It was quick and clean
the lock didn’t suffer
neatly decapitated … lying on the ground
the chain dangling
still swirling gently –
the bike gone.
The security man was weary
took no details – only a phone number
promised nothing. He kept his promise.
The policeman was cheerful
took lots of details,
my phone number
gave me a number – “ for your insurance company.”
What did I think it was worth?
Mountain bikes grow old so quickly
about $250 I guessed
“they probably sold for $100 in a bar ”
$50 thought the policeman – “a tab of meth.”
“ No, I’m really sorry, I can’t do that
Could you …..?
No, I’m simply not allowed to.
Would you …. ?
No, I’d really like to be able to help, but this is non-negotiable
Can you ….?
No, sometimes there’s a loophole … but not this time.
What if ….?
Hell, if I did that, they’d sting me up – by the testes
How about …?
Look, I’m sympathetic …. I bend the rules when I can
and if they can’t be bent … some flexing might be possible …
but this is watertight
I’ve heard …..?
Some things pass without being checked upstairs –
but this won’t – no way.
Is there ……?
No, no, please…. I’d lose my job
Are you able to ….?
NO, LISTEN, I JUST CAN’T DO IT
okay, okay don’t get shirty.”
Laughter and applause greet the words
neither is deserved
A mixture of platitudes and dilute humour
it’s what the occasion demands.
There are no expectations
except the expected
predictable and sanitised
brief and meaningless.
Deception as protocol
principle faces down temptation.
Defects are scribed with invisible ink
virtues shone with floodlight.
Difficulties never existed
only solutions that might have been
The perfect employee
sad to see you gone
the place will never be the same.