Shortly before two thirty that afternoon Constable Clarkson approached the derelict terraced house that he had been instructed to visit feeling a considerable amount of trepidation. What would he have to do to get his warrant card back? I'll soon find out he told himself as he walked up the short concreted path to the front door that was hanging off it's hinges and walked into the hallway. “Hello?” he called out. “Anybody here?”
“Come upstairs,” came the reply from a young sounding male voice.
The policeman trod with care as he ascended the stairs, thinking that they may well be rotten. Hearing voices coming from a front bedroom he walked in and found himself confronted by around a dozen men, aged he estimated between around eighteen and the early twenties, but mostly in their late teens, and sitting on the bare floorboards.
“Nice of you to come, officer,” a fair-haired and rather short teenager said as he and the rest of the men stood up. Clarkson immediately recognised him as being one of his student assailants of the previous afternoon. The other students were there as well, he observed as he glanced around. “As you can see, your fan club are all here,” the student said waving an arm around. The men all laughed.
“I want my warrant card!” Clarkson said angrily. “Who's got it?”
“Temper, temper,” the student said mockingly. “Like I told you on the phone yesterday, you'll have to meet our terms if you want it back.” There was more laughter from his fellow students.
“Well, what are they?” Clarkson asked as his dark eyes darted around the room, taking in the students' grins and the wallpaper peeling from the damp walls.
“You've got to entertain us, that's all,” the student said to the accompaniment of even more laughter.
I've made a big mistake in coming here today, Clarkson said to himself. The students, he considered, had no intention of returning his warrant card to him. Entertain them! They were playing games with him. Despite the fact that although cooler than the previous afternoon it was still not very cold and that he was wearing his uniform jacket he nevertheless shivered and felt extremely uneasy. He turned to walk out of the room, but several of the students reached the door before him and stood there blocking it. He realised that he was not going to be allowed to leave.
“What happened yesterday wasn't just because of the way that you treated those old ladies,” one of the students who had attacked the constable the previous afternoon told him.”You see, you and your fellow cops have been giving guys from our college quite a bit of grief one way and another.”
“I can't imagine what you mean,” Clarkson said, although he knew full well what the student was referring to.
“Go on, tell him, Steve,” the fair-haired student said.
“You boys in blue have been really harassing us,” Steve said. “Quite a few of us have been taken in the backs of your vans and strip-searched for drugs. You wouldn't have done anything like that though, would you?”
“No, I haven't,” Clarkson said, lying and hoping not to be found out.
“He was one of the pair who searched me!” one of the younger students called out as he came forward. “I had to take off my top and jeans.”
“Been naughty, haven't you?” Steve said. “You really should have admitted what you've done, now you're going to have to be appropriately punished for lying to us as well.”
“This has gone far enough,” Clarkson said as he prepared to speak into his radio and call for back-up. “I'm arresting the lot of you!”
“Sorry, officer, we can't let you do that,” Steve told him with a smile as he grabbed the policeman by the arm. Other students joined him and Clarkson's radio was quickly removed from his jacket. Hands searched for, then found the policeman's truncheon and relieved him of that as well. He realised that he was now powerless and completely at the mercy of the students as they stepped back and along with the others encircled him.
“You're making a big mistake,” Clarkson said. “Give me my equipment back right now and let me go or else you are all going to be in really serious trouble.”
“That policeman's really frightening me,” a student who had not previously spoken called out, then burst out laughing. “He's so tall and macho, isn't he, Alfie?” he said to the short, fair-haired student.”
“Yeah,” Alfie replied. “He won't be though when we've finished cutting him down to size!” The entire group of students burst into laughter.
Clarkson was both feeling and looking extremely apprehensive.
“Now, officer the sooner you start to co-operate with us the sooner you'll get this back,” Alfie said as he teased the policeman by waving his warrant card in front of him.
“What do you expect me to do?” Clarkson asked warily
“Like my friend told you, just entertain us for a while, that's all,” Steve told him. More laughter from his fellow students followed.
There was a frown on the policeman's forehead. “Entertain you? I don't know what you expect me to do, but-”
“I'll give you a clue as to what you are going to do,” the student said silencing him by holding up a hand as he walked over to a ghetto blaster in the corner of the room. He held his finger over the Play button. “We had thought that a suitable punishment would be to strip-search you like you've been doing to us, but then we decided on this. Oh and by the way, make no mistake. You are going to do it. Or else...” His finger depressed the key.
Music started to reverberate around the room, and Clarkson, recognising the tune gradually turned a deep shade of red. He opened his mouth but was too shocked even to speak.
