‘This is the Police. Come out with your hands in the air!’
Three police cars parked strategically around the front of the gas station. The alarm had been activated and the police were called in. There had been a spate of break-ins and they had finally caught the culprit in the act. Firearms used in the previous two robberies made the police nervous. They guarded themselves behind squad cars where the faint smell of body odour and heated engine oil mingled. Neighbours awakened by the early dawn invasion gathered cautiously outside their homes to observe the commotion.
‘Do you hear me? This is Police Officer Brody. Come out with your hands up!’
The door opened slowly, revealing a small laced-up boot. The officers dropped down behind their vehicles, guns cocked.
‘Please don’t shoot,’ a quiet trembling voice responded.
The door opened a little further and an elderly woman hobbled out. She was stooped low and walked with a cane.
‘Ma’am, please step out into the open and put down your….. cane.’
She dropped the cane and raised her hands as far as her skinny arms would allow. Officer Brody stepped forward to access the situation. He motioned Police Officer Mandy Walters to carry out a search. Brody steadied the shaken old lady with his powerful hand under her elbow. Officer Walters placed the crooked walking stick back into an arthritic hand. She obviously didn’t want to embarrass the startled petite woman any further by searching her.
With an indignant expression, the woman faced the officer in charge. ‘I think there has been a mistake. You see, I left my keys in the bathroom and when I went back in I noticed I had grease on my skirt.’ She rubbed at the spot on her weathered skirt.
‘I tried to wash it, but I had to take it off because the skirt wouldn’t reach the faucet. I locked myself in so no one would disturb me. Unfortunately, I think the nice man at the counter must have closed up for the night and didn’t realize I was still there.’
‘Where is your car, ma’am?’
‘Oh! No sir! I don’t own a car. That’s my motorcycle.’ She lifted her cane and pointed with her bent fingers past the squad cars and confused police officers. A Harley Davison sheltered under an ancient oak tree glistened in the morning sunlight.
‘Ma’am, I find this all hard to believe. Tell me how you were in there all night without triggering the alarm?’
‘Well, you see…. I sat on the toilet seat to adjust my tights and I slipped off into the corner. I was stuck and didn’t have the energy to get up until this morning. When I left the bathroom I was aware that I couldn’t get out so I shook the door. That pesky alarm just kept screaming at me.’
Brody scratched his head, completely mesmerized while she shuffled towards the Harley across the road. She mounted the motorcycle with a little difficulty, but unwavering. She placed an opened-face helmet over her greying, outdated hairstyle.
Using her key, the engine started up with a roar. Poking the cane into a side pouch, she flipped the kickstand up and drove off in one smooth movement. Officer Brody glanced at a smug-faced Walters before replacing his gun into its holster.
‘What are you looking at? You can do the report when we get back.’
© Chrissy Siggee