May 13

prescription Bollocking

Tag: UncategorizedKal @ 1:35 am

There is collected wisdom these days that calls originating in telephone boxes are unlikely to be valid or true emergencies. Was a time, I’m sure, when the local phone booth was the nearest source of telecommunication to your house, but with the omnipresence of home and mobile phones, these stalwarts of the telecoms industry are rarely used to call us out. And when they do, its typically for the sort of…socially peripatetic person who spends their time hanging around in phone booths.

“A bam in a box…” goes the industry quote, reflecting how frequently these callers are, perhaps, not quite at the cutting edge of emergency medical crises.

The locus for the job comes in first, a call box just down the road from the Digitals and as I’m barely a mile away, I’m swinging the response car into the street in a few minutes. As I pull up my radio starts to buzz and I push the hands free button on the dash.

“3773, send.”

“Kal, this call is kids on the line. They’ve hung up, but would you mind checking it out?”

“No problem.”

And then, because I can see them standing on the street.

“I think I can see the problem…”

About ten of them, not yet in secondary school by the looks of things, gaping at the flashing lights as I step out of the motor. Not savvy enough to learn that one runs from the scene of the crime, rather than hanging around to watch the drama. Nuggets.

“What’s going on, mister?”

I look around, ensuring there isn’t a body on the floor, or someone on fire, or under a rhino or something similarly pressing.

“I don’t know, lads…why don’t you tell me what’s going on?”

They stare blankly before one comes back.

“WE don’t know…”


“Well, we got a 999 call from THAT phone box, with kids phoning us, just two minutes ago…”

And here’s where they blow it. I’m a big fan of the theory that if youre going to lie, you either go big, or not at all. But this lad misses the point and stares at me quizzically.

“TWO minutes ago?”

As though if I’d said three, he would have owned up to it.

“Very recently at least…anyone want to tell me what that was about?”

There’s some shuffling of feet. One of them starts to slide sideways from the rest of the group.

“Hang on…I’m not done talking to you.”

He flings a hand out like a railway signal.

“It was Sayeed! Sayeed did it!”

“Fuck off!” shouts Sayeed (I assume) in response, before suddenly staring back at me, realising that his language might be digging him into further trouble.

“Right…here’s the thing. I don’t CARE who did it and I’ve more important things to do than try and work it out. But think about this. I’ve just driven really fast here, through red lights, through pedestrian crossings that are on the green man. What if I ran someone over? Like a little kid? Or your granny? How would you feel if your granny got run over by a car because you played a stupid trick?”

There’s silence.

“So here’s how its going to go…” I continue, pulling my black notebook from my pocket and flipping its cover open.

“I’m going to need your names and addresses. All of you. And I’m going to send a letter home to every one of your parents explaining that I’ve given you all a row for doing this and that they don’t need to take it any further.”

A score of eyes widen at me, a few faces go very, very pale. One lip starts to wobble.

“Or….” I continue, hamming up the illusion of considering my options, “We could say that you’re sorry… you can all clear off and we’ll say no more about it.”

They nod, like a window of manic dashboard ornaments.

“But if I ever….” a moment of sotto voce, hoarse, with a little lean forward for effect “EVER catch you boys doing this again, I’ll call a police car to take you back home and you can explain yourself to your parents. Got it?”

More nodding…I’d better stop, they’ll hurt their necks.

“Good. Scram.”

And they’re *gone*, bomb bursting away from me in every directions like beads of track suited mercury, speeding into the distance fuelled by relief.

I climb back into the car, radio up Control and make for my break. Community figure, me.

27 Responses to “prescription Bollocking”

  1. Bravo Sierro Control says:

    Liking very much indeed! You can come and work on my area whenever you like.

    These sorts of calls are the bane of our lives, too.


    Kal Reply:

    Meh. II dont know abuut bane of my life they’re pretty easy to deal with!


  2. Paul says:

    *golf clap*

    Well played sir, well played indeed.


    Kal Reply:

    Little bow.
    Thankyou sir :)


  3. Win-Stone says:

    Someone was lying big. .. . .. . .. . :-)

    Well played!


    Kal Reply:

    Giant lies and acting…remind me, what’s the difference?


