Thanks, irony. Ta for dishing up a big scoop of ha-ha. Cheers for making sure that the moment I publish an article on how crime is in free-fall, I fall victim to a most bizarre event.
I’m off work with a nasty little cold, and as such at 1.30pm I’m still in bed, alternating between dreams of Countdown’s Suzi Dent inviting me into her Dictionary Corner and the waking dehydrated hell, and theres this bloke in my room. I check to see if Im still dreaming, but Im clearly not.
Hes about five six, medium build, mid thirties with light brown cropped hair receding at the temples. He looks a bit like Bonehead, ex Oasis guitarist, in a grubby hoody.
‘ Errr, what are you doing?’ I ask, polite to the end.
He jumps, turns and stops rummaging through my desk drawer, explains ‘ Been told to get something’ . Hmmm.
Its not entirely unfeasible, my landlord is due round and could have bought with him a workman, who had mistaken my room for another, but still, as I start to rise from the bed, not likely.
I still give him a shallow benefit of the doubt ‘Who sent you?’ I ask.
He hesitates, and thats enough for me, I’m leaping at him from my bed as the words ‘I think his name was John’ pathetically slip from his gob.
His reactions are fast though, and he gets past me, leaps the stairs in two, as I think it might be prudent to dial 999 as I chase him. I instead dial 9 on my speeddial, which connect me to a friend from Bedford called Dave, before realising hes probably not going to be able to send a squad car round, and I more diligently push in 999 as I peg it down the stairs.
I hear clattering from the kitchen as I run through the front-room, but as I skid on the laminate flooring and onto the stone kitchen tiles, hes gone. My kitchens a cul-de-sac, and the door is locked. I’m puzzled, and in my highly stressed state, actually check the sink. Then I notice. The agile bugger got out the window. Its still rocking, square chunks of exposed wood against the white paint, where he had evidently jimmied his way in with a chisel or screwdriver. He’d even put wheeliebins against the wall to get himself in.
My housemate, living in the loft, hears the commotion and checks her window, and sees him running full steam down Muriel Road, towards the Derby Street car park. Its then I realise I’d conducted the whole pursuit in nothing but my underwear, a fetching pair of shabby faded shorts that possibly dont entirely cover my modesty. I vow in my head there and then, while barking down the phone to the police, to invest in pyjamas.
The police are great and here in a shot, and I’m whisked to the station-dressed-I hasten to add. Its been a while since I’ve been in a police car- in the early nineties a common event due to my habit of illegally hitchhiking on motorways when sliproads were absent- and I forget the two major rules-you don’t sit in the front; you don’t try and get out yourself. So I travel through the centre of Beeston through heavy traffic at the Natwest traffic lights, and on seeing the gawping Beestonians trying to ascertain what heinous misdemeanor I had committed to warrant such a taxi. I’m a bit high on adrenalin and its fuelling my cheeky bones, so I smile benignly at the onlookers, and give a little regal wave. The female PC sees this in her rearview-mirror, catches my eye and laughs. I instantly feel a little too glib, and muster an air of seriousness. It lasts for about ten seconds.
Two hours of paperwork and statements in the inner-sanctum of Beeston policestation and I’m back home, and barely have time to fix a brew before knock knock, CSI are at the door. Yup, CSI. CSI Nottingham.
We’re evidently star-struck, and coo as he opens up his sturdy briefcase and maybe feel mildly aroused as we see its massively complex looking contents. He, for it is a he, alone, not a crack team of beautiful over-earnest haircuts, but just one pleasant looking bloke, he revels in it. ‘Best thing that ever happens to me, that programme’ he says, in a local accent ‘Gone from police nerd to police heartthrob, as he dons gloves and mask’. Its the least I can do to offer him a cup of tea ‘Best thing I’ve heard all day’ he says. I stick the kettle on, and he starts doing stuff with tape, dust and brushes that drive me and my housemate into a desirous frenzy.
A boot print is found, but no prints, so he packs up, tells us how difficult it is to clean the dust up and leaves. The house fills with the sound of a collective tired sigh.
Next morning, Im hauled down the police station again (not hauled at all, just sounds great, I actually got a polite phone call to pop down and did so via The Bean and a little look round the shops) to see 84 photos of men who fitted the description of the Chez Beestonia Housebreaker.
I’ve done many depressing things in my life. I’ve been stranded in a Service Station in Belgiumfor seven hours. I worked at MGM Nighclub. I’ve seen the Kooks live. And in 1985, I went on holiday for a week to Hull. But these are nothing compared to the eightyfour photos I had to study and dismiss. The horror, the horror. Eighty-four middle aged white men bathed in unforgiving mug-shot light. It was like observing a procession of malformed, angry potatoes . ‘Beautiful, innit’ says the constable ‘My bread and butter’.
I give him the most sorrowful look I can. Theres some shit police out there, of course, but the majority are wonderful, just as the majority of every profession is. Except bankers and estate agents, who are all entirely evil.
I fail to identify, walk home, think how lucky I am to have such dramatic source material for my award-winning blog Beestonia sloshing round in my head…and then…it gets a lot less amusing.
While two of my lovely female housemates reported nothing had been nicked, the third, a nurse, had been out. I’d poked my head into her room, and it seemed nothing less than the usual primly tidy boudoir it ever was. Not so. When she returned, she noticed stuff had moved, subtly but definitely. Further investigation sees that the intruder didn’t come first into my room, but instead first rummaged, and helped himself through her stuff.
Damage?: lots of jewelry, an expensive camera, some GHD straighteners , and her just lately bereaved Grandmothers engagement ring. The tone of our house, previously a buoyant sort of entity, is now masked in gloom. Only one of us got off badly here. And fuck, shes the so least deserving.
Sam, for that is her name, was a stranger to me in August. She takes the only ground floor bedroom, and as the other two housemates move in is nothing less than the funniest, crudest, most lovable person I could help to meet. She is now a friend I know I will have in the front row of my funeral, and I’d compare her to a diamond if only they were a little more class.
Sam spends her working life, and yeah, theres a big lump of the aforementioned irony here melting atop this, she works her life helping junkies. It’d be piss-pantingly funny if it wasn’t true. But it is, so hold those bladders.
So the woman who I watch, day in day out, come home still smiling after helping the junkies of Nottingham recover from themselves, the same woman gets her goodwill-she also does unpaid outreach work, cynics-gets robbed by the same vileness she tries to help.
My older brother, who works with such people, once told me: never trust a junkie. I concur.
Tomorrow, I will trawl every pawn shop and pub in Beeston, Rylands and Chilwell, warning them of fencers trying to offload the aforementioned goods. If a reader of this, and I know Im clutching at straws here, does see owt on the basis of this and phones Beeston Police, I have a crisp £50 for you.
I’m going to nip any Daily Mail-esque rant in the bud, and leave with this. Crime is over-rated, per my last post. I want to set the burglar on fire right now, and put him out with a cricket bat, but I’m not the most rational person to ask right now, so I demur.
Be vigilant, sweet Beeston. And if a middle aged short balding bloke tries to convince you he is no longer interested in his GHD’s, punch him, call me.
Night Beestonia. Don’ t have nightmares.