A Story by Peter Rogerson

Some people deserve being reminded that money does not equal humanity



The Honourable Sir Quentin Royceby was more angry than he’d been since, when, last Night at bed time when his whisky spilt on his pillow whilst he was adjusting his pyjama bottoms..

But now it was something that was considerably more important. The wretched Tom Barnyard was fast asleep on the wooden imitation park bench seat that he’d installed only last week for when he next held a gala party. Tom Barnyard was a disgrace to humanity, but wasn’t he quite the generous local dignitary because hadn’t he offered the geriatric slob a job sweeping dead leaves and generally tidying up! And didn’t he sometimes pay him, too?

Sleeping on his new bench! No doubt leaving his fetid aroma on its lovely polished surface! This must be a job for the police! And not just a phone call to be dismissed the moment he hung up, but he was due in the town hall for a vital meeting that morning, and the police station was right next door! He’d call in person, then they wouldn’t forget him so easily. The darned police never took any notice of his complaints, and the town was littered with ne’er do wells such as the Barnyard wretch! Let them dismiss him so easily if he stood in front of them with his medal gleaming enough to dazzle them!

And I’ll take the Rolls, just to show them who’s boss!

Breakfast for Quentin Royceby was a delicious affair involving a full English repast as well as a mixture of continental pastries, and to do it justice he needed half the morning to enjoy it, so by the time he parked at the police station it as already gone ten o'clock with his special medal awarded to his late father (but who would know that, and wasn’t a son entitled to his father’s rewards?) freshly polished.

A uniformed officer stood behind a partition, idly thumbing through a sheaf of papers. He looked up, and although he recognised the Honourable jewel of society standing and gazing furiously at him, he pretended not to.

Yes sir?” he asked.

I have a most serious complaint!” snapped Sir Quentin Royceby, already infuriated by the apparent anonymity with which he was being treated. After all, everyone in Brumpton surely knew who he was, and everyone was expected (by him) to acknowledge his place in society, and never forget, the shining medal might help focus their minds.

Yes, sir,” continued the officer, Sergeant Parsecott, “could I have your name please, sir?”

This is ridiculous!” snapped the honourable man, “don’t you know who I am?”

Of course I do, but, “I’m afraid I’m not au fait with every face in this crowded little town,” replied the officer, “now sir, you say you have a complaint, so let’s do this properly. Name, please.”

Sir Quentin had little option. He could create a fuss or he clould comply with the officer’s request and give his name, and hopefully get back at the petty little uniformed thug later.

Quentin Royceby,” he replied.

And how would I spell that, sir?”

This was getting to be ridiculous! As if his name and its spelling wasn’t in everyone’s head all the time of their lives, he was that important!

Just write it down man, and listen to my serious complaint!” he snapped.

Sorry, sir, but things have to be done properly or my Super, who’s a devil for details, might get onto me and put me back onto traffic!”

My complaint, you cheeky upstart, is the vagabond Tom Barnyard! Sleeping on my new shiny park bench all night long, and not taking his trousers off so anyone passing was treated to the full exposure of his almost naked bottom!”

Ah, so you’re the Quentin Royceby with a new expensive park bench, are you, sir?”

Harrumph!” was all the Honourable gentleman could spit out.

Did dear old Tom show you his medal?” asked Sergeant Parsecott, nodding towards the one Quentin was wearing, “I suppose that ‘s why you’ve got yours on display. Been comparing notes, have you?”

He’s not got a medal!” snapped Quentin, “all he does is sleep on my park bench after he’s swept my garden, making the place look untidy and no doubt smearing my nicely painted woodwork with whatever detestable stuff he might have in his trousers!”

You mean old Tom Barnyard, sir? You’ve got him all wrong if that’s what you reckon! He got a medal years back at the Falklands, when he was just a plain ordinary soldier, not much more than a lad back then, but he didn’t half go through it. A shinier medal than yours, if I might say, but well earned. That’s why he walks with a limp to this day. He’ll tell you all about it if you were to ask, not that he likes to boast.”

Then he should learn not to sleep on my best bench!” snapped Quentin, “why can’t he go home and get some sleep there? Why does he have to be such an untidy lump of litter?”

Go home, sir? Old Tom go home? He’ll not be home until the saints call him! A brave man, sir, but he lost everything and nearly his life, in them there Falklands. Not been the same since. So what’s he done to upset you, sir? Got a shinier medal than yours or summat?”

Are you trying to be insolent or is it how they train you policemen these days?” growled Quentin.

Sergeant Parsecott may or may not have been enjoying himself. “Just passing the time,” he replied, “now, sir you have a serious complaint. Them’s your words, so tell me about it so we can do summat about it. Let me see, do we need the murder squad?

The blighter sleeps on my park bench, man! Isn’t thats eriou enough? I mean, my spanking new park bench!”

I reckon I knlow what he would tell you if you was to as him,” sighed the sergeant, “and it would go something along the lines of he’s got nowhere to rest his head, not one place on all this crowded planet, and it’s a crying shame if he’s to be harassed at this time of his life after he gave his just about everything for the country in the Falklands war.”

But my new bench!”

I know, sir, and its a crying shame, and you with your good lady wife all alone in that big house with, let me see, how many rooms? Must be twenty, I’d have thought, so you’d have the odd spare room, surely? Why don’t you see if he’d fancy one of them?”

Him? Who do you mean by him?”

Tom Barnyard, of course. Brave man, was Tom, got a medal for what he did, not that a mere medal compensates for what old Tom lost.”

So what are you going to do about it? We can’t have vagabonds littering my garden up, can we? I’ve done my bit for the fellow, given him a job sweeping rubbish up. I pay his wages! And my taxes pay yours! So what are you going to do about the tramp, and don’t go on about how much he lost in a bloody war, because I’m not listening!”

How many rooms did you say that you’ve got just for you and your missus?”

I didn’t! I’ll report you to the chief constable if you say one more offensive word to me!”

Me, offensive, sir? Not in a thousand years!” The sergeant looked shocked at the very idea that anything he’d said could in any way be construed as offensive.

Anyway, be warned! I’m playing golf with your Chief Constable this afternoon and I’ll tell him exactly what I think of your attitude, sergeant!”

Very good, sir,”

And what notes have you put down about my complaint?

Quite a lot, sir, I wrote, let me see, Man with big house and loads of rooms complaining about homeless hero with none… That about sums it up, don’t you reckon? Or should I have mentioned the medals as well…”

© Peter Rogerson 10.05.23


© 2023 Peter Rogerson

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Added on May 10, 2023
Last Updated on May 10, 2023
Tags: tramp, homeless, mansion, bench, medals hero


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 79 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..