My previous posts have been of the more, hopefully comic bent. This one gives an overview of what you would come across in an ordinary working day/night.
THE MIRACULOUS. I use this term in the true sense of the word, (Occurring through divine or supernatural intervention. Highly improbable and extraordinary and bringing very welcome consequences.) Another Saturday night on mobile patrol in Fortitude Valley, one job to another: domestics, street offences, traffic stops. It would’ve been near to knock off time when the call all coppers hate came, two vehicle traffic accident. It was on the Story Bridge, the Valley end. Crap, it was the paperwork that was the killer, endless reports. Nobody answered and we were still on a job. I answered then the airwaves burst into life, “We’ll do traffic control.” Thanks heaps.
For those who don’t know the Story Bridge, it crosses the Brisbane River between Kangaroo Point and The Valley. It’s a reasonably long bridge and lends itself to those who like to speed. At the Valley end you can go straight ahead to cross through to the northern suburbs, left into the City or right to go under the on ramp and onto McLachlan street. The scene is set, the bridge is strangely empty inbound. I’m the passenger tonight, we pull up behind a badly crumpled white hatchback. It’s been hit from behind and rammed into the concrete divide. The usual scene, bonnet up, hatch in the air, the driver and passenger unconscious.
There is always debris around the scene of a collision and I didn’t take much notice of the bundle in the centre lane, until it started crying. You guessed it, a baby. Still no traffic coming our way (the backup hadn’t arrived yet). I plucked the bundle from the road, expecting the worst and a little arm poked out. I checked him over, not a mark that I could see. While my mate stayed with the baby and the occupants I went looking for the other vehicle and found a dented V 8, Valiant sedan further down the road, crunched up against the tunnel. The driver was unable to get out because, A, he was drunk out of his tiny mind and B, his door had wedged shut.
He wouldn’t have been able to get out anyway, there were that many empty beer bottles on the front seat. He blew well over the limit, the parents survived and the baby? Well I still believe in miracles. What forces were at work that night, that would protect a three-month old baby from a huge car ramming into where he lay in his bassinet? Then being ejected from the car without hitting the hatch, and landing in the centre lane of traffic. To top it off he lay there for five minutes without being run over. Don’t tell me miracles don’t happen.
THE SHIPS STOKER. The Valley is a quick cab ride from the wharves, and is a magnet for visiting sailors, civilian and the Navy types. Another Saturday night, a warm summers evening and I’m standing on the intersection of Brunswick and Wickham streets. Watching out for troublemakers and of course keeping an eye on the local lovelies. One such lovely approached me to make a complaint, it seemed that a man approached her and as she passed he squeezed her bottom. She pointed him out and I followed him up the street. I came along side and introduced myself to the pocket-size Arnold Schwarzenegger. He cast me a withering dark look, it didn’t take me long to realise he was drunk.
I took hold of his upper arm, or should I say attempted to and arrested him. I could just get my hand on the back of his arm. After calling up for the duty Sergeant I lead him back to the corner. If I added water I reckoned this bloke would’ve grown to full size. Expecting trouble I was surprised when he climbed into the back of the car. After booking him in to the watch house the sarge and I left. Twenty minutes later we returned with another pinch.
We’ve all seen the movies of bar room brawls, where the injured lay around amongst broken furniture. Those who can walk dab at cuts and grazes and loud groans emanate from various nooks and cranny’s. I can still see the sergeant in charge, shirt torn, glasses broken. Everything on his charge counter flung to the four corners. He leveled a malevolent stare at me and said, “You, you, don’t you dare bring anyone else here tonight. The bloke went ape just after you left.” It seemed that my Stoker thought I was a taxi driver who’d taken him there and when one of the staff led him to his cell he went ballistic. It took all the staff to keep him down until they put him in a straight jacket. I was ever so glad he waited until I’d gone.
A WOMAN’S SECRET WEAPON. I know what everyone is thinking and no it’s not that. Although that has been offered on some occasions. A social group hired a set of rooms in an old Victorian building in The Valley. They were involved in meditation and enlightenment etc, and like all organizations they attracted a certain fringe element. One was a young woman who suffered from Bi Polar disorder, they banned her from the group because of her disruptive behaviour, and she kept going back.
The building had a certain charm about it, there was an internal staircase that wrapped around from floor to floor. Each floor had several office suites on it. So if you stood on say the fourth floor, you could look all the way down to ground level, and see every floor in between. We’ll call her Missy, and like the cat she kept coming back. The group ended up taking a court order out against her. On this particular Saturday we received a call, Missy was back. I have no trouble with people who are afflicted in any way, and to be honest I felt sorry for her. But we had to remove her. Because of her predilection for being hard to handle the Sarge sent the whole Beat along to escort her out.
She stuck with her usual routine and staged a sit-in at the meditation session. Being the senior man I went in to coax her out, she went into a rage, and my mate came in to help. The other two went up the stairs to stop her getting up to the roof if she broke away. We wrestled her out onto the landing and she kicked my mates shins, he let her go. She laid into me with her handbag, and I still think she had a spanner set in it, I digress. She managed to pull away. Matey and I backed away from the swinging handbag, the other two-edged down the steps.
Looking back I can understand her mental pain and how she must have felt but we had a job to do. I tried to distract her while the other two came down the steps, it didn’t work, “Stay back,” she screams, “Don’t make me do it.” Flinging her bag to one side, she lifts her skirt right up, thrusts her hand down her panties and rips out a sanitary napkin. If she’d pulled out a Star Wars light sabre we wouldn’t have been more surprised.
As I’m writing it brings to mind the commercials for women’s personal hygiene products, you know the ones: sweet young thing flings packet of said product in her purse and takes on the world, she sails, skis, swims, wrestles and boxes. Well add frighten the crap out of four policemen to the list. The two coming down the stairs squeaked and back tracked, matey picks up her hand bag and I stand there in negotiator mode, hands out, “Okay lady, put it down. We don’t want anyone getting hurt here. Let’s talk about it, okay?”
“What’s the matter, you big bad boys afraid of a little blood?”
It wasn’t our finest hour, although we managed to disarm her and nobody got hurt. Maybe our pride and manhood did though.