The Worst Criminal

Joel Golby

I should preface this, like, a little: I like ASOS. I am in the midst of a tumultuous trouser crisis at the moment, and ASOS are helping me through, and I appreciate that. ASOS, for the uninitiated, is a clothes website for ‘men who are too terrified to go and try trousers on in a real shop, like a real boy’ and instead have them posted to them, by ASOS, from Hemel Hempstead, where, actually, on arrival, these trousers look a bit green and sort of over-enhance my crotch, here – my junk – and so are posted back from whence they came in this special silver delivery bag they came in, which has this nifty little resealable fold that I cannot for the life of me operate and so tape down industrially and take, bag and tape and trousers and all, to the Post Office, where this just cliff-faced marvel of a woman [1] takes one look at me, in my current and dishevelled trousers and my hot little silver bag of nonsense, and says “Ah, FREEPOST,” and immediately starts making machines emit the appropriate labels and affix them to the bag, and the whole thing, queue not included, is a totally convenient and excellently managed ménage-a-trois between myself, a website, and the Post Office. As I say: I like ASOS. Well done ASOS.

[1] In which it is probably pretty uncool to describe someone as a ‘cliff-faced marvel of a woman,’ yes, so sorry, Miss, but I had to queue in like what is the closest in this human world that we have for actual purgatory here, namely, your establishment, for like 15 minutes, and there was not a single perky or happy face in the place (like in fact that was a minorly elephant man-faced guy, there, which I tried really hard not to look at because i. it ain’t no damn business of mine whether you’re rocking an elephant man face or not and ii. the dude with the single dreadlock creeping down his middle-aged back was doing a good enough job of just completely unsubtle staring for the two of us, really) and what I am saying is I don’t like the Post Office so much, no, so — sorry to be harsh. But still, your face. Unpleasant.

However, and I admit this plainly, I did have this thought, this week: “Hmm. It would be totally easy to send ASOS a parcel full of dog shit, here.” I had this thought. I was returning some optimistically waistbanded jeans and I had this thought. I thought this. I thought this and I am sorry.

Lately, though, I have been having these little jolts of realisation – “I could do a crime!” – when left tantalisingly amongst Mars bars while a newsagent faffs around with my Oyster card, or when walking past a car with a slightly ajar door, or, like, the riots happened when we could have totally used a new TV, but ultimately y/h/n is a testicle-less sissy and so pays, still, for Mars bars, and is yet to thieve a car, and still squints at the tabby flatscreen we have balanced precariously on an old speaker in lieu of a TV stand [2].

[2] Who knew TV stands served, like, a legitimate purpose? Not this cat, is who. This realisation, that I’m having, this one about TV stands and their being okay: is this…am I growing up? Am I…am I an adult now? Is this the kind of thing adults think? *

*at this point y/h/n took a moment out to run to the bathroom and frantically check for pubics. Still nothin’.

I don’t know why I am so tempted by the seductive bitch that is crime, lately, but I am yet to relent. There are, chiefly, three reasons for this: i. I think the moustachioed desk-jockey who was sent to our primary school to say such as “Hey kids, wow! Don’t do crimes and drugs and such!” made a surprising and overwhelming impact on me, for whatever reason, because I’ve never especially done either (so, I guess, well done, the Police!), and also ii. there is something personally about me that winds up authority figures like just nobody’s business just relentlessly [3] and iii. I have never done stolen a car to make a getaway in because I cannot at all drive.

[3] One teacher got just so exasperated with me in an IT lesson one time that he patted my shoulder really hard and then had to step outside for like ten whole minutes; the first time I went through an airport the guy with the magnetic scanner thing was getting somewhat fresh with my inside leg and I sort of stepped back and away from him and he starting shouting at me when I asked him if he enjoyed his job; then and also, under the duress of ‘some vodkas,’ I decided playing frisbee at like Midnight was just an excellent idea and so two lady Officers were dispatched to ‘have words’ with me, words such as asking ‘where I lived’ and me saying ‘something smart-arsed’ and them ‘threatening to arrest me’ and then me ‘meekly relenting.’ I have previous, here. Basically there is something personally about me that really just T-Os people who have to wear hats as part of their job.

