6 March 2013

The sound of trouble

Firstly, its important to clarify that I don't consider myself to of been a bad kid. I never stole (apart from modelling clay that one time when I was in class one,) I never beat anyone up and I never drank alco-pops in the park long after the slide had last been ridden.

I was however blessed (or cursed if you were a parent of my accomplices) with an active imagination and a desire to experiment with all the tools, chemicals and practices the local Police and school teachers go to great lengths to explain the dangers of.

It was Summer, I was fifteen and home alone. My parents had headed to Wales for a week in the Sun. I had refused to go along, citing my age as a sure sign of my maturity and trustworthiness.

The fields were green and well trodden, the football lying in some neighbours garden that was inaccessible to us, even with my superior climbing skills (which regrettably I have since lost. One time I climbed the steel lamppost in our street with just a pair of wellies and a desire to impress!) We were bored.

Then I remembered the small amount of explosives my father kept in a tuppaware box at the back of the shed. "Son" he began: "These are for scaring birds, and I'm not supposed to have them. Also don't tell your mother".

Now I never saw a reason to frighten birds before I swear to you, but on that day I decided the mocking flock of blackbirds sat high up amongst the branches overhead were going to get the bejesus scared out of them.

I took one of the grey powdery tubes out of the box (I later found out that some of them had split and spilled their greyish gunpowder contents all over the remainder and onto my fingers) and I struck a few matches in an effort to light the fraying string fuse. Eventually one took. Panic lurched my arm forwards and the amateur firework span out of my hands and exploded mid flight. The noise it made was beyond any volume my teenage ears had ever experienced. The blackbirds dispersed en mass in a glorious shower of excrement. Victory had never been so sweet.

For an encore I decided to light one that had been placed inside an empty cola can, in my mind this would be like a mini hand-grenade. My friends had their doubts but this only spurred me on.

The blast was magnificent, strips of aluminium falling to the ground like silver rain, sunlight dancing off each tiny metallic piece of debris. I had created a vision of beauty from a tool of chaos.

Thats when the neighbours started to shout and began to inform the police.

My friends vanished. I ran crying to the brook at the bottom of the field before realising the futility. I had nowhere to go, my brothers in arms had abandoned me to my fate. Reluctantly I trudged back to house where a stern looking police officer in a flak jacket greeted me.

He informed me there had been complaints of someone firing off a shotgun, and that if need be he had a rifle in the car. My bottom lip would not cease trembling. A neighbour of ours came out to explain the reality. He couldn't of done enough...anyone would think he was diverting any potential heat from his business of selling non existent computers, he really was quite charming.

So it was decided rather than a night in the cells I was to be remanded in the custody of my Grandmother. A call was placed out at the holiday camp for my parents to call Staffordshire Police at once.Of course they made sure they finished their game of bingo first.



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