News From The SpurSphere:
Forgive me dipping oh-so-briefly into the horrors of Social Politics — specifically that least divisive of all issues, ho ho ho, the Police — and accept my promise to be as juvenile and reactionary as possible. BRACE BRACE BRACE.
It’s nothing new at any rate; I’ve written before about the Creeping Crappism at the heart of Western Law-Enforcement: this bollock-tightening tendency for officers to confuse the Empowerment Conferred Upon Them By The People with a My-Dick’s-Bigger-Than-Your-Dick-And-If-You-Sass-Me-Or-Stare-At-Me-Wrong-Or-Just-Look-A-Bit-Too-Brown-Then-I’ll-Snap-You-Like-A-Twig-Ha-Ha-Ha sense of personal, hierarchical — even caste-based — superiority. Even Judge Dredd — that ultimate satire on the notion of zero-tolerance Autonomous Policing — is forever breaking the heads of fellow Judges who get a big too big for their enormous Mike McMahon-pencilled jackboots, and that in a fictional city where cops are trained for the role from age 5. We, by contrast, live in a world in which any barely-literate noddy who can complete an obstacle course, spell their name right two times out of three and put on a stab-proof vest without trying to stumpfuck the armholes gets to wield the truncheon or gun of Supreme Legislative Violence.
These people do not have the right to be so very fucking smug.
Here, then, is Something A Bit Funny What Happened T’other Day, which I felt redressed that wanky balance in some small but significant way.
I was on a bus. Top deck, naturally: the only Real and Reliable Way to escape the armpits, pushchairs, over-empowered I’m-A-Bit-Grey-On-Top-So-I-Deserve-That-Priority-Seat-You-Selfish-Young-Buggernaut glares, and general sardinelike crush of Real Actual People. The top deck is a womb of surly contemplation and silent appraisal, whose twin dangers — backrow crackheads and Cunts Who Like Music But Are Yet To Discover The Miracle Of The Earphone — are still rare enough to make it worth the risk.
On this particular day — reassuringly rainy and blustery — this grim little set of benches (somehow contriving to generate an atmosphere precisely like a Dentist’s Waiting Room) was unexpectedly blessed by the arrival of a Cop.
Cue passengers unconsciously sitting a little straighter, taking feet off seats, nervously clearing their throats. So it goes.
This wasn’t one of those new rent-a-cops, by the way. Not a Transport Police jobsworth intent on checking tickets, nor a Community Service Operative — some low-testosterone commitment-dodger who’d realised he could simultaneously enjoy the warm fuzzy glow of Voluntary Work and get his fix of fear-mongering fascist pleasure all in one handy dayglo yellow outfit — but a full-fat, double-caffeine-shot Beat Cop in Kevlar, bondage-gear utility belt and platform shoes.
Who went and sat at the very, very back.
(I shouldn’t really let that get to me, I suppose. For all I know it was the only seat not covered in gum, vomit or Suspiciously Crusty White Syrup, but in-context it was — as far as I was concerned — just another petty attempt by a MicroHitler to make everyone feel just a smidgeon more uncomfortable than was entirely necessary. He stared at the backs of our necks, we stared straight ahead. So it goes.)
After a minute or two he stood back up, trekked forwards a few rows, and opened one of the windows. Instantly rain and wind blustered into the space, making everyone — already cold and damp from the bus-stop wait — notch-up their bedragglement. Naturally nobody said a word: the Bastard In Blue was Hot — you would be, wearing half a tank — and he wanted to cool down.
But then a few minutes later an old woman clambered up the stairs and creaked onto a seat. She noticed the window beside her was open, felt the rain and cold on her face, naturally assumed it was just an oversight by some previous passenger — no one would be foolish enough to let-in that weather — and, with a quick glance around to confirm that everyone else looked as chilled as she felt, shut it.
Everyone else sat a little straighter. More throats were cleared. The air went greasy.
The cop stood up very slowly. We could hear his leather creaking and his utility belt jangle. He paced forwards like a fucking Chief Mourner until he was standing over Said Old Lady…
…and fixed her with a look.
(In a comic, the expression on her face and the little sound she made would’ve been expressed by a single dialogue balloon containing simply: “?“)
The cop didn’t say a word. Just leaned over her and re-opened the window – BANG. Blinked. And oh-so-very-fucking-slowly shook his head: left, blink, right, blink…
Then went and sat back down.
Cunt cunt cunt cunt cunt, right? So it goes.
What’s worse is that this diseased little squelch of megalomaniacal arsepiss only remained onboard another two minutes. He’d simply been too lazy to walk the length of the highstreet the bus was scuttling along, and inflicted all this tension and terror on We Decent (ha!) Normal (ha!) Citizens (ha!) for the sake of five minutes’ off his feet.
…but then — oh, the joy…
The bus was still moving when the badge-troll stood to leave, and either the driver was possessed of the sort of comic timing most comedians can only dream of, or God, Karma and Cosmic Justice are all Real And Powerful And Great, because the brake was applied with exquisite force at a moment perfectly coordinated with the lawtit’s lurch-cycle. He toppled, fought to correct himself, overcompensated by leaning backwards, and smacked the base of his head against a bright yellow handrail with a delicious thump.
And everyone, EVERYONE, laughed. Like one of those implausible moments in musical theatre, where every sod on the stage bursts into spookily coordinated song — with note-perfect backing from a passing tramp/apple-seller/sexpest and a hearty orchestral accompaniment — we gorged on glorious spontaneous Snideism: touched in some deep religious way by the simple poetry and symmetry of the Universe.
The cop fled, red-faced, and didn’t look back. The old woman stifled an improper titter, then thought sod it and chuckled along with the rest of us. For one beautiful moment we were united — revolutionaries storming the ramparts, striking poses over the bodies of overthrown tyrants — and we chortled our connection through the steamy windows.
Then a fuckwit in a hoodie got onboard — fag still lit, phone playing tinny choonz sans headphones — and the Gestalt Union collapsed like a social superposition.
Backs straightened again. Throats were re-cleared. Eyes were re-averted.
If only, we all thought, there were a cop on board…
So it goes.
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C/O William Christensen,
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(Disclaimer: Secretly, I’m nice.)
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