The constable who was saving mankind by heading up me search committee seemed like a decent, amiable sort, a hardworking if completely misguided bloke. As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months without him no closer to catching me than me being elected pope, he seemed genuinely dismayed that interest in his case seemed to peter out, even as it continued to enthrall him on a daily basis. Still though, he valiantly reported each breaking update on me whereabouts, even if it was just the legal equivalent of muddying up the waters because there was never anything substantive to report save for the continuing news that no one knew where the bloody hell I was.
Sometimes his leads were downright false. As sometimes happens in these affairs, there were reports that I had left the country and had been seen in Central America and Europe and it was likely I was hiding in Argentina with whatever Nazi descendants were there. These leads were being tracked down with a canine fanaticism and sightings of me outside the States were fairly common, actually, when the truth was I was seldom farther away than a few square blocks of his office.
Me being me, eventually I had to report his fact to him.
I really wasn’t complaining about me life too much. It was pleasant enough, comfortable in the least and luxurious at need. Presuming I didn’t live forever – or have to pay for a capital crimes trial – I had sufficient quid to provide for meself till nature took me or I chose to die, whichever came first. Me life was entirely me own construction, so like everyone else, I lived what I had built. You hang around crime long enough sometimes someone gets their y-fronts in a knot and thinks you did something you didn’t do. Actually, this happens to some who don’t hang around crime at all. And if American telly was the province of bottom feeders, it’s mindlessness did help kill some idle hours.
It was not unlike serving a sentence. A life sentence and not completely of me own doing, but there you are. A concentration camp wasn’t a Jew’s doing, either. I got off easy.
I could handle the solitude. I was quite rather enjoying it, actually.
I could handle enforced celibacy. Sex was never my ruling passion.
I could handle the constraints attendant with hiding in plain sight. It beat the nick, though I missed me homeland terribly.
I was, and this might surprise you, having difficulties handling the uninterestingness, however.
I considered a variety of ways to interesting matters up a bit. Since I had it in spades, I took me time doing this which made the exercise itself a pleasant enough way to pass the time, an insight which might bloody well have some philosophical merit one century. I thought about traveling. Me papers were legit and of me own affair, but who knew what might draw suspicion and have me pulled to the side? One of the keys to success in hiding in plain sight is not being seen and not drawing undue, any, attention to yourself.
Control what you can control.
Actually, I did do some traveling. Not very far. To a neighboring borough, as they call the sections of this city here, for an art show and a night at a rather nice boutique hotel. Up north a bit for a spell in a charming small town Monica and I had good memories of. That lasted all of a night, though. You stick out like a rash in a small town. Difficult to hide in plain sight, or so I think. I was probably wrong. I never crossed state lines, a needless worry as it was hardly as if there were checkpoints at every crossing, but you think these things when you are living on the down low.
I yearned for me homeland and Monica. She wrote once, to my personal postal box, yearning for me, too, actually, and hoping I was all right. She’d heard and offered help, saying it must go without saying she knew I wasn’t a killer. Pimp, yes. Extortionist, ransom collector, sure. These were how I earned me living, she charmingly noted, but she knew I wasn’t a killer. If only I could show this letter to the constable maybe he’d change his mind. I was unable to write Monica back. I had some zero clue if her mail was opened. She was known at the cottage and the cottage was known to the constables. No sense risking anything and we could forget about seeing each other. If she was being followed hotel suites could be entered under guise and bugs placed and things with fingerprints pilfered. Unlikely, but you’ be surprised what you think of when you’re living this life.
After considering a variety of options, I decided the best way to interesting up my life was to make the constable’s life more interesting, too, and the best way to do that was to become an even bigger part of it. I decided to start off by sending him a letter. It was the 21st century and certainly other non-15th century methods were available, but this was the only one I could control. I could easily procure untraceable stationary, write it in my offhand so it resembled a child’s writing or, better yet, a ransom note and mail it from somewhere far from where I lived. Unless I delivered it to the constable personally it was foolproof, impossible to trace, key when you’re an internationally wanted, incorrectly alleged murderer.
