Sunday, 19 February 2012

Floral delivery

I haven't had very many encounters with the police or emergency services in my life.  Today I called 000 to attend a very violent argument somewhere in my apartment block.  Living in such close quarters with other people makes me nervous when there are volatile, angry men around.

The call reminded me of one of the earlier encounters I had with police, not long after I moved to Melbourne.

I was living in Richmond in a double fronted worker's cottage and had one of the front bedrooms.  I remember it was a Thursday night at about 9:45pm.  I had just watched "ER" on TV and was lying in bed reading.  My room had one of those old wooden sash windows that slides up and down and can be propped open at various certain heights. It was April, so quite cool at night, but I had the window propped open about a hand span.

Suddenly the blinds and curtain rattled and I saw a hand coming through the window!  I screamed and ran out of my room.  One of my house mates ran towards me and screamed when she ran headlong into me.  There was a lot of screaming.

"There was a hand.  A man!  Through the window!"  I screamed at her.

We looked at each other, wide-eyed and pushed open my bedroom door wide enough to see that there was a bunch of flowers on the floor of my room.  No people and no hands.  We pulled the curtain and blinds back and saw smudges of hand prints in the dust on the window sill.

Flowers! I threw them outside, sealed up the window tight and slept with the light on and my tennis racket beside me.

The next morning I called a friend who was a member of the police force and told him what had happened.  He asked me if I had called the police and when I told him I hadn't (it hadn't even crossed my mind) he suggested I should.  So I did.

I called the local station directly.

"Junior Acting Trainee Probationary Constable Smith speaking?" an uncertain sounding voice said at the other end of the line.

This would be interesting.  I told the story of what had happened the night before.  He duly listened and then asked: "Did the hand have any distinguishing features?"

All I could think to say in response was "Four fingers and a thumb.  And some flowers. Which were left behind."

"And did the hand belong to a male or female personage?"

"Male, I think."

"What distinguished the personage's hand as being of a male persuasion?"

"It was big and hairy. The hand I mean."

Suddenly the whole thing felt very silly.  When he asked for a description of the flowers I started to giggle.  I gasped out a description and waited.

Junior Acting Trainee Probationary Constable Smith paused and then provided a very accurate recap of the story, translated into police-speak.  He then said: "Why are you providing this information?"

Because there's an outrageously generous florist out there, scaring the pants of unsuspecting women by strewing flowers randomly through open windows?

Instead I said: "I just thought I should let you know in case you know of similar incidents in the neighbourhood or in case one comes to light.  Should I do anything?"

"I suggest you make a note of what has happened so that you remember for next time," was his winningly helpful suggestion.

He said he would drive around and be on the look out and that I should call the station immediately if anything like this happened again.  Thankfully it didn't.  I'm not sure that Junior Acting Trainee Probationary Constable Smith was the man to keep me safe.  Maybe he wasn't the wordy type but would be heroic if my honour needed protecting.

It took a long time for me to open my bedroom window again - it may have been as late as the following summer.  It never happened again and I have never received such a dramatic flower delivery again.

1 comment:

  1. How scary! You poor thing! I wonder if it was actually someone you knew but who was too shy to identify themselves? Curious.