How Not To Deal With Undercover Police

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While I’m a huge fan of law and order, what with anarchy being a bit unpredictable and all, I do wonder sometimes where our more covert policing brethren get trained. Is there a school for undercover operatives? Or do they just pick the “hippest cats” in the station and throw them out there in plain clothes to see what leads they can generate?

Case in point – New Year’s Day in a popular bar in the StKildaverse. I’d unfortunately worked the night before, and so was running on all six well-rested cylinders – and all of them were naturally-aspirated. No turbo-charging involved, honest! Even though I was not in the chemical spirit, I was doing my best to fit in with the absurd celebration that is NYD, so was wearing a kilt (yes) and was generally acting like a raging dickhead. Not an eyebrow was raised. (I love this town!)

Not long later, my drinking companion and I were approached by an extremely affable chap wearing all the ‘cool’ high-street brands. (I can’t really think of a better way to put this without being unkind to our suburban cousins – suffice to say that his get-up just didn’t fit with the fashion vibe, and it looked like he was trying too hard.) All of his gear was brand new, and whilst seeing someone you know sporting a new t-shirt or pair of trainers is par for the course, it is a bit unusual to see someone wearing everything brand spanking. There’s just too much glare! The blue-white shine of new whites, shining off pristine latex and neoprene soles, bouncing of a shiny new belt buckle just attracts attention.

Now, being a kilt-wearing-raging-dickhead, I am not adverse to a bit of attention, but this was all the wrong kind. The guy screamed “Look at how cool I am!” “Look at how much I fit in!” At a pub in the burbs, he’d have been the coolest guy in the room. All the women would’ve been checking him out and all the guys would want to fight him for alpha-ing their birds. In St Kilda, he was just a… tool.

Anyway, said bloke rudely muscled in on our conversation with an avalanche of mateyness.

Him: “OwyugarnBOYZ?!”

Us: “Yeah good mate.”

Him: “’Adagoodnoight?”

Us: “Yep.”

Him: “Maaaaade, I’m waaaasted”

Us: “Haha, good on ya.”

Then he snaps out of his supposed-wasted-funk, and comes right out with it, all serious like:

“Err, know where I can… score?”

Us: “No idea mate.”


He thanks us and wanders off. I get back to acting like a raging dickhead, but my observant mate was still watching him. I didn’t see it, but apparently this bloke moseys over to a stern-looking middle –aged man (unusual company for an early-thirties trendoid…) and sober as a judge, says: “Those two just offered me drugs in the toilet.”

My mate loses the plot: “Did you hear that? What a load of bollocks! <Name withheld> – Did you hear THAT?!?!”

“Err, no. I was showing a bit of leg to some girl down the bar. Check it out – she’s pissing herself!”

“There are more important things going on right now, idiot, that bloke has just made us out as dealers!”

The best I can come up with is: “Shit eh?”

Now my mate has always been the smarter, more sensible one of us, and I basically take whatever he says at face value. He’s also more reserved and generally either tolerates or chides my immature antics. This time, however, he decided that action was called for. Was he going to do anything about it? Sh!t no! He would be delighted, however, to goad his stupid mate into it. To be fair, he didn’t have to say much.

“Are we going to let undercover police frame us for possession?”

“No way!”

“Well what are we going to do about it?”

I felt the dickhead rage building inside me like the Hulk or Wolverine, until I was in dickhead berserker mode!

The solution was simple – embarrass everyone. This strategy works particularly well for me as I have an unusual condition that means I am basically immune. I patted myself down for contraband as a precautionary measure, strode right up to said suspiciously affable fellow and his sergeant-looking mate and say very loudly:

“You mentioned before you were looking for drugs. As it happens, I have a kilo of heroin on me that I’d be delighted to sell you in the toilets. Shall we?”

Cue gasps followed by pandemonium. He didn’t know what to say, whether I was serious or not, and was looking around to see if anyone else had heard. The entire bar was looking at us, and my mate starts giggling. Cheers, pal. I start to reverse-snort and this winds the bloke up even more.

Now normally if you insult a fellow patron at a bar, one of two things happen. They either knock you out on the spot, or tell you you’re an idiot and to piss off. (I’ve got no small measure of experience with both…) Neither happened in this case. The two blokes stopped and had a little powwow for a few seconds, clearly deciding how to handle the situation. They ended up settling on shaking us by our lapels and yelling (I paraphrase, but the second line is verbatim) “Why would you say that?! We’re not cops! We should beat the crap out of you two!” and commence to roughhouse, but not actually hit us.

Now I was convulsing with laughter at this point, and was grabbed by a security guard and told to go wait outside. As I sat down I watched my mate being dragged out by the other bloke as he yelled: “Go on, hit me! I’ll have your badge!” Security intervened there too and we sat outside like a pair of naughty schoolboys, sniggering, until the weary-eyed manager came up and said: “What have you two idiots done this time?”

We look at each other and roar with laughter.

No-longer-affable and stern-looking-middle-aged guy left not long after.

So, in closing, I took three things away from this experience: 1. Undercover or dragnet officers must be carefully chosen for their awareness of the targeted sub-cultural group in both fashion and parlance so they will blend in better, and not get “made.” 2. Loudly offering to sell an undercover cop a kilo of heroin to highlight their failure in the above is not clever, nor advisable. I wish to stress this. My lawyer mates tell me I’m probably lucky I didn’t enjoy a cavity search, followed by a good phone-booking and an obstruction of justice charge (or similar) later that day. 3. If however, you choose to ignore 2 above, and don’t receive any of the potential consequences, loudly offering to sell an undercover cop a kilo of heroin is a remarkably funny and effective way to get them to bugger off.

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