That’s what I did. I kept my first missive short, I identified meself and to prove my bonafides – because Lord knows he probably only got a couple dozen crank letters a week – I provided the address of the flat he came to arrest me at. I told him his continued insistence that I was a murderer was doing both of us some zero good, only providing benefit to the real murderer and his organization who continue to remain above suspicion. I didn’t offer a return address but I said he could leave a classified ad in a certain section of the newspaper, to include the enclosed code word, if he was moved so to do.
He was. It took a few days, but he took out an ad, the text of which was merely the code word repeated several times, but I had his attention.
I thought I would write him again sooner than I did, but as it was, it took me several months. Merely knowing I could write him anytime I wanted to put a spring in me step and made the summer pass gleefully. For someone who is a wanted criminal the world over and was hiding in plain sight it was almost cathartic:
I had contact with the constable who was pursuing me!
Not only that, I could pop a letter in the mailbox anytime I cared to. I could write him anytime I desired and could tell him anything I wanted. I was in complete control.
Summer passed and the autumn was so pleasant I hardly wanted to spoil it by worrying the constable, and it wasn’t until it was the holidays here in the States that I decided to liven matters up by continuing our correspondence. Me second missive reiterated my belief that his focus on me was still doing him some zero good and that I was seldom farther away than a relatively short subway ride, not that I was going to be popping in to say hallo. His classified ad was short:
Message received blueberry. Come visit. We’ll work something out.
Blueberry was the code word.
Ha! I bet he’d work something out, like my incarceration and probably even death because the States was one of those countries, like the Communists and terrorists, that still killed people as punishment for doing wrong things.
Our little chit-chats were cute as hell but I wanted to make matters even more interesting, for both of us, so I went tactical: I decided to follow him, to see where it led and how I could best further interesting up our lives.
All without malice, of course.
Winter was a splendid time to do this, too, because it was common to be all bundled up and, therefore, difficult to identify. And a chameleon-like me had some zero difficulty in blending in with everyone else, especially in the public plaza the constable’s office was located on with everybody leaving for the day.
I had no idea what to expect or even what I was going to do if I saw him. I knew the building he worked in – Lord knows I‘d seen it in the background on the telly often enough – and that was about it. I had no idea where his office was in said building, nor where he entered or left it. Not that it mattered. I had nothing but time to accomplish an objective that was still under construction.
Figuring a constable of his stature didn’t spend a whole lot of time working stakeouts at three in the morning and put in normal hours, I was seated on a bench in the plaza across from the constable’s building around knock-off time. It was a pleasant enough afternoon that sitting on a bench in the middle of winter drew no suspicion. Others were doing it, too.
No luck. I sat reading me paper for an hour then left. A nice chilly winter’s day was turning cold and any more sitting would draw notice. It took two more sessions on the bench with me paper before I got lucky. The constable walked out the front door and, probably out of habit, looked around because as a working constable he is paid to know his surroundings. There was some zero reason for him to notice me.
At the bottom of the stairs, he headed right, towards the boulevard. I got up, looked around meself out of habit, and followed him. The constable was easy to follow. Not expecting company, he took no precautions and after a few blocks ducked into a subway station.
I ducked in, too, and was merely a few steps behind him when he got on his train.
I literally had no plan. Either for this escapade or the rest of my life.
I figured eventually I would be following him past this point so I stepped lively and hopped on his train just as the doors closed. He was behind me and it was a challenge keeping me eye on him, but I was able to notice when he got off and I had to hustle but I was able to get off with him. We were hardly the only ones getting off and, again, there was no reason for him to notice me. There might have been had I followed him into the tavern he ducked into, so I didn’t do that. I stood and stared at the door for a few seconds before turning around to get back on the tube.
Not for the first time in this evolution, I was exultant. I had successfully pursued, acquired and followed my pursuer. That he had some zero clue this was happening made it even more so.
The next couple of times I followed him the pattern repeated. Left the building at the same time, took the same train to the same street and went to the same bar. This information was nice, but I still had no real plan when I resumed the pursuit the following week.
Over the weekend I happened to find meself standing outside the constables favored tavern. I didn’t really know what I was doing there. I was in disguise, of course, but the last thing I certainly needed was for him to show up, pat me on the back and invite me in for a weekend brewski.
