Manika Gandhi: The Day Binkerton Resigned from the Police Force

The tragic story of Binkerton’s resignation. From the Duckbill Workshop in Delhi.

‘Binkerton, we have a problem,’ crackled the wireless speaker, stuck painfully on the podgy policeman’s belt.

‘What?’ he huffed, as he tried unsuccessfully to dislodge the unfortunate wireless to speak into it.

‘Oscar calling Binkerton. Oscar calling Binkerton. Sir, I said we have a problem.’

Binkerton was still tugging at the wireless. He knew it was no good. So, he bent over at the waist trying to get his mouth as close to the side of his belt as possible. The resulting visual effect was not unlike that of a baby hippopotamus trying to retrieve a ball from right under its bellybutton while simultaneously trying to get its tail unstuck from a sticky place. In other words, the situation was not pretty, but it wasn’t entirely without humour.

Binkerton, it seemed however, didn’t have much to laugh about.

‘What? What? What? What?’ he puffed. ‘You have another problem? A pack of penguins would have been a better bet for this mission. The next time I need a team to rescue an escaped giraffe from a raft floating on the river, I’ll call in a pack of penguins.’

‘But sir …’ crackled Oscar.

Binkerton would have none of it. ‘All you had to do,’ said the harassed, doubled-over, breathless police chief, ‘was create a human chain off the bridge till the last of the sorry lot of you could reach the giraffe. Then, you had to pet the giraffe and talk to it kindly to let him know he could trust you. Perhaps you could even offer it a bucket of fresh leaves, which, surely, you would have in your supply box.

‘Am I missing something, here Oscar?’

‘No, sir. This is standard giraffe rescue procedure as laid out in Section 3, Clause 517 of The Rescue and Care of Mild and Friendly Tall Animals Manual, published annually, and sometimes, biannually.’

‘So, Oscar, I want to know what this chaos is all about? What problem could you possibly have on such an easy mission?’

‘Sir, the giraffe is refusing the bucket of leaves. He says he is non-vegetarian.’

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