This personal weakness of mine, not being able to drive, was highlighted somewhat on my 21st birthday when I was given, for said birthday, a car.  It wasn’t, like, an excellent car – when kids started learning to drive at age 17 my school carpark was littered with gleaming Minis, adorned with vanity plates referencing the drivers’ AS-Level grades (I am serious.) while a sub-strata of poorer kids ambled to school in battered Renault Clios and dinged-up Fiestas – this was not one of them. It was a 1993 Toyota Corolla, estate, and it sat outside our house leaking coolant and purring slightly. It was not a cool car. I would not be picking up hella chicks in this thing. I looked at it, not entirely sober. “Uh, thanks?” I said. “Thanks for giving me a Toyota?”

It is possible that I sound a little ungrateful here, for being given a Toyota, but I’m not and I wasn’t. I liked my Toyota. It was big and it was silver and the boot was full of various bits of straw and sand and dog hair, bequeathed to me as it was by my cousin, Chris (known in my immediate family as ‘Cousin Chris,’ primarily, I think, for reasons of alliteration. “Cousin Chris is on the phone!” my Mambly would say, most often when Cousin Chris is on the phone. “I know who he is Mum fucksake,” I would say, back, then snatch the phone and politely say like “uh hey Chris thanks for the Toyota.’’), who emitted such things. As I say: I was a fan of the Toyota. I just didn’t have a clue what to do with it.

So one time, my friend Chris (not known as ‘Friend Chris,’ no, we just call him ‘Miller’) decided that I should do more with my Toyota than occasionally sit outside my house in the driver seat fiddling with the dormant air-con controls and honking the horn, and then so took me out one night ‘driving.’ At 2am. On an industrial estate. His confidence in me not to hit anything was overwhelming.

In short: I drove about 200m, here, at approx. 5mph, screaming relentlessly for the entire ordeal, and that was the first and last time I drove a car. I do not think that – screaming, crying, on the precipice of a panic-piss and honking a car horn – would make for such a getaway if I did ever turn to theft, so I as yet haven’t.

The closest I ever came to doing a crime and getting done – besides throwing a frisbee too loudly [Ibid.] – was this one time when, in an oblivious flush of youthful idiocy, got somewhat rumbled while kicking a large inflatable die around outside my house while in my slippers.

I: okay.  I am an idiot, yes, I am a stupid man. I admit this. I am not the Cosa Nostra, no, but I am a plank. This inflatable die, the one I was just mindlessly kicking around with two of my other knuckleheads – the IKEA Kelig – made this huge WAFFLE WAFFLE FLOFFLE noise when kicked, and, as I am, as previously stated, a moron, it was being kicked as it was at circa 1AM in the morning, so it was probably not especially a surprise when a Police Car crawled around the corner at the top of the road. We – the kickers – made an unprecedented decision for wusses of our own personal standing, and grabbed the die – the kickee – and cheesed it, hiding as we did behind a van. 1AM, and I was hiding behind a van holding a huge inflatable dice. That remains the most exciting moment of my entire life.

Once the car had crawled past our van and the adrenaline had worn off we stashed the die – why a die, this story is so uncool – and walked whatever three sweating and panicked teenagers’ approximation of ‘nonchalantly’ was. At some point a few minutes later the Police pulled up to us.

“Evening boys.”

“Uh hello yes Ma’am?”

“Where are you going?”

“Uh, that way?” “Town.” “Yeah, town!”

“Okay. Town. It’s just we’ve had some reports of three boys kicking trash bags around.”

“…”

“You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you…?”

“Uh. We uh. We haven’t seen anyone, no…?”

The Police lady leaned out of the car window and eyed my slippers. I was not going to get into any clubs in Town in them, no.

“Okay. Well, if you see any boys kicking any trash bags could you tell them to stop doing that please?”

“Okay YES we will! BYE.”

They drove off. We fooled them, those idiots! I walked home in my slippers and did not sleep a wink, buzzed to the tits as I was on my own adrenaline, but nor did I seek to emulate my brush with the law this week by sending dog shit to ASOS. It would be just so easily tracked, is all. Also: why.

—September 4th, 2011

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