No sooner had we sat down to enjoy our freshly purchased doughnuts and cream cakes at the start of the shift (thanks Dave for your kind donation aka ‘oops I accidentally drove straight past the offender yesterday and it was damn lucky Chaos and Katie were right behind to scoop him up ‘) than the first call of the late shift came in.
“Chaos, can you make down to the Sports Supa-Mega Warehouse on the retail park, they’ve got two detained shoplifters and can you take Katie with you as they are both female ….”
So with a fast slurp of tea and half a nibble of my favourite apple turnover on the basis that no one would knick while we were gone if I contaminated it, we were off down the Bigtown’s finest retail emporium to see what charms of the community we would have to deal with this afternoon.
Well it didn’t take much working out what lay ahead of us as we reached the store – you could hear the raised voices and choice language being thrown about before we even got through the doors.
Having been led through to the managers office at the rear of the store (although I reckon even a couple of street-plods like us could have found our way by simply following the increasing volume) we soon ventured upon two of Bigtown Custody Suite’s more regular non-paying guests, Courtney and Phoebe, twin sisters who, if you couldn’t work it out, were born to a mother with a more than unhealthy obsession with Friends …
“So” I said the the now ‘bored-with-being-shouted-at-at-full-volume-for-ten-minutes’ manager, “what brings us and the two delightfully charming young ladies into your office today ?”. I find that humour very loosely disguised as sarcasm breaks down the initial barriers quite well – it makes the store staff laugh and goes completely over the head of our current quarry all at the same time
And so the said Store manager produced a couple of Asda ‘Bags For Life’ which were literally stuffed to the hilt with the latest fashion in high branded tracksuits ….. all is size XXXL …
Did I mention that Courtney and Phoebe’s names are the only link or resemblance to the characters/actors in that well-known American sitcom. Unfortunately, the concept didn’t transpose itself that well onto the mean streets of Bigtown, and it’s fairly apparent our two namesakes got mixed up between Central Perk deli salads and Double Big Mac’s and Fries – ‘Make it large’ … well I suppose it is an alternative style of American cuisine !
And so the manager explained to myself and Katie, in the ‘full presence and hearing of the persons detained of course’ that they had been observed both on CCTV and by staff within the store, to peruse the clothing display racks, and select a number of expensively branded items, which they had obviously decided that they wouldn’t bother trying on for size in store but would take home with them to examine at their leisure.
The only problem being that they had not actually remembered to tell anyone in the store about this highly practical (in their eyes) method of ‘try before you buy’ and so as not to cause concern or undue favouritism against other, possibly more law-abiding customers in the store, they had covered up their ‘samples’ with their existing filthy, grotty tops, and wandered out of the store to avoid a fuss …. or avoid passing through any of the available payment points, or offering payment of any kind – you decide.
My mind began to wander off on a tangent at this moment; one that has puzzled me on several occasions before – namely why do manufacturers construct tracksuits, which are after all keep fit attire, in sizes for which it is plainly obvious that the nature of the beast will never be realised.
Well of course they could argue that these are the perfect sizes to be producing tracksuits, as they provide sportswear for the market of people who are overweight and wish to do something about it. That is good. So then I rearrange my thoughts to ‘why do people who clearly have no intention of ‘doing something about it’ buy tracksuits ???
Perhaps I shouldn’t eat strong cheese at lunchtime ???
“Right” I said to Phoebe and Courtney (whilst trying not to sing Smelly Cat out loud) “You’ve heard what the store manager has to say, we both know you cant be dealt with any other was so you’re both under arrest etc …”
Whilst one of the other staff was totting up the value of the goods the two girls had lifted, the Store Manager was busy telling them how they were both now banned from every branch of his mega-plex superstores and associated companies and gymnasiums for life (like they would ever set foot in the latter anyway) and then he asked them if they had anything they wanted to say.
I guess he was hoping for an ‘I’m sorry’ or similar, but what he got made my head spin and then chuckle out loud …“Needed ‘em didn’t we cos we’re goin’ on Jezza next week” said Courtney.
