Paddock Days – Part 5 - The Good Samaritan or lack thereof.
The first four stories in this series were originally published on the Real Classic web site (www.real-classic.co.uk), but can also be found on this site at the links below.
I promise you, this really did happen.
We were an irreligious lot back in the day when as spotty youf’s we hung around Bangor’s biker meeting place;’ The Paddock’. Yet, back in the 1970’s we existed in a very religious world. The seafront evangelists were perpetually telling us that we were headed for an eternity of hellfire and damnation (they didn’t like our attitude apparently). The Sally Army band got drowned by a cacophony of revving bike engines as they passed by our domain, and yet the well-scrubbed masses still filed in and out of the town’s many churches every week, as we gathered for our Sunday run. This acceptance of an hour or two of abject boredom as the cost of salvation was much discussed and derided, but was always way beyond our understanding. We viewed our little gathering as beyond the sectarian and political mores of the province (and their associated troubles), and revelled in the freedom of our youth. We also decided to test the alternative.
Big Norman and I were the two willing volunteers in this. He because he was a good few inches taller than me and would play the part of the antagonist well. As an apprentice joiner, he was also built like the proverbial brick outhouse. One other advantage was that he owned one of the props that was essential to the test that we came up with, a thin comb that snapped from a stiletto knife like handle at the push of a button. Unless closely inspected, it passed as a knife, and like a good theatre prop, the ‘blade’ retracted back into the handle when pressed against anything. That and a couple of blood capsules from the local joke shop were all we needed.
The rest of the crew were sternly warned to keep their distance, and keep out of sight. If they were in the vicinity of what was planned, but did not come to the aid of one of their mates, the game would surely have been up? So it was just me and Big Norman.
I waited at the window of a record shop next door to our chosen church; Norman was a little further up the street. As soon as we heard the church doors opening after their service, the action started.
Norman ran towards me, shouting obscenities. He grabbed me by the throat, shouting angrily about stealing his girlfriend. I have to admit his acting was good, and when he threw me back against the window of the record shop the crack to my head brought a genuine look of shock to my face. I felt the window flexing too, and thought for a moment he had gone too far and that I was about to be showered with shards of glass. The first of the congregation were descending the church steps as this went on and as planned, I lashed back at him and told him where to go. He in turn swung for me, a blow I had to take for reality, but it hurt. As I recoiled from the blow, he pulled the knife, flicked it open, and stabbed. For realism, I had taped a small plastic bag inside my T shirt, filled with a little ‘blood’. Normans aim was good, and it burst as planned, seeping through my shirt after a second or so. I had another capsule stashed in my gum, and a second or two later this two was oozing from my mouth as I grabbed the ‘wound’ and collapsed in shock. I was careful to keep the blood visible when I hit the ground. Norman looked round, swore and took off. By this stage I wasn’t looking, but Norman promised that the reaction of the small crowd was good.I lay still for a few minutes as the congregation cleared, not one came to see if I was OK. When the street was finally silent, I stirred. The church doors were closed, and the street was empty. As I walked away, spitting ‘blood’ from the remains of the capsule, a police car pulled up. Their window descended and the cop asked if I was injured, but took it no further. I can only suppose that in those pre-mobile phone days that whoever called them had used the church phone, or lived nearby. Still, the experiment only confirmed our poor opinion of churchgoers. It seems that they all passed by on the other side.