I looked around. It was an active intersection, a block or two from where the residences started. On the other corner, across the boulevard, was a petrol station, caddy-corner was a drug store and across the street a hotel. It was hardly Hotel of the Year and Monica would dismiss out of hand. I would, too, frankly, but it appeared to have rooms facing the street, any one of which would offer a splendid view of the tavern’s entrance. I went in and chatted with a desk clerk, a short, balding older gentleman who was in the mood to tell me he had spent his entire working life manning this front desk. I requested a room facing the street for a week. He said he happened to have one, quoted me the special weekly rate and asked what brought me here. I couldn’t very well say I was tailing the constable, so I said the wife kicked me out and he pursed his lips and nodded knowingly.
I still had some zero clue what I was doing, but I had a view of the entrance to the constable’s tavern for a week and this was the beauty of my mission: it could be, must be, done on my terms. And though I did spend some time at me flat, I slept there every night and sat in the lobby with a book often enough so it went without comment after a couple of days.
The constable usually spent less than an hour in the tavern, enough for a pint, maybe two if he was particularly enthusiastic. It would be a simple matter to be in position to follow him. I had already established my bonafides reading in the lobby and what would be more normal than a chap getting up and going for a walk?
You must be careful here. Tailing on a residential street is fraught with peril because you are easy to spot even if you aren’t tailing anyone. However, unless I was wearing a sign that had me name on it, I would be above suspicion if I were walking the opposite direction on the other side of the street.
It took some coordination to get this right because I didn’t know where he was heading but I got a break. Me first time out I left the hotel and took a roundabout way to a corner at the boulevard a few blocks down from the tavern in the direction the constable took after downing his pint or two. I couldn’t see the tavern, much less its entrance, but I started walking towards it about the time the constable usually left. A ways down I could see a solitary figure walking towards me on the other side of the street, a figure strikingly similar to that of the constable and after a block or so I saw him turn into a house.
My heart leapt!
Well, success is relative. It exists only in relation to failure and to have either I’d’ve had to have had a plan to compare them to, which I didn’t. No success means no failure and he who never fails always succeeds.
I knew where the constable lived!
I was hardly going to go knock on the door, but I picked up the pace and looked across at the house he had walked into. His curtains were open and I could see him and what was plainly his family still going through the rituals us humans go through when Daddy returns home from the hunt.
Daddy coming home from the hunt. A dream I’ll never see. Mainly my own doing, quite, but I could now reasonably shift some of the blame to him.
It was easy enough to note the address. I walked the few blocks back to the hotel, told the old man at the front desk my wife had taken me back, checked out and went back to me flat. On the way I went and checked me mail.
My excursion had caused me to just miss Monica. There was a letter from her saying she’d be in town and would be at a certain place at assorted times for a couple of days. Needless to say she would be delighted to see. I could read between her lines enough to know that she needed to see me. I needed to see her, too, but when I wasn’t at the appointed place at any of the offered times she left. Her letter did say that if I wasn’t there she would understand.
Despite the fact I knew it was best not to see Monica, she could be followed after all, control what I could control and all that despite the fact the chance of her being followed wasn’t much more than moderate, missing her dismissed any glee from the constable evolution. For several weeks I went through the motions of living. For company I purchased a cat from a shelter and named her Constable. Monica was too painful.
I continued to write the constable. I even sent him a birthday card, even though I wasn’t altogether sure when his birthday was.
Generally, it was mindless enough drivel though every missive continued to point out his pursuing was doing all of us some zero good. A few days after I sent it there would be the usual classified ad in the paper, usually just the code word.
Writing the constable was actually an enjoyable three-day evolution, a bit long, perhaps, for the writing and posting of a letter, but time, as noted, was a commodity I had a lot of. Although I had the same 24 hours each day everyone else had, I didn’t have a whole lot to do with them and I found taking three days to compose and send a letter actually gave some structure to the entire week.
