…the day I was diverted from a life-long career of criminality…

…there are some incidents in a man’s life that are pivotal in setting his future career path… one that is scorched into this ol’ Scots Jurassic’s mem’ry occurred when I was all of six and a half years old… picture if yeez will the environment… the slums of post-war Dockside Govan in Glasgow… precious little in the way of pocket money from any spare change in yer Father’s pockets when there was generally too much week left at the end of the pay packet… community policing consisted of big fellas with pointed helmets residing in Doctor Who tardis-lookalike boxes at the end of the street… we youngsters would rove around with our pals, always on the lookout for a chance of getting sum’thing for NUTHIN… and along came the suggestion that we could shoplift and run away with assorted goodies from the stores and shops about six or seven streets away from where we lived, in the daft idea that nob’dy would recognise us so far afield from our own patch… comes now the intrepid trainee mastermind criminal, wee Master (Fingers) Gallacher, still in short trousers, and the ubiquitous ‘wellies’ (Wellington boots were all-season footwear in Govan)… the target ‘hit’ was the Woolworth’s store five streets away from my home… I chose my moment and snatched a packet of darts, encased in a plastic covering… I recall with remarkable clarity, the flights on the darts were mostly yellow…

…my attempts at concealing my furtive efforts were as effective as a chocolate teapot… the minute I picked up the darts and ran toward the exit, the shop assistant at the counter screamed and started to chase after me… the terror in my throat was unbelievable… fear lends fleetness to yer legs, even when handicapped with the weight of rubber wellies… the lady was clad in equally non-Usain-Bolt sprinting aids – clumpy boots not dissimilar to the modern-day Uggs… my legs were miniature blurs as I sped toward home (so much for disguising where we lived)… my chest was pounding, and the chasing counter clerk (who is this Masked Ma’am?)… seemed to be making ground on me… in nightmares for weeks afterward I could hear the thud-thud-thud of her boots on the pavement, hounding me down… in desperation I threw the packet of darts up in the air, and behold and lo, she stopped to retrieve them… an unconscious criminal mastermind stroke of decoymanship… and my palpitating guts carried me away into another street and relative anonymous safety…  the horror of the entire episode stayed with me for years afterward… I consider it the day I was diverted from a life-long career of criminalityand I feel certain it has saved the planet from the emergence of a Capone-esque crime lord, or at the very least from another Bill Sikes or Fagin lookalike… and I’ll bet you a penny to a packet of darts, there’s a certain woman in Govan who could have given the four-minute-mile barrier breaker, Roger Bannister, a run for his money had she been given proper running spikes… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!




Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

5 responses to “…the day I was diverted from a life-long career of criminality…

  1. With the perspective of time and objectivity, those moments seem so small but they do stand so large in our consciousness though, don’t they? … mine was nicking a bit of my father’s tobacco at the tender age of 8-ish and trying to smoke it … it tasted disgusting, I felt like I was choking as I turned the proverbial green and threw up, and, apart from a few encounters with the ‘weed’ in young adulthood, I never even looked at any tobacco products ever again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That life of crime must be one of the shortest in history, Seumas. 😀 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

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