b3ta.com user Eeeza bit Tidy
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» Shoplifting

Shoplift... Storeslift.. its all the same Sport.
Worked in engineering stores of a West Sussex based airline, they go belly up owing me a months wages. In a twist of fate/irony I blag a security-guards job and get stationed in my old place of work ,alone ,on nights, to keep the insurance guys happy till the receivers have secured the firms assets.
These stores contained everything needed to run an airline, to the huge stencilled logo’s that go down the side of the aircraft to some really rather expensive looking engine parts.

Anyhoo, at 19, embittered about lost wages I decide to extract the same value owed by lifting an item of stock for my own use.

My parents had a swimming pool with one of those inflatable bubble things over the top, and being a spoilt brat, I was always in the doghouse for wrecking the Lilo’s they used to relax in due to the fact me and my rough-neck mates would trash them. Wait a Mowment, solution!!

I loaded the 25-man inflatable liferaft into the boot of my car, finished my shift, got some sleep then called my mates to start the summer fun. We unpacked it, feelings of trepidation slowly leaking into our enthusiasm as we discovered our haul consisted of “No-messin-about” survival equipment, Rambo knives, a medi-pack that could stock a casualty ward, long-life food and some worryingly meaty distress flares.

We chucked the raft in the shallow end and I pulled the inflate string, my boyish smile steadily fading as this rubber monster awoke hissing angrily as it kept unfolding and unfolding till the edges of it weren’t even in the pool, it also began to stretch and deform the shape of the inflatable dome making it resemble some kind of grossly pregnant blimp. But the thing that really made my bowels loosen, was the urgent flashing strobe on the top of it. “Wow Is that a distress beacon?” my in awe mate enquired.

I had visions of a blip appearing on some Coastguards watchscope, their confusion at a life raft screaming for assistance 28 miles inland. I was so naïve, We promptly made the decision not take the chance, jumping in and using the survival knives to destroy the thing, not easy as its all compartmentalised, took us ages. My dad arrived home in perfect timing to see half a dozen “jumpy” young blokes with knives in his pool and the shredded remains of something big and orange floating forlornly under the surface.

As for what happened to the distress flares, I’ll save that for another QOTW.

Length? Oh yeah, Length AND width of the pool and then some.
(Thu 10th Jan 2008, 17:20, More)

» I witnessed a crime

We witnessed, we entrapped, we got them busted.

During the early 90’s, got transferred to a night security station in a tired government office block. Was a two man site, so me and the other guard would keep ourselves amused by buggering about with the row of CCTV feeds in our office from the array of cameras situated about the site. “Police, camera, action” it wasn’t. For one thing we didn’t know what we were doing, so couldn’t operate them properly. Nor were we that interested and really only used them to follow the progress of each other as we took turns to do a walkabout of the site every two hours.
It did pass for amusement to encounter an impassive glaring camera that would start “Nodding “ and spinning erratically when you walked under it. A few times the dayshift guards, after taking over would question why some cameras were trained directly skywards, like some kind of stoned Johnny-five.

One camera overlooked the front carpark, and from there onto a quiet side street with a telephone box. This camera became our source of idle viewing at the infrequent pedestrians that would amble along, mainly bored Chavs, dog walkers and other night dwellers.

My work mate who clearly displayed a more advanced state of “stir-crazy” than myself got the number from the telephone box and took to ringing the phone when we observed anyone walking past it, then ring off just before they would lift the receiver, only to ring back when they were walking off. Tedious I know, but a welcome distraction despite nudging a few perfectly decent members of the public to the edge of their sanity.

Then one night we saw three Hoodie-types swaggering along in that stupid exaggerated walk, looking in car windows and yelling at each other with animated hand gestures. We sat up and observed them silently with growing contempt. One of them tossed a half full milkshake to the ground as they passed our phonebox.
My workmate hissed and grabbed the phone and rang the number.
Chav.1 “Yeah Hello?”
Chav.1 .Ah dunno who it is…OOO ARE YA?
SG: None of yours, Pond-life, just pick up the shake!.

Hence insults, threats, observations about our mothers ensued. To our credit we gave plenty back, ridiculing them on their elaborate dress sense, the way they swaggered about like drunk-chimps, we really were running rings round them. They had to be F**kwitts or smashed cos none of them made the connection that we could see them despite dropping these cast iron hints. They then resorted to violence, obviously cos they couldn’t find us, they chose the phone box itself. Attempting to put the booth windows through, trying to smash the receiver.
We watched with disdainful enthusiasm at the image of these three lunatics blurring round the booth in frenzied showmanship. “Oh yeah. This is brilliant, we gotta shop em”.

