* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we believe if you see something, say something. Preferably you should say something even more twisted and disturbing than whatever it is you think you see. Like Walter Bowne.

Suspicious Activity

By: Walter Bowne

Transport for London (TFL) released the following recorded messages from its database of confidential hotline tips during the week of 14 April, 2014. Names in the messages have been edited.

#1 Right, I am on the Circle Line…is this the correct number? We just pulled out of High Street Kensington Station towards Edgeware Road…A young man in a black hoodie is sitting across from me holding a bag…There is something inside the bag. What type of bag? It’s beige and canvasy. It has the words Waterstones of Gower Street…He’s…Now what is he doing…He’s…pulling something weighty from it…wait…he’s reading a book, and it’s not any book, oh my! It’s Oliver Twist! Is it a cover? The book hollow? Oh my God! He’s pulling something long and slim from the book. It has string!…A fuse? A fuse? No, no, is it a bookmark? Could it be a bookmark? The bookmark reads, “Words cannot do justice to the pleasures of a good bookshop. Ironically.” What? A young man reading a book! I’ve never seen anything like this!

#2 This is Retired Major…, 3rd East Anglian Brigade. I am seated in the third carriage of an East Coast train, bound for Newcastle, and I’ve been overhearing for an hour what I can only term “highly suspicious activity.” Two young women, of indeterminate ethnicity, have been engaged in animated conversation since York. One said she “was feeling rather drake” after that “bombacaceous night” with her most “crazsian Bombadee.” The other replied that she had a “blast” with some “trigger milf.” Are they planning a terroristic threat? Bomb! Blast! Trigger! Milf! What’s a milf? Help! Help! I’ve never heard anything like this!

#3 Yes, hello, I would like to report highly unusual behavior. A man wearing a turban is concocting something in his lap. He seems rather secretive. I’m on the 20:45 outward train to Bath Spa. Now, it may some chemicals. It smells. I mean, I have lived 65 years, and I’ve never smelled anything like it! No, it doesn’t smell like sulfur, or kerosene. No, no. It smells remotely aromatic. Perhaps even like roses. With a hint of cinnamon and perhaps even…what? Saffron? What’s saffron? He’s filling the contents in his lap in some sort of envelope. It’s yellowy. And pasty! He’s measuring very carefully now! Should I attack him? What? I said, should I throw his package out the window! Wait! Wait! He’s eating it! He’s a human bomb!!!!

#4 This may be none of my business, but I think I need to do my duty and report what is happening. I couldn’t live with myself, if I do indeed live beyond the next five minutes, if I didn’t tell the authorities that a man and a woman are seated next to me. We are on the 70 bus to Queensway/Westbourne Grove. Neither one is texting. Neither one is on a computer. There are no earbuds dangling from their ears. They are not reading books. They are seated, with eyes wide open, gazing at each other, hands entwined, as two becoming one, gazing upon the greater glory that they will both share once they make it to heaven. I have never seen such devotion — I’ve only read about the devotion of those sad, misguided individuals who give up their lives for some greater cause. I have been married now for 33 years, and I’ve never felt such blind passion for my Harold. Do you think the couple may be up to no good? I highly think so.

#5 Right? Yes. Is this the number for a suspicious transaction? A horde of young punks with tattoos and alarming studded belts and black leather boots and black jeans are engaged in what seems like some ritual. I’m standing on the platform of Wimbledon. They seem pagan, as if engaged in some ritual. I’m afraid they plan to kill someone. Like they are looking to sacrifice someone. One is saying, “We are the Knights who say Ni.” And the other responds, “We demand a sacrifice!” And then another says, “We will say Ni again to you if you do not appease us.” What? What? Monty Python! What kind of snake is that? Is it poisonous? Should I be concerned? I’ve never experienced such scary shenanigans!

#6 Please, this is an emergency! I am on the Kings Cross Platform. Number two. A woman is standing next to me with a rather large package concealed underneath a billowy blue blouse. No, I’m not trying to alliterative, you imbecile! I can’t see what she’s hiding. She looks animated. Happy, even. I’m not sure why. No, she’s more anxious, maybe nervous. I don’t know. The look scares me. Is this what fear tastes like? I’m walking away from her now. What? Yes, yes, I’m still here…I’ve been telling people to clear the area…Wait…A girl is running towards her with open arms. The woman is pulling out a package! It’s wrapped! Oh my, it’s a white teddy bear!