Saturday 10th April 1993
I wouldn’t say today was one of my better days. However, I did have a delicious breakfast of fried eggs, fried bacon and fried bread ~ a true fry-up. But I have to say, that was the only good thing about it.
Most of the family would be going on an outing today. Arnaud, myself, his younger of two brothers and both his parents.
We visited the centre of Bordeaux where for the most part we wandered the shopping centres and cafés. Pleasant as it may have seemed, but all was not good. Something about today was beginning to stir…
We went to a little quirky shop where Mattieu, Arnaud’s youngest brother, was bought a little springy toy.
Yes. Just the ticket! Why was this little toy such a pain in the backside? Well, after buying this toy, we all went into the big Supermarché.
Now, Mattieu, (he’s only six), thought it would be fun to chuck his little toy up in the air. A game of catch it would seem. So there he was throwing this springy contraption up and down, up and down, all throughout the Supermarché.
I however, didn’t find it very exciting, in fact really quite annoying to be honest and neither, did Mme. Chasseigne. So good ol’ mum told Mattieu to put it away, so that he wasn’t being a nuisance.
Excellent, I thought, it was about time someone took some authoritative measures around here.
Yet this is where things took a turn for the worse. Mattieu, deciding reluctantly to do as he is told, took it all too literally and stuffed it right up his jumper. The inevitable bulge created thereof unfortunately made it look like he had stolen it!
Now as it happened, an old lady had seen him do this and, because the little old lady was such a lovely law abiding citizen, she did the correct thing… and alerted a police officer.
Well done Grandma!
As we went through the paying area we walked into this man in blue. With him was the old lady. She shouted at us and pointed at us, and showed the officer where Mattieu was hiding the springy toy.
After a lot of arguing, Mattieu’s mother hunted for the receipt… which… took… a while…
As the man in blue started to turn even bluer and bluer, Arnaud’s mother frantically rummaged her handbag… and after what seemed like a frighteningly long time, she finally got it out and showed it to the police officer.
The police officer then looked at the old lady and waved his finger at her, almost like he was telling her off.
Well, that was that, apparently. The policeman apologised and let us go.
Yet… when we got in the car something akin to very bad karma struck once again… this time in a double dose. What happened? We found we had run out of petrol. Fantastic!
So we all got out and pushed the car half a kilometre down the road to the garage.
When we finally arrived, Arnaud, who like me was only fourteen, decided he wanted to fill up the car. So, what did good ol’ dad do…? That’s right, good ‘ol dad let him.
Bad mistake. The very same policeman who we had met just earlier, saw this from the nearby roadside where he had obviously followed us!
Not satisfied eh? A receipt’s not good enough for you is it? We’re all just dodgy hardened criminals to you aren’t we?
As I watched him watching us I could almost HEAR what was going through his mind.
“Hang on… what’s going on here then? That boy doesn’t look old enough… I think I will investigate. If these good for nothing con artists end up in my custody I might get a brownie point from my boss!”
So he started walking this way.
As such and, promptly, I endeavoured to somewhat gently “nudge” Arnaud’s father, who retrospectively and in good faith, politely asked Arnaud to especially return the pump to its holster.
Arnaud, understanding the actual reality of the situation and, in light of an ever encroaching man in blue, obliged wholeheartedly.
M. Chasseigne thence advised us to, and I quote, “All get in the car and face the other way.”
Luckily, he remembered in the heat of the moment to pay, which he did with remarkable swiftness, after which we drove off, very, very quickly… just before good old Mr. Policeman could catch us.
Jusqu’à ce que nous nous revoyions…