Day one I merely did nothing more than decide to write the constable. I would make the decision, then check to make sure I was prepared, verifying I had sufficient paper and envelopes and stamps. This took two minutes. Then I spent the rest of the day considering what I was going to say and this was generally sufficient effort to celebrate with a dinner out.
Day two I spent composing the letter. This took some time. As noted, the first letters were composed by writing in me offhand, but lately I‘d complimented that with the time honored method almost as old as printing itself, cutting letters out of newspapers and magazines and pasting them to the paper, because this method is, more than any other, associated with ransom notes and it probably threw a shock into the old constable or whomever opened his mail, a prospect that caused me to smile. While I was composing Constable the cat supervised from a corner of what was quickly turning into her desk. It was where she took both her meals and her daily naps because that is where I’d put the bed I’d bought for her. After the letter was complete, usually about mid-afternoon, I tended to declare a General Holiday. I‘d turn on the telly and watch whatever was on the BBC channel until I got too homesick. Then I’d turn it to something else. For dinner I usually went to the local pizza joint and brought a pie back, a large one so I‘d have pizza – something the colonists do really well, better than the dreary Italians – for a couple of days. I dare not have it delivered.
Made a day of it on Day 3, too. I stayed up late enough on Day 2 so that I slept until mid-morning. I’d get up, get the coffee going and sit at the desk. I’d review the letter, not because it needed reviewing but because it made me feel important don’t you know, then I would address and stamp the envelope then put the letter in. After some coffee I would dress, put the letter in a pocket then head out to the tube station. I would look at the route map and decide where I wanted to go to mail me letter. I figured mailing it from a different place every time kept them on their toes. It certainly kept me on mine. I never actually entered a post office building though. Usually I would drop in the boxes out front of the building, or drop in a corner mailbox or even drop it in the outgoing slot at a private mail store. So he wouldn’t suspect where I lived I never mailed a letter from near me flat, a spot of tactical brilliance I would like to be applauded for.
I think they missed it the first time I used the constable’s home address as the return address on me letter. I know they noticed it the second time.
I had spent a month or so debating on how best to put the constable’s address to use. Him knowing I knew it would cause a fright no doubt, which was a small price for him to pay for obliging me to spend my life hiding in plain sight a pond away from me homeland. I was of no particular mind to cause a mischief. I wouldn’t be shooting his home up or sending a letter bomb or doing anything that would cause harm. Causing a fright was enough.
He knows where I live!
I thought of the obvious first: sending a letter directly to his house. But that was too obvious. I preferred something subtler and I thought further applause were deserved when I came up with the idea of putting his address in the upper left corner of the envelope. No doubt they went over me letters with a fine-tooth comb and, frankly, I was surprised they missed it the first time. Previous return addresses had been made up affairs – 918 West 35th Street was in the river, me thinks – so maybe they didn’t think twice about it the first time.
A couple of days after mailing the second one sketches of me were all over the telly and the papers again and the constable was plastered all over the telly briefing the world that he was now in correspondence with me and that he feared I might be planning to strike again. Blimey! What a blatherskite! Strike again at what, exactly? Again implies I’d done it before and I hadn’t struck at anything in the first place. I was no more likely to strike again than I was likely to start hosting a radio show.
The publicity accomplished nothing, of course. I still never appeared in public, or in me flat, frankly, looking like the sketch. And I tended to wear lifts all the time now, so I was about three inches taller than anybody thought and while I was still trim sometimes I wasn’t because I could change that at need, too. You really didn’t need to do too much to avoid detection friends, just change this or that a bit because all you really needed to do was avoid being noticed immediately. If nobody made a match of me at first glance, I was immediately forgotten.
What I really wanted to do was pick up the constable’s trail as he left work, follow him to the tavern and then proceed to his house to see the panic I had caused, but I couldn’t do that. Control what you could control and I could control not walking in front of the constable’s house when it was guarded. To have done so would have been, at best, imprudent and at worst stupid. I was obliged to take the telly’s word for it that the constable now had bodyguards when he was in public and a couple of constables standing post at his house. This was no time to get complacent or take risks. I was living well off anyone’s radar, still in plain sight and unlikely to be found.
