It was a good day. Six guys all having fun in the pub. Between Smiles, Eric and me, we must have bought ninety percent of the drinks consumed that day. Doug seemed to feel the effects of the alcohol first among our company. He didn’t appear drunk at first, just silly. Doug and Smiles knew each other well. It was pretty clear to me that this Doug was the one that Lee needed us to identify. It helped matters that Doug liked us and trusted us. He wrote down his telephone number on a piece of paper and handed it to Eric. That was a good start, but it still did not identify him.
By “identifying him” I mean finding out exactly who he is. We needed his full name, date of birth, address and criminal convictions (if any). We needed to know his associates. In my own mind this was THE Doug. We had to devise a method to identify him without breaking or even jeopardising our cover story – no easy task.
Message to brain – keep working, keep functioning, you need to do your job. This was my method of stopping my brain from falling into the abyss of alcohol induced abandonment of reasoning and function. An abandonment of caring about who I was supposed to be.
This concentration took the form of an alarm clock, an imaginary constant clanging clockwork contraption lodged inside my head, with two huge mechanical bells set symmetrically on top. It worked for me not only this night but on other nights too. Times when the source of the intoxicant was not only alcohol, but also tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the active ingredient of cannabis) and benzoylmethylecgonine (cocaine).
Smiles, Buzz and Happy took their leave of the drunken company. That was a sensible move. Doug was drunk. We bought him another couple of beers and shots to ensure he stayed that way. I had a wicked plan tucked away up my sleeve.
Slurring by now, I said, “Doug, where you staying tonight?”
My brain was functioning fine. But the words coming out from my mouth bore some kind of resemblance to Donald Duck.
“Smiles,” Doug indicated.
“Right we’ll give you a lift,” I slurred.
All three of us left the pub in Tregaron stumbling down the stone steps leading to the High Street. The van was parked about fifty yards distant. As we walked past some shops toward, the van I noticed two things. Doug was swerving from side to side. A few steps forward, a few back. His legs buckled as he tried to walk. He was gone! The other thing I noticed was the street had emptied.
The time was ripe to roll out my plan. It was easy for me to act almost as drunk as Doug because I was almost as drunk as Doug. My next moves were purely voluntary. I controlled my limbs long enough to overcome my drunkenness. Doug was on the inside with me next to him. Using the outside of my hip of my right leg, I thrust it rapidly into his left leg. It was a trick I had learned from playing in countless football games. It is a subtle and effective way of unbalancing an opponent.
The flick of the hip sent him crashing backwards through the shop window. There was an almighty sound of glass crashing, freed from its captivity as a rigid form. Doug lay inside the shop, stranded like an upturned turtle. It took me a few moments to assess the scene. Relief took over when I could see no blood. His chest was rising and falling with that human reflex action indicative of life itself.
The task was not yet completed. I was about to execute Part Two of the wicked plan. It was late at night. The earlier streams of people, who had congregated for market and fair day, had petered out. I could not guarantee that the local police would find the drunken Doug and the smashed shop window. Several yards away stood one of the ubiquitous red phone boxes, or telephone kiosks – ‘TKs’ as we called them in police lingo. I dialled 999 and got through to the operator.
“Which service do you require?”
The Llanddewi Brefi log entry for Wednesday November 17, 1976, read:
“Doug was busted by the local law last night for smashing a window and drunk and disorderly.”
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