This is a very short story of a strange little stalking situation… with a policeman. It pales in comparison to the violence many people have experienced on this storyboard, and I am sorry for those who have had horrible things happen to them. But I thought I might as well tell it.
One day back in 1999 I was taking the tram (number 17) – on my way to pick up my pay. I was perfectly skint and didn’t have ticket money at the time, so when a man in a tan jacket came to me with a badge and wanted to see my ticket, I had to apologize that I didn’t have one. The fee, he said, was 200 crowns. I told him I was on my way to get my money, and that I didn’t have any just then. He told me I had to get off the tram, which I did. Strangely he held my arm at the elbow while I was getting off. He told me that I had to give him my address details. I said fine, and gave the details, expecting some kind of ticket to come in the mail.
The next night, as I was walking up the street towards the flat, I saw him in the doorway of the building across from my mine, watching the street. I didn’t really know what to do, and he hadn’t seen me, so I turned around and went to a pub nearby to collect my thoughts and met my flatmate there. I told him about it and we mused that I was probably just imagining this, and went home. There was no-one in the doorway when we turned the corner – how the imagination plays tricks! But…two days later, around 8 pm, a man came to the flat looking for me. My roomate answered the door, noted the tan jacket, weird nervousness and said that I wasn’t home. The guy said he’d come back a different time. I thought I saw him a few days later in his tan jacket as I was walking home, he was walking away from my building at about 10 pm. About a week later, I was again walking up the street to my building and again I saw the man in the doorway across. Before he saw me I turned around and went directly to the police station just around the corner. I told them the situation and I think they thought I was crazy, but they told me to stay put in the station for a little while. After about 20 minutes they came in and told me that he was sorry, and I could go home without any problem now. I never saw the cop again.
There was no real physical violence, but after the experience I have been much warier (a good thing really), looking over my shoulder and assessing dark corners of the street before I make a move. I imagined I saw the guy a few times after that, but on second glance it proved to be a false positive. Did he want the 200 crowns? Was he trying to get to know me? Whatever, it was weird.
Lessons learned: keep an eye out (see them before they see you), communicate even silly musings to the people close to you, and know where the police station is nearby.
Submitted by Joy