Dave Lazer’s new article for the Saatchi Gallery Magazine – ‘MUGGED’

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One of the problems with being called Dave is that you find yourself needlessly turning ‘round a lot. Whether someone has actually shouted ‘Dave’ or not doesn’t usually matter. There are thousands of Daves in London, but when shouted, it sounds exactly the same as ‘hey!’, ‘wait!’ and ‘mate’; thus supplementing my already busy turning ‘round schedule.

This particular superfluous turn around would prove more eventful than most. I instantly realised both that the young antagonist of the opening section of my piece had shouted “OI MATE” and that he wasn’t now, nor likely ever going to be, my ‘mate’. Mates don’t generally try to stab each other, at least not this early on in the relationship.

As he walked hurriedly towards me, he pulled a knife from his pocket, grabbed me by the bicep and introduced himself by asking, “What you got? What you got?”.

I looked down at the knife. It wasn’t the kind of cool knife that people in films get mugged with. It was a medium sized kitchen knife with a handle made of that kind of frosted clear plastic they use to make chopping boards, that looks great when you buy it, but then after a few weeks starts to look like gritted snow. I didn’t have long to ponder the aesthetics of the weapon as before I knew it, he was stood directly behind me with the knife now being held against my lower back.

I honestly can’t remember, what he said after this. I was preoccupied with the thought of having one of my kidneys punctured by my assailant’s Ikea dagger. I’ve never wanted anything to happen to my kidneys that would result in me pissing blood. I’ve always imagined pissing blood to be one of the most unpleasant disturbances the human body could possibly endure. It just sounds grim and incredibly messy.

Past this black spot, I remember everything. He’s now pocketed my phone and is rooting through my wallet. He’d had to remove the knife from my back in order to forage through the dry cleaners tickets, Starbucks coupons and Post Office receipts that make up the bulk of my wallets misleading girth, clearly disgruntled by the meagre tenner inside. Failing to realise the value of the actual wallet, he handed it back to me. Which, I suppose, I should try and see as some kind of silver lining.

As he began edging away, in an attempt to bestow some kind of Robin Hood rationale to his actions, he barked “I know this ain’t nice yeah, but a brother gotta eat”.

“What? you want to eat my phone? You want to EAT MY FUCKING PHONE?” I replied.

Except of course I didn’t say that. I didn’t say anything, I just stood there confused and still scared he’d change his mind and stab me anyway – I wasn’t going to get stabbed for being a smartarse. As he disappeared into the night he bellowed “call the Police and I’ll HUNT you and KILL you”.

Suddenly, as the immediate danger had subsided and I knew I was safe, the confusion and trepidation that had been coursing through my veins was replaced by anger and animosity. I was right by my building, I could literally see it throughout the whole ordeal. I indignantly marched through the front door and up to my flat. At some point during this extremely brief journey I must have decided that I didn’t care if he was going to ‘hunt me and kill me’, as I walked straight in and called the police.

After a brief conversation with the operator, I was informed that the Police were on their way and would be there in about fifteen minutes. I remember feeling quite impressed at the promptness of service being provided. It’s reassuring to know that my (ok, your) tax money isn’t all being spent on high speed rail links and glorified sports days.

As I was sat down waiting for the police to arrive, it suddenly occurred to me that the police were coming here. Fuck. I looked over at the table, It was almost entirely shrouded by Rizlas, tiny bits of blue cardboard, little plastic bags and residual bits of my flatmate’s exotic tobacco. I flung all of the windows open, quickly grabbed a box and began desperately filling it with anything in the room that looked the remotest bit illegal. I was going to need a bigger box.

I chucked the box into my flatmates room, closed the door, emptied all the ashtrays I could find into the bin and began spraying kitchen cleaner into the air to try and stop the flat smelling like a Haitian squat. I obviously didn’t do a good enough job, as when I opened the door to the two WPCs, they instantly started taking exaggerated sniffs and exchanged knowing glances with one another.

As I showed them into the living room, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how fat one of them was. She was seriously fat, not just out of shape, but, for a human being, entirely the wrong shape. Her uniform must have had to have been specially made at my (ok, your) expense. She was wider than she was tall. I fully accept that she has every right to be wider than she is tall if she so wishes, but her job involves chasing after people. She should definitely be less fat – she owes it to the public.

