The England Match – another thrashing!
Readers should read the first story in this series, "The England Match", to pick up the thread of this sorry 'tail'. It will come as no surprise to you then to hear that he's already back in trouble, only this time he's managed to involve me. He's only been down to the pub where I work and pinched the hubcaps from one of the cars outside and been caught trying to sell them at the scrap yard. The owner of the car has already sorted Mick out, so he says, but he's been down to complain to the pub landlord about what happened to his car and also, because he knows I'm mates with Mick, that I might have had something to do with it. To be fair, Ernie, the landlord, can't be held responsible for cars parked outside and he wouldn't hear a word said against me because I've worked for him for so many years. However, privately I've just had a real dressing down and been told that we no longer have "that good-for-nothing Mick" on the premises. I'm furious with Mick, for doing such a stupid thing in the first place, but also for causing trouble between Ernie and me. So I've wasted no time in cornering the little prat and he's singing a right tale of woe; just listen to this ................
"I'm really, really sorry Jim. I never meant to involve you or the pub. Honest I didn't. I just spotted Pratchett's car there in the street and well - you know I've a score to settle with that bastard and his mate. It was just a golden opportunity too good to be missed. You know how those two knocked seven bells out of me in the pub toilet, well they've only been laughing and talking about it 'cos it's all over the village. Even my mum asked me about it! Imagine! I nearly died of shame. I denied it of course, said they were making it all up and nobody was going to get one over me, but they've made me a right laughing stock. So there was his car parked in the street - there was nobody about - off came the hub caps, no problem - they were up the street and round the back of our house in a flash.
Well maybe I should just have left it at that but I got to thinking, these hubcaps were off a Mercedes and, like as not, worth a bob or two. Well I kept them hidden in the garden for a couple of days but then I thought I might as well try and get something for them so I took them down to old man Smith, you know at the scrap yard. Well turns out he's not the daft old codger we all thought. Do you remember me telling you about how I used to get in the yard through the back fence and pinch stuff, and then take it round to his hut at the front and sell it back to him? I had many a quid out of him with that trick I can tell you. Seems though he'd tumbled to it and was just waiting to catch me.
Anyway I goes round to his hut, through the door into what he calls his 'Reception'. I ask you; it's the entrance to a beat-up shed in a scrap yard, the dozy old git. Well he always keeps the inner door locked so you have to bang on the little window at the side. Up shoots the window and he pokes his head through and - well he's wearing a woolly pom-pom hat and I can't resist - I pull off his hat and start patting his bald head....
"Nah then you bald old coot," I said "how you been keepin' granddad."
"Give me back my hat, you cheeky little bugger!" he yells. "What are doing round here? What have you been nicking this time?" All the while he's getting redder and redder in the face. I thought he was going to bust something!
So I pull out the four hubcaps from the supermarket carrier I've had them in and wave them under his nose "Here look. A bit of quality for you this time - and don't go making accusations about how I came by them".
"Oh. Now these are interesting.," says old Smithy giving a funny sort of smile, as he recognises the Mercedes badge. "Four Mercedes Benz hubcaps, and in perfect condition too. And how much would you be wanting for these little beauties?"
"Forty quid, cash" I said.
"Forty!" Old Smithy laughed. "And how's I supposed to make a living when I have to buy stuff at them sort of prices? Hubcaps is ten a penny lad. How about if I give you ten quid and if anybody asks I says I can't remember where they came from?"
"Get lost, do you think I'm as soft in the head as you are. You'll be able to get twenty-five quid a piece for them, if not more. No, forty quid or I take 'em somewhere else"
"Well I don't know" says old Smithy, "you drive a hard bargain young Mick. But it just so happens I might know someone who'd maybe take them off my hands. You sure you won't go under forty?"
"No. Forty quid. You can take it or leave it" I replied.
Old Smithy hums 'n' ahs and keeps looking me up and down, scratching his bald bonce. You can fair hear the cogs turning under the mental strain of fathoming it all out – the dozy old git!
"OK then son" he finally says, chuckling. "You'll have to sign me a receipt though" he says, as he sits back down at his desk and starts scribbling on a sheet of paper, "just to keep the records straight, you know. Now here we are, you just give me a signature right here while I count out the money."
Well that's one very small window opening and I had to squeeze my shoulders and arms right through the window and rest my belly on the cill of the window to be able to reach down to the paper on his desk and ......... W-H-A-M! He only goes and slides the _d_a_m_n_ window down on top of me, squashing my midrib and knocking the wind out of me! Jeez, he should have worked the guillotine in the French Revolution! Then what does he do? he only goes and bangs a wedge between the sash and the frame so it won't open again! There I am, well and truly stuck and I can't twist round far enough to get at the wedge to release myself.
"What the hell ya doing!" I yell, "Lift this soddin' window up, you dozy old git!"
"Now you just hold that lip of yours and wait here a minute Michael my boy" says old Smithy "I told you I had someone looking for a set of Mercedes hubcaps didn't I?" And with that he shambled out into the yard, leaving me dangling.
'Oh _s_h_i_t_' I thought as the proverbial 'penny' drops. Suddenly I realise that old Smithy maybe has that bastard Pratchett looking round the yard. Yeh, ten quid and no questions, only I was too big a dope to hear what he was saying. I should have scouted around the place first but as it was I'd walked straight into this. I struggled and struggled but all I succeeded in doing was make myself sore around the middle. 'Oh no' I thought - if this was the guy with the Merc it was pretty obvious what he would do to me if he caught me like this. I pushed and squeezed myself forward - if I couldn't get back maybe I could go forward right through the window opening - and yes, as I pushed forward there was more room ........ but then the sash window just slid down to fill the gap - and the wedge rattled down after it. I was now so far through the window my feet didn't touch the floor - it was then I heard the door open and someone step in from the yard.
