Friday, 1 April 2011

Civic Duty (part one)

The following is merely intended to be a fictitious, humorous story.

Most stories in this blog carry something of a ‘social message’.

No story is intended to be judgemental.

Some readers may find content offensive, but there is little that one wouldn’t find in a post-watershed sitcom.

With the recent collapse of the police station and the mass absconding of every police officer in town, Barty and I had felt obliged to put ourselves forward as Police Community Support Officers (PCSO).

It was the final day of PCSO training. Prior to this we had endured hour after interminable hour of talks and short plays that were supposed to represent real-life situations that we, the front line of law enforcement, might face in our duties.

It had been touch and go with Barty. On several occasions his poor writing and reading skills had let him down.

However, we had convinced the instructor that Barty was from a region of South Asia where English wasn’t the main language and considering he’d only been in the country a fortnight, Barty was, in fact, doing very well.

At first, the instructor had doubted that Barty was foreign.

“Are you sure he’s from Asia?”

“Oh, yes.” I quickly answered, not wanting Barty to get angry (suggesting Barty’s a liar is a self-imposed death sentence).

“His skin’s the same as ours, though.” He said suspiciously.

“Yeah, every seven generations or so, families in that region will have a child with skin similar to Barty’s pigmentation. There’s a proper name for the condition. Now, what is that name?” I said and started to scratch my head.


I ignored the instructor and said, “I think it’s called semi-albininoblastic epidermination. Yeah, that’s it.”

The instructor looked at me.

“It’s not been easy for Barty,” I quickly continued, “in his home country he’s faced discrimination because of his different skin colour. That’s why he’s moved here.”

I looked the instructor straight in the eyes and held his gaze, “I have assured my friend that no such intolerance or discrimination exists in this country.”

I had him by the conkers. And he knew it.

About twenty PCSO wannabes walked into the exam room.

“Can I sit next to you, eez?” asked Barty.

I looked around. Most of the desks had already been taken. I couldn’t see two empty desks together.

“Barty, go and ask that woman if she’ll move.”

Barty spoke to her and then lifted the chair, with the woman still in it, and the desk over the heads of the other trainees and gently placed them down on the other side of the room.

He rearranged a few other desks and then sat next to me.

I looked at the woman who’d just been airborne. She was squirming in her seat.

It was difficult to tell if she was terrified or turned on, but, looking at the short skirt she was wearing, either way, she’d be having difficulty getting off that seat at break time.

“Barty, why didn’t you just ask her to move to another desk?”

“I did, but she just looked up at me and started doing fluttery things with her eyes. I don’t think she minded too much. She sort of giggled while she was in the air.”

I looked back at the woman; yep, she certainly looked as though she was having a gash gush.

The instructor started to talk:

“We’ll finish your training with a short multiple choice exam…and then the pain will be over for you all,” he said.

As the weed tumbled through the desks, he waited for laughter.

Someone muttered, “dickhead.”

He continued: “There are thirty questions that represent situations you might come across when you’re patrolling the streets. After each question, you will find three possible answers listed ‘a’, ‘b’ and ‘c’. Below the three possible answers are three boxes. Simply tick the box that corresponds with the answer you think is correct.”

Barty, getting agitated, started to breath rapidly: “eez, I don’t understand. What am I going to do? My reading ain’t too good. I’ve got no chance. I’m leaving.”

“Shut up Barty!  Sit down and calm down.”

“Look,” I whispered, “it’s simple. If you get stuck, just whisper the question you’re stuck on. If the answer is ‘a’ I’ll raise my left hand, if it’s ‘b’ I’ll nod my head and if it’s ‘c’ I’ll raise my right hand, okay?”

“Okay, eez. Think I’ve got it: left hand for left box, head for middle box, right hand for right box.”

Barty sat repeating the ‘rules of the game’ as the instructor passed out the exam papers, making sure they were face down on the desks.

“Right!” He announced, “You have one hour. You may begin!”

Everyone hurriedly turned over the paper.

I read the first question:

‘If you discovered two men having anal intercourse in a public area would you:

a)     Tell them to get dressed and ask them to move on?

b)     Call for assistance and arrest them?

c)      Join in?

“eez,” said Barty, “I can’t understand any of this. Question one?”

I nodded my head.

“Question two?”

I lifted my right hand.

And so it continued.

After several breakdowns in communication, both arms ached and I was suffering whiplash symptoms.

The exam finished and the instructor started to collect our papers.

I briefly glanced at Barty’s paper. It looked different. The layout appeared reversed.
“Barty, you fucking tool! You had the paper upside down!”

“eez, I said I couldn’t understand it, mate. Don’t have a go at me,” he replied, close to tears. “I can’t help it. Maybe I’m anorexic.”

I held my head in my hands as the instructor took Barty’s paper and said, “I hope you found that easier, Barty. I thought it only fair that, as you’ve got this far, your test should be in your native language of…” he turned to look at me,


To be continued.

No comments: