Joe’s release

It was the height of The Troubles and this particular family was well-known to the RUC for being Republican activists. One policeman – he must have been their Intelligence Officer – decided they might be best advised to take the youngest lad Joe, in for questioning. 

Now sixteen-year-old Joe was not the sharpest tool in the box. The cops had an inkling of this but deduced from this fact, that he might let slip some details that he oughtn’t to.

They could hold him for questioning for four days.

After four hours, the police knew they had made a serious mistake. They hadn’t yet got beyond the .. ‘name .. address .. date of birth’ .. part. 

He denied all knowledge of these facts! 

Oh, he didn’t deny his name. He just wasn’t so sure of those other things.

But Joe didn’t like policemen. He fought and bit: he screamed and roared: but most of all, he swore. Even the cops – among them many ex-servicemen – had never heard so many swear words. This was the only time they made notes!

After a while they threw him back in his cell to stew there until the four days were up.

Upon his release, there was a terrible commotion at the Cop Shop that attracted people from the surrounding streets. Joe believed his supporters had arrived at last to rescue him. He played to the gallery.

‘But you don’t understand,’ explained the friendly policeman, patiently.

‘You’re free to go home. You’re innocent. Go home, lad!’

”You don’t call me ‘innocent’, ye bast**d’, roared Joe back,

and he made a ferocious lunge at the copper.

‘And I’m not going home!

That’s just what youse b*****ds want!

I’m staying put!

That’s my cell in there!’

And with that, he made a great dash back through the doors of the police station.

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