A call with the words “Security, Government building, observing real-time criminal damage etc”. The police must have been as bored as we were, to say they hit the ground running weren’t even close. My workmate and I observed some truly conclusive police work, bodies stretched over the bonnet, a few subtle extra elbows and knees here and there to soften them up. It made a real highlight reel.
The police never asked us for further info, guess they figured it wasn’t needed as they caught them in the act. I will never forget Chav.1 head bowed, shrunken shouldered, gingerly replace the handset and step out to face the music.

Length? No.. no, not even a stretch…. maybe 50 hours community service. Tops
(Fri 15th Feb 2008, 12:46, More)

» Stalked

Stalkers. The reason we have locks on our doors.
Two examples strongly spring to mind, though nowhere near as frightening as some of the Specimens already written about on here.

1st was when I was maybe 20, knew her vaguely from primary school, briefly bumped into her at a club and agreed to meet up another time to catch up. Literally from that meeting she assumed we were in a serious relationship. And we certainly weren’t. Referred to my mum like she was her best friend, talked to me like we had been married ten years. It got really confusing. I began to relate to those people that awake from long comas with no recollection of their loved ones, was I missing something?

Then it got creepy. Subtle stuff at first, aside from the excessive phone calls and turning up on the doorstep saying she was “just passing”, when my parents lived out in the serious sticks. Comments like “I don’t think I could live my life without you in it” and “if anything happened to you, part of me would die too”.

I had more alarms going off than ADT. Went round hers, sat her down and told her firmly but fairly to keep away from me. She threatened to commit suicide, and even offered to show me her collection of tablets. Told her to grow up and I drove home.

Two hours later I get a call from the hospital, from some nurse gently telling me my “ your girlfriend just wants you to know she loves you ”. Nutty tart went through with it, but called for an ambulance just before she started gargling. They pumped her stomach, and carted her off to the “specialists”. 15 years later she tagged me on Facebook, strangely I’m keeping my distance.

The 2nd was far more equipped to deliver the scare factor. Had an on/off relationship with her spanning four or five years. What made her so scary was her resourcefulness. Was like I had just split from a loopy Lara Croft. During our “off” period she hacked into my home PC remotely to see who I was talking to. She did a stakeout at the airport at the end of my holiday so she could see whom collects me, then followed my taxi home so obviously that even the taxi driver began to shed a concern and glue his eyes to his rear-view n wings.

Her coup-de-grace consisted of breaking into my apartment after I had changed the locks with no sign of forced entry, and left “our song” playing on a loop on my stereo. What made that more disturbing, was the CD must have heated up or got scratched so poor old Bryan Adams got stuck on the same creepy lyric “Well we wont come down tonight, Well we wont come down tonight,” Made my blood freeze, I searched and cleared my home like the SAS, thinking she was still there, holed up in my airing cupboard waiting to jump out like Begbie from Trainspotting or something. When I shakily rang her to threaten authorities, padded cells, Texas style home protection. She honestly thought her actions were the most romantic of gestures and even suggested I was over-reacting. You know when you start asking yourself “ What the F**k is she gonna do next” that things have gone off the bright, sunny track that the relationship started on.

In fact just thinking about these two makes me pull the duvet covers under my chin.

Length? Well with one it never even got that far, and the 2nd clearly went to some extra-ordinary ones.
(Mon 4th Feb 2008, 18:11, More)

» The Dark

Its dark on the third floor
During my stint as a night guard, during the early nineties, prior to any serious career commitments. I was placed in a huge, drab government building in West Sussex, working with another guard. We would take turns to do a walkabout of the building every couple of hours.

I was nineteen, and despite my youth, the dark really didn’t scare me, in fact I found it quite tranquil as long as I didn’t think too much about it.

After a few weeks, I got placed with a guard on the opposite shift, a fifty year old Jamaican who in his own way had a good sense of humour. It was he who told me about the presence on the third floor. In summary form , an old civil servant whom had worked there all her life and way past retirement age croaked shortly after taking forced leave due to ill health, they said it was her job that was keeping her alive, she worked on the third floor and according to my West Indian co-worker, now and then her entity, ghost, presence, what ever you want to call it does a circuit of the floor, “mark my words boi you’ll either see her or feel her one night”.

It kind of reminds me of the film “Return of the living dead” when the senior co-worker Frank is setting the story of the previous film to the new junior worker “Freddy”, you could have heard a pin drop as he relayed this story.

I on the other hand was having none of it, I had been dished out several myths in my early days of the job, typical “Newbie-windups” most of them, from the “boyfriends head on the stick” number to the “straight-up- its-true” events about a guard working at an animal research facility in Cambridgeshire, getting spooked by something one night and being found the next morning cowering in the coke machine after he had ripped the innards out with his bare bleeding hands and climbed inside. I’d heard it all, and while I was respectful to him I dismissed his story and tagged him as a windup merchant.

