Chris's arrest. The true story

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12 Literary Journals That Publish Multiple Genres - Paying markets

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Rachel Caldecott

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Nov 13, 2017
Lodeve, France
Thanks for some of the suggestions. All of them more interesting than the truth. Steve C was closest. Unfortunately, no bicycles, horses, alcohol or onions were involved. (Neither was my book). Here is a quick version of what happened:

Every Saturday for about 30 years, the municipal police have allowed market traders to enter the market, the wrong way along a one-way street, for setting up and taking down purposes only. We've been doing this, along with all the other traders, for over 10 years. Yesterday, Chris, on his way to collect me and the stand, after a disappointing morning of poor sales, suddenly found himself followed and arrested by 2 rather unpleasant Gendarmes. The Municipality had neglected to put an explanatory sign on the no-entry sign at the bottom of the road, giving dispensation to traders on a Saturday. So the Gendarmes saw Chris breaking the law and arrested him. Which is totally fair enough. However, no amount of explaining by us, other market traders or even the Municipal Police made any difference. The older Gendarme was a total 'jobsworth'.

He handed Chris an iPhone. On the screen was one line of text and a space for Chris's signature. The rest of the text was hidden. A friend of ours took on the job of reading and translating, and managed to scroll back to the beginning of the document (a long one), in which Chris admitted his guilt and accepted a fine. Amount unspecified! Together, Chris and the friend took their time reading it, but the Gendarme was swiftly losing patience and snatched his phone back and signed it himself!

Apparently, we can now expect a fine in the post which we will have to contest. Looking on the bright side, Chris was not tasered, shot, beaten or tear-gassed. (Before anyone comments, yes, we are hoping the fact that the Gendarme himself signed the confession, invalidates the whole thing).

As we were standing there, blocking the entire narrow street, several cars tried to get in (the wrong way). I'm afraid I didn't help matters by asking whether they were going to get tickets too. The municipal police looked very sheepish and bumbling next to the heavily armed gendarmes and tried passing the buck to the city council for the lack of adequate signage. It would be rectified, they said.

The Gendarmes then headed off. Chris was forced to back down the street onto the main road, drive round the town to another road, where the police would have to unlock a barrier to let him in. While I waited for Chris to turn up at my spot on the market, half a dozen other traders drove their cars up the one-way street without incident.
 
The tale made me smile. Thailand has a similar police problem. I was once done for speeding. Accused of doing over 90 k/hr I pointed to the sign saying the limit was 100k/hr. "Ah," they said. "Today is a holiday and on holidays the limit is 90k/hr."
The fine is on the spot for such offences. 500 Baht with a receipt or 200 without. Cest la vie :)
 
What a pain for him/you. Mind you, I could exactly see that same sort of thing happening here between the Vigili Locali and the Carabinieri. (Never argue with an Italian in uniform.) 50 Euros on the spot.
 
What a pain for him/you. Mind you, I could exactly see that same sort of thing happening here between the Vigili Locali and the Carabinieri. (Never argue with an Italian in uniform.) 50 Euros on the spot.
At least with an Italian, you can always appeal to his humanity. Where are you in Italy? I lived in Rome for about 10 years. Still miss it.
 
I'm in Liguria. They're clannish and canny there, so I really doubt an appeal to humanity would work. I think they have a sense of humour bypass as they're issued with the badges -- especially the inspectors on the trains!
 
Ah, yes. Here in Spain, the onus is on the person stopped by the police to prove their innocence, rather than the police having to prove that person's guilt. Likewise, the different tiers of rozzer will permit different things, which can sometimes conflict, giving way to all manner of mix-up and mayhem. Keeping your nose clean can be a tricky business sometimes.
 
I'm in Liguria. They're clannish and canny there, so I really doubt an appeal to humanity would work. I think they have a sense of humour bypass as they're issued with the badges -- especially the inspectors on the trains!

That is one thing the cops here do no lack, a sense of humour. They always smile as you give them the money. If you crack a joke with them you can often get a discount :)
 
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12 Literary Journals That Publish Multiple Genres - Paying markets

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