This entry picks up from the end of my ‘stuck up a bell tower‘ story, one of the more foolish situations I’ve ever found myself in. I’d been rescued from the tallest point in Venice by some stumpy uniformed types that turned out to be the local police… It may not sound like it yet, but this is yet another too-much-information (TMI) story, so stick with it until the end, it delivers. If you want more, check out Lilu’s blog. And now on with the embarrassment…

The bald policemen, both with faces like a smacked bottom, frog-marched me all the way to the nearest canal where a boat with Polizei stencilled on the hull awaited my arrival. The boat’s captain gave a quick flash of the boat’s blue lights and a toot of the siren in greeting. If the boat had had a low roof, or if either of the officers could actually reach my head, they would have no doubt pushed me under it. Instead, they grunted and waited for me to climb on.

I held my head high in a manner that best befits a noble British naval officer as we puttered along the squalid, soupy canals. I become intensely reflective in times of danger or duress: I begun to wonder if the locals realise that tourists overlook how dirty and smelly their city is just because it’s so damn charming. I pondered where they were taking me and what they might do with me when we got there. I even thought about diving over the edge of the boat, but that would’ve meant leaving my camera behind.

So I’m heading to an Italian police station with nothing more than a rudimentary understanding of the language and primitive stick-men-drawing abilities. In other words, I’m stuck up an effluent-topped canal without a paddle — shit.

We pulled up alongside a nondescript brick building; it had bars across the windows, but no other hints that it might be a police station… or worse… jail

An old Venetian building -- not mine -- by mtsrs (Flickr)

While being lead inside I took one last look at my surroundings in case I had to describe my location over the phone to the British embassy or Jack Bauer while negotiating an escape plan. They pushed me through a dilapidated swing door that was once navy blue and into some kind of reception. My camera and phone were quickly placed in a locker and a form was placed on the table for me to sign. I reached for the pen slowly but one of the men behind me coughed and shook his head, yanking my handcuffs and pulling backwards towards a small room — surely they’re not going to question me… I don’t speak Italian! — and as if reading my thoughts, the other officer promptly appeared with an Italian-English dictionary.

Flopping the tome open at the centrefold I had a feeling these poor guys had done this before. Brits don’t have a fantastic reputation for being great tourists, mainly because of our yobbish football fans. I was about to receive the same treatment reserved for proper troublemakers — is getting stuck at the top of a major landmark really that anti-social?

“You… make… distress.” I nodded slowly and smiled inanely, hoping I came across as some kind of simple-minded pacifist. It’s at times like these I wish I didn’t have a beard, or really big eyes that have the tendency to make eye-contact for extended periods of time — ‘eyeballing’ they call it, in macho-man and law enforcement circles. The police officer tried again:

“You… inebriated?” I stopped nodding and started shaking my head very quickly. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the other policeman pulling some latex gloves out of his pocket. Oh, not drunk… druggedThe one with the dictionary nodded as his face lit up with a a tight-lipped, grim smile. “We check.” He shut the book and signalled to the other officer to lift me out of the chair, which he did, roughly.

The begloved officer pulls the chair away and pushes it into a corner. He snaps the cuff of the gloves with a thwack while the other man takes my still-cuffed hands and pulls them to the far side of the table, forcing me to lean over. I can feel but cannot see the other officer as he reaches around my waist to undo my trousers. I can feel them falling to my ankles, followed moments later by my underwear.

Looking up at the man that’s pinning my wrists to the edge of the cold metal table I try out my best pitiful whimper, a task made all the more simple by the warm, plasticky hands now groping around my buttocks. I let forth a cry as his stumpy fingers enter me with no ceremony, foreplay or lubrication. Prod, wiggle, grunt. Mamma mia! Che macello! (Don’t look that one up)

And then it’s over and he’s pulling out, I’m being uncuffed and he’s pulling his gloves off into a bin. I lay limply on the table for a few minutes until the one with the dictionary breaks the silence: ‘You… free… go, prego, prego.’ He points to the exit and looks irritably at my half-naked form. Smiling bravely and nodding, I reach down with aching arms to pull up my underwear. Thank God I’d already lost that particular virginity a few years ago, I thought to myself, my senses slowly reclaiming ownership of my body. That would’ve been a fun story to tell the kids: how I lost my anal virginity to a bald fat man — and I didn’t even know his name…

Stumbling out into street I knew I’d got off lightly. It could’ve been a lot worse. I could’ve been thrown into a jail cell with a fat, big-bossomed man called Martha that insists I call him ‘mummy’. I could’ve been deported after just 24 hours in Italy.

Most importantly: the policeman could’ve had cold hands.

No farmer's daughter. No dog to lick my toes. Can't complain though...
Insomnia, but not quite?


I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.