There was no risk, though, in sitting on the bench outside the constable’s office and seeing what there was to see. He came out more or less at the usual time, this time with company. Stupid to just add a bodyguard and take the same route at the same time, but I wasn’t Head of Security. There was one constable with him and as he made his way towards the boulevard two more came from out of nowhere following them some distance back. Plainly they were looking for people following him, so maybe it wasn’t too bright after all to come sit on the bench in the plaza.
I’ve collected too many ransoms to panic, but I wasn’t at all warm and fuzzy inside and I took a thousand and one precautions going home. Rode the same line of the tube up and back a few times. Then I hopped on another line and took that one way for a long way, until there had been a complete turnover in the car. To be even more sure I wasn’t being followed, I took a taxi to a random place, got out and got on the subway again, repeating the process once more. All this took a couple of hours but I was certain no one was following me. Actually, I was certain after an hour, but I added the extra hour for good measure.
Actually, I was certain after a few minutes. Control what you can control and all that.
Content with the havoc I’d wrought, and with the fact I could work it again at need, I shut down communications with the constable for a few months. Life was routine and not too bad, especially when compared to the alternative. I slept when I felt like it, rose when convenient, did what I pleased, consistent with the life I was obliged to live.
I was even coming to terms with the fact Monica and I had seen the last of each other. My last financial audit showed I still had more money than I would ever need. Searches for me, which was never more than some constable dickhandling, continued to turn up nothing, which was all they would ever turn up. The constables had some zero clue what I looked like or what name me papers were under or anything about me really. The usual sightings of me in the usual places were reported, though I think enthusiasm for tracking these down was diminishing because even the dense constable must have realized that while I might be able to fly from here to there, it was unlikely I would risk it. I had shown no propensity for stupidity and I wasn’t likely to start now. I liked to think the constable settled in with the belief that I was, and had always been, never too far from him.
What I really wanted to do was interesting matters up again by taking it up a level and moving communications with the constable kicking and screaming into the current century. I had tossed me mobile after almost getting nicked. I wasn’t entirely certain mobile calls could be traced, but I wasn’t entirely certain they couldn’t, either.
Nowadays, though, it is possible to buy mobiles virtually anywhere for just a few quid. You could throw them away when you were done with them. The possibilities were endless! I could buy a phone, call the constable, and toss the phone and repeat the process whenever I felt like it. The only danger was running out of phones to purchase! Even if they could trace the call, which I doubted, good luck getting the army required to me location before I tossed the phone in the can and ducked into the tube.
So one day I went looking for a phone. In the Asian part of town I found a store that seemed to sell everything: electronics, gawd-awful fish only they could identify, assorted financial products, even clothes. He seemed surprised when I asked for a mobile, called cells over here, in his native language. My command of his language was more working knowledge than fluency because I didn’t use it all that often, but I have the language knack and we were able to chat in his language exclusively. Me simple requirements were easy enough to meet and the instructions easy and within a half-hour I was mobile again.
I didn’t use it immediately. I took it home and let Constable the cat paw it as if in inspection, and I told her what I intended to use it for. She meowed acknowledgment, or maybe she was hungry.
Again, I was rather content with my newfound power, so I ignored the phone for a while. Pestering the constable was merely a means. The end was really nothing more than me protesting my routine life by adding some structure and interestingness to it. I‘d pester the constable when I chose to pester the constable.
For what turned out to be a mobile call of a few seconds I took an awful lot of precautions. You’d’ve thought I was setting out for a reception with the monarch. I bathed and dressed in everything but my finest robes.
I was nowhere near me flat when I called the constable at his office. He answered merely with his last name and I said our code word and that was that. He was plainly taken aback and I was, too, frankly, and so I rang off. I had no prepared remarks to fall back on and spontaneity, usually a trusty companion, had deserted me.
I called him right back, uttered the code word and told him I meant him and his family some zero harm and the sooner he stopped promulgating this nonsense that I was a murderer the better off everyone would be. I gave him no chance to reply and immediately rang off.
There. That showed him.
The phone rang back immediately but I didn’t answer. I stopped by a trash can, broke the phone in two, threw one part in the trash and walked a few blocks before throwing the other half away. If this drew attention, so be it. It’s me mobile and if I want to break it in half and toss it in trash cans a couple of blocks apart, well, I forked over me quid for it. Good luck stopping me.
