Got back into the mess at lunch time to be greeted by Tony sporting a not so beautiful black eye.
“Picking fights with your girlfriend again?” Probably walked into a door knowing him, clumsy so and so.
“No.” He replied tersely.
“Punter take a swing at you?” Strewth, a live one.
“Yeah, bastard hit me too.”
“Ouch. CCTV get it?”
“No, out of camera reach.” So what’s new?
“Back of the Municipal park.” Right in that big blind spot.
“Sod. Any coppers around?”
“No, but they’re looking for his car right now. He had a Montague Road area permit, so he’s definitely local.”
“What really happened?” I made him a cup of tea and we both sat down to talk it over.
“Just finished booking a this Range Rover for an expired ticket. Writing up my note book and this bloke came out of nowhere and landed one on me. It was a good booking too, over forty minutes past time.”
“Nasty bugger, did you get his registration?”
“Yeah, I’ve put it up on the board. If you see a black Range Rover, watch yourself.” If I see him, I’ll make sure the coppers get him.
“Will do mate. You get his picture?”
“Yeah, have a look at this.” The picture on his hand held is a little motion blurred, but it’s clear enough for a positive ID. Bloke in his thirties, a bit on the fleshy side wearing an open necked shirt. Tony’d had enough presence of mind to use the camera in his hand held computer to snap the guy as he came in for a second punch. “Got the bastard.” I grin. “Good shooting mate. You going home?”
“Nah, not yet, I’ve got to finish filling out the form. I’m feeling a bit unsteady. Janie’s picking me up in half an hour.”
“Need some help with the form?”
“If you would Bill, I’m a bit shaky right now.”
So that’s how I spent half my lunch break, helping Tony put his jangled thoughts together on paper. It’s not the first time someones tried to beat seven kinds of shit out of him. Christ alone knows why; maybe he just doesn’t look as if he’ll fight back and that’s why the bullies go for him. Very few people even try to have a go at me, probably because I don’t take any nonsense from them and I’m too big and mean looking to play silly buggers with. Tony must come across as too soft. The problem is that he’s too nice for the job.
The follow up was that the Police did a PNC check on the registration off Tony’s hand held computer, dropped by at the guy’s home address and arrested him the following day. The picture Tony took clinched it, and for a change a little justice was done. I’m told the guy claimed provocation in court, but the magistrates didn’t see it his way. I forget what they gave him as a sentence but I think it was something like a pretty hefty fine, damages to Tony and a suspended sentence because of previous good behaviour. Don’t ask me to be more specific or the cat will be well and truly out of the bag.
A further update is that Tony has transferred off foot patrol and now does a less hazardous office job which he’s far more suited for. So maybe some good came of it after all. Oh yes, and he put the money he got in damages to good use – he actually got round to marrying his girlfriend. Bless.