Inspired by the following Decamot items: Rome, pea, football, policeman, village, John, hospital, battleship, leopard, cushion
“Rome wasn’t built in a day!” stated D S Elder as they negotiated their third diversion due to ‘roadworks’
“If it had been, we would surely have used their builders!” responded his new recruit glibly from the passenger’s seat
“Ok clever clogs” growled his superior officer “So what’s your suggested best route to get us to the hospital without getting sucked into and waylaid by the football crowd. You know it’s a cup match tonight”
“Well, surely highways division has taken that into account?” his subordinate queried.
“You’d like to think so” was the morose response.
“Isn’t that what some of the diversions are about?”
John settled down to look out of his side window keeping further thoughts to himself. He had thought that being a policeman would be different to this, the endless road miles at snail’s pace was beginning to get him down. He had imagined walking briskly about in the community getting to know the key figures and be recognised in return. Now the police car acted as a cushion between themselves and life on the street.
“Give it time” sympathised his elderly colleague who had spent 40 years with the Met. “Rome wasn’t built in a day”
“Oh no, not that again” thought John but he also thought better of being drawn in to making a reply.
How had his Uncle and his granddad coped for all their years in the police service? He was beginning to wonder. Would he ever get their satisfaction and feeling of fulfilment from a career in the Force? Was it so different in their day?
“Wake up sonny!” It was more of a command than a gentle nudge “you will get a better view of our patch from behind the wheel than being chauffeured. You can take over from here!”
The burly figure pulled over to the side of the road and John quickly leapt out of the passenger seat. He opened the driver’s door respectfully and they changed places.
“Which way, Sir?” he queried, hoping it was not an initiative test.
The older man settled himself back in his seat and closed his eyes momentarily.
His mind wandered back to his early days on the beat as a village Bobby. It was easier then to ease your way into the job, keep your head down, follow orders and wait to be noticed for promotion. It was like a game of battleships out there. If you didn’t come in at graduate level now you had to make your mark right away. He looked across at his young colleague and relented.
“So, what do you have in mind for tonight laddie?” he began conversationally as John pulled out of the layby.
“Oh, err, well. Get a bit of supper and err do some studying” he replied vaguely trying not to make it sound like the highlight of his day. After all he had been advised to sound career minded as though he lived for his work, first and foremost. In actual fact, his mind was more on his supper and the studying would be the cookery supplement on cooking for vegetarians in the weekend newspaper. He rather fancied trying the recipe for minted pea risotto.
“So, when does your board come up?” broke in his colleague “If you need any help you have only got to ask.”
Startled, John turned his head at this unexpected interest in his welfare.
“Oh, don’t mind me, my barks worse than my bite so they tell me!” his superior chuckled.
Perhaps a leopard can change his spots after all, thought John.