An Itchy Trigger Finger

Time had slowed to the point where a bird flying nearby seemed suspended in mid air and the sound of the nearby traffic became a low pitched drone. Those few seconds are etched in my minds eye in a way that is so vivid I can almost move the scene around in bullet time – a technique which would become a firm favorite of movie directors some fifteen years later in depicting action scenes and stand-off’s not dissimilar to this one.

My thoughts, although racing, were amazingly clear at the time. I can still hear my heart beat quicken as I made the decision and reached the point of no return – if you’re going to pull a gun on someone you cant exactly change your mind and put it back again. Even after that point, amid the panic and the shouting, even with the instant realization that I’d done the wrong thing, my thoughts were coherent.

“Holey shit was this a mistake.” I said to myself as the two boys, both three years older than myself, backed away holding up their hands. Their faces, I’ll never forget, were masks of disbelief and surprize, with a hint of shock thrown in at how the tables had turned so quickly.

Heck, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t enjoyed the short power trip. Only moments before these two hard men had pounced on my younger friend and I – told us that we were trespassing and that we had to follow them to the office where they would call the police. We had been playing on an abandoned barge which was rusting away to nothing on the boundaries of a yard belonging to a small boat building and maintaining firm. The 16 or 17 year old boys claimed their father owned the boat building yard and that we were in serious trouble for being on the barge.

I suggested we leave – that we would go and not ever come near the barge again. The two boys had smirked and said “No – you’re in deep shit, you’re coming with us.” with the kind of grin that let us know they were savoring every moment of our panic.

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Doing it on grass

At the weekend there, Fliss and I played tennis at our (very) local sports club. I’m an old hand, as it were, at tennis – up until losing my raquet by leaving it in my room at university, I played quite regularly, using the practice wall at my club if there was no one to play with. Fliss on the other hand has hardly played the game in her life, so our contrasting techniques are plain to see. (i.e. she’s more crap than I am!)

A year ago in July we managed to play down in London on the hottest day of the year – not a comfortable experience and not a day that lent itself to chasing after fuzzy yellow balls, either. Coincidentally, Saturday just gone was one of the hottest days we’ve experienced in this neck of the woods, so it seemed kind of ironic that we’d be out trying to chase the same fuzzy balls all over again. The end result was that we gave up after half an hour or so – the heat was just unbearable.

So, last night we played again when it was a bit cooler and it was a much more fun experience. It sometimes amazes me how quick a learner Fliss can be – initially she was kind of swatting the ball aimlessly, but after I showed her the mechanics of how to play a controlled stroke she was able to hit the ball quite consistantly. (And I’m not that great a teacher either!)

I was pretty pleased for her, as there’s nothing like being crap at something to discourage you from doing it, so hopefully now that she’s gaining a bit of technique we can venture out more often.

I have to add that we were playing on grass too – with all the weird bounces that brings it adds an extra level of difficulty. Hence I have high hopes of us having a decent game on the hard courts when we can be bothered walking the extra forty yards to get to them. :o)

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