This sketch is pure invention, quite unlike the others in this blog. It is based on an unfounded rumour that floated around the neighbourhood.
No one had actually seen a body in the north-east corner of the park near the flower bed but the elderly Miss Hutchison had been told the police had found one at around four on Tuesday afternoon, when few people were around, and told her neighbours about it.
The few people to whom Miss Hutchison had spoken anxiously waited for information on the local radio station, or in the local paper. But there was none. The next morning, one of them, Dr. Alan Thompson, a respected physician, called the police and asked whether the rumour was true. He was told not to believe everything he was told.
Dr. Thompson was not satisfied. He had been head of the local ratepayers association and was interested in everything that was going on in the neighbourhood. He went to see the elderly Miss Hutchison, who informed him that the person who had told her about the body was a “mentally challenged” boy in the home for difficult children down the street. Dr. Thompson found the boy, who insisted he saw “something covered” being carried on a stretcher to an ambulance on Tuesday afternoon.
Dr. Thompson asked for an interview with the Chief of Police, Ronald Saunders, whose wife happened to be a patient of his. Chief Saunders appealed to him not to spread to others what he was about to be told, but if Dr. Thompson did, there was nothing Chief Saunders would, or could, do about it. Dr. Thompson smiled and said he would decide this for himself. So what was the story?
There was no corpse, Chief Saunders said. There was an unconscious young man covered by a blanket who was indeed being carried to an ambulance, which took him to a hospital where he was properly admitted under his own name. This any reporter could easily have found out, without police help. However, he had told his people not to talk to anybody about it.
The facts were as follows. The excitable young man was unconscious as a result of a sudden fainting spell. He had gone to the park “to cool down.” He had been called in for an interview at the police station and made such a scene, and used such offensive language, that they gave him a “mild sedative.” This was admittedly against regulations, but they did this occasionally in such cases. Nobody had ever made a fuss about it. Chief Saunders told him what the drug was. Dr. Thompson nodded and said it was unusual for this drug to lead to fainting spells serious enough for a person to be carried unconscious to an ambulance. They agreed that there may have been medical reasons for the young man’s collapse. Chief Saunders had not yet checked with the hospital.
The young man in question, he told Dr. Thompson, was a “political trouble-maker and rabble-rouser” who had been on their list for eighteen months and who, the police had good reason to believe, intended to “make serious trouble” – Chief Saunders did not specify how – at next summer’s G20 meeting in Muskoka.
The police were “not particularly anxious” to have this matter reported. There had been enough stories about police brutality, the chief told Dr. Thomson. Whatever this was, this was most certainly not an example of it.
Dr. Thompson has not yet decided whether to keep it under his hat.