London Calling

John Hartnett
 


Visitors: 305

LONDON, April 4, 2007 (Reuters) – Close circuit cameras are to be fitted with loudspeakers to allow security staff to berate people spotted dropping litter, vandalizing property or fighting, the British government said Wednesday.

Audio transcripts derived from conversations between Constable Thomas Coffey and Constable Edna Borges, the very first team assigned to the new video & audio berating surveillance monitoring program located at Middlesbrough Security Station.

April 5, 2007: 9:33AM

Edna: Here’s someone now, Thomas, see the older gentleman in the suit? Looks like he has a drink in his right hand. Let me zoom in a bit. Yes, it appears to be a diet soda. Do we warn him not to toss the can on the ground or must we wait until he actually does toss it on the ground?

Thomas: An ounce of prevention never hurt, Edna. Remind the potential litterer that the rubbish bin’s just down the corner, there.

Edna: (audible microphone click) EXCUSE ME, SIR? YES, YOU THERE WITH THE CAN OF LIQUID IN YOUR RIGHT HAND. Oh, dear, Thomas! He’s fallen to his knees and is clutching his ears.

Thomas: You had the speaker on maximum, Edna. Turn it down a bit.

Edna: How silly of me. (audible microphone click) IF YOU’VE FINISHED WITH YOUR DRINK, YOU MAY PLACE IT IN THE RUBBISH BIN LOCATED… I think I’ve alarmed him, he’s running away.

Thomas: And he’s dropped his can on the ground as well, although in retrospect, I doubt that was his original intention. Perhaps we should wait for an infraction before addressing anyone.

April 5, 2007: 10:33 AM

Thomas: Anything, Edna?

Edna: Quite as a mouse, I’m afraid, Thomas.

April 5, 2007: 11:09 AM

Thomas: Anything?

Edna: No.

April 5, 2007: 12:18 PM

Thomas: (audible microphone click)HER NAME WAS LOLA, SHE WAS A SHOWGIRL. WITH YELLOW FEATHERS IN HER HAIR AND A DRESS CUT DOWN TO THERE. SHE WOULD MERENGUE AND DO THE CHA-CHA

Edna: They’re starting to come out of the shops now, Thomas.

Thomas: AT THE COPA, COPACABANA! THE HOTTEST SPOT NORTH OF HAVANA! Any suspicious faces in the crowd?

Edna: No, doesn’t appear to be.

Thomas: AT THE COPA! COPACABANA-A-A-A-! Anything?

Edna: No. Better knock it off, Thomas.

April 5, 2007: 2:37 PM

Edna: Thomas! We’ve got a group of young people entering the square. I’d say at least 20, Thomas. They seem to be moving with quite a purpose.

Thomas: Here it comes, Edna. Protesters most likely, possibly anarchists. England’s given them the shirt off its back and they stomp all over it. What are they doing now?

Edna: Let me zoom in. It appears they’re holding hands, two by two and the leader is urging them forward.

Thomas: Probably chained themselves together. I’ll give the crafty bastards the what for! (audible microphone click) YOU THERE!

Edna: Stand by, Thomas. They can’t be more than twelve years old, except for the leader; she looks to be in her thirties.

Thomas: HALT! DO NOT TAKE ANOTHER STEP UNTIL I GIVE THE ORDER. STATE YOUR BUSINESS HERE IN MIDDLESBROUGH!

Thomas: What is she saying?

Edna: Can’t make it out. Let me open the window. (sound of window opening) WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE?

Outside voice: Alice Wilkins, headmistress of the Pinebrook Academy and we’re taking a class trip to see how they make scones over at the pastry shop. (sound of window being shut).

Thomas: (audible microphone click) DO YOU HAVE A PERMIT TO HOLD HANDS?

Edna: Doubt it’s required, Thomas. She’s won this round.

Thomas: GET MOVING! YOU THERE! NO SKIPPING!

April 5, 2007: 3:53 PM

Thomas: Over there! Stray dog milling about but …no sign of an owner, though.

Edna:(audible microphone click) ATTENTION, ATTENTION! THERE IS A DOG OFF ITS LEASH. IF THIS IS YOUR DOG AND YOU ARE WITHIN THE SOUND OF MY VOICE, COLLECT HIM OR HER IMMEDIATELY! I REPEAT, COLLECT THIS STRAY ANIMAL IMMEDIATELY OR WE SHALL HAVE IT IMPOUNDED! THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING!

Thomas: Doesn’t look like anyone’s even in the area. Looks like he’s having a bit of a lie down.

Edna: (audible microphone click) SHOO! SCATT! GRRRRRRRRRRR.

April 5, 2007: 4:59 PM

Edna: Check out this couple coming out of the pastry shop. That man’s got to be more than 400 pounds.

Thomas: Why do people let themselves get so fat? Passive form of suicide, as far as I’m concerned.

Edna: I never thought of it that way, Thomas, but I think you’re right. Suicide’s illegal, isn’t it?

Thomas: Of course.

Edna: (audible microphone click) YOU THERE, IN FRONT OF THE PASTRY SHOP! SPIT OUT THAT. Zoom in a bit, Thomas; I can’t see what he’s eating.

Thomas: It’s a pastry of some kind. Has glazed sugar all over it.

Edna: Dear God. (audible microphone click) SPIT OUT THAT PASTRY, AND REMOVE YOURSELF TO HOSPITAL FOR IMMEDIATE PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION. TOSS THE REST OF YOUR PASTRY IN THE BIN. YES, THERE! AND GET SOME HELP. YOU HAVE YOUR WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF YOU! I REPEAT. YOU HAVE YOUR WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF YOU!

Thomas: Look! You’ve even got him jogging a bit. Well done, Edna. You’ve saved a life today, you have.

Edna: You're too kind, Thomas. I’d say we’ve both done our part to keep the peace today, haven’t we?

Thomas: We have at that, Edna. (audible microphone click) OI SONNY!. STOP BOUNCING THAT BALL AGAINST THE SHOP WALL OR YOU’LL BE BOUNCING IT INSIDE SPRING HILL LOCK UP!

John Hartnett is the owner of Early Bird Publishing, and a distributor for Send Out Cards. http://www.sendoutcards.com/hartnett

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