The Pond

The Guv’nor writes…

She was plumpish but pretty. He guessed about eighteen. She was giving him furtive girlie glances.

She looked nervous despite the mask of proud self-importance, for she was to be Queen of the May and be crowned by a Telly Star – him – right here in the park where he used to play.

Mum and Auntie Jess were on the platform beside him, she was on the other side with the mayor who was droning on about local boy making good. Making good! Selling soap powder to the great British public? That was good?

His eye wandered over the small crowd; the curious, the local press, some faces he knew, and some he knew well… but nobody out to settle any scores. And none of his boys. They were “inside” or busy not being inside, so no real ghosts from the past. Just a couple of coppers who must have known. But it was ten years ago now, and not that important.

He’d taken Mum and Auntie Jess to Barkers in High Street Ken and fitted them out. They did look good in their jackets, matching skirts and posh hats. Glowing with importance. This was a big day in their lives – and one in the eye for the neighbours! He was there for them. Tt was nothing to him. Nothing in this place was for him. He’d never belonged here.

He’d never belonged anywhere.

He looked beyond the crowd to the pond. Not so long ago he’d thrown a sawn-off shotgun and a small revolver into that pond, a favour for a mate who had to disappear suddenly. A ll of that was all over. Now he didn’t even have any mates, didn’t want them.

There was something else about the pond. That two days he was on the run, he’d hidden what he now knew to be a solid silver Georgian tea set, under that flagstone at the pond’s edge. All he’d need was a lookout-driver and he could have that away one night. Fun… but could be trouble.

He didn’t have to go on the run. He knew he was going to get nicked. But it was fun. Also it showed his boys, Jimmy the Ploughman, Killer Green and the rest, that he was still King.

The Juvenile Court put all his boys away but gave him two years probation. They said he was a born leader. More like a born thief, he thought. He was soon nicking again

Then he got a job and a lady that taught him how to read. Then a scholarship, and begun the climb to standing on this platform in a hand-made suit, a beautiful voice and a lot of charm and some money. But still he didn’t fit.

It would soon be his turn to make a speech. He’d got a good one, rubbish, of course, but it would play well.

That tea set was getting at him. He wouldn’t sell it, he’d have it cleaned up and displayed in his smart flat. That’s what he’d do. He still wouldn’t belong, he’d still be on the outside… but he’d have his nicked silver tea set that nobody knew anything about except him and where everybody could see it.

Yes one night soon he’d be back to that pond.

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