The Garda, the Irish police, have ordered 200 pairs of specially cushioned lycra shorts for members on bicycles …
A right hand shot out, a note held between fore and middle finger. This was flicked expertly away and a small package was presented in exchange. The buyer took the drugs and walked hurriedly off. The seller pocketed the note and stood, apparently nonchalantly, but with eyes moving constantly from side to side, seeking his next customer.
Unfortunately for him, this took place just as Garda Patrick Dowling was cycling by. The young policeman pulled to a halt in front of the dealer and stepped from his bike.
“Gotcha,” he said.
“You reckon?” said the dealer. And ran.
Patrick took two steps in pursuit, then stopped, looking back wistfully at his bicycle. He knew that if he continued the chase there was no chance that it would still be there when he returned.
It’s really hard being a cycle cop, thought Patrick, when the city is full of criminals.
He climbed gloomily back onto his bike and continued his patrol, cycling the streets of Dublin, looking for somebody that he could actually catch.
Motorists would simply speed away when confronted. Pedestrians would dash up steps or through narrow shop doorways, leaving him stranded like a constabulary Dalek.
Even cyclists, his natural prey, could evade him by finding one of the many convoys of other cyclists stolidly plodding their way to or from work through red lights, along bus lanes and the wrong way up one-way streets, and then simply joining them, mingling into anonymity in the garish uniformity.
So Patrick was dejected, frustrated, and above all saddle-sore. His bum ached, his thighs were chafed raw and his testicles had the appearance and texture of pink brussels sprouts, though in fairness this is simply true of all testicles. He would fall wearily into bed each night, with his knees drawn up and his arms outstretched, and dream of a world where the phrase “ride shotgun” referred to a weapon he could mount on his bike.
Now his shift ended, and he returned to his station. His sergeant tossed him a package. “These are for you,” he said.
Patrick opened the bundle. Inside was what appeared to be a rubber nappy. “What’s this?” he asked.
“Padded cycling shorts,” said his sergeant. “All the bicycle cops are getting them. Pleased?”
“I was rather hoping,” said Patrick, “for a car.”
Next morning Patrick arrived at work and changed into his uniform. He put on the shorts and sighed. They were skin-tight at the front and beach-ball like at the rear, and he went out of the door feeling like the statue of David.
He cycled through Temple Bar. Outside McDonald’s he spotted the dealer from the previous day. The dealer looked at him, then down at his shorts, and smirked.
“Your bum does look big in that,” he sneered.
Patrick’s blood boiled. He cycled toward the startled dealer, who turned and dashed down a narrow cobbled street. Patrick cycled after him, feeling barely a twinge as the bicycle bobbled along. He smiled, and sped up.
The dealer raced into the Jervis Shopping Centre. Patrick followed, weaving in and out through early-morning customers. The dealer ran down the escalator towards the lower floor. Patrick cycled down the up-escalator alongside, his bike bouncing like a jack-hammer. The dealer reached the ground first, looked wildly around, then raced towards a fire escape, and freedom.
Patrick rode off the escalator, turning his bike sideways, then leaned over and let go.
The bike slid across the floor and caught the dealer behind both heels, causing him to topple backwards onto it, hitting his head off the floor and his elbow off the bell, which, to the disappointment of the onlooking shoppers, merely tinkled and did not go “nee-nar”.
Patrick, sliding behind on his padded behind, came to a halt beside the dealer, and handcuffed him.
“I’ve got a real pain in the arse,” he said, “only this time it’s you.”