Sotto alla Corona
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The policeman just inspected my car for a moment, then approached my window asking me to lower it.
"Ahem... Good afternoon officer... Is there a problem?" I said, in a barely audible voice
"No... I hope not.... Just a routine check up... We are quite bored today!" he said merrily, looking at his partner still in the car.
"Oh..Ok... Then if everything is ok, I shall go..." I just said smiling
"Not so fast sir.... Driving licence and registration documents please" he asked without looking at me.
"Ahem... I don't have them with me at the moment you see, what happened is.." and I blurted out my tragic story of being held hostage at the petrol station by a man that was now detaining all my valuables under his cash-desk. I also explained that, as it stood, I had no ID, no driving licence, no money, no car registration documents or anything with my name on it to show him.
"All I have is my son at the back and thank God the indian guy didn't see him, or I'm sure he would've asked me to leave him too..." I concluded, wiping my sweaty palms on my jeans.
The policeman looked stunned. Well, I am not so deluded as to think that my story was anything extraordinary, but for sure, it caught him by surprise.
"Are you serious?" he just said, leaning towards my window
"Totally..." I just replied, with a sight.
Then, my car phone-system rang loudly. It was Steven, checking on me.
"Sorry officer I need to get that, it's my husband..... Hello?" I answered the call without giving the officer a chance to double-check he understood correctly when I said 'husband',
"Hi hun... Is everything ok?" he asked, sounding much nicer than before
"Yeah.... I am with the police now..." I just said
"WHAAAAAAAT?" he shouted
"Wait wait wait!" I hastily reassured him "It's not what you think.... I just got pulled up in my car, but I had to leave all my documents with the guy at the petrol station, so I was telling the officer the story...".
But the line went dead as I got cut off.
"Bollocks!" I exclaimed, slamming my phone on to the car seat.
In a matter of a second I received a text message from Steven "Call me immediately!".
So we ended up in a conference call between myself, Steven and the police officer.
I finally got to the end of my story and the general consensus was that the police still needed to check my documents, therefore they needed to follow me to the petrol station where they were being held.
"As you can see officer, a perfectly ordinary afternoon of madness!" I half-laughed
"Mmmhh..... Yes.... And yet, something still needs to be rectified..." he answered with a serious face
"Oh....Of course.... I was just on my way to pay for the petrol.... Look! Here is the card!" I said, struggling to wedge my card out the tight jeans pocket.
"That's not what I am referring to... Let's go!" he concluded, getting into his car.
Oh my God..... What did he mean? What have I done now? Have I broken the law? What still needs to be rectified? Apart from my bimbo-brain I mean? Am I going to be reported for driving with no documents at all?
My brain was spinning into overdrive, but thankfully, my thought process got interrupted by
Gabriel that decided to wake up and give the best rendition of his most famous work:
I arrived at the petrol station with my son wailing for attention, so I got out of the car with said screaming toddler in my arms and made my way back to the cash-desk, whilst trying to bribe Gabriel's silence with pretzels.
The police officers were following me.
Upon entering, the indian guy just exclaimed:
"I can't believe YOU have the cheek to bring in the police when I should have called them.."
What an asshole.
"Here is my card..." I simply stated, ignoring his insulting remark, and carried on:
"Can I have my belongings now?"
"Sure.... Now that I know you are not a criminal you can have them..." he said, trying to be funny, and he handed over my stuff, winking at the police man.
What an asshole.
Precisely at that moment, one of the two officers that had so far stood silent, just said:
"What's your name?" looking at the indian guy
"Jitendra Patel officer..." he said, still smiling.
The officer went on checking my documents and, without looking at the indian guy, said:
"Jitendra Patel, you have committed an offence. What you have just done is called 'illegal seizure of private property', or 'distraint'. You had no right to detain this gentleman's belongings."
The guys jaw dropped one inch from the floor.
The officer went on: "Furthermore, if you were so worried he wouldn't pay, what about the CCTV system you have in operation here? Doesn't that record all the number plates of every vehicle that passes through this petrol station? Isn't that the monitor you look at throughout the day to monitor every car? In case of missing payment, doesn't a letter get sent automatically to the address the car is registered at demanding payment for the used petrol?" the officer concluded.
My jaw dropped in disbelief. I felt like picking it up and use it to bash the guy's head in.
"You little motherf..." I stopped myself from exclaiming "You have all these facilities and yet decided to treat me like a criminal in front of all those people?" I snapped.
"Didn't you see I also had a little child with me in the car?" I threw in, for effect.
Mr Patel was now the colour of a ripe aubergine, looking at the floor, shaking his head, muttering incomprehensible words to himself, clearly mortified.
I just wanted to skin the bastard alive and use him as mats for my car. Why did he do it? What kick did he get out of giving me such aggravation?
"Let the gentleman pay his due and send him on his way... You've wasted enough of his time today." The officer said.
Mr Patel handed me over the little machine to key in my PIN code. I was staring at him, but he never made eye-contact.
What a shit.
I paid for my petrol and, after thanking the officers for their help, I turned around to leave. But then I had a moment of genius in the midst of such blondeness.
"Officer" I said "Did I mention that because of Mr Patel's behaviour, my son missed out a play-group class that's costing me a fortune? Who is going to reimburse me the fee I just lost?" I asked in a grave tone.
"Well" the officer said "It's really up to Mr Patel here.... Either he discusses this matter with his employer and convinces him to shell out the money for his misconduct, or he owns up to what he did and to the unnecessary malice of his actions and pays up for it himself..... How much do you reckon it will be?" the officer concluded asking me.
"Not sure, I'll have the play-group organiser to send him the bill I suppose.... Thank you...." I said gratefully.
"Mr Patel, you better own up to it and pay. This prank of yours could've costed Mr Platti more than a missed play-group class." The officer said, looking at the purple-faced Mr. Patel.
"Yeah! My reputation!" I felt like saying, but I just kept quiet.
He just nodded, staring at the floor.
I left the petrol station feeling elated. Shame that there was no audience for me to show off my triumph, only to expose my humiliation earlier.
But hey, you can't have everything.
In any case, there is a bill for about the same amount I paid for my petrol, now on its way to Mr. Jitendra Patel.
Maybe he won't pay, I don't care. I won't follow the matter through. The point is that the little twat has learnt a lesson.
One thing is sure though: I will always remember to check my wallet upon leaving the house and Mr Patel will always remember me.
I decided to put this in my blog in spite of the fact that I sound like a total idiot (I don't think anyone in their right mind would have agreed to surrender his belongings to a threatening indian petrol-station attendant). Most of my friends, straight male friends, just said "You should've punched the fucker and driven off..".
Yeah.... As if..
I don't call myself 'Queen' for nothing: I don't carry cash on me and, most surely, I don't go around punching people's faces.
I rather have my butler do it (or the London Police).
Have a fantastic 2011 everyone!
To date, no payment has been received from Mr Patel. Not surprised there. Thanks to the London Police for being such gentlemen.