Monday, 28 December 2009


A funny story about life in Leeds

So I was on the bus the other day going along the Headrow. The driver seemed agitated and kept craning his neck to see something. I was sitting on the lower deck as I hadn’t been in the mood for a top deck ride, instead I’d fancied listening in to a group of pensioners that were discussing the latest improvements to the Mecca Bingo Hall.

Their chit-chat was interesting but what was the driver doing now? He’s pulled up at the traffic lights, got out of his seat and run out of the bus. I looked out the side window and could see a police car that was also waiting at the lights. The driver was talking to the police and pointing upstairs.

Hmm, I thought, should I be making a swift exit? I had only just been reading about the 7/7 bombings in the paper, there were some new arrests, in Beeston. I looked out the window and the driver had disappeared.

The lights were changing and there he was getting back into the bus. Well that’s a good sign I thought. We moved off down the hill towards the crossroads with Browns restaurant and Café Nero on opposite sides.

Beyond was the next set of bus stops.

The bus pulled up short of the stop.

What’s going on now? The police car came round the front of the bus and the policeman got out.

He came onto the bus.

The driver said something discreetly to him. The policeman nodded and disappeared upstairs. I heard nothing untoward from upstairs, even though I had been engrossed in the conversation about Mecca’s refurbishment I was sure that I hadn’t heard any screaming.

Then I thought, that policeman has gone up on his own, maybe he needs back up.

I was still thinking about this – and evaluating the kind of support he would get from the mum with two kids and the half dozen bingo fanatics (they were still having their conversation as if nothing unusual had happened) – when the policeman came back down, well he wasn’t first, the drunk with the rug rapped round his waist, as if he had just stepped out the shower, stumbled down first, he looked confused, unshaven and unsure of where the policeman had come from.

I tried to imagine that moment and regretted staying on the lower deck and missing the confrontation that had just taken place.

As the drunk was gently shoved off the bus by the policeman I heard him saying,

"But how did you know?"

"How did you know?"

And it just goes to show that although you can get onto a bus, drunk, at 10 o’clock in the morning, don’t you dare fall asleep under a blanket and dribble on the seats.

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