I was a bit surprised at how far he was prepared to enforce the joke however, especially when he announced “I’ll get ready to do ma rounds “ and wandered to the locker room only to return wearing a parker zipped right up “Kenny-style” and sporting a big fat crucifix round his neck and grasping rosemary beads in his mitt. Each to their own I thought, I guess you pick up some oddities about going about your everyday job.

Fast forward a few weeks and I had pretty much forgotten the story, too many other things occupying this young mind, like girlfriends, adding more useless plastic to the exterior of my car, avoiding parents, the like.

I honestly can’t remember if it was days or weeks after this enlightening episode that I found myself heading to work to start my shift. A typical night was stretched ahead for me and my co-worker, he settling down to watch our “unofficial TV” we brought in, while myself sauntered to the top floor in order to start my turn in patrolling and work my way down.

Commercial buildings go through a strange transition once they are empty of their occupants and night arrives, the bustling office atmosphere during the day is a stark contrast to the eerie, vacant, stillness that can unsettle you and even play tricks with you if you ponder too long on the feeling.

I mentioned “oddities” earlier, and mine was removing my boots and wandering around the carpeted floors in socks, mainly for two reasons, my boots rubbed like F@*k and two, for some reason it was slightly comforting to be able to move around in near silence.

I remember I was mulling this observance over in my mind, why does it comfort me to do this? Am I turning into my coworker? And my bosses would most likely raise an eyebrow if they ever knew. That’s when I stopped dead in my tracks, I had been walking down a very long corridor with just the faint muted glow of the safety lights overhead and periodically divided by heavy fire doors at various intersections.

Something wasn’t right…I couldn’t see anything just gloom ahead and behind me, I’d not heard anything either, it was really more of something I had felt, I shifted position slightly, strained my ears and paused, then I really felt it.. a breath of icy cold air, but refined though, as if someone was up close and blowing a straw against my face, almost intimate in a way, I swore I could even hear the hiss too. I kind of lunged backwards, my logic second guessing my senses.
As my mind somersaulted into what was happening, somewhere the realisation that I was on the third floor came right to the forefront. My entire body flushed over in a sudden wave of hot scared adrenaline, and I felt my ticker go from idle to double-thump pounding almost instantly. In my last effort at remaining composed I defiantly grabbed the fire door handle in front of me to continue my passage and choosing forced dismissive ignorance when I heard a sudden echoing bang far behind me down the corridor.

There’s no way anyone can be in this building, cant be my co-worker as thanks to the parka he sounds like a crisp packet if he moves a muscle. Its something else, I didn’t even turn around to look, I barrelled down the intersection, palming all the light-switches on as I passed them. I felt like I was flying up the corridor, the overhead lights rocking in my vision as they blinked to life in a trail behind me.

When I got to the security office on the ground floor I kind of gave the game away that something was wrong by slip-skating down the last few steps while grappling the stair-rail. My co-worker was utterly useless for the rest of the night, we doubled up on patrols , his firm decision, Christ he even timed his “take-a-piss” trips to coincide with mine. We also left all the main lights on till dawn. The place must have looked like its neighbouring Gatwick Airport as far as the “at home” signs went.

After much more myth-building by my peers, you sort of take it in your stride and hope you just won’t experience it again. Buts it’s always in the back of your mind.

Months later, me and another guard deduced from our investigations, with the help of the buildings janitor that their was a pencil sized hole in the fat aluminium air conditioning tubing above the corridor.

The bang was caused by the other fire door pressing on its frame by the vacuum I had caused while pulling open the fire door at the other end. I smile about it now, but at the time, I was scared and in a way was good fun.
My mind had played tricks on me, on a few apparently, but it was the dark that made it all happen.

So so sorry for length, just wanted to get it off me chest, and this place was a really creepy drab drum too….Hell why not..The Paymaster General’s office, Russell way, Crawley. I admit I got spooked.
(Thu 30th Jul 2009, 2:34, More)

» My most treasured possession

Redundant Zippo

Not vital by any stretch, but I would be saddened if it got lost.
An old battered chrome zippo lighter. I brought it while working in France in the endless summer of my early youth. It reminds me of fresh innocence, simplicity, when I had not a care in the world, just endless naïve possibilities, without concerns of mortgages, pensions, council tax , serious relationships or career progression taking their inevitable hold.

Holding that worn chunk of cool metal brings those days back with a flourish of sentiment.

Its personal value increased when my best friend lifted it without my knowledge to have it inscribed just before he moved to Australia, the guy has leukaemia now, but its looking good that he will pull through.

Its easy to understand how objects become priceless when fond memories and fine people brush off on them.

But in a burning building, I would grab my girlfriend. The rest of my world is shallow and insured.
(Fri 9th May 2008, 17:22, More)
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