I had to stop them there and remind them they were under caution even if they weren’t talking to me or Katie and told them we’d go through it all in interview back at the station.
The short journey back to the nick was filled with more of the lingual delights of our new friends limited but profane understanding of the Queen’s English, but as the ideal captive audience, there really was no escape for Katie and I.
After explaining our reasons for being there to the less than awfully impressed with their attitude Custody Sergeant it was straight to interview as neither of the fine young ladies wished to partake of their ingrained right to ‘free and independent legal advice’ .. well free to them anyway, someone still has to pay for it which undoubtedly will be you and I through our taxes as there was no hope of a contribution from our our Friends debutantes.
Once in interview (separately of course) neither Phoebe or Courtney could curtail their excited wish to tell all, and inform us that the whole purpose of their ‘shopping trip’ (their words not mine) was to obtain some shiny bright new sports kit for their upcoming appearance on the Jeremy Kyle show !
Much as I couldn’t have suddenly become less interested if I had tried, Katie obviously had a momentary lapse of all things common sense related, and had to ask the question of Phoebe “What are you going on there for then ?” ….
And that put her into full swing …… “Cos it’s Antony innit” she began “reckons he’s the father of Courtney’s kid she’s up the duff with”.
“And you think he isn’t ?” asked Katie before I could get the chance to interrupt and use several of the spare sticky labels for sealing the interview discs and adhere them all over Katie’s face to prevent further speech ….
“Well he’s the dad of one of her kids Louis but not Nathan the oldest” ….” My brain was begin to bubble … “but he ain’t the new kids dad cos he’s wiv me now and I’m having his kid ….”
Aaarrggghh !!! brain frazzle imminent !!!
Conversely, the subsequent interview with Courtney has suggested the opposite – Antony had told her he ‘was leaving Phoebe cos she’d bin behind his back an’ got herself pregnant wiv his mate Calvin (who I can only presume had one parent or another with a particular taste in underwear) and wanted to get back togevva wiv Courtney for their kids sake’.
Ohhh and to celebrate this turn of honesty and revelation from Antony wanting to be the best dad in the world, he and Courtney had gone out of their way to get her pregnant – a feat they had managed in less than two weeks of trying !!!
Despite this amazingly inter-tangled web of absolute tosh, Phoebe and Courtney had remained not just sisters but ‘bezza matez’ and between them had hatched an amazingly simple plot to uncover the truth about Antony – one which hadn’t quite dawned on them that one or the other was about to be extremely disappointed …. the plan ? – which as it turned out was in fact their mothers idea !!! goddamit the moms involved as well !!! – they had phoned up the Jeremy Kyle show to tell their tale and ask for live-on-TV DNA testing …
I can’t imagine the notepad belonging to the researcher who took that call – and all the little arrows and looping lines they would be drawing in order to try and connect this mess together into some manageable format.
But …. for reasons unbeknown to me, but clearly quite obvious (and no doubt ratings enhancing) to the researcher, they had decided to take this tale on, and so it was set that Phoebe, Courtney and Antony were all due to be appearing on the JK show within the week. And, having spent all their dole money on fags and cheap cider, they reckoned to only way to get some non-stained clothing to appear on the telly in was to nick it.
I felt I needed to make some sort of contribution to this debate, and so, in both interviews, having heard more or less the same tale, I managed to pipe in “Well I’m sure last time I dealt with someone who was on Jeremy Kyle, they told me they got put up in a hotel overnight, and were took shopping to buy clothes to wear on the show …”
That didn’t go down as well as expected … or maybe it went down exactly as expected … or rather intended … The dawning look of realisation on both their faces as it became apparent their whole venture had been in vain was, as they say in that credit card advert …. priceless !!!
After both young ladies were later charged with theft from the store and bailed to court I did have the opportunity to wish them well on their new broadcasting careers, but I never had the desire to actually watch the programme to find out what went on !!!
It’s the kids I feel sorry for though – with all this going on, what chance to they have ??