There wasn't a word spoken, all I could hear was someone shuffling and moving around out there and I just knew it wasn't old Smithy. "Can you help me please" I called feebly, as I twisted around but I was filling too much of the window space to be able to see who was there. Then whoever it is out there is patting my backside - P-A-N-I-C---!-! I thrashed around with my legs; now there was no doubt who was out there and what was about to happen. Jeez! I was still sore from the leathering I'd been given at the weekend. My frantic kicking stopped as a pair of strong arms grabbed and lifted me, pulling me back a shade, just enough to free the top of my jeans. I start yelling at the top of my voice 'No! No! Please no!' but I feel my fly being yanked apart and my jeans end up round my ankles. I was hollering and shouting and yelling, and going red in the face with the exertion of being caught over the window cill. 'PLEASE, don't do this' I'm yelling, beating the desk with the palms of my hands, when I suddenly hear a swishing sound and ............. W--H--A--C--K ......... 'Yeeeeeee - owwwww--oh _s_h_i_t_-----damit------and bugger it!' I yell as an implement of destruction explodes across my bare arse. That's a soddin' belt, I think, or a rope? This bastard's only taking a belt to me! I'm still gasping with the shock of that first stroke when .........
W--H--A--C--K 'Yee-ooow!' W--H--A--C--K 'Youch!' W--H--A--C--K 'Please ..!' W--H--A--C--K 'Youch' W--H--A--C--K 'yEEEEE-OOOOw - my voice jumps an octave! W--H--A--C--K 'Ye-ooow!' W--H--A--C--K ''Ye-ow!' (sob) W--H--A--C--K 'Ooow!' W--H--A--C--K 'Oow!' W--H--A--C--K 'Ow!'
By now the pain is so bad and I'm so out of breath the most I can manage is a squeak. I'm a shaking, babbling mess, nose and eyes running, back to being a snotty school kid.
W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K. That belt or rope has covered every inch of my backside and now he's methodically going back over the ground!
W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K. I'm tearing at my hair. It feels like he's peeling the skin off me and I'm sure things are getting pretty blistered back there as he revisits earlier wheals.
W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K. I'm just limp over the cill by this time, my purple face all screwed up with the agony of my blazing backside. A completely defeated wreck ..........
W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K. W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K. W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K. W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K. W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K W--H--A--C--K.
But unexpectedly the beating stops! ....... and suddenly there is silence ...... ?
Still not a word is spoken as this guy just hoists my pants back up and walks out, slamming the door behind him. I'm left gasping and wondering what the hell is going to happen next. I try to turn around but I'm really tightly stuck in the window, I've scraped the skin off my belly and feel as though I've taken half a dozen punches in my gut. But most of all, I really desperately desperately want to sooth what's left of my poor backside!
The door opens and I recognise those shambling footsteps as old Smithy returns and comes back into his office.
"Now then Michael, just look here" he says, waving two £10 notes under my wet nose. "Told you I had a customer for them there hubcaps. And you could have had your share if you weren't such a greedy, smart-mouthed little brat. He gave me another quid for an old fan belt he picked out of the skip. Can't think what he'd be able to use that on though.
My eyes just about popped out of my head. "Oh PLEASE Mr Smith. Just let me get free of this window" I manage to splutter.
"OK son. But you get yourself into this office, we got some talking to do. And what you been blubbering for - look at the mess you made on my desk!"
Thankfully he pulls the wedge out of the frame and slides the window back up. I stagger back, grateful to be free at last, but I'm surprised to find the muscles round my middle are so sore it's difficult to straighten up. All I want to do is nurse the throbbing mess that was once my backside as I stagger, on rubbery legs, into Mr Smith's office.
"Just look at the state you're in" he says, as I'm trying to wipe the snotty mess off my face with my jacket sleeve. "And fasten your pants lad, Junior's winking at me!"
Hurriedly I sort myself out 'Gotta pull myself together - aren't out of the woods yet - got to talk my way out of this one. Old Smithy's a _d_a_m_n_ sight sharper than I gave him credit for'.
"Now what am I going to tell Bill? Maybe all about you pinching stuff from my yard and getting me to buy it back off you" says Mr Smith.
"Bill!" I gasp, "you mean my dad? No please you can't tell my dad about any of this. Look, I'll pay you back everything you gave me for the stuff I nicked."
"Oh too bad son! Your dad and me's streets ahead of you this time. I told Bill about your thieving weeks ago. We agreed that if I caught you down here again or got you to own up, then Bill would give you a proper sorting out. And now, only today, you're here trying to sell me a set of stolen hubcaps."
"What!!!" I exclaim "Oh please Mr Smith, have a heart." I'm frantic. I know what my Dad's proper sorting out entails and I'm in no shape to take a second licking. "I'll do anything to make it up to you, just name it."
"Well now I'll have to see what Bill thinks." says Mr Smith. "How about you coming down here and giving me a few hours, say Saturday's when it's really busy?"
"Yes. Sure" I'm gasping with relief. "I'll do anything."
"Yes, your dad and me thought you might say that."
"What!!!" I exclaim again, realising I've been well and truly set up here.
Mr Smith carefully adjusts his pom-pom hat and smiles. "That's right son. Now you get off home while I ring Bill to see what he thinks. Probably see you on Saturday morning."
I'm dragging my feet across the yard, towards the gate when old man Smith shouts after me ...
"We start at 7 a. m. by the way Michael!"
Contact with readers always welcome. Email me: jimbob33leeds@yahoo. co. uk