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#1 Mar 14, 2021 2:30 pm

New Historian
Active

My short lived career as a thief

With the deluge of fake news and hysteria flooding the airwaves, I'm forced into yet another tall tale. Why me only? Come on guys lets hear some of your embarrassing teenage escapades - Expat I'm sure you've got loads!

The headmaster of St. Greg’s was John Drum, a roly-poly man with a unique way of administering justice, or to me at any rate. He taught me a lesson I would never, ever forget. Yet again it was a girl that got me into this piece of trouble. Every evening after school the students from St. Greg’s would gather at the corner of Kenton Road and Woodcock Hill, to wait for our respective buses home. I lived just around the corner from school and didn’t need to take the bus, but I still hung around with the rest anyway - where else was I supposed to meet girls?
“Brian, I’m starving.” Said this teen temptress. “Can you get me a Mars Bar, pleeease?”
I didn’t have the nine pence needed for a Mars Bar, that was a lot of money for a boy on a budget, but when she looked at me so pleadingly something stirred deep inside me: I just had to … satisfy her. Can’t buy one? No worries I decided, I’ll nick one. There was a sweet shop on the corner by the bus stop, and every day hundreds of hungry kids would pile in after school, craving anything sweet and sticky. It was common for boys to plunder the goodies sitting so invitingly on the shelves, stuffing their pockets while the old man’s back was turned. don’t know how the poor man made a living. I’d never done it before, but now was as good a time as any to start. I walked into the shop and adopted the shoplifter’s standard operating procedure:
“Hello sir. Can I have a threepenny gobstopper please?” Even when robbing him I was unfailingly polite. The old man looked skyward, muttered to himself, reached for the footstool, climbed onto it and reached up to the uppermost shelf for the jar of threepenny gobstoppers, a huge ball of hard candy that took hours to dissolve in your mouth.
“What colour d’you want?” he said, back turned.
“Oh it doesn’t matter.” I said, stuffing a Mars Bar into my blazer pocket and for good measure a Lion Bar as well. “Any colour will d…”
Clamp! Something hard grabbed me by the back of my neck and squeezed, hard. Like a vice.
“Gotcha, you bleedin’ little toerag!” A hot harsh voice breathed directly into my left ear. “I knew you little sods was robbin’ Dad blind, now I’ve got proof! Dad, call the police!”
How I didn’t shit myself right then, I will never know. Apparently the monster with the claw of steel still gripping my neck was the shopkeeper’s son, a boxer in the Royal Navy, who’d been hiding behind the curtains at the back of the shop, waiting for the first little tea-leaf (thief) to try to steal from his father. And guess who that first little tea-leaf was?
The old man fixed his kindly eyes on me and was surprised. He liked me, I was one of the few kids who was always polite (even while robbing him blind). No he says, don’t call the police. Call the school.
Thank you! I gave a silent benediction. Now if we can only keep this away from Dad! By this time all  my mates had seen me get caught, and when I was frogmarched up the road to St. Greg’s I did the walk of shame through dozens of chuckling schoolmates. Bastards! When we got there, unfortunately Headmaster Drum was still in his office. The giant and I sat in the outer office, by which time he’d released his grip on my neck. A bit. He was determined to see justice done, and punishment administered. He led into Drum’s office: me cowed, bowed and penitent. Drum berated me for my deplorable lack of moral fibre.
“Stealing!” he fulminated, spraying me with fine spittle. “Stealing! The most despicable crime a boy could commit! Worse than a crime: a sin!” More spittle. Then he got to the important part:
“I know your father.” Yes, I quailed, I know you know my father.
“Your father is a teacher just like me. I have a great deal of respect for your father. This will break his heart, to find out that his boy is guilty of … stealing!” He paused for effect.
“Because I have so much respect for your father, I will not tell him of today’s despicable episode.”
Thank you!! Because any punishment that Drum could mete out was peanuts compared to what Dad would do. He would kill me and bury my body. Drum ordered me to pay damages to the shopkeeper of ten shillings. Ten shillings? But the Mars Bar only cost nine pence! Drum gave me a look. Fine, okay. Plus of course the obligatory six of the best, with the owner’s son watching gleefully. And that was that: no police and best of all no Dad – phew! I went home and told Tom and Gerry about my close shave, swearing never to steal ever again. End of story. If only.
The next morning school gathered as usual in the hall for assembly. After hymn singing and information from masters, Drum took to the lectern for his morning talk. He came straight to the point:
“Yesterday evening, I was faced with a most unpleasant situation.” Uh-oh.
“One of my boys, one of our St. Gregory’s boys, was found guilty of…” pause. “Stealing!”
He went on and on about the moral depravity of this boy, how he could stoop so low as to steal! From a poor shopkeeper. How this boy had brought shame on himself and on the proud name of St. Gregory’s. I thought: proud name? This dump? Hundreds of eyes turned my way, breaking into barely suppressed giggles. I grinned sheepishly, tough it out Brian, tough it out. Then Drum put the boot in.
“But the boy repented; he wept before me, went down on his knees and begged for forgiveness!”
What??? I was staggered, what are you talking about! Wept? Begged? No I never! The whole assembly looked accusingly at me: you cried? Bawled like a baby? In front of Drum? You wuss! I mouthed my indignation: he’s lying! As the assembly finished and the teachers filed out behind the headmaster, I could swear he smirked at me as he walked by. Bastard!
I never stole anything again – cured!

