The other night we had a couple over for a barbecue and as we were sitting in the front room talking, I looked out the window and saw two guys jump the fence at the house across the street. We know the neighbour that lives there; he split with his wife some time ago and is living down the street with his girlfriend. So his house across from us is furnished but not lived in.
Anyway, I looked through the phone book for the number of the police where we live and naturally, couldn't find it. Not only is there never a cop around when you need one, their phone number is unlisted as well!
I dialled 111 (the Kiwi equivalent of 911) and the officer that answered said; "Police Emergency!" I said; "It's not really an emergency but I can't find your phone number in the book." Hearing my accent he explained very slowly and carefully, as if instructing a child, that I could dial 018 for "directory services" (information) and then dial the number I was given by the operator.
No kidding Dick Tracy, can't you give me the number! I didn't really say it; I just thanked him and hung up, leaving him with the notion that I was so stupid I didn't know how to call information. Of course, that is after I find out the police station has an unlisted phone number.
Finally I got through to the nearest "open" police station (the local police station closes when it gets dark and I now know why they have an unlisted number . . . don't call us, we're not here) and told the dispatcher two guys just jumped the fence to the neighbour's house. I gave her the description of two young males wearing light coloured shirts and dark pants. She said she would send someone out to investigate and thanked me.
A few minutes later the dispatcher called back and said she wanted to verify the exact location of the target house. She said there was a car in the neighbourhood but they didn't know which house I was talking about. I told her I would sneak outside very quietly and look for the police car to guide them in.
Naturally I forgot the brilliant floodlights I had installed on the garage with the automatic sensor. Suddenly, the entire neighbourhood and I lit up like a Tina Turner concert. I retreated back into the house and told the dispatcher I couldn't see the patrol car but there was a lot of light out there now. She said the officers were approaching on foot and by now thought they had the right house. (After I lit up the whole neighbourhood I'm sure they knew where the house was. A 747 almost landed in the street mistaking my yard for the Auckland airport)
We went back to our conversation only to be interrupted again by another call from the Orewa police dispatcher. This time she had a slight giggle to her voice and she said; "The police were in the house." I said; "You mean your police are in the house?" She said; "No, there were two other policemen in the house and it was them who were jumping over the fence!
Apparently some other section of the police force had sent two officers out (for some unknown reason,) to jump over the neighbour's fence.
It turned out the officers she sent out didn't know the first two were cops and, in her words, "They scared the heck out of each other!" We both had a good laugh but she never did say why the first pair jumped over the fence.
Thank goodness New Zealand patrolmen aren't armed, I suspect there would have been a shoot-out at the corral across the street and I probably would have been arrested for inciting a riot.
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