Probation Officer #120: An afternoon with the police

I’d expected that Jock would call me into his office a couple of hours before the meeting, to discuss strategy and to warn me off doing the things that I intended to do. But he didn’t communicate with me until half an hour before the meeting. If he’d intended to get me nervous, that part had worked. But at three-thirty he’d turned up at my office door, thrown a set of keys at me and indicated with his head that we were going to the carpark.

The keys were for the only car the probation service owned that was less than two years old. Most of my colleagues smoked, and so did their cars.

It’s a job that involves a lot of waiting for other people to arrive, followed by intense work. Nurses, cops and actors tend to smoke, for much the same reason. The probation service’s cars smoke because all the public funding goes into building more jails. Anyway, Jock got in the passenger door. Usually the man who drives has some power deriving from that. Jock wanted me to see myself as the chauffeur.

I drove silently while Jock glared at me. He was trying to keep me ill at ease. I was, so I leaned my arm on the open window and projected utter nonchalance and relaxation.

I said, “We haven’t had time to discuss the meeting. So, you should maybe do the general stuff, about communication and cooperation between the police and us. Those issues. But I’ll talk about the specific cases, Lance Holder, Dwane, Ana and so on, myself. Since I, uh, haven’t had time to brief you. Yeah?”

Jock kept staring.

twofistHe was, as I’ve said before, a physically imposing figure. He had arms like hardwood logs. He’d let the workouts and the boxing go a little since he’d remarried, but he still looked unnatural, his body tapering sharply down to a boxer’s narrow waist. He looked like a cartoon hero, a sketch with every line emphasising strength.

He had a set of white puckers in the skin above his left eye, from when he’d faced down a prison escapee who’d armed himself with an axe. Jock had guessed wrong about the axe-man – he’d thought the guy would back down – but after taking an axe swing to the face, half concussed and nearly blinded with his own blood, he’d broken the guy’s arm, punched him unconscious, and sat on his chest, bleeding onto him, while he called the cops. It was the cops who called him an ambulance.

The fear

I’m interrupting this story because I just hit an extremely fast, aggressive and venomous snake with a spade. That might sound like a foolhardy idea, but the fact is that it wasn’t an idea at all. I didn’t know the snake was there when I brought the spade down.

It was a very blunt spade, that I was using to collect soil from an old compost heap. I’m building up an area of level ground, which I’m going to hold in place with a retaining wall. So it was no sort of a weapon for dealing with something fast and angry, with enough venom to kill a couple of hundred of me with a single strike. It’s one of the dozen or so most dangerous animals in the world, and it was sleeping under grass clippings and dried leaves. It introduced itself, after I’d hit it, by hissing and starting to uncoil. 

I don’t know if you’ve ever wondered what you’d do, if you ever found yourself within a third of a metre of something deadly and angry. 

I had two thoughts. The first was that I could hit it again, harder, followed by the knowledge that I’d never be able to kill it before it had bitten me at least once. If you don’t get treated you die in about 20 minutes to half an hour. The second thought was the expression “mad as a cut snake.” I don’t know a lot about snakes, but I knew that these snakes in particular aren’t known for their forgiving natures. If I wasn’t able to kill it, I should retreat. 

I did. I said, “aaa-yah,” which is apparently a sound I make when I’m genuinely scared (I haven’t heard it before, I don’t think), and I backed away. Then I dropped the spade and ran. These things are aggressive, and they will pursue someone or something that’s pissed them off.

Luckily the ground, going uphill, isn’t the sort of ground that snakes like much. Lots of tree roots to drag themselves over. So I tripped over one of those tree roots, because I had slippery rubber gardening boots on. it struck at my boots, fortunately, so they were good enough for one thing.

And I got up at very high speed, and I got myself out of harm’s way. I haven’t been back to that part of the garden yet. I may have a glass of whisky. 


When I was about sixteen I took a girl from my class to the zoo. I wanted her to be my girlfriend. 

Knowing that I was a dom was making it difficult for me, at the time, to be assertive with girls I wanted. I was careful not to do things without consent, and yet a lot of the things that boys do to get a warm, bare breast into their hand have nothing to do with discussion, negotiation or consent.

But if I did apply the sort of pressure that other boys in my year applied, I might expose my sexual interest in giving commands and expecting and exacting obedience. My bdsm desires were still my deepest and darkest secret, so I was careful.

From a sixteen year old girl’s point of view I was a little too careful. Still, she’d agreed to come to the zoo with me.

