Invisible Stranger


Invisible Stranger

Collecting Crises on Old Compton Street and Beyond

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Little Tinker

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Saturday, April 19, 2003
Undress Me
The big, black motherf**ker in the uniform and his lean, hot stud of a companion called me over. They glanced towards the half-open doorway. The look in their eyes told me what they had in mind for me. "You. Inside there. Now." Trembling with anticipation, I entered the room. They followed. They locked the door.

Then the black dude spoke: "Right, big boy, pull them trousers down, and bend over.". . .

OK! Woah! Steady on there! Remember where you are! Before I get carried away, and allow this to descend into a really naff porno, can I just point out that all of the above is true? Well, apart from the "big boy" bit, that is.

I'd just got off the KLM from Amsterdam, and was passing through Customs, when I was pulled over. I thought things were a bit odd when the official didn't even look in my rucksack, but gruffly asked me to come with him and a (cute) colleague to a small anteroom. (They have to do these things in twos, apparently, so that when you go to Court, one of them can say that, no, his mate didn't kick the living shit out of you.)

Now, I hadn't slept for three days, and looked a bit rough. But did they seriously think I was daft enough to smuggle Class As into Heathrow - and from Amsterdam of all places? Obviously they did, because after the usual questions of Where Do You Live, Sir? and What Do You Do For A Living, Sir?, Butch One (Bad Cop) said: "So - what you carrying?"

"Don't know what you mean," I replied, knowing what he meant.
"You mean, you went to Amsterdam, and didn't smoke nothing?"
"I don't smoke," I replied, resisting the attempt to correct the double negative, and then lied: "No."
Cute One (Good Cop) smiled: "Betcha had a great time out there, though, didncha, mate?"
I smiled back at him, and relaxed. Hey! Here was a nice guy, after all! "Yeah. You know what it’s like, did a few clubs - "
"Wicked. Any I'd know? No, suppose not... Look, mate, pain in the ass, but, see, we gotta do this, so, can you take off your shoes?"
"Yeah, 'course, no problem, mate."

While Good-and-Cute Cop searched in my Converse trainers for whatever Good-and-Cute Cops usually search for in Converse trainers, Bad Cop had reached into my bag and was now flicking through my Filofax. "Nothing here is private. Sir," was his sneering reply to my protest.

That did it. Cue major Queeny Strop: Oh-yeah-get-real-like-I-really-keep-the-phone-numbers-of-my-preferred-Columbian-drug-barons-in-the-Filo-do-I?

Guess what? Bad move. Good-and-Cute-Cop slams down my Converses and turns into Bad Cop Number Two. Bad Cop Number One tells me to take down my 501s and Calvins. Bad Cop Number Two reaches into a drawer and takes out a pair of rubber gloves. Tells me to bend over. Bad Cop Number Two starts to probe around in - well, you can guess where.

Oh f**k, they're going to find something, I think. I'm going to go down for a really, really long time.

I'd heard the horror stories. On her return from India, an acquaintance, a recovering smack-addict, had been held on a loo at Heathrow for eight hours, while they waited for her to dump the plastic bags of heroin she hadn't swallowed.

And then reality hits in. There's absolutely nothing for them to find.

And sure enough, after what seemed like an hour, but was probably only a couple of seconds, carried out to teach me a lesson for being so lippy, I was told to stand up, button up, and sign a book to say I was satisfied my "interview" had been carried out with all due and proper procedure. By then I would have signed anything.

I laugh at it now, but, at the time, I felt violated. And though I had been a good boy and wasn't smuggling any hash through Customs, I was made to feel as guilty as hell.

So, my dears, if you want anything back from my next trip to Amsterdam, you'll have to settle for a postcard