The Demo that Never Was

Some of my friends were suspicious that the bookshop telephone was being tapped by the police. I was present at the meeting where they decided on a plan, and although I was sceptical, I thought it was a harmless scheme, and went along with it. We prepared an elaborate timetable of telephone calls over a period of a few days, pretending to organize a demonstration that we’d no intention of actually mounting.

It was all very carefully worked out, as though the bookshop was – as it typically was – the hub of the organization, but other telephone calls between third parties were implied by some of the things that were said in the calls to and from the bookshop. The location for this imaginary demonstration was carefully chosen to be within view from the window of Jacob’s flat in a tower block, albeit from a considerable distance. We had a couple of pairs of binoculars between us, but we reckoned we’d probably be able to see well enough anyway.

On the appointed day, the police turned up in force. Umm.

Were we guilty of wasting police time? They were scarcely likely to prosecute us for it. On the other hand, it undoubtedly didn’t endear us to them, which might not have been the wisest thing we ever did.

But then, wisdom isn’t necessarily about maximizing one’s own comfort, even one’s own long-term comfort.

©Clive K Semmens 2010
(Like many – not all – of the anecdotes in The Reminiscences of Penny Lane, this is almost a recount. Some are more fictionalized than others. This one, only very slightly.)