I recently wrote a bit about my life – an ‘autobiography’ sounds a bit too grand. It is for my children so that they escape my own fate; I have no idea about my parent’s background. Their lives are a mystery to me.
One of the characters that was scraped out of the memory banks was ‘Fred’.
Fred was his schoolyard name. I’ll leave out his real name as he is still around. I know, because on a whim, I looked him up in StartPage.
Fred was a character. One day aged about thirteen, while cycling home from school, I came across a pile of glossy magazines dumped by the side of the lane. I pulled up and checked them out. They were lurid porn magazines – dozens of them. I had never seen such things. I piled as many of them as I could into my school bag and took off home. I knew a trading item when I saw one.
The next day at school, I made for Fred – who else? Fred was seriously sophisticated; he’d had sex – real penetrative sex, not a one-man-panting in the bathroom. Fred took one look and offered me wealth beyond imagination – a carton of cigarettes. Fred had a job delivering papers for a newsagent, so stealing cigarettes was no problem.
The deal was done. The next day I received my carton of cigarettes and handed over the glossy porn mags. It was a great relief as I was very uneasy about my mother finding them in my bag.
Fred was the go-to man for all sorts of ne’er do well activities. He always had more money in his pocket than the rest of the class saw in a good year. He was a sharp dresser. I had the sense that Fred viewed the rest of the class, myself included, as rather dim-witted in the ways of the world. He was right.
Anything that you wanted, you just let Fred know and he would have it within a few days. Always brand new and at half the shop price.
That was fifty-seven years ago, and I have not seen Fred since leaving school. Fred was a rogue and a bit of a sleaze; an interesting bloke, but you wouldn’t trust him near your money or woman – you wouldn’t trust him anywhere. Whatever had happened to him?
Fred’s real name is very unusual, so he was not hard to find in the Search Engine.
So, what did happen to Fred? Well, it was obvious really and I kicked myself for having bothered to look it up.
He became a politician.