    Win-Stone Reply:

    Well, if you’re acting the you revert to ‘normal’ (insert own definition of ‘normal’ here) after the performance. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. unless, of course, I’m lying. :-)


  4. Lucy says:

    Oooh you are so switched on. How long before Hollywood come calling?


    Kal Reply:

    Hah. No switched on, justenjoy messing with people!


  5. Lauren says:

    That’s just…excellent!


  6. Lauren says:

    That’s just…excellent!


    Kal Reply:



  7. Cath says:

    Oh, beautiful Kal, just beautiful :-D I’d give anything to see that!


    Kal Reply:

    Heee!! It was *fun*.


  8. blogdog says:

    Loving the notebook action! An excellent touch. Brilliant.


    Kal Reply:

    Its all about the nnotebook flip, baby.


  9. Leliwa says:

    Ahh, the black notebook:)


  10. Sewmouse says:

    I’m going to be the bad friend here…
    Even though I laughed like a loony at the more nodding is gonna hurt they necks part.

    But you should have forced the names/addresses issue. Get them to give it out, while they are scared spitless, and THEN let them off, but “I’ve got your names/addresses here, so if we get any more calls, you’ll be some of the ‘usual suspects'”

    Since you let them off without any real worries, my cynical brain says that in 10 minutes they’re all back together in a clump strutting like bantams on how they pulled one over on that green-shirted (insert nasty name)


  11. modog says:

    Ah c’mon Sewmouse, they’re just kids. Put the fear of God (well ok, the fear of Mum) into them and they’ll probably learn something from it. No need to actually hold it over them!


  12. Fee says:

    I’ve got one about that age, and they’re still pretty easy to scare. Put a big enough scare in them, they might think twice before they do it again.


  13. anonymous says:

    I found out my, normally sensible, nine year old had been calling 999 and then putting the phone down with her friend (younger brothers will always grass you up if given half a chance). I gave her the telling off of her life and called the police to see if they wanted to have a word with her too, but they felt I’d probably done enough. Even the idea of the police was enough to scare her into realising she’d overstepped the mark big time. Hopefully these kids will feel the same. (I’m staying anonymous purely on the off chance anyone I know sees this as I have promised the offender it will not be discussed in public ;) )


    Kal Reply:

    Hey anonymous. Sounds like you’ve got the situation neatly wrapped up! I think the biggest issue with hoaxes is when a hoaxer calls in something major (someone’s got a gun/theres a care home on fire) etc. The sort of thing that will automatically mean that huge resources are deployed. Just hanging up on us? We’re pretty au fait with that one, and tend to send someone like me toddling around to check its all bollocks :)


    Cadbury Moose Reply:

    We had a cheap (is there any other kind) batch of Chinese-made telephones in our “new” office (20 years ago), and wondered why an occasional Dibble would appear – until it was discovered that the factory default “stored redial” number was (FX: drum roll) 9999999999. People would hit it by accident, it would beep frantically into their ear so they’d hang up thinking it was faulty. Eventually, someone went round the entire building and programmed a “sensible” number into each telephone. Some years later, there was a site power outage that lasted long enough to flatten the exchange battery, all the phones reverted to default, and it had to be done all over again.


  14. Sewmouse says:

    Well, ya see, Modog – First off I’m from the Chicago suburbs, which gives me an automatic +20 to my cynical attribute regarding youths.

    Second – I don’t think Kal really needs to actually hold it over them, in fact he could just write witty haiku or limericks or sonnets – or blog posts – they don’t have to know that bit, they just need to THINK that he might have the resource available.

    Thirdly – I am evil-minded like that. Muahahahahahaha


  15. Kal says:

    See, the reason I didnt was because there are people out there who are perfectly ready to invent claims and complaints against public sector staff for the tiniest thing. All it would take is for a disgruntled parent to level a query about what I’d done with that kid’s personal info (data management charges are a real issue in the NHS at the moment) or, worse, ask some pointed questions about lone workers asking children on the street for their addresses…

    You can see how that could back fire. I’ll settle for scaring the shit out of them :)


  16. Kal says:

    That was rather the plan :)


  17. Flobach says:

    Nice one Kal.
    Feeling special I heard the story prior to it’s publishing ;-)
    Greetz from NYC!


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