Friday, June 29, 2012
In mi downtime it was my habit to walk around the Showground and see as many free shows as possible. One afternoon, as I was sauntering along at a steady pace checking out the poster boards, a big, Melbourne City Copper stopped me.
"Gooday." He said, as I approached him.
"G'day." I said, in a friendly sort of way.
I was not expecting any more than a greeting when he said to me, "Your name Richard Swindells, mate?" I almost fell over with shock when he asked me that question.
"What if it is?" I said, not knowing how the hell he knew my name 'cause all anyone knew me by on the Showgrounds was 'Yorky'.
"Show us ya arms." He said.
"What for? I've done nothing illegal."
"I wanna make a positive ID 'cause we've got a wanted poster for you back at our local station."
"You must be mistaken!" I said, with a bit of fear now creeping into mi voice.
"Just be a good lad and show me ya arms."
"All right. But that's all!"
When he saw the tattoos on mi arms, he said "Where d'ya git those from?"
"Rex Stokers in Bradford, England. Why?"
"Just making sure I've got the right man."
"The right man for 'what'? I've done nothing wrong."
Now I was getting really scared as he questioned me. So. I run through the memories Rolodex but nothing illegal came to mind.
"We've got a missing child report out on you. It's been circulated all over Australia."
"You must be joking! Who would file a missing report on me?"
He put his hand in his uniform top pocket and pulled out a small black notebook. Then he started to thumb through the pages.
I stood in front of him, waiting in anticipation.
"Ah! Here we are. A Mrs. I. Bailey from England has filed a lost child report on you."
"Oh shit, that's mi mother."
"How long since you wrote home son?"
"Oh, probably about six weeks."
"Well, according to my information it says here that you've not been seen or heard from for three months."
"That's not true. She's a panic merchant. If I don't write every week she thinks I've been killed or something."
"All right, where d'ya live in Australia?"
"At Lake Cargelligo, New South Wales."
"How long ya staying at the show?"
"Probably till the end of it."
"Tell ya what I'm gonna do. By rights I should take ya back to the station and fill out a report but seeing as ya look healthy enough to me, I'll do it later miself. Now, you listen to me young fella'. We don't have time to looking for every Tom, Dick or Harry that gets reported missing. We've got better things to do with our time like chasing down hardcore criminals. Now! I want ya to promise me you'll write home to ya old mother 'cause it's obvious to me she's worried about ya. Is that a deal?"
"All right." I said. I'd have said 'all right' to anything at that point.
"Make sure ya do and don't get into any trouble. You're pretty young to be looking after yourself. I've got a young bloke same age as you but I'm damn sure I wouldn't be letting him work on no showground. Now take good care of yourself and if I was you, I'd head straight back to Lake Cargelligo after the shows are over. All right?"
"All right." I said and walked off into the large crowd.
'What an embarrassment', I thought as I got lost in the sea of bodies that were milling around the showground. 'Just wait till I write another letter to Iris, I'll soon put a stop to her shenanigans!'