“And lastly, I want you all to keep your eyes peeled for this clown who’s nicking telephones. Usually it’s kids trying to steal the money from phone boxes but this joker, he cuts the cable and steals the phone itself. Fuck knows what he does with them.”
The police officers, fully briefed, emptied out of the meeting room and prepared for their shifts.
“Nice work on catching that mugger last week Johnson.”
“Catching? Catching? The little fucker ran right round the corner and into his arms. Fucking junkie.”
“Ask me if I give a fuck. A collar’s a collar. And we gave him the business in the cells. Little twat, robbing old ‘uns like that.”
Meanwhile, across town in a nondescript bedsit, Wayne lay on his bed staring up at the twenty seven telephone receivers hanging from his ceiling a Cramps album playing, a cigarette dangling from his lip and a bottle of tequila in his left hand.
“So what do you reckon Johnno, this tit chopping phone cables?”
“Who the fuck knows, this town’s full of loons.”
The police car crept along the high street, the two officers straining to see the receiver in every phone box they passed.
Wayne threw on his coat and set off out into the night. He checked his flat top haircut in the shop window and gave himself a knowing wink. He felt the cable cutters in his pocket and laughed to himself as he sauntered past a phone box, minus phone, at the end of his street. The Barking Dog pub beckoned and he stopped for a pint, making small talk with the landlord. On his way out, he used the Gents then deftly clipped the phone cable from the pay phone in the hallway.
“Nice.” He put the receiver in an inside pocket of his coat. These old overcoats were great for hiding stuff he thought to himself. He fished out his Walkman, put his headphones on, inserted a Meteors tape and head out once more into the night.
“I mean, seriously, what the fuck can you do with a load of phones like that? Twenty odd they reckon in the last two weeks…”
“How the fuck would should I know? Listen, drive up by the university, there’s a block of half a dozen phones there, what’d you reckon?”
“Jesus Johnno lad, you’re good.”
Wayne gave the phone boxes the once over from his vantage point in the shadows of the university’s front doors. “All clear. Here we go. Too easy.”
“Johnno lad, look, we’ve got the fucker, that’s him for sure.”
“Oi, you yer cunt don’t fucking move!”
Wayne, naturally, took off running. The two police officers gave chase.
“Hey yer fucker, come here now!”
“Johnno, go on Johnno!.”
Johnson threw himself at Wayne’s legs and took him down with a well-timed rugby tackle, Higgins followed through with a deft kick in the ribs.
“Got yer, yer little cunt.”
The two policemen pulled Wayne up off the ground as a small crowd gathered. Johnson gave Higgins a nod as if to alert him to the fact they were been watched. No more rough stuff, do this by the book.
“Now then lad, what have you to say for yourself?”
Wayne wrestled his arm free of Johnson’s grip and reached inside his coat. Higgins moved forward and grabbed at his arm. Wayne grinned pulled out a phone and looked Higgins in the eye.
“Officer, it’s for you.”