The PCSO ran in to the middle of the road, flagging down the next vehicle to pass. It had been moving at some rate of knots and the driver did well to brake quickly enough as not to run him over. As it screeched to a stop in front of him, the PCSO grabbed open the passenger door and jumped in.
“I’m a Police Community Support Officer, and I’m commandeering this vehicle in the name of the law to pursue an assailant. Get driving – NOW!”
“But this is an ice cream van” said the ice cream man.
“Don’t get funny with me son, I can SEE it’s a bloody ice cream van! Just put your foot down.”
The ice cream man had no time to consider whether a PCSO’s authority included the acquisition of passing vehicles, but as he was in a bit of a hurry himself, he did as he was told and down his foot went. The ice cream van pulled away at a rate of acceleration that that would not have seen it win any Grand Prix, but did have the wafer cones rattling against their Perspex cylinder.
“Where are we going?” asked the ice cream man.
“Never you mind, you just follow the road: there’s been a crime.”
The ice cream man was a little unsure about this but felt it unwise to ask further questions given the clearly agitated state of the PCSO. Not having a significant 0 to 60 as one of its main design considerations, the ice cream van continued to gently build up to top speed, but still sufficient that the plastic model ice cream cone (complete with plastic flake) screwed to the roof to entice potential customers to purchase a delicious refreshing cornet, to shudder against the airflow.
Within a few moments, a police car burst into view behind them in the ice cream van’s mirrors, its headlights blazing alternately and its blue flashers flashing. The PCSO heard its screaming sirens and turned to look past the freezers and boxes of flakes to see it rapidly approaching.
“I’M DOING 55 IN A 30!” cried the ice cream man, clearly worried about the detrimental effect that driving in this forbidden manner could have on his licence.
“I know, I know, but it’s OK: they are on our side, you will get a civilians award for this .. . Can’t you go any faster?” urged the PCSO.
The next stretch of road was slightly downhill which nudged them up to 57, but they were never going to do a single mph more unless they overshot Beachy Head.The police car ate up the space between the vehicles in seconds and the PCSO could see the irate traffic officer gesturing to them to pull over. He did not mention this to the ice cream man.
“KEEP DRIVING!” screamed the PCSO, then got up from his seat and made his way into the serving area, shoulder crashing heavily into the Slush Puppy machine with the motion of the van as he went.
The ice cream man did what he was told and kept driving. The PCSO opened the freezer, reached in and grabbed a handful of Orange Mivvi’s and threw them out of the side serving hatch towards their pursuer. It took him a few attempts for him to get the trajectory right, but soon they were hitting the road right in front of the police car’s tyres, though they did not induce them to skid, much to the PCSO’s disappointment.
“My lollies!” called out the ice cream man in indignation.
“SHUT IT AND KEEP DRIVING!” shrieked the PCSO back at him, further diminishing the ice cream man’s opinion of the calibre of the modern day police force, which had not beem great to begin with.
By this time a second angry police car had joined the chase. With lollies now all discharged along with choc ices, Feasts and Cornetto’s (both creamy vanilla and choco dream flavours) the PCSO turned his attentions to the ice cream machine, pulling the handle down with his left hand, causing it to whirr into life and pour an endless gloop of the white dairy-based confection into his right. A good quantity gained, he flung the cold sticky treat through the hatch, aiming for the windscreen of the first pursuant. But to no avail. The potentially debilitating effect on the vision of the driver by the direct hit was thwarted by the driver’s canny operation of the windscreen squirters immediately followed by the wipers in, demonstrating the effectiveness of the weeks of police driving training he had completed. The PCSO cursed and what’s more he now had Mr Whippy all over his previously pristine tunic.
“TRAFFIC AHEAD!” yelled the ice cream man, keen not to further upset the clearly annoyed PCSO whilst prudently keeping him fully appraised of the deteriorating external situation.
“You’ve got to keep going! Don’t slow down. Find a way!” insisted the PCSO.
“I know” the ice cream man said to himself and using his initiative started flicking all the switches on the dash. Having first inadvertently turned on the demisters and rear fog lights he at last found the right button and out of the front speakers blasted the extremely loud and contorted notes of ‘Greensleeves’.
“Brilliant!” exclaimed the PCSO, now back in the passenger seat having jettisoned all available ammo. Ahead of them, cars pulled out of their way, desperate to avoid the appalling chimes. The ice cream van had to slow, of course, but the confusion of scattering vehicles made it impossible for either police car to overtake.
Then they saw what was causing the traffic: the level crossing at Thatcham was down!
“THERE!” pointed the PCSO directing the ice cream man to drive over the pavement and across an area of grass to where workers had stockpiled several tons of sand in preparation for forthcoming track repairs. The workers had also left two parallel planks on the sand which as luck would have it, were at exactly the same distance apart as the van’s wheels and pointing in a 45 degree angle upwards and over the wall that kept the public off the railway line at that point.
“HOLD ON!” advised the ice cream man as he floored the accelerator, crossed the grass and scaled the planks unaware that the time was exactly 12:09 and hence the 11:38 train to Reading (stopping at Aldermaston and Theale) was simultaneously hurtling down the track towards the exact spot where they intended to jump.
There was a pause which seemed to last ages, where time stood still, but of course it was just a fraction of a second. Across the grass, a young child, holding its mother’s hand pointed at the soaring ice cream van in a mixture of delight and some confusion. The ice cream van landed abruptly with the awful squeal of chassis upon brick on top of the aforementioned wall. Sharing the same flying finesse as a sideboard, they had been airborne for no more than maybe eight foot and remained firmly on this side of the train tracks.
As the 11:38 clattered safely on towards Reading, its passengers completely unaware of the disaster they had narrowly avoided, the occupants of the ice cream van were in new peril. The van had landed precisely on its centre of gravity creating a virtual seesaw with the wall as its pivot, the weight of the two men in the front exactly counterbalancing that of the freezers at the back. The addition of just one strawberry Split at either end, would have been sufficient to destabilise the van and send the vehicle and its occupants plummeting the six-foot drop on to the unforgiving tarmac below. They dare not move: even to sniff made the van list horribly. The chase, for them, was over.
The two police cars made it through the traffic and squealed to a halt behind the stricken vehicle before the two officers heroically talked-down the PCSO and the ice cream man, getting them to jump out of their doors and roll to safety at precisely the same moment. This may have caused an additional £300 of damage to the van which had its ‘Look Out For Children’ motif badly scratched in the ensuing fall, but had them the talk of the Thames Valley Police Synchronised Swimming Team for weeks after.
“OI YOU! DIXON OF DOCK GREEN!” shouted the policeman from the first police car at the PCSO. “Stand hands against the wall, legs shoulder width apart”. The PCSO did as he was ordered.
The policeman from the first police car continued “I am arresting you for resisting arrest and impersonating a PCSO.” At this, the ice cream man stood and looked at the man who was not a PCSO, amazed.
“AND YOU! TONI BELL!” shouted the policeman from the second police car at the ice cream man. “Stand hands against the wall, legs shoulder width apart”. The ice cream man did as he was ordered. “I am arresting you for resisting arrest and stealing an ice cream van.” At this the man who was not a PCSO stood and looked at the man who was not an ice cream man, amazed.
Then as the arrested man who was not really a PCSO and the arrested man who was not really an ice cream man stood in the prescribed position, they turned their heads to each other and smiled.
I hope you enjoyed that story. If you have 2 mins spare, add a comment to let me know what you think, if you have 5 minutes, add that comment then find another story on my site – there’s plenty to try.