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#2 Mar 14, 2021 3:06 pm

dapper
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Re: My short lived career as a thief

1976 was the first time I set foot in Grenada, I remember it like it was yesterday......Me, my gran, mum, brother and uncle took a BA flight from Heathrow and in those days you were allowed in the cockpit to speak with the pilots and they gave you a goodies bag with BA toys, games and other things, we landed in Barbados to catch a Likkle LIAT plane to land in Greenz,up till this day the duty free shop is still there with the faded writing in pearls airport, my great gran picked us up in an old zephyr and I remember the taxi man telling my mum to hold onto the door cause it has a tendency to fall off...lol....we arrived at La borie in the night and the house was a wooden house with candles , I cried and bawled telling my mum I wanna go back to England cause all I was seeing was insects and lizards, I asked to use the toilet and they brought me outside to this hut with a hole in the ground well that was it , I bawled for so all night saying "I wanna go home"...everything changed when I woke up!!!... when I woke up and saw daylight.goats, fruit trees, sunshine and kids playing, well  that was the start of my holiday, it was like something out story book novel, nature in it's purest form, I cried the night before we were  leaving and didn't want to return to the uk.....lol

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#3 Mar 14, 2021 8:45 pm

gripe
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Re: My short lived career as a thief

That's a good one, NH! Great story; great writing.

Headmaster Drum was quite versed in the knowledge that playing with people's psyche -- attacking their minds -- is the most effective way to humble human beings and mostly set them on the right path. As you said, NH, "He taught me a lesson I would never, ever forget."

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#4 Mar 15, 2021 9:09 am

New Historian
Active

Re: My short lived career as a thief

dapper wrote:

1976 was the first time I set foot in Grenada, I remember it like it was yesterday......Me, my gran, mum, brother and uncle took a BA flight from Heathrow and in those days you were allowed in the cockpit to speak with the pilots and they gave you a goodies bag with BA toys, games and other things, we landed in Barbados to catch a Likkle LIAT plane to land in Greenz,up till this day the duty free shop is still there with the faded writing in pearls airport, my great gran picked us up in an old zephyr and I remember the taxi man telling my mum to hold onto the door cause it has a tendency to fall off...lol....we arrived at La borie in the night and the house was a wooden house with candles , I cried and bawled telling my mum I wanna go back to England cause all I was seeing was insects and lizards, I asked to use the toilet and they brought me outside to this hut with a hole in the ground well that was it , I bawled for so all night saying "I wanna go home"...everything changed when I woke up!!!... when I woke up and saw daylight.goats, fruit trees, sunshine and kids playing, well  that was the start of my holiday, it was like something out story book novel, nature in it's purest form, I cried the night before we were  leaving and didn't want to return to the uk.....lol

Great story!