“Cat got your tongue, officer?” Alfie said contemptuously.
“What's the music, constable?” Steve asked. “I can tell that you know what it is.”
The policeman gulped, then said, “The Stripper.”
Clarkson's words were followed by loud clapping and laughter from all of the students.
“If you want your warrant card and the rest of your equipment back you'd better start dancing and stripping at the same time!” a heavily-built student added. “Or we'll strip you! Naked!”
“I hope that he's changed his boxer shorts from yesterday!” another student whom Clarkson recognised from his previous ordeal said. “All those brightly coloured spots!You really needed sunglasses on to look at them!”
Momentarily closing his eyes Clarkson thought this is an even worse nightmare than yesterday had been. Aware that Alfie was speaking he looked over to him.
“Hello? Anybody home?” the student said. “You've got five seconds to get started. If you don't we'll start on you and everything will come off!”Accompanied by the other students he started to slowly count. There was a pause after he said “Five,” then the students started to close in on the policeman.
“This is your last chance to co-operate,” Steve said. “Start dancing and stripping or else!”
Clarkson grimaced. He decided that with no means of summoning assistance he had no other option other than to meet the students' demands. If he didn't then goodness knows what they might do to him.“All right! I'll do it,” he said. The blushing and obviously deeply humiliated constable started to gyrate to the music, then he removed his helmet and tossed it to one side.
There were shrieks of delight from the students, most of whom had seriously doubted when the idea had first been floated of forcing the policeman to perform a strip-tease that he would ever agree to endure such a humiliation. Avoiding looking at his audience as he danced, Clarkson slowly unbuttoned his uniform jacket, pulled it off and carelessly discarded it.
As the stripping policeman pulled off his tie and tossed that to one side, a student yelled, “Trousers next!”
“I can't dance and take off my shoes at the same time,” Clarkson complained after the heavily-built student who he had heard addressed as Jason insisted that he not stop. His shoe laces proved difficult to undo and he fell over as he tried to untie them, much to the students' delight.
“Look this way, constable,” Steve ordered as Clarkson, now dancing once more removed his utility belt and dropped it to the floor. “We want to see the look of humiliation in your eyes, don't we guys?”
There was indeed a look of utter mortification in the policeman's eyes and etched on his face as he unbuckled his trouser belt, unzipped his trousers and slowly pulled them down and then climbed out of them.
“Toss 'em here, you wanker!” a student called out who had remained silent until then, apart from laughing. He leapt with joy as he caught Clarkson's trousers in his outstretched hands.
“Handcuffs!” another student called out shaking his head as he looked at the grey motifs printed all over the constable's boxer shorts and showing beneath the tails of his blue shirt. When his shirt came off he was seen to be wearing a white athletic vest tucked inside his boxer shorts. Moments later the policeman's socks were discarded, followed soon after by his vest. Then, despite the fact that the music was still playing, he ceased to dance, much to the fury of all of the students.
“Get dancing and strip off those ridiculous underpants!” Steve said threateningly. “If we have to take them off you you'll suffer even more!”
“No, please, you've had your fun,” Clarkson said. “Let me get dressed and give me my equipment back.”
“Off!” the cry was taken up and continuously repeated by all of the students, their cries drowning out the music emanating from the ghetto blaster.
There was a tearful look in the young policeman's eyes as he danced once more, barely able to hear the music above the students' chant, and then he slowly pulled off his boxer shorts and tossed them across the room. The underpants landed on the head of a student who immediately said with considerable delight that he wanted to retain them as a trophy.
Surely, they've got to release me now? Clarkson said to himself as he closed his eyes and covered his groin with his hands.
“Would the nice policeman like his uniform and equipment back now?” a student asked teasingly.
“You know very well that I would,” the constable said. “I've done what you wanted, so let me have them.”
“Get down on your knees if you want your stuff back and beg us to give it to you,” Steve told him.
“Please, can I have my uniform back,” Clarkson said through gritted teeth as he knelt on the bare floorboards.
“No, you can't!” Steve said with pleasure.
“Something wrong, officer?” Alfie asked when the constable glared furiously around him as he got to his feet.
“I've had enough!I'm arresting you all!” Clarkson bellowed. “Assaulting and falsely imprisoning a police officer and-”
“You aren't going to arrest anybody or tell a soul what we've done to you,” Jason said as he stepped forward and stroked a forefinger through the dark hair on the policeman's chest. “You'd never, ever live down what we've forced you to do and you know it.”