Calling the constable was not the most brilliant idea in the history of intrigue. It served its purpose, causing a fright, but it was quite impractical and probably not much of a fright was caused besides. Not sure I wasn’t being traced, I bought a new, disposable phone for each call and chats were kept short, just in case they were able to laser in on me in short order. I suppose I could have actually done some research and found whether this was or was not possible, but I couldn’t be bothered. A man in my position probably would have taken the same precautions anyway.
Just for funsies, I texted Mauricio to see what he had shaking. If he was surprised at hearing from me for the first time in years he reserved that for himself. He was as familiar as ever, chatty as if we were in constant contact.
He had news.
The assistant warden, peeved at me, had turned me in and it was a stroke of luck he had been notified by our plant at the constables of the issued warrant when he had been. I had come that close to being nicked.
The Chairman asked after me from time to time, as if he didn’t already know everything it was possible to know about me, and sent regards.
Monica had had a spell. The constables had, of course, connected the two of us. They had questioned her at the cottage and she remembered me advice about never talking to the coppers and when it became clear she was unwilling to answer their questions, much less turn me, they arrested her for being a courtesan. Since Monica’s client list read in no small part like a government phone listing, this nonsense was dropped after discreet involvement of the heir apparent, another heir presumptive and the cabinet secretary and a member of the College of Cardinals, among others. But Monica was now out of the business and living comfortably in her adopted European home. Mauricio advised what I’d long suspected, that Monica’s comings and goings were noted and her mail read and it was not safe to see her. He ended by saying I was in favor at the Firm and could easily be smuggled out of the country and shoved underground back home, but I’ve been underground back home and it was worse than this, a dreary existence except for the fact it was back home. Besides, I didn’t altogether believe I was welcome back at the Firm, although I had no reason to doubt Mauricio.
I did manage to get in a chat of some substance with the constable. As usual, he answered with his last name and I said Mr Blueberry was at his service. He asked if I was still asserting me innocence and I said of course. He suggested the easiest way to settle this matter was for me to enter custody and we could sort this matter out. He said I’d have the chance to prove me innocence. Ha! I advised him that like the rest of humanity I was unable to prove a negative. He finished by saying he’d be willing to visit with me solicitor if I had one. I thanked him and hung up. I still wasn’t taking any chances. Even if he did have the master mobile phone detector on his desk and was able to summon every crime fighter in the colonies at his disposal, good luck finding me because once I tossed the phone and ducked into a tube station, I would be impossible to find.
Getting a solicitor wasn’t too bad an idea, actually. As if I could drum up a solicitor, though. As if one of the most wanted criminals on the planet could just sashay into a firm and set up an appointment. Not bloody likely.
I laid low for a year. Merely existing intrinsically, but circumstantially a pleasant and easy enough life. But, really, each night I was merely knocking off another day of my life and each morning I got up and set a course to knock off yet another day. I was barely middle-aged, enjoyed good health and probably had dozens more years of my sentence to knock off. Constable the cat helped, as did reminders that this was infinitely better than the nick. When I allowed meself to, I missed Monica.
I thought back to the athletes I saw at the Games, each one waking every morning to answer to something summoning them from deep inside, answering an inner yearning I could not relate to. While they made their time serve them by chasing medals, I merely served time. I wasn’t even able to collect ransoms anymore. I was completely out of any game that mattered.
Still though, Constable the cat reminded me to be grateful for my simple, leisurely life. Most people didn’t have one. Most people scrambled. Some got rich and some spent their lives bickering with their wife and snot-nosed kids in some lousy flat, some disrobed for royalty in exchange for a fee. Giving Constable the cat tummy rubs reminded me I was not going to work in the dreary carpentry shop every morning.
Some more time passed. Again, I was content with the knowledge that I could cause a mischief for the constable whenever it suited me. Eventually, of course, that would change. Knowledge would be trumped by action.
