When I spotted the squad car sitting in the car park I thought to myself, "oh, here we go, some local ne-er do well's been caught trying to half inch a packet of plugs." But when I walked in through the front door of PC World, I knew, almost instinctively, that something was up.
Standing behind the counter was my Blockbusters nemesis, Richard, alongside another barely human looking sales assistant, and two of her majesty's finest boys in blue. I almost turned tail and fled, just through instinct alone, it doesn't matter how innocent someone is, they always feel guilty when they see a copper. It's just a fact of life.
I think the news that the authorities will be able to keep the DNA of innocent people on file for up to six years is yet another example of the creeping state of fear. It's an infringement of our civil liberties, like CCTV cameras everywhere, and Google's ability to actually read your mind according to your web activities.
Still, I thought to myself, "c'mon Barry old son, you've nothing to hide," and so I walked up the counter.
"That's him," said Richard, his face remained expressionless. The two officers came out from behind the counter and before I could protest my innocence, they'd cuffed my hands behind my back and were frog-marching me out of the shop!!!
As they did, I heard Richard saying "I always knew he was a wrong 'un."
Well readers, the next 24 hours were my own personal Guantanamo Bay. The police officers didn't say a word as we drove away from PC World. "What the fuck is going on?" I asked, "where are you taking me?"
The one in the passenger seat span around and spat "Shut your fucking mouth you nonce."
I did as I was told, I can tell you that for nothing, I've seen the videos on YouTube about police brutality. When we got to the station, after having all my belongings taken away, including my belt and shoe laces, I was bundled into a cell. A cell, I might hasten to add that I had to share with a common criminal.
After what seemed like hours, I was removed from the cell and taken to a room, where the arresting officers were sitting. I was being charged with possession of indecent material! Me, Barry Newdesk, was being charged with possession of over 1000 images and nearly 24 hours of footage of illegal child and animal porn.
"We know you can't help it Barry," said the one who hadn't called me a nonce earlier, "we know what it must be like, on your own, spending hours in front of the computer. You have needs." he said. Well, y'know, I do have needs, but usually they extend as far as a four pack of Cobra and Fray Bentos pie. This line of questioning went on for a while, with the savage looking officer just staring at me.
Then he spaketh. "I've got an eight year old daughter, Barry. How does that make you feel?"
"I love kids," I said.
Well, he practically cleared the desk in a single bound. The other, kindly looking officer, only just stepped in, even then, my attacker managed to land a couple of blows. I couldn't believe what was happening to me readers, an innocent blogger. "It's Richard," I protested, "he must have uploading all that filth, he's planted it on me."
But they wouldn't listen. They wouldn't listen at all, instead they just kept asking me over and over a list of endless, seemingly unrelated questions: had I ever been to Belgium? Did I know anything about Romanian orphans? Did I know a man called Dalston Keith? Did I ever call phone sex numbers? Was I a practicing homosexual? Did I know about a place called The Biscuit Club?
Honestly, the questions went on and on, relentless they were. They brought out my trusty old laptop and fired it up and then made me watch some of the videos that they said had been stored on the hard drive. I was sick on my trousers. I don't think it really helped my cause.
They carried on questioning me, they even carried out a cavity search, nature's pocket thoroughly rummaged, I'm not sure what they were expecting to find up there. Eventually, they threw me back in with Trevor the car thief from Thornton Heath. "Alright bruv," he said, "you look how I feel."
I couldn't bring myself to ask how he felt.
I had no idea what time it was, I think I must have passed out asleep at some point or other, because the next thing I knew, there was a rattling at the door, it opened briefly and a copper came in with two cardboard plates of food. It was breakfast time. Not bad either, a sausage, some rubberized scrambled eggs and baked beans.
I'm not ashamed to admit it, I wolfed down the grub, I felt like Tom Hanks in the Shawshank Redemption, then that line came back to me, "I believe in two things: discipline and the Bible. Here you'll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord; your ass belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank."
I didn't want my ass belonging to anyone.
I jumped to my feet and started banging on the door, "I'm innocent, INNOCENT!" I was screaming now.
Then, miraculously, the door of the cell swung open and I came face to face with the hard-faced arresting officer from the previous night's interrogation: "You're free to go Mr Newsdesk," he said very matter of fact, well, they were the sweetest words I think I've ever heard. I nearly kissed him. Then I remembered the cavity search and I thought better of it.
"Your friend from PC World called in," he said, "seems you've been the victim of a computer virus." he said.
Then there he was, sitting in the waiting room, bold as brass, bloody Richard! The cheeky fuckin cunt, I charged over just about knocked his block off, there and then, even though I'm a pacifist, I just let him have it with both barrels.
Which, in retrospect, was somewhat foolhardy. The coppers grabbed hold of me and threw me back in with Trevor!
Richard had come to the station to explain to the officers that he had discovered a computer virus on some other computers in his care. Apparently people unwittingly download the virus from certain sites. These sites themselves are perfectly legal sites targeted at consenting adults. But the virus, once downloaded, sends out requests to other more sinister websites, automatically downloading as much hardcore illegal porn as possible, before crashing the machine's operating system.
After an hour to calm down, the officers let me go. Richard didn't even press charges. I have to say, I think I might have misjudged the man.
I went down to PC World this afternoon and bought a new laptop, I thought it was the decent thing to do under the circumstances. I tell you one thing for sure, I'm going to get myself some decent IT security from now on!
Yours, in freedom, Barry