Thought they had it covered

1st July 2005 at 01:00
On Monday morning we discover a felony has been committed. The police review the film from the security cameras but find that those nearest the scene of the crime have mysteriously gone blank.

Cerberus, the maintenance man, investigates and finds that the eye of each camera has been taped over. The police suggest this will make it more difficult, but Cerberus determinedly runs the film further back and, lo and behold, finds excellent footage of two young men walking down the corridor in maintenance-style coats carrying a box. They stop. One climbs on the box and the other hands up a roll of masking tape. The pictures go blank.

Gotcha - but who are they?

He runs the footage further back. Nothing. But Cerberus tries again with film from another part of the building. After hours of searching he spots two matching faces, this time without maintenance coats, strolling out of a lecture room. It is easy to pinpoint who was using the room, check the register and match the names to photos from the office. The course is two students short now but it is no great loss. They never did their homework properly.

In class, I am startled when Lou asks me what is the top limit for an ISA.

Is she laundering the takings from the office? But Lou has worked out that by walking to college and bringing in sandwiches she might be able to shovel her New Deal allowance into an ISA. She hopes to use her investment to pay the phone bill.

I suggest she changes to pay-as-you-go, but of course there is nothing worse than knowing you are out of credit and cannot call a friend. And now Lou has another problem. She has bought all the birthday presents for her little boy, but yesterday baby Beckham demanded a bike, so today she must buy one. I suggest an alternative response of "Sorry, I can't afford it", but this is as unthinkable as switching off the phone.

Public service students have been on an exercise this week. Seeing them wandering into the college canteen in camouflage jackets and charcoal-streaked faces is making us all a bit jumpy.

It has certainly affected maintenance man. On Friday he is aghast to spot a car come careering into the car park with two hooded figures inside, carrying what he thinks could be a firearm. He springs for his walkie-talkie to request back-up from the police helicopter and put the hospital emergency services on standby.

The walkie-talkie has hardly crackled into life when the pair leap from the vehicle. Fortunately Cerberus sees, just in time, that they are only carrying a video camera. Media students - they really must be more careful.

The author is a college lecturer. Gwen Kelly is a pseudonym

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