The camera was another burst of inspiration that brought more terror, and nothing else, to the constable’s world. He would later say that while nothing would ever compare to the fright of noticing his home address on one of me envelopes, receiving pics of his kids came mighty close.
As always, I was bored and looking for ways to interesting up both my experience on this planet and the constable’s life as well.
My latest disposable mobile purchase, which I had kept instead of tossing, provided the inspiration. I was fiddling around with it taking photos of Constable the cat when it hit me: wouldn’t pictures of the constable – or, better yet, his wife and kids – make an adorable present?
Of course they would.
I couldn’t use the camera on me mobile, of course, since I would have to get right up next to them to get a decent shot, but I had learned a few things with the Firm. Invariably there were close up shots of potential kidnap victims floating around the shop and there were special cameras used for this. They were made for spies, but we managed to get our hands on them, too. I never used them when I was operational, but I had farted around with them in the shop, so I had some familiarity with them. My personal favorites clipped onto a lapel or were hidden in a pair of sunglasses and both were remotely operated.
The city had a few novelty shops that sold stuff like this. Most of them were not very high quality and I had to go to another borough before I found one that sold the quality gear I demanded. I told the bloke I needed a hidden camera, a sunglasses one preferably, though a lapel one would do, too. I added I was looking for something good, not the cheap stuff I had seen at a couple of other shops. To emphasize my discernment in this matter, I mentioned the names of two of his competitors. He nodded with appropriate scorn, and led me to a display towards the back of the store. His selection wasn’t large but he had both sunglasses and lapel cameras, all plainly first-rate, and he was patient in showing me both. I took some shots with each, at varying distances, and then he showed them to me on a computer screen. One particular pair of sunglasses stood out for its range and quality. Not surprisingly, it was the most expensive. I bought it. The constable is entitled to me very best.
Then he asked what kind of computer I would be using to download them onto.
Blimey! I hadn’t thought of that.
I told him I had no idea. So I didn’t completely lose face, I added dismissively I would be purchasing something new for this endeavor. He bought it, nodded knowingly, adding this particular model was compatible with everything.
After purchasing me camera I went to a library, dug out a phone book and looked up where to buy a computer. I had no idea. I’d never bought one. I was living so under the radar I didn’t even pay for the intrusion of Internet access into me flat. Control what you can control. Without the Internet in me flat no one could trace me. With it, I wasn’t sure. Better to know than not be sure. Better to live like I was than live in the nick or be strapped to a gurney.
I went to a chain store near the library. A young lady greeted me and since she asked I told her yes, in fact, she could help me, I needed a laptop. Reasonably, she asked me what I was going to use it for.
When in doubt, tell the truth. I didn’t tell her I was on the constable’s most wanted list, but I did say I needed to download and print photos from me sunglasses camera. To show my good faith in the matter, I produced the sunglasses from me pocket. God bless her, she didn’t even blink. She nodded and asked that I follow her. It was if she routinely served people who downloaded photos from their sunglasses.
She showed me a laptop and took the time required to insure I knew how to work it. We took pictures then downloaded them and she showed me how to hook up the cable that came with the sunglasses to some ‘port’ on the side. A box popped up and she showed what to click to get the pics, as she called them, into a folder. I told her I’d need a printer, too, and she sold me one of those, too, again providing appropriate instructions. I paid cash for me rig and gave her a generous gratuity to boot.
Despite the fact she was a diva, eventually Constable the cat grew weary of being me model, though there was the benefit of yours truly becoming completely familiar with the indoor use of my sunglass camera, useful if I were ever in the same room with the constable wearing me sunglasses.
I put on me sunglasses and went for a walk. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, the kind that stays in your memory and gets you through winter and the type where me sunglasses drew no more notice than me trousers. Me goal was to field test me sunglasses camera, specifically lighting and distance. There is a big park right in the middle of the big borough that was splendidly suited for this purpose. I took pictures of people standing, sitting, walking and playing, both at close range at distance. Back at me flat, I download the whole lot. Pics up to about 75 feet come out well. Longer than that were less good. Me printer worked splendidly.
Now all I had to do was get within 75 feet of the constable.
Chapter 6: The Operation and Another Escape
Chapter 8: Lights, Camera, Action