View Full Version : Found in the Street

March 12th, 2013, 06:01 PM
50p is 50p, and there it was just waiting to be picked up. As soon as I knelt down I realised that it was super-glued to the pavement; so, to mask my embarrassment, I did ‘a bit of business’ with my laces; making sure I looked neither right nor left - I was not going to allow the bunch of sniggering estate agents I had just spotted lined up inside the window to have a laugh at my expense. At that moment, The Law of Unintended Consequences couldn’t have been further from my mind. As I got up, I brushed some imaginary dust from my knees and carried on towards the Post Office. Having sent my package, I took advantage of a beautiful spring morning to enjoy a coffee and croissant at Barnet’s ersatz answer to the continental cafe lifestyle. Barely had I started on the sports page when Jack, the paramedic who lived next door, plonked himself down at the table, tore off a piece of my croissant and started stuffing his face. As he listened to my tale of the hoaxers at Bigup & Floggit we evolved “The Plan”.

‘We need a third person,’ said Jack; ‘and here’s the very man.’

Gentleman George, all cavalry twills, silk cravat and a blazer that looked like a deck-chair fabric salesman’s sample, eased himself into a chair, delicately placed his cup and saucer on the table and proceeded to wring the neck of an innocent tea bag.

‘God I hate these things, whatever happened to good old fashioned tea leaves?’

‘Never mind that George, we need your help to settle a score with the hooligans in the estate agents’

‘Sounds like fun’

I explained the plan - he, George, should walk past the agents, spot the coin and bend down to pick it up. I would play the stunt man, collide with him, complete a pratfall, and then impersonate a barely touched footballer, by lying pole-axed on the pavement. At this point Jack would come along and administer first aid while George protested his innocence, loudly blaming everything on the half-wit who glued the coin to the flagstones.

‘Synchronise watches.’

‘What!’ said Jack and George in unison.

‘Well, they always say that in the films.’

Off went George with a military swagger while I wondered whether his acting was up to it. I needn’t have worried; he played his part to perfection, taking one step past the gleaming 50p piece cemented to the pavement, he stopped, turned back with a puzzled frown, bent down and pawed at the ground. Timing my run, I arrived just as George staggered back as if losing his grip on the coin; down I went to gasps of consternation from a little old lady who dropped shopping bag, on hitting the ground it wobbled for a second, then fell on its side spilling a box of eggs on the pavement, a bright yellow yolk, seizing the opportunity, made its escape by slipping down a crack between the flagstones.

‘Clear the way, I’m a paramedic’ cried Jack, ‘Give him some air!’

Out of the corner of my eye I could see the estate agent’s doorway filled with concerned-looking men in sharp suits, their practical joke had gone wrong; all the while George was striding up and down bemoaning his fate, my fate, and all the while saying that if he ever catches the so-and-so responsible…
The crowd, like the Red Sea, parted to interrupt my smug repose. There stood a real paramedic, an on-duty paramedic, a paramedic expecting a genuine crisis.

‘Hello Jack’ said the new arrival, ‘you got here quickly’.

‘No, I’m not on call Jane, I just happened to be passing and thought I’d lend a hand; it doesn’t seem to be anything serious, I understand he tripped and fell’

‘As you’re here, can you just lift him up a bit?’

Jack put his arm round my shoulders and pulled me up whispering in my ear:

‘Go along with it, we can’t stop now’

I groaned as they helped me to my feet, and sighed as they put me in the paramedic’s car. She offered to call for an ambulance to take me to the hospital; that’s when I made the fatal mistake of telling her of the real circumstances of my “accident”. How was I to know that she’d had a sense-of-humour-bypass, wouldn’t see the justice implicit in the action; oh no, she was going to report it, and as for Jack! Really! He should know better, a man of his experience. Hoax calls were very serious, very serious, and could not be tolerated.

‘But we never called you, we never rang anybody’

‘Well, somebody did, you should have foreseen the consequences - wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t lose his job over this’

Jack’s tribunal comes up next week…

For our transatlantic cousins: 50p = 1/2$, pavement = sidewalk, estate agents = realtors.

March 12th, 2013, 07:04 PM
Comma before *we evolved the plan*?

Is *stuffing his face* cliche?

Love *wring the neck of an innocent teabag* :-)

Lower case after hyphen *he, George, should*

Lower case after hyphen *wouldn't be surprised*

This is just fantastic. I really enjoyed it. I love how you characterise Gentleman George.

Hope my comments are of use.

March 12th, 2013, 07:05 PM
Is parting like the Red Sea cliche too?