These days, work is all about filling quotas and meeting targets, even the police are not exempt. The force regularly complain about the sheer amount of paperwork the job currently involves. Job satisfaction for office workers is at an all-time low. With attitudes and working practices strictly regulated there is very little room for self-expression in the workplace. There is no space for creativity. Rules, rules, rules. Isn’t it time we broke them?
* * *
As the dark of evening closed in on the motorway, Donald Bister was relieved to be driving home after a particularly draining day spent stuck in front of a computer screen with a phone full of moaning clients pressed to his ear. The hour’s journey allowed him to unwind and leave all this madness far behind. He was looking forward to a weekend of relaxation. He slotted a Lighthouse Family CD into the car sound system and pressed play. The chillax transition started here, right now on the M25 as he cruised at a steady fifty in the correct lane.
But the bliss was momentary, interrupted by the blue flashing lights approaching in his rear-view mirror. The police car didn’t pass, instead it was indicated that Donald pull over. Which he did with text-book proficiency. He turned off the music. And waited. Donald Bister was a model citizen, a full-scale one who conformed to every regulation given. There wasn’t a wrong bone in his body. He could easily have sped off in his superior car and avoided the police altogether but as he believed he’d done nothing wrong he therefore had nothing to fear. It would just be a routine questioning, ‘Had he seen such and such…’ or maybe they wanted to appraise him of his careful driving. Donald wound down the window as the two officers approached and placed his hands in a relaxed manner on the steering wheel.
‘Yes, it is,’ replied the innocent driver. ‘What can I help you with?’
‘We’re arresting you in accordance with the law, will you step out of the car please.’
‘What law?’ Bister was stunned.
‘Yes sir, Sod’s law – it was bound to happen to you sooner or later.’
‘Yes, that is Sod’s law but I haven’t done anything wrong.’
The officer made a hissing sound through his teeth and shook his head regretfully, ‘Anything that can go wrong will. Do you understand that, sir?’
‘I do, but that’s Murphy’s law and is utter rubbish. Now what’s going on here?’
The second, younger Officer intervened. ‘Calm down, sir, this is a serious matter. What’s in the plastic bag?’ He pointed to the supermarket carrier on the passenger seat.
‘Just some things the wife asked me to pick up on the way home.’
‘Don’t touch the bag, sir,’ ordered the younger Officer.
Bister placed his hands back on the steering wheel.
‘Looks highly suspicious to me,’ assessed the first Officer.
‘Honestly, it’s nothing, just shopping – some carrots, onions…’ explained Donald.
‘He’s probably got a cabbage in there.’
‘Mayonnaise too, I bet,’ added the second Officer.
‘Is that illegal?’ asked Donald.
‘Yes sir, that’s coleslaw,’ pronounced the second Officer with a serious look as he pulled out his notebook and began making notes. ‘You just can’t stay out of trouble, can you?’
‘Look, this is ridiculous! Wait a minute, this isn’t being filmed for one of those reality TV shows, is it?’
‘Oh, think you’re an actor now, do you sir?’ questioned the first Officer.
‘What are you accusing me of now? Breaking Jude Law?’
‘So that was you, was it?’
Bister started banging his head on the steering wheel.
‘Something tells me you’re not taking this matter seriously, sir. Could you stop banging your head now?’
‘It’s not looking good for you, sir.’ The second Officer finished his note-taking with an emphatic full stop. He raised his eyebrows at the long list. ‘They’re going to lock you up and throw away the key.’
‘But none of this is applicable in a court of law,’ argued Donald Bister.
‘Are you suggesting you’re above the law?’
‘Where exactly do you stand on the law?’ asked the younger Officer.
‘I don’t.’ Bister was incredulous.
‘You’re saying the Law of gravity doesn’t apply to you?’
‘No, I mean yes, of course it does. Look, this is harassment. I haven’t done anything wrong.’
‘Not according to the law,’ the first Officer accused.
‘The Law of averages. Statistically you have done something wrong.’
‘But I haven’t!’ Bister protested. ‘Now, either charge me, or leave me alone!’
The first Officer leaned forwards. ‘We suspect that this car, your car,’ he said, becoming very serious, ‘is being used as a comedy vehicle.’
‘But how? For what…’
‘It’s okay, Donald,’ I said, stepping into the story. ‘It’s me they’re after, not you.’ I turned to the police officers. ‘None of this is Donald’s fault. It’s me who’s been driving this piece.’
‘At last, we’ve caught up with you,’ said the first Officer with glee. ‘Can you explain why you couldn’t be bothered to give me and this young Officer proper names?’
‘I… didn’t get round to it. I was going to but… it was all a bit of a rush.’
‘Can you tell us why you were writing so fast? Trying to get to the ending, were we?’ said the second, younger Officer who was called Depp.
‘I have to admit I don’t have an ending,’ I confessed.
‘Oooh,’ said the first Officer, an experienced policeman of some note who, although his name was Newman, bore an uncanny resemblance to Brad Pitt, ‘that’s a dangerous road to go down. A very dangerous road.’
‘Oh come on, people have been writing sketches with little or no ending for years. The Pythons made a whole career out of it.’
‘Maybe back then, sir,’ informed Newman regretfully. ‘But this is the twenty-first century. Everything is regulated now. We need a satisfactory ending to this sketch or else they’re going to throw the ebook at you.’
‘Well, I don’t have an ending. So, what are you going to do about that. Eh?’
They all lived happily ever after.
This ending was lawfully imposed upon this sketch in accordance with EU regulation 452/Com/EC