We had to walk a long way from the carpark, and we were talking. For some reason, she told me that she’d torn the panties she was wearing that afternoon, but that fortunately she’d been able to repair them with a stapler.

I’m not sure what I should have said to that, but it was headily intimate, sexual information to my sixteen-year-old self. What I said was that there must, therefore, be little staple-shaped marks on her bum, and I bet they looked … I stopped. I’d been about to say “sexy”, but that seemed a little too explicit. I considered other options, like “pink”, “hot”, “beautiful”. I settled for “interesting”, coward that I was.

As it happens, it wasn’t the right thing to say. She didn’t approve of my interest in her mild, pink abrasions. She never did become my girlfriend. 

My ass and welcome to it

Just an odd thing. At work today there was general feeling, among the women, that there weren’t enough Christmas decorations. 

A Kenyan woman, who I rather fancy, got me a chair to stand on so I could lift up the slats in the ceiling, and fix the Christmas glitter-rope, baubles and such, into the gaps between the slats and the framework that holds them up. Never mind how it worked, because that’s not the point. 

The point was that I was up on this chair, and when I looked down there was a crowd of women watching me. I am short and not really fit. But they were finding excuses to stare up at me, and then finding reasons why I should clamber up onto the desks, walking about and poking things up into the ceiling. Er, and holding my stomach in, since my shirt wasn’t tucked in and they were looking up at me.

I don’t really care about the sexual politics, one way or another. I’m not a seventeen year old girl getting photocopier paper from the top shelf, again. And I approve of lust, in general, so long as it’s well-meaning. But I thought: me? What the fuck: me? I do think I’m good at domming, but I’m nothing special in other contexts. 

Anyway, women are perverse. That’s all there is to it. 

Lust and death #2

I was back at work a couple weeks or  later. Someone who knew I’d been punctured (I got harpooned with a great metal rod, like Moby Dick; not a long story, but some other time) said it was great to see me up, walking about and looking cheerful.

I said I felt great, but it was only because I had a couple of litres of someone else’s blood sloshing around inside me. 

She said, “Um.” Then she turned pale and wan, and walked away. Probably not a vampire fan. 

Actually, I’m not a vampire fan either. Vampires aren’t remotely scary, partly because I can’t suspend disbelief in them for a second (see also werewolves, zombies, etc), and partly because, like the original Daleks, they’re too rule-bound. 

You’re being pursued by a vampire? Well, cross running water: they can’t. Go home and don’t invite them in; they can’t enter your home, the first time, without an invitation. Vampires originated in a traditionally Catholic part of Europe, so they’re scared of crucifixes. So get your silverware, make the sign of the t, and wave it at them. They don’t like garlic. I do.

If I met a vampire, I’d probably just tell him to go back home and listen to his Nosferatu and Cradle of Filth records. And to take those silly red contact lenses out, unless he was going to meet another vampire fan through Fetlife, in which case he shouldn’t be loitering around anyway. 

Anyway, I was going to say something sententious in this post, about sex and death. But all I found is that there’s a period after you’ve nearly died when you can’t fuck. You haven’t got the blood, I suppose, and you’re concentrating on other things. 

A little bit later, lust comes in with a vengeance. I wanted to fuck anything – hospital sheets, nurses, passers-by. I got talking to a night nurse, who knew lust when she saw it. This isn’t some porno movie, so we didn’t have wild sex behind the curtains, and so forth. But we got chatting about injuries, and life, and lovers, and such, and for some reason by the third night she knew I’d like to see the bruises on her thighs. That involved wriggling pantihose about halfway down her thighs and shimmying the skirt up, so curtains were involved. 

The bruises were put there by a bicycle accident, not a lover. But she was right; I thought her bruised thighs were … life-affirming. She had a boyfriend. And she didn’t want her thighs kissed better. Or new bruises. She was just reminding me of life’s pleasures.

So sex beats death, at least in the skirmishes. Life is good. 

Lust and death #1

Recently I watched a lot of my blood leave me. It flooded out like a river that’s just had the dam gates opened. 

I wondered I was still going to be conscious when it stopped. There was no particular reason why I shouldn’t die, under the circumstances as I understood them.

But blood loss does interesting things to your state of mind. If you lose a little, you can get quite light-headed and silly. If you lose a lot, you go past the hilarity of it and get a kind of dispassionate clarity. I set about doing things to make sure I didn’t die, and got to a hospital, where they stopped the flow, closed the holes and pumped plasma into my veins.

I spent a couple of days in bed.