Family Loyalty – Part 2
Lithgow, New South Wales
Continued from yesterday …
More angry than heartbroken, Richard concentrated on his studies and became involved in university life. He belonged to several extracurricular societies, including debating and chess, and edited the student newspaper. Both cousins, if they ever thought about it, would have hoped never to see each other again.
Then there came a day which Richard was to remember forever as The Great Day. A local coffee shop and restaurant was much frequented by his fellow university students. Richard and some of his fellow students had arranged to hold a newspaper editorial meeting in those hospitable surroundings. As he approached he discovered that the footpath was closed and one traffic lane was blocked. There, with four other workers, was Cousin Norm juddering away with the jack hammer.
Richard ignored his cousin and found a way into the coffee shop to join his colleagues. Before ordering coffee, he sat down to think. University had taught him many things, including the students’ talent for elaborate pranks and for ‘taking the piss’. Always scholarly and conscientious, Richard had not taken part in such doings but nevertheless had listened to stories and anecdotes with great admiration. A plan began to take place in his creative mind.
He picked up his mobile phone but before making a call he informed everyone of his intention. Cleverness must have an audience and they gathered around while he telephoned the local Police Station.
‘I wish to report a public disturbance,’ he told the policewoman who answered.
He continued, ‘There’s a gang of workers digging up the road a couple of blocks from the university.’
‘One lane’s completely blocked and traffic can hardly move.’
‘So, what are you reporting?’ the policewoman asked, ‘It doesn’t sound like a police matter.’
‘They’re not really workers,’ Richard continued, hardly able to keep the joy from his voice. ‘They’re university students dressed up as council workers. It’s part of a uni prank.’
The policewoman began to sound interested.
‘Give me the precise address,’ she said.
Richard gave the address then added, ‘There’s a crowd watching. It’s causing quite a disturbance. You’ll probably need a couple of cars.’
He clicked off his phone.
Vividly remembering past injustices and humiliations and with the other students silently cheering him on, Richard left the coffee shop and strolled across the road. He signaled Norm who switched off the jack hammer and gave his cousin, Richard, the ‘schoolboy’, an enquiring look.
‘The cops are on their way,’ Richard told him.
‘Coppers?’ Norm repeated. ‘Nothin’ to do with us. We’re just working here, minding our own business.’
‘Well, they’re not really police.’ Richard was full of helpful information ‘They’re uni students in hired uniforms. It’s all part of a “muck-up” week. I know these blokes; I’m at uni with them.’
Norm looked thoughtful. ‘Fair dinkum? On the level?’ he asked.
Richard gave him his most honest and open look, he then enthusiastically nodded.
‘I’d better tell the others,’ Norm said.
Richard said, ‘Yeah, they’re only students. Give ’em heaps. I mean, don’t threaten anyone with a shovel but don’t hold back on the language. They can’t arrest you.’
Norm, apparently in the sure and certain knowledge that he could handle anything wimpy students could do, stood to his full height and said, ‘Bring it on.’
Richard strolled back to the coffee shop, ordered a round of lattes and promised his colleagues some entertainment. He perched on a stool where he and his committee had a clear view through the window.
His triumph was complete when two police cars and a paddy wagon came rumbling down the street.
Bio: Winsome Smith’s latest book, Tales the Laundress Told can be obtained from http://www.balboapress.com.au/ and amazon, in both print on demand and ebook formats.