Chapter 12

Xero and the Law (part two)

© Ralph Stephenson

A Bobby stands watching as Xero runs through his raucous repertoire. The metallic sounds of his saxophone echo off the marble facades of the banks, whose minions scurry by, headed for the sanctuary of the sandwich bars and shops. Some do stop to pay their respects and drop small change into Xero's velvet lined saxophone case, but such benefactors can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The Constable stands and taps his foot, but is otherwise devoid of motion or expression. Slingsby glances at him out of the corner of his eye. He puts his weight on one foot and then the other. He is not sure whether the tapping size thirteen Doctor Marten signifies an appreciation of the finer points of "Mopti" (the Thelonious Monk tune he is attempting to master, with the emphasis on attempting) or just downright annoyance.

As he finishes this one, there is a smattering of applause. A few more people have stopped to listen and some of them even recognise the tune. They are beginning to appreciate that someone is trying to brighten their day. He takes the mouthpiece from his saxophone and shakes it.

A stream of sputum misses the policeman's highly polished shoe by a whisker. Xero quickly re-tightens his reed and tries to put the policeman out of his mind by closing his eyes and concentrating on his finger work. But before he can launch into "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", the PC wanders over to stand right next to him, eyeing the passing public and the now growing mound of change.







" Do you know it's illegal to busk here?"

" No, but I'm sure if you hummed it, I could pick it up in no time. "

The hand's already headed for the breast pocket and the notebook is on its way.

" Name and address, Sonny Jim!"

If there was one thing guaranteed to make Xero see red, it was when coppers (who looked younger by the day) addressed him as Sonny Bloody Jim.



Another arrest, another appearance in the Magistrates Court and another acquittal. Using his dog-eared copy of Moriarty's Police Law, Xero defended himself on no less than fifty-four occasions. He only ever had five convictions recorded against him. His maximum sentence was a five quid fine, so considering how much he earned over the years, he came out well in front.


                                                                                                                                                               © Ralph Stephenson

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