Boris Bagham spotted a Volvo which had been parked in a one hour
bay since 9.20am. It was now 10.20 am, plus five seconds. Atta-boy,
Bagham! The notification of a parking infringement was plastered to
the windscreen in another five seconds.
Poor Gisela had not had the benefit of the Suttonford Grapevine.
From Benares Balti to Pop My Cork!; from India’s sunny shores to
Greenland’s icy mountains-no, that’s a Victorian hymn, isn’t it?…
Anyway, from The Running Sore to Help the Ancient, the buzz was
exchanged via texts and calls: Traffic Warden!
Shop assistants, waiters, customers, patients from the surgery, still in their
underclothes, all flew out into the High Street like the proverbial bats exiting
Dante’s Inferno. Much circling was done in the manner of vultures, but they
did not regard themselves as the predators. They rode the thermals
metaphorically until the coast was clear and Boris strode into
Costamuchamoulah like Curley in Of Mice and Men, only his hand
was not softened by Vaseline. His stern fist remained in an iron
This town ain’t big enough to support me in cappuccinos, he thought.
Boris was only doing his job and he had a quota to fulfil. He did not
know that his notice was often the last straw for some poor frazzled
He recalled one irate female who had stamped her foot and said: But
mercy is an attribute of God Himself/ And earthly power then doth
show likest God’s/ When mercy seasons justice. He hadn’t known
what she was rabbiting on about.
Then her friend deposited her Coltsfoot and A La Mode carriers on
the pavement and added:
Thou almost makest me waver in my faith/To hold opinion with
Pythagoras, /That souls of animals infuse themselves/
Into the trunks of men..
Boris suddenly had a flashback and so continued writing the
Penalty Charge Notice while calmly replying:
Till thou canst tear the seal from off this fine/
Thou but offends’t thy lungs. I stand here for law.
Blonde 2 turned to her friend and intoned:
You may as well go stand before the beach/
And bid the main flood bate his usual height..
So he had won. He knew all the tricks: the phoney police college
windscreen stickers, the forged Doctor on Call cards, the crude Blue badges.
Why should some tradesman who scribbled a note: Working at No 3
and who left it on their dashboard cut any mustard? For all he knew,
they were visiting that Melinda woman with a luncheon voucher.
No, he was becoming cynical.
Why had he taken such an unpopular job?
Well, he had once been issued with a ticket himself, and he had had
to go to anger management classes for ages. Then he developed a
syndrome called Scapegoating, where he did unto others the very
thing that had been done unto him, in a reversal of the Lord’s prayer
that was truly evil, but could be explained as a survival mechanism by
people such as Richard Dawkins.
But Gisela, though somewhat down-heartened at the present
moment, was no easy touch. She removed the notice and took out
her phone. She photographed the road under her tyres: completely
covered in snow and no lines marking the bay visible. She would
appeal to a higher court than Boris’ conscience, and like Portia, she
would probably win her case!