Reminds me of an incident involving one of my students from around six or seven years ago. He was a medical researcher, working at Hospital Clínic in Barcelona, and one of his regular tasks was to collect rabbit blood samples from a hospital in Sant Boi, a couple of miles out of the city, and drive them back to Clínic. The rabbit blood was decanted into polythene containers and then placed into a polystyrene crate which was placed in the trunk of his car.
One day, while driving back into the city he pulled up at some lights and someone rammed into the back of his car. He was uninjured, apart from whiplash, but pretty shook up. The other driver bolted — leaving him stranded at the lights. The trunk had sprung open and there was blood spattered everywhere around the crumpled rear end of his vehicle. Police arrive. They approach from behind — and view the scene — all they see is blood — gallons of blood — flecked with blood soaked polystyrene and shards of blood stained polythene. At first look the mix of blood and shattered bits of polystyrene and polythene could appear to be bone and body tissue. The student is stood by the side of the car, rubbing his left shoulder and neck with his right hand.The police approach him very, very cautiously. One of the cops pulls his gun. The other cop is calling for backup. My student, in obvious pain and discomfort, cannot put both hands in the air as ordered by the cops; he cannot lift his left hand higher than his shoulder — the pain is excruciating. The student is frozen — his left hand level with his shoulder, and his right arm extended as high as he can reach, almost forming a fascist salute. One of the cops decides he’s a far-right terrorist and he’s taunting them. He’s ordered to maintain his position as one cop keeps his gun trained on him and the other cop is taping off the road.
“Where’s the body?” A cop asks him. “There is no body,“ the student calls. “It’s rabbit blood.” The cops decide he’s being gnomic or somehow provoking them. “Rabbit blood”, he calls again. He begins to explain that he works for Hospital Clínic and that he’s transporting rabbit blood. The cops, convinced that he’s taunting them, tell him to shut-up. Miquel, the student, maintains his pose for ten minutes or so during which time three more police cars, and a detachment of heavily armed and protected anti-disturbance police arrive.
While keeping three or four automatic rifles trained on him the police huddle and decide on tactics. All Miquel wants to do is put his arms down and sit down. No-one, so far, has ordered him to lay down. Then, finally, as the armed posse form a tight circle around his car, a voice asks him to shout his DNI — his identity number — and usually the very first piece of information Spanish/Catalan police demand. He calls it. A crackle of calls, a nodding of heads, and with only one rifle still trained on him, an officer approaches him. He motions for Miquel to lower his arms but keep his hands away from his trouser pockets.
As another officer gently guides him to a police car he says to Miquel, “You shouldn’t be doing this at all, never. Doesn’t the hospital have trusted couriers? But if you absolutely need to, get stronger bottles, tougher cases and tighter caps.”
Enjoy your visit.