“When they kick at your front door, How you gonna come? With your hands on your head or on the trigger of your gun?” Guns of Brixton. The Clash.
This Tale takes place in the spring of 1990; at our apartment in Amsterdam, just off of the Leidsestraat and but a two minute walk from the Leidseplein. You couldn’t live more centrally. It was my favourite apartment ever.
The apartment was on the first floor, and the flat door opened straight into one huge room. There was a smaller room for storage and wardrobe, and a bathroom. The stairs up from the main door were wooden and very narrow.
It was around ten thirty in the evening. Chris and I were sat around watching TV with a huge, as in a brick, of Afghan hashish on the table, the room full of the fragrant smoke. There was suddenly a bang downstairs and the sound people running up the stairs, past our flat, and up the next two flights of stairs. There was a bit of a party animal who lived above us and we wondered if there was a connection. We were extremely stoned, and tuned to every single movement.
We could hear them coming back down the stairs, yelling and hammering on doors along the way. We were totally stoned and everything was going in a kind of slow motion, our senses were on high alert. As they reached our landing, Chris got up with the intention of quietly opening our door to peek through it.
In what was precision timing, Chris cracked the door open at exactly the same moment as there was an almighty loud thump on it.
A guy in plain clothes, screaming “Police” came flying in through the door with his gun pointed straight at us, another with a weapon standing in the doorway, and several more backup outside. He kicked open the door to the smaller room, and the door to the bathroom. All the while with his gun at the ready. This happened at extremely high speed. I sat there staring.
As the cop started to leave, we asked them what they were doing. He replied that they were looking for some people. Chris continued by asking what they had done, to which the cop who had been standing at the door replied, “a lot.” And they left.
All the action, from coming in the door downstairs to leaving the building again, took less than ten minutes. There were six guys and they were loud. We found out the next day that there had been a robbery at the post office in one of the main markets in Amsterdam, not far from our place. They had been told that the perpetrators were holed up in our building.