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#5 Mar 15, 2021 9:33 am

Expat
Active

Re: My short lived career as a thief

dapper wrote:

1976 was the first time I set foot in Grenada, I remember it like it was yesterday......Me, my gran, mum, brother and uncle took a BA flight from Heathrow and in those days you were allowed in the cockpit to speak with the pilots and they gave you a goodies bag with BA toys, games and other things, we landed in Barbados to catch a Likkle LIAT plane to land in Greenz,up till this day the duty free shop is still there with the faded writing in pearls airport, my great gran picked us up in an old zephyr and I remember the taxi man telling my mum to hold onto the door cause it has a tendency to fall off...lol....we arrived at La borie in the night and the house was a wooden house with candles , I cried and bawled telling my mum I wanna go back to England cause all I was seeing was insects and lizards, I asked to use the toilet and they brought me outside to this hut with a hole in the ground well that was it , I bawled for so all night saying "I wanna go home"...everything changed when I woke up!!!... when I woke up and saw daylight.goats, fruit trees, sunshine and kids playing, well  that was the start of my holiday, it was like something out story book novel, nature in it's purest form, I cried the night before we were  leaving and didn't want to return to the uk.....lol


You didn't get the cockaroaches running through your hair while you slept? That made life a bit difficult on one of my visits.

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#6 Mar 15, 2021 9:53 am

Dancer
Active

Re: My short lived career as a thief

Expat wrote:
dapper wrote:

1976 was the first time I set foot in Grenada, I remember it like it was yesterday......Me, my gran, mum, brother and uncle took a BA flight from Heathrow and in those days you were allowed in the cockpit to speak with the pilots and they gave you a goodies bag with BA toys, games and other things, we landed in Barbados to catch a Likkle LIAT plane to land in Greenz,up till this day the duty free shop is still there with the faded writing in pearls airport, my great gran picked us up in an old zephyr and I remember the taxi man telling my mum to hold onto the door cause it has a tendency to fall off...lol....we arrived at La borie in the night and the house was a wooden house with candles , I cried and bawled telling my mum I wanna go back to England cause all I was seeing was insects and lizards, I asked to use the toilet and they brought me outside to this hut with a hole in the ground well that was it , I bawled for so all night saying "I wanna go home"...everything changed when I woke up!!!... when I woke up and saw daylight.goats, fruit trees, sunshine and kids playing, well  that was the start of my holiday, it was like something out story book novel, nature in it's purest form, I cried the night before we were  leaving and didn't want to return to the uk.....lol


You didn't get the cockaroaches running through your hair while you slept? That made life a bit difficult on one of my visits.

****
.........  hahaha   , Expat is one cold water throwing son of a gun. Jeeeeez. lol

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#7 Mar 15, 2021 10:18 am

Dancer
Active

Re: My short lived career as a thief

I forgot to shout out NH.     ....... on developing his writing ...... lo

*My short Lived career as a theif *    CHANGED  TO .... The Play

The MARS BAR .
You've  got them all . The players.
Headmaster
Students
Bus Stop
Convenience store with shopkeeper  and his son
The thief
and justice / moral/ whatever .
Got it all NH.   

.......................
  Pls Send cheque for the idea  thank you.
lol

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#8 Mar 15, 2021 1:58 pm

dapper
Active

Re: My short lived career as a thief

"You didn't get the cockaroaches running through your hair while you slept? That made life a bit difficult on one of my visits."

lmao...I got that too, but the worse scare story was people saying "put a pillow over your ears when your sleeping otherwise congoree go crawl in it"

Last edited by dapper (Mar 15, 2021 1:59 pm)

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