Doctors and Criminals.
This week promises to become quite a strange one for me. I have meetings with two of the oldest professions in the world (no, not that one). Doctors and Criminals. From one end of the spectrum to the other. Those who repair to those who destroy.
Doctors and Criminals. The doctors (tomorrow…)
‘they’ put me on a treadmill in an effort to check out what I describe as ‘panic attacks’. While others suspect ‘ticker trouble’, tomorrow should be the day when all becomes clear (er). Needless to say, I’m more than a bit apprehensive and have already left instructions that if push comes to shove, I want hospital bed to bonfire just like my hero Bowie. No fuss. No bloody awful hymns (or ‘My way) and no dead flowers. Which reminds me of a story…bear with…bear with…
I remember checking out the floral tributes at the funeral of the great actor Richard Griffiths at Holy Trinity Church just down the road from me. Amongst the usual stuff was a wonderful wreath made entirely out of vegetables. Obviously. a reference to some of his lines (*Uncle Monty) in the amazing film, ‘Withnail and I’, it was fantastic and on a sad day brought a smile to everyone’s lips.
Anyway…to continue…where was I? Ah yes…doctors and criminals.
I had the unusual experience of attending an identity parade at a local Police Station in an effort to weed out the toe-rag who stole my car last year.
Now before you get too excited you should know that the days when you found yourself confronting a line-up of six (?) live suspects are over. In those days five of the so-called criminals would obviously be coppers on overtime. Such was the relaxed attitude towards justice, it wasn’t so unusual for one or two of them to have a remnant of a uniform still forgetfully attached (helmet). Leaving one scar-faced man in a mask, striped jumper and a bag marked ‘swag’, to face the music. Thankfully these days it’s all on video.
Doctors and Criminals. The ‘Criminal Line-up’.
I had to sit in front of a computer to view nine videos (head and shoulders) of would-be villains who looked so similar that they could be brothers. They stared out from the screen with a murderous look in their eyes then turned delicately to the left, then to the right. All that was missing was a soundtrack.
This spectacle was run past me twice. I was then asked if I wanted to see it again. As I didn’t I was then asked if I had recognised the evil Bill Sykes and if so, what number was he? I made my choice and faintly, somewhere in the far distance I could hear the rusty old wheels of justice beginning to turn.
In and out in an hour.
It was a strange feeling as I headed down the street towards my other car. (You know the one that no-one (as yet) had stolen). I felt guilty. As though I had just condemned someone to a penal colony in Australia. Had I made the correct decision?
What if I had picked out the wrong guy? What if the man I had pointed out was a harmless double-glazing salesman from Milton Keynes with a wife, two kids and a Labrador. An innocent man calmly going about his business when a large policeman randomly picked him off the street and ‘invited’ him to come and do his public duty.
What if my identification had caused him to be taken away from his family until his innocence was proven beyond doubt? Fingerprints. Itchy prison with arrows on it. Removal of laces and belt just in case.
Suppose his wife in total despair at the incarceration of her loving husband suffered a mental breakdown. Maybe taken an overdose, leaving his children with no choice but to be put into care?
What if, the dog in an empty house with no-one to feed it, had died an agonising death from starvation?
Or worse still, what if the innocent double-glazing salesman from Milton Keynes, upon hearing of the consequences of my action, took his own life in a lonely prison cell? How could I ever forgive myself? All my doing. Lives ruined. How could I live with myself? Only one thing for it…
Thankfully the guilt didn’t last…
In reality of course, if I had picked the wrong criminal, the wrong foot-pad, cut-purse, n’ere-do-well. There would be no come-back. No terrible scenario. The case would just be dropped, and arse-hole who nicked my car would get off, Scott-free.
Re Uncle Monty.