As I sat on the sofa relaying my story to the fat WPC and the less fat (but, come to think about it, still actually quite fat) WPC, I became acutely aware that it was beginning to sound a bit made up. It didn’t feel like I was recounting actual events, it felt like I was vaguely describing an episode of The Bill I’d seen a few years ago, but hadn’t really been paying attention to.

“where did the mugging take place?”

“in a dark alleyway”

“what did the mugger look like?”

“he was black and was wearing a hoody”

Starting to worry they were going to think I was making it all up to make a spurious insurance claim, I considered jazzing up some of the facts. Perhaps the mugger could have been on roller skates, maybe I could say I thought he looked ‘half black, half Chinese or something’- anything to stop this sounding like the most hackneyed, made up mugging of the year.

Thankfully, before I had the chance to embark on what I’m now sure would be an ill-advised, confusing ramble; the less fat WPC suddenly stopped writing and pointed at a large box on the floor. Poking out of the box was what looked like an absolutely massive green bong.

“What’s that?”

“erm.. it’s a hooka pipe”

“What do you smoke in it?”

“Nothing, I’ve never used it. Its purely ornamental, my sister gave it to me. I don’t even want it. I’m going to throw it away”

She then began inspecting it. What the fuck? this wasn’t a raid, I’m the victim here. I’d INVITED the police ‘round here to take a statement and now they were rummaging through my stuff. How has this happened?

“Look, its just a stupid souvenir thing. I’m not even sure it actually works, it’s nothing. Can we please get back to me getting mugged? I want to get this sorted” I said with notable agitation. She reluctantly stopped and turned her attention back to me and the fattest Policewoman in the world. “Have you cancelled the phone? You need to report it stolen to your service provider, they’ll give you a code and you need to give that to us”. I hadn’t, and as my house phone is a bright pink rotary dial, which looks cool but is entirely useless when presented with automated menus, we made our way to the computer in my bedroom so I could cancel it online.

Like an idiot running willingly into a pit of fire, I opened the door to my room and my heart instantly sank. Sat in the middle of the floor were four more hooka pipes, one was parcelled and addressed ready to post to a friend.

Before you come to the same conclusions as the b(l)obbys, let me explain- My sister works for a hotel chain and was for some reason given a load of hooka pipes as gifts. She was throwing them out and I (for reasons I cannot fully comprehend) said I wanted them. I really didn’t want them; I just thought I did, very briefly, at the time. I certainly didn’t want them now.

“And these?”, enquired the fattest Policewoman in the world, clearly wanting to get in on the Columbo-esq sleuth work displayed by the less fat, but still actually quite fat Policewoman. “Are you selling these?” she continued, sensing a completely erroneous lead. “Are you selling these bubble pipes on the internet?” she probed, pointing at the large box wrapped in parcel paper ready to be posted. “No I’m not, honestly, my sister gave them to me. Some Arabs gave them to her and she didn’t want them so she gave them to me, I don’t even want them”.

“Do you smoke cannabis David?”. “No I don’t”, I answered honestly, beginning to both panic and become distinctly incensed. “I really don’t, test my piss if you like, I don’t smoke cannabis. Do you want to take some of my piss? I will honestly piss in a bottle and you can take it and test it. Then I want you to come back here and apologise to me for calling me a drug user. Now if you don’t mind I’ll get this code from o2 and you can be on your way”

My outburst had clearly shocked them as they both sat in silence on my bed as I sat typing to someone on the o2 live chat help thingy. I don’t think I’ve ever typed so fast in my entire life, I just wanted this fucking code so I could get them out of the flat. They were making a horrible evening even worse.

I wrote down the code, handed it to the fattest Policewoman in the world and executed a loud exhale intended to convey a feeling of content, followed by a “there you go”.

“Thank you, we’ll be in touch if we manage to recover your phone”

-“Fat chance of that happening” I replied, very gingerly emphasising the word ‘fat’.

“Well there’s always a chance” she said, seemingly unaware at my subtle innuendo. “There’s always a chance we’ll catch him” she repeated.

I think deep down, we both knew that wasn’t true.




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