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Pay Parking

“I don't think you've ever met Drongo,” Robbie said. “Des's cousin. Looks like a Neanderthal. Big bugger. As wide as he's high. No forehead, but massive brow ridge.” He ran the side of his hand across his face above his eyes. “Sticky out jaw. Big teeth. Rugby League star, but big on the punk rock scene, too. Looked the part. Been in gaol the last twenty years, but they've just had to let him out.”

“What was he in for?” Kathy asked.

“Bumped off a parking inspector. Squashed her between the bull bars of two four wheel drives parked in a big public car park. They'd just put in pay parking. There was lots of resentment, so they reckon it was deliberate. They took one look at Drongo, said 'He's our man,' and that was it. He said he was off buying a ticket from a machine that had swallowed his money, but they didn't believe him. If anything, that gave him a motive.

"The trial was a total farce. The prosecution spent days on DNA evidence, establishing that Drongo had been in the car, which was obvious, because he owned it and had driven it there, but it didn't prove that he was in it when the accident happened. The jury lapped it up. Then the prosecution forgot to tell the defence that the police knew that it had never really been a free car park. There were no signs, but it was run by a mob called National Motoring Services, which is a branch of the Mafia. Ran a protection racket. No pay, big dint. They'd reserve a spot for you if you wanted, wave away anyone who tried to park there. Anyone who ignored them and took it had their car nicked. The owner of the other car in the sandwich was a known Mafia hit man, but he wasn't even interviewed.

"The judge said that interference in the proper management of car parking was an attack on the lifeblood of our society, and when done by a punk rocking Rugby League star, was particularly heinous. Gave Drongo life, never to be released."

"So how did he get out?"

"Boss of National Motoring Services wrote his memoirs from his remote hacienda in Paraguay. Boasted about bumping off interfering parking inspectors, and how there were wrongly convicted patsies in gaol all over the world. So, after much noise, there was an enquiry."

"And now Drongo's after millions in compensation for wrongful imprisonment and lost earnings ?"

"Yeah. But there's a snag. The guy who reviewed the case had a good look at the DNA evidence. What he thought at first was that it had been planted by the cops, it looked so odd, so he tested Drongo again. Turns out, he really is a Neanderthal."

"What difference does that make?"

"The Director of Public Prosecutions is claiming that he doesn't qualify for compensation because he's not human."

Copyright © D.W. Walker, 2015

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