As a cabby you depend on your regulars.
They’re your bread and butter, a guarantee that you earn a decent living rather than eke out an existence.
But there’s one regular who, if I didn’t have to pay homage to the bank manager every month, I would never charge a cent, he makes me laugh that much.
His name’s Steve and he’s just returned from a pleasurable spell in England where he was born, only problem being it was Her Majesty’s Pleasure not his. Yes, a bit of a rogue, our Steve, but a loveable one and he’s welcome in my cab anytime.
Now Steve can’t open his mouth without telling a story and his latest one was about a character he met over there who was famous for being a one armed pickpocket.
Now just the thought of a one armed pickpocket made me laugh but when he told me about some of his antics I had to pull across to the kerb, I had that many tears in my eyes.
Adam’s trick, he was even named after a biblical character can you believe that, was to pick someone’s pocket with his good hand and then hide the wallet or purse in the armpit of his other, wooden, arm.
That way he didn’t need to work in a team and share the spoils and nobody ever suspected someone with such an infliction could be up to what he was up to.
But Steve’s story wasn’t about Adam’s prowess, it was about him getting done over by the prison warders.
You see, Adam was a bit lippy and couldn’t help but having a go at all the ‘screws’.
I suppose he had got away with being lippy in civvy street cos no one was going to be seen whacking a man with a wooden arm but in prison, so Steve tells me, things are different and it doesn’t pay to tell the guards what you’ve been doing to their wives with your foot long wooden appendage.
So one day Adam gets taken from the cells to the exercise yard and gets a bit of a hiding. Adam, game to the last bless his heart, still couldn’t keep it buttoned and after copping a pasting said to the warders “Next thing I suppose you’ll take me arm off and stick it up me arse.” And they did.
Now although the story obviously isn’t completely true, I can’t get the image out of my mind of our one armed pickpocket walking around his prison yard with his wooden arm sticking out of his bum.
It gives the expression ‘looking for a handout’ a whole new meaning.