May The Force Be With You – Part Sixteen

A Case of Mistaken Identity 

Special Branch was a hodgepodge of personalities. Pleasant for the most part, there were a few absolute bastards as there are in any organisation. And then there was Alfred. 

When I met Alfred he was just 28 years old and had a few years of service under his belt. Still an Inspector, he had managed to fail the written exam for promotion to Senior Inspector three times. Unfortunately, Alfred was not a natural policeman. He was a wonderfully warm-hearted individual, dedicated, alert and anxious to do the best possible job, but he was simply not a policeman. 

Near the end of the eighties, there was a dinner at the Gazetted Officer’s Mess. It was to be a grand affair and everyone in the Branch was invited. This was a rare event because normally officers below the rank of Chief Inspector were not permitted to enter those hallowed halls. The dress code was mess kit for officers over the rank of CI, and dinner jacket and black tie for civilians and lower ranks. 

Alfred was thrilled with this invitation and rushed out to buy himself a tuxedo. On the night of the event he turned up, hair brushed, moustache neatly trimmed, shoes you could see your face in, and his new tuxedo freshly pressed. As he entered the lift Alfred noticed a Chinese officer arrive and held the door open for him. Alfred looked on in amazement at this officer’s array of medals; he told me later that the fellow fairly clanked his way into the lift.

The officer, who held the rank of Chief Superintendent, smiled benignly at Alfred and believing him to be a civilian guest slammed to attention and said, “Good evening, Sir. Welcome to Police Headquarters!” 

Alfred squeaked a reply and spent the evening hiding in the corner in dread in case this Chief Superintendent found out he had saluted a mere Inspector! 

Copyright John Stewart Sloan – 2007 – Not for Publication

Published by stewartgoeswalkies

Happily married man to a wonderful lady. Living in Hong Kong. In my younger days I enjoyed hiking, camping and rock climbing. I've trekked in the Himalayas and climbed Mt. Kinabalu in East Malaysia.

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