Thursday, 15 January 2015

Small Town Robbery

It had been one of those dull days, and Sergeant Banks who was in charge at Winston Police Station was already on his third cup of coffee of the afternoon. Winston is a sleepy place; a commuter town with a declining number of shops and a growing number of cafes. Most week days the town is fairly quiet and Banks was enjoying the peace by reading a book and not expecting to be disturbed. So it came as quite a shock when he picked up the station telephone, to hear a scared young woman telling him there was an armed robbery at Seaton Internet Café Lounge.
            Slow though his day had been so far Banks moved quickly into action. He pressed the bell on his desk to alert the squad on duty and then ran to get his deputy. Outside the police cars, who had sat dozily in line for many days now, were suddenly revved into life as people swarmed from the building. Banks was the last out of the door, and turned sharply to yell back, “Get the Chief Inspector down here now Suzy,” at his secretary.
            Soon three cars could be heard buzzing their way noisily up the street, while vehicles and pedestrians scrambled to get out of the way, wondering what on earth the matter could be. Up at the Café however all was calm as the stout manager stood over the unfortunate, would-be intruder.

Fifteen minutes before, a dozen guests had been happily sipping their drinks, while the manager, Bob Tay, hummed along to a tune on the radio and his young employee, Sophie, emptied the dish washer in the back kitchen. Suddenly there’d been a crash as a teenager burst through the door and ran up to the bar shouting that he had a gun. His hand was held tightly inside his jacket pocket and Bob had clearly seen the curved outline through the material, which was obviously the young man’s intention.
            “Empty the till,” the youth had yelled, “give me all your money.”
            “We haven’t got much,” stammered the shocked manager.
            “Just bag up everything or I’ll shoot you.”
            Bob glanced again at the pocket and decided he’d better do as he’d been told. Slowly he’d opened the register and started scooping the money into a plastic bag.
            It was at this point that two things had occurred to two different people. The first was that Sophie, who was still in the kitchen, decided it would be a good idea to call the police and a Mr Hadley, who was sat at a table, realised that something didn’t seem right.
            The youth’s attention was on the till so Mr Hadley got quietly to his feet and signalled another man on the other side of the room to follow him. Silently they came up behind the assailant who realised just before they reached him. He spun round and shouted, “Stop or I’ll shoot.”
            “No I don’t think you will,” said a calm Mr Hadley to the surprise of everyone, “or you would have done it straight away and moreover because you haven’t got a gun.”
            The youth was still a moment then made to strike Mr Hadley with his free hand, but before he could the other man grabbed him and slung him to the floor. Defeated the failed robber lay still realising the game was up.
            “So,” said Mr Hadley as Bob Tay came from behind the counter, “what do you have in there?” He reached down and felt in the pocket before pulling out a fresh banana. He laughed and chucked it back to the boy, who grinned too and, with little else to do, ate it.
For a second time the door crashed open and a voice shouted, “Police, freeze.”
            “Too late,” called back Mr Hadley, “but thanks for coming anyway.”
            “What’s going on?” said Sergeant Banks marching up to the counter.
            “We were being robbed by this youth,” answered Bob, “but Mr Hadley here realised he was only holding a banana, instead of a gun.”
            “What banana?” asked the Sergeant.
            “Well he’s eaten it now,” replied Mr Hadley.
            “Oh dear,” laughed Banks at the youth, “well we’ll have to charge you on destroying the evidence. I don’t suppose we could get you on armed robbery!”

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