Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Page Forty Nine - The Rain in Spain (Copcast #164)

George was sitting alone at the team table in the canteen, catching up with two weeks worth of paperwork, when half of the Relief piled in for refs. They greeted him in the usual boisterous round of "welcome back" and "how was the holiday?" A couple of his colleagues noted that he hadn't been his usual chirpy self since he'd got back and wondered if everything was all right.

George put down his pen and pushed his papers and files aside as he looked around the familiar faces of his Relief, mostly tucking into their breakfasts but almost all had their eyes on him. As he paused a moment before continuing, a hush actually fell over the gathering, then he said "Spain was okay, apart from getting nicked that is."

Suddenly there was uproar. His team threw a torrent of questions at him about what had happened while a couple of  others howled with laughter, one poor soul slipped sideways and fell off his chair, taking a bowl of cornflakes with him that ended up over his uniform. Gradually order returned and the flood of questions subsided enough for George to be heard and, as one cornflake and milk covered officer reclaimed his seat while brushing his uniform futilely, he began to tell them the events of his holiday.

George and his family had gone to Spain for two weeks of sun, sand and sangria, the flight was fine, the hotel was comfortable and the unwinding had been going well. A week into the holiday and everyone was in high spirits and enjoying themselves relaxing doing pretty much nothing more strenuous than moving from the poolside to the bar and back again. George suggested they hire a car for a couple of days and explore some of the local area and perhaps visit a few of the tourist attractions.

The family agreed it was a good idea and the next day they collected an unremarkable saloon car from the local car hire office. Carefully at first but with growing confidence, George became accustomed with driving on the wrong side of the road, in other words on the right hand side. One car in particular caught his attention, an open top Jeep behind them, occupied by four or five excited youths that seemed more interested in standing on their seats dancing than the road and other cars.

Sure enough, despite giving it extra room and time for braking, the Jeep tail-ended the Saint family car to the accompaniment of squealing and smoking tyres, as George came to a stop at a set of red lights. George checked his family were safe and unhurt before he got out and walked slowly back to the Jeep that was now embedded in the back of his rental car. Actually the damage wasn't so bad and it didn't take long for George, using a mixture of broken English and Spanish, to do the necessary exchange of details with the other driver. Both vehicles then continued their journeys in different directions and George's family enjoyed a day among vineyards and small market towns before returning to the hotel in the evening.

When George told the man in the car rental office what had happened he didn't seem unduly concerned, especially since no one had been hurt. He only asked that George fill out an accident form with a sketch of the accident scene. George decided he would include photographs of the accident site as well, so the next morning he drove back to the junction alone with a camera. He had managed to take shots of the approach to the junction, the junction itself and the skid-marks on the road surface left by the Jeep, when he was suddenly joined by a marked car complete with flashing lights and sirens. George had time to notice the words 'Guarda Civil' painted on the side of the car as four burly, uniformed and armed officers burst out of the car. He didn't even have time to think to himself "that's odd" before he found himself face down on the road surface with an MP5 muzzle at the back of his neck.

Very slowly George reached for his warrant card and pulled it from his back right pocket, a booted foot pinned his wrist to the tarmac as the warrant card was snatched from his grip. Almost immediately he was hauled to his feet and dusted down by his captors, one of whom handed him back his warrant card with a smile and an apology in perfect English. The Spanish officer continued to explain that they had been called because a suspicious man had been seen taking photographs there. George looked confused until the officer pointed out that the building they were stood beside was a bank, the bank staff were sure that George was doing the preparation work for an armed robbery there.

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