The policeman gulped. Jason had spoken the truth. There was little he realised that he could do except hope that his ordeal would soon end, but he decided that he had to try to regain the initiative. “I want my uniform and equipment back now!” he said in the most assertive voice that he could summon up.
“Very well, officer,” Steve said. He walked around the room picking up the various items of Clarkson's uniform, and with his back to the policeman winked conspiratorially at Jason. “I'd better have these as well,” he told the student who had possession of the policeman's boxer shorts as he took them from him.“Hold onto him!” he ordered as he headed for the door with Clarkson's clothing and equipment in his arms.
“Where's he going?” the policeman demanded to know as he unsuccessfully struggled to break free from the hands that restrained him.
“He'll let you know where he's been when he comes back,” Jason cheerfully told him.
The next few minutes seemed like hours for the policeman as the laughing students surrounded him, mocking him as they commented on his naked state.
“Mission accomplished!” All eyes turned to the doorway. Steve had returned with a beaming smile on his face. “If you want your gear back, officer you're going to have to be quick about it,” he said.
“What have you done with it?” Clarkson asked, dreading what he might be told.
“I suggest that you take a look out of the window.”
The students holding the policeman by his arms released their hold on him and he walked across to the window and looked out into the road below.
“I'll give you a clue as to where you need to look,” Steve said as he joined the policeman. “ Tell me, what do you see across the road?”
“A row of houses,” Clarkson replied, a frown creasing his forehead.
“Yes, and what will the residents be doing soon?”
“Moving out, the houses are going to be demolished.”
“And what do people do when they're moving?”
“Oh no!” Clarkson cried. “You can't have?” There was a look of disbelief on his face as he gazed at the numerous cardboard boxes, bags and black wheelie bins that stretched in a line along the opposite side of the road.
“I have you know!” There was a wicked grin on the student's face as he spoke. “Your uniform is in several of those bins! Let him go,” he told his companions as the policeman rushed towards the door. Standing at the top of the stairs, he called out as Clarkson reached the front door, “If you manage to find your trousers, look in the pockets!”
Much to the policeman's relief the road was deserted when he emerged onto the pavement and ran across to the other side. The first wheelie bin that he looked in contained only bags of rubbish and he wondered after scavenging through it if Steve was merely tormenting him. When he looked in the second bin that initially appeared to have only refuse in it as well, but then he observed something white and lifted up a bag. Underneath it he found to his relief his vest and boxer shorts, and further rummaging in a third bin revealed both of his shoes and socks.
The constable had only just finished dressing in the clothing that he had found when he heard a noise that he instantly recognised coming from just around the corner.”Oh no!” he groaned. “They can't be coming now!”
“Am I seeing things, Jim or what?” the driver of the refuse lorry asked his workmate as he rounded the corner of the road.
Jim was opening the cab door, about to jump out as soon as the vehicle came to a halt. He looked through the windscreen. “Bloody hell, mate! What's the world coming to? A guy in his underwear searching through the bins!” Shaking his head he climbed out of the lorry and walked a few metres back to the first of the road's refuse containers.
Desperately anxious to retrieve all of his uniform before the refuse collectors reached him, the policeman raced along the line of bins, lifting up lids and dropping them after a frantic search. He had managed to retrieve all of his uniform, with the exception of his trousers and warrant card, and was once again in possession of the equipment that the students had robbed him of when the refuse lorry drew up just a short distance away from him.
“What's going on, mate?” Jim called out as he grabbed a bin. “What are you doing out here in your underwear?” He frowned, then went on, “ Isn't that's a copper's uniform that you've got there?” Clarkson failed to respond and continued his foraging.
When Clarkson ignored him, Jim decided that what was going on was perhaps really none of his business and he walked around the back of the refuse lorry wheeling the bin. The constable heaved a huge sigh of relief. He had finally located his trousers, and his warrant card was in the pocket. Now all that he had to do was find somewhere to get dressed in privacy. He ran across the road to a house near to the one where he had been assaulted by the students. The front door was broken and had been forced open. Although the house had been boarded up, squatters had been occupying it, and the stench in the hall where he decided to dress attested to the fact that the bathroom had been used without the benefit of the water supply being connected.
A few minutes later Police Constable Clarkson was dressed once again in his uniform, his truncheon was in it's pocket, his radio clipped to the front of his jacket, and he was putting his helmet on his head when he reflected upon the fact that he had twice in two days been totally humiliated by a gang of students that he knew he was powerless to arrest because of the consequences that doing so would have for him. People, he thought, often said that unfortunate things in life happened in three's. Should he remain in the police force and risk being humiliated for a third time or was it time to quit and find himself another job?