Mirth and Woe: Bad Dog IV
It is probably completely politically incorrect of me to say so, but I am a big fan of our local police force. Every time I've had to call them out, they've arrived within ten minutes, put the wrongdoers in their place (at the bottom of a specially-constructed flight of concrete stairs at Weymouth nick) and generally acted like the professionals that they are.
This efficiency probably has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Minister of State for Schools lives just round the corner, at all.
It is only when police are taken out of their natural environment of hassling the kids and writing out speeding tickets with the admonishment "What if there had been a child in the road" (The correct answer being, of course, "I'd teach the little bastard for ignoring the Green Cross Code") that they become utterly hopeless.
For example, school summer fetes.
It is the law of school summer fetes that there should be at least one of the following:
- a badly choreographed maypole
- a terrifying display of Tae Kwon Do
- at least one emergency service on a public relations trip
Living as I do on the coast, we have the privilege of the coastguard coming along and perving everybody up in his wetsuit. Other schools are not so lucky. They get a visit from The Law.
Usually, the deal runs to PC Copper turning up on his push-bike and letting the girls have a go on his truncheon. Everybody goes home happy apart from the kid who insisted on a demonstration of practical hand-cuffing, who is, as we speak in the metalwork rooms having his arms sawn off.
One year, the coastguard chap was double-booked, so we were forced to slum it with the gentlemen of the Dorset Constabulary. Luckily, one of the teachers had a friend-of-a-friend at the Police Training College, so the school was blessed with a special visit. A dog handler.
Not just any dog handler. Dorset's TOP (and quite possibly, knowing our local services budget, only) dog handler. He even had a dog, which was a bit of a bonus, all told.
In celebration of this remarkable coup, the school pushed the boat right out, and organised one of those novelty dog shows that you thought had been stamped out years ago. Dogs with knobbly knees, that sort of thing. Billy Butlin would be turning in his grave.
No matter, for the competition was all but forgotten once our boy in blue - a sergeant, no less - turned up with Fang.
Fang was a huge, scary Alsatian who had tasted human flesh, and longed to taste it again.
Fang was also - as most dogs are - just one meal from turning back into a wolf.
Luckily for us, Fang obeyed his master to the letter and amused the crowd to a number of tricks, right up to and including chasing one of the braver padded suit-clad teachers, slobbering all over his arm until told to stop.
Alas, it was the request to jump through one firey hoop too many that proved to be Fang's undoing.
You could see it it his eyes: "Fuck that for a bowl of Marrowbone Pal".
Fang legged it.
However, his escape not no simple doggy plan to run amok in a crowded field of screaming, tasty children.
Fang's escape was one with purpose.
He charged like an arrow across the arena and across the school field, as if he had the smell of runaway drug addict on his nostrils.
He landed squarely on the back end of The Dog That Looks Most Like Its Owner.
There were screams.
There were shouts.
Small children rang in small, confused circles until they collided - bleeding and vomiting - head-on into each other. I dare say some of that vomit even found its way into a hedge, but your humble narrator's attention was elsewhere.
For there is nothing quite so funny as two dogs copulating in front of visiting clergy.
"Fetch a bucket!" a shrill, large breasted woman shouted, as Canon Hugo attempted an exorcism. Alas, there was no stopping this hell-hound, and he humped away at The Dog That Looked Most Like Its Owner, as The Owner That Looked Most Like Its Dog watched helplessly.
At last, our visiting officer of the law had seen enough and gathered his wits sufficiently to call his charge to heel.
Too late. He already had.
If that's not police brutality, I don't know what is.