Posted by: talkjack | April 10, 2009

Confessions of a red light worker

Hello. You don’t know my name, but you have probably seen me time and again as you drive around town. People like me ply our trades in public places, working the streets of cities all across Bully Britain. We work the red lights, where our unwilling, scared punters stop their cars to allow us to do business.

I have several regular ‘patches’ where I work in Coventry. Sometimes you will see me working the busy junctions of major streets approaching the inner city ring road. You might find me near Gulson Road, Binley Road, Foleshill Road, Walsgrave Road, Sky Blue Way, or any other red light junction. I will be the scary looking guy dressed like an out of work builder, carrying a bucket, a rag, a squeegee, and / or an old bottle filled with tap water and washing up liquid. Sometimes you see me working alone, sometimes other members of our gang will be helping me take money of you. I usually have a smirk on my face. I bully drivers for a living.

People call me all sorts of names: squeegee mugger, red light menace, rogue windscreen washer, professional beggar, traffic light bully, squeegee gang member, bucket bully, windscreen wiper, car smearer, the list goes on and on. I do not care what you call me, because hardly anyone is brave or foolish enough to speak to my face. You bullied British are too cowed by me and my gang. Ha!

I take money from people just like you. Anyone who drives has no choice but to stop at red traffic lights and sit there shaking while I mess with your car and demand your money. If not you personally then someone you care about; a friend or family member. My favourite targets are single women driving alone, mothers driving their children to school, and elderly people. Or, failing that, any guy I think I can bully without retaliation. Basically, I target vulnerable people. And you can do nothing about it.

I love my job. When the light turns red all you drivers stop behind each other, ready victims for me, not aware that I am waiting to get your money. You all queue up so nicely for me. In a single change of the lights I can pick on three or four cars.

Gotta love the looks on your British faces when you realise what I am doing. I can’t help smirking at the fear on drivers’ faces, which is plain to see. I smear your car windscreen with a mix of tapwater and whatever else I find or steal which looks like car wash. Washing up liquid is my favourite. I don’t know or care what it does to your paintwork, just give me your money and drive my way again.

The thing I love most is ignoring the scared pleas of lone women drivers as I ignore their requests to stop interfering with their cars and I continue to mess around with their wipers and to smear their windscreens so they cannot see properly when they drive away. Most of my victims are having a flight or fight response. But they are unable to drive away because of the red traffic light, and too intimidated to stop me because I am bigger than you, and you are scared that I will damage your vehicle or hurt you. Too right. Wind up your car window, sit and tremble for my mercy and amusement while I do whatever I like to your car.

All I need to bully drivers is just an intimidating glare, threatening body language, plus cheap disposable items like a squeegee and a bucket or bottle of dirty liquid. Sometimes I steal squeegees and buckets from shops and garages.

When I work your car against your wishes, so what if I do sometimes damage your windscreen wipers as I yank then out of the way? Maybe I do dent your bodywork as I lean or lie across it. Maybe I do transfer grime from other cars onto your field of vision. Maybe the metal on my clothes or equipment does scratch your car paintwork from time to time. Who cares? I am in a hurry to get your money and move on to my next victim before the lights change. Fear me!

 When the traffic light changes to green you mugs drive away with your hands shaking, you are filled with fear, anger and adrenaline, you have poor visibility to drive because I have smeared your windscreen, and you are more likely to cause or become involved in a car accident or collision. Not my problem, just give me your money and have a nice day.

A few of you are so outraged and powerless that you make hand gestures at me as you drive away. You are so brave when you think I cannot reach your car to damage it in return. No problem, I can still throw dirty water all over your windscreen as you pass me, so that you cannot see what you are driving into. I do this several times a day. If you have left your driver’s window partly open on a hot day then I can try to hit you in the face or eyes with dirty water as you pass by me. Hope you crash your car, you noisy horn honkers. How dare you stand up to me on MY territory?

Of course, what I do makes traffic congestion worse. We deliberately get in the way of cars so that you are forced to slow down. It means fewer cars get past us, so we have more chance to make money. Why wouldn’t I want to slow down commuters?

In some cities, gangs like mine will wear fluorescent jackets and pretend to be council workers in order to break into the underground traffic light electronic circuits. Admire our ingenuity! If we break those then your traffic control systems cannot work properly and they revert back to default settings. That means red lights last much longer and I can bully more of you powerless British victims for your money.

A lot of you call the police and report me. If not you personally, then your husband or partner, your Dad or your eldest grown-up son. Why should I care? The police choose not to stop me, I am as invulnerable as a comicbook supervillain. The authorities say I am not committing a crime.

In fact, maybe a decade or more ago the authorities had a reason for not stopping gangs like mine. The best law they could find that we were breaking was about trading in a public place without a license. Several years ago, however, the law did change. This was done to allow the authorities to stop us. What we do is now considered in law to be a public nuisance offence. I don’t understand why the authorities choose to let us return to work the red lights day after day, but they do. Hooray! Odd really when you consider that Bully Britain is a society where young children could be given ASBOs for chalking a hop-scotch grid on the pavement or where teenagers are not free to meet a few of their friends outside shops in designated zero-tolerance areas of the city.

It appears that the authorities lack a zero tolerance approach to squeegee mugging. I bought a newspaper with my unemployment benefit money and laughed when I read the police advice to drivers. Thank you for the free benefit money by the way. Here’s my advice to you if you do not want to give me your money or have me mess with your car:

  • Look happy or bored as you are driving along, unaware that I am lying in wait. Listen to your favourite cheerful music, happy in your own private world.
  • Frown when you stop in the queue at the red traffic light and see me step into the traffic. Imagine your cheery music changes into the Darth Vader theme tune.
  • Keep glancing worriedly at the red lights and pray that they change to green before it is your turn to be bullied.
  • Look absolutely petrified with fear as I come rushing towards you and your car.
  • Frantically wind up your driver’s window in panic, your hands shaking.
  • Plead with me to stop as I lie across your car, scratching your paint, and yank your wipers up.
  • Feel the fear and adrenaline when I smirk at you and do whatever I want to your car.
  • Be too scared of what I will do to you or your car if you are rude or try to stop me.
  • Drive away as soon as you can, in a right old emotional state.
  • Try not to have a traffic accident because you are so shaken up.
  • Have a lousy day as you are filled with stress before you even get to where you are going.
  • Do try not to have a heart attack won’t you? Otherwise I won’t be able to get you again.

I am surprised that in the country with the most electronic surveillance in the world, the authorities of Bully Britain do not detect what I am doing or protect the public from me. Ironic, hah! Serves you fools right. Did you really think all these CCTV cameras are for YOUR protection?

See you later in the week. If I miss you tomorrow it is because I have to go sign on and collect my unemployment benefit. I’ll get to you or someone you care about eventually. As long as a few of you idiots as so scared or naive that you give me money, my gang and I will never go away.


Yes, this confession is, of course, fictional. The authorities of Bully Britain do not really turn a blind eye to street bullying. Do they?

(c) Copyright Talkjack 2009



  1. It’s kind of funny the first two or three minutes, you know. You should have made half a dozen posts of this one.

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