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Cops and Robbers

by Beverley, Napier, New Zealand


There was a police car across the road at the flat. It was just on dusk and the police had been there for ages. A grey car had come and gone and you could see the police moving around in the flat. We sneaked looks through the blinds. There had been a lot of odd people coming and going at the flat in recent times and I had my own fantasy about the place. I'd decided that one of the flat people was Mr. Big and that they were running a dope ring - marijuana was probably growing tree-size in the back garden.

As I watched I noticed that Ollie was marching down the drive. A dope-ring would never be complete without him. He marched purposefully over the road to the police car and climbed on the roof. A window was open a fraction and to my horror he slid through the small space into the car. I rushed outside. Something had to be done or they might carry the cat off to the poky.

I strolled across the road pretending I was someone out for an evening stroll. I was nonchalance itself - until I glanced into the car. The cat was digging into a pile of files on the back seat. Horrors, was he going to do his party piece and spray on the crims' records - this was dangerous stuff. I paused by the car and put a hanky to my face. "Ollie," I growled into the hanky, "come out, damn you."

Ollie wasn't listening. Perhaps he liked the smell of crims. He was looking inside a police hat and sniffing it suspiciously. I threw all discretion to the wind and flung myself against the car. The door was locked tight. "Ollie, Ollie," I yelled, "Stop it."

Someone was standing behind me saying the equivalent of "ullo, ullo, ullo." The cop was huge, definitely a twin brother to Samson. At any minute he was going to 'feel my collar'.

Something strange happens to me in situations like this. I get a mad attack of flippancy. I let out an hysterical giggle and said "Just doing a bit of car theft, officer." Why did I say that? I could have bitten off my tongue. The cop was completely unamused and didn't even answer.

I tried again. "I'm trying to get the cat out of your car, officer."

Officer. "A cat can't get in the car, it's locked."

Oh, he was sure I was lying. He had that look on his face. I was doomed, I tell you, doomed. Then Ollie jumped up to the window and saved my bacon. He yowled loudly.

The cop was surprised when I showed him how Ollie had got in the car. He unlocked the vehicle and removed the cat; he brushed the car hair off his blue trousers with some distaste.

By this time cop No. 2 had arrived from the flat. He asked if I was a neighbour and when I said 'yes' he asked me if I had seen anything. By this time I was getting excited. I was part of a big crime investigation. Fantasies rolled through my head. Mr. Big had been murdered and was lying in the back garden surrounded by his marijuana plants. I wondered where the yellow tape was - they'd have to seal off the crime scene.

"There was a van here earlier in the day," I said "they were loading a whole pile of stuff out of the garage."

Cop No. 1 let out a sad sigh. "That'd be right," he said, "they cleaned out a lot of stuff stored in the garage. The owners of the flat are away and we were contacted by the people who rented the garage. A lot of stuff was taken from the flat too, telly, video, stereo," he rolled off a list.

I said, "Did they do much damage?"

The cop shook his head. "It was an inside job." he answered grimly.

'An inside job,' the thoughts pounded excitedly through my brain. This really was the stuff of cops and robbers. I immediately began formulating the story in my head, with my own suitable embellishments, of course. Mr. Big would play a part and I'd have to try to fit in the dope-ring - I couldn't lie you understand, but a dope-ring could be hinted at. And I could always suggest darkly to people that Mr. Big might be found murdered down by the creek.

My fantasies were interrupted by the sight of Ollie entering the flat. "I'd better get the cat," I said as I started towards the doorway but the cop stopped me.

"We have just started dusting for fingerprints," he said, "better let me get him. We want as few people in the place as possible."

I followed the cop and stood in the doorway. Ollie was sitting on the table in the lounge, the rest of the room was bare. I felt a pang of guilt. How could I have romanced about the robbery, the people would be devastated when they returned home. Plod No. 1 made a lunge for the cat. You could almost hear Ollie laughing. He had absolutely no intention of being caught, much less by a ham-fisted plod. He slithered through the large paws easily and capered off down the hallway. Muffled curses from the plod who followed him down to the bedroom. Loud bumps and crashing sounds came from the bedroom before Ollie cannoned out the door and down the hall. He ignored the outside door and galloped into the toilet.

By this time Plod No. 2 was in on the act. Somehow he squeezed himself into the small toilet with the cat and there were more curses and bumps. Ollie careered out of the toilet and jumped on the kitchen window. He was wearing a complete coat of fingerprint dust.

Even the cat knew he had reached the end of the line. The plods were red-faced and furious. One plod was rubbing his head where he'd bumped it on a shelf. Ollie skipped down from the kitchen window and dashed past me out the door and onto the lawn.

The plods were in no mood to talk further to me. I was dismissed by being told a terse 'goodbye' and had the door shut in my face. I cast a longing look over the back fence of the flat. Had the plods had a really good look in the weeds for the body of Mr. Big. Perhaps the odd people in the flat hadn't gone away at all - anything was possible. Could it be that there were really marijuana plants amongst the weeds. Perhaps I should knock on the door and gently inform the plods of my suspicions.

Then I caught a flash of something out of the corner of my eye. This is hard to believe gentle reader - the cat was back in the police car. I said a prayer of thanks that the plods were still in the flat with the door shut. I tore over to the car. Ollie was sitting in the plod police hat on the back seat. This time I didn't muck around. The plods had forgotten to lock the car again and I wrenched open the door and seized the smirking cat. I slammed the car door and hared it across the road. I was on the lam.


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