THE incident had bothered me on and off for many years and the memories came flooding back.
I would have been about 12 or 13 and was playing cricket over on the school field with a friend when two older lads came running out of the bushes, grabbed us and held us down. One said he had a knife. I didn’t believe him. He showed me. He had a knife.
They told my friend to run home, get some money (I can’t remember how much) and come back with it, otherwise they would kill me.
He sped off and didn’t return — the next day he said his parents had made him have his tea and stay in. I suspect self-preservation was the real reason.
I have no idea how long they held me there but given the time they would have allotted for him to run home, somehow get the cash and come back, I would guess at least 30 minutes, plus some time for a possible delay.
I knew these two lads. They were trouble and had been in plenty of it. They would go on to get involved in more, but at this stage I was only concerned about the very immediate future.
Obviously they didn’t carry out their threat but I never forgot that particular afternoon and would regularly see the two of them around. One, I remembered, had suffered a serious illness as a youngster and, at the time, part of me was glad.
The James Bulger killing in 1993 brought it all back — it was obviously nowhere near as traumatic as what happened to him, but it did make me consider just how easily an incident like that could happen and, whether intentional or not, escalate to such tragic consequences.
Then, about two weeks ago, a friend request from one of the two popped up on Facebook? I haven’t accepted it, but it set me wondering as to why he would have sent this, why he would even have remembered me. Perhaps he wanted to apologise, but I doubt that.
I clicked on his profile and was greeted by a picture of a slightly bull-necked individual whose timeline contained various references to St George and being English not British etc. A lot of his friends I knew and know, some of them okay people, others I would say not so.
In the end I concluded I would have very little to gain from accepting this request — unless he was about to offer up some compensation, which I doubt — so I just ignored it (well, apart from gleaning as much information as I could from his profile), but it did set me wondering about all those people whose little cameo appearances in your life make up your story and yet they have no idea of the effect they have on you. Delete.