fair, he still had no idea what this was all about.
‘It seems’ (said Bad cop) there’s the small matter of a tankful of fuel ….’
The rest of the sentence was left hanging in the air.
My Dad still hadn’t cottoned on – why should he?
Good cop: ‘Well it seems you didn’t pay for it’
‘I did!’ My Dad reaches into his pocket and pulls out his Thin Lizzy ‘Live and Dangerous’ tour wallet. Both cops raise an eyebrow. He hands them the receipt … for a quarter of Lemon and Barley sweets. Nothing more, nothing less. Ooer … Looks like Dad’s going down.
‘I told him!’ Dad protested ‘Pump three and a bag of sweets’
He had put in the required fuel and went to pay. As he entered he did indeed say ‘Pump three and a bag of sweets’ the CCT tape clearly picks it up. It turns out the dopey idiot in the shop has cloth ears; doesn´t hear my Dad say ‘Pump three’ and as far as he’s concerned then sees my Dad hotfooting it away at a fair old rate of knots – or at least as fast as the Ka will allow. Full of nicked fuel.
The whole mess sorted. My Dad offers Bill and Ben a tea.
‘No thanks Sir, we must be getting on’ ….
Then almost surreptitiously …
‘So did you see Lizzy then, Sir?’
‘Yes. Yes, I did. At the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, If I remember correctly’ (He does. 19th March 1976. Supported by Graham Parker and the Rumour)
‘Best live album ever, ‘Live and Dangerous’
‘You know …’ Said Bad cop, again leaving his sentence floating in the air:
‘Mybrother reckons they never planned to release ‘Whiskey in the Jar as an ‘A’ side at all. It was recorded as a joke …’
‘And yet that’s the song that people instantly associate with them. Strange, isn’t it Sir?’
Good job they didn’t ask him about all the tiles in his shed!
© Andy Daly 2010