Monday Morning Coming Down
Twenty-seven fresh-faced recruits sat bolt upright, desperate to impress the Instructors on their first dip into the sludgy waters of the War on Drugs.
'You ready, Dave?'
'Jeez, Henry, haven't even finished my coffee yet! Full of bloody beans for this early, aintcha?'
'Good weekend, first one off in months! Have your brew, I'll waffle for. . . half an hour?'
'OK, as an introduction to the course, this morning you get to play with puppies!'
Baffled looks from the would-be Narcs.
Gloves on, I opened the safe, holding up the tiny block of cannabis resin.
Worried looks, whispers around the classroom, tentative hands creeping up.
'And, no, you're not going to bloody smoke it!'
Relieved laughs, a slight look of disappointment from the girl in the second row (note to self, watch out for her).
'Today you get to use one of the greatest weapons you fine folk will ever deploy on future Operations. Volunteer?'
Every single hand shot up.
I picked a random recruit. Always the same, I loved this session. Gave them hope, bit of fun, and always, I mean ALWAYS, provided results.
I explained how the drug had been seized, accounted for, weighed, signed out, tested, weighed, signed in, logged, recorded yadder, yadder, yadder. Now a temporary training tool before it would join tons of its friends in the furnace for an orgy of righteous destruction.
Volunteer suitably gloved, I asked them to hide the cannabis somewhere in the room, remove the latex gloves and place them in the sealed container. I would leave the room so I had no idea where the block was hidden. Ten minutes. Go!
Dave strolled down the corridor, accompanied by the clickety click of Dylan's paws on the hard flooring.
I guzzled the coffee Dave had thoughtfully brought along, resisted the urge to stroke the Collie as he made a fuss around my legs, and re-entered the classroom.
'Gloves away? Good. Please stay seated. In a moment an Instructor, and one of our finest Canine Trainers, will enter the room with his drugs dog Dylan. Dave will give the 'find' command and Dylan will do his thing. Once the cannabis has been located, the dog will sit, facing the item and give his handler the signal there's something naughty in the area. Let's meet Dylan eh? OK, DAVE!'
The door opened to ooohs and aaahs (The dog was bloody cute!) and Dylan had a very quick sniff, ran up to me, sat down, paw raised, and whined for his partner.
'Good boy!' Dave fussed over the dog, holding out his hand. 'Nice try Hen, hand it over!'
His smile faded when I told him I had not been given the drugs.
'Sorry guys, Monday bloody morning, eh, Dylan's still a little sleepy, I think!'
He patted the dog, took him out, returned a minute later, 'Go find, boy!'
Another very short sniff, another beeline for yours truly.
'Ho, bloody ho, hand it over, mate!'
I swore to him I did not have the item, that I'd not handled it without gloves, and hadn't been in the bloody room when the weed had been hidden.
'Well, Dylan disagrees, mate! One more go, you stay outside this time.'
He addressed the rather bemused class, 'Sorry, guys, for some bloody reason, seems poor Dylan is besotted with your Instructor today, let's try it without him distracting the poor thing.'
Three minutes later, clapping and cheers reached my ears as I stood down the corridor. Dave's head poked out, 'Found it!'
Later on, recruits at lunch, as we countersigned and weighed the drugs back in for destruction, I asked Dave why he thought Dylan had given two false indications.
'No clue, mate, he seemed pretty certain both times! He's one of the best I've ever seen. Never wrong! I can tell when he's uncertain or confused and that wasn't it. He got something from you. Don't suppose you were on a raid over the weekend, bit of cross-contamination?'
'No, mate, as I said, first weekend off in months, thought I'd treat the missus, so we went away.'
'Lucky bugger! Anywhere nice?'
'Yeah, we had a great time, two nights in Amsterdaï¿½. Ahï¿½'
I bent down and gave Dylan a treat and a huge tickle, 'Sorry, mate, my bad!'