Here's a general rule worth sticking to. When you call the emergency services, it's best to tell them about something that has actually occurred or is actually occurring. In real life, that is.
I only offer this menial reminder because of the tale of David Helens.
Helens is a 25-year-old Englishman who seems to enjoy playing Grand Theft Auto. This is understandable. A lot of 25-year-old Englishmen are like that.
What is less understandable, however, is why he called 999 (the British equivalent of 911) and reported a shooting.
This shooting, you see, was only happening inside the Grand Theft Auto world, rather than outside in the big wide one.
As the Mirror reports it, Helens told the 999 dispatcher that his friend Max had been shot in the chest and was bleeding badly. This was nonsense to the max.
But Helens went on for 12 minutes describing the horror, which became worse when he himself began to scream. He claimed to be himself in the throes of an attack by an unknown assailant.
The dispatcher sent two ambulances to Helens' house. What the ambulance personnel found was zero dead bodies, zero injuries and one apparent nincompoop.
The action occurred on November 8. However, in court proceedings last week Helens pleaded guilty and received a 12-month community order. He must perform 120 hours work, unpaid, and will be supervised as to his behavior for 18 months.
Helens' lawyer reportedly explained that her client had been "confused." She said: "It would appear that the phone call made to the emergency services coincided with him playing a violent shooting game on his computer." She added: "He tells me that he has very little recollection of the phone call."
The "I don't recall" defense has been used by the pettiest of combatants to Ronald Reagan.
All too often, it's even less convincing than a video game.