Living in Italy and not being too clever at handling the Italian language I tend to watch English speaking programme’s at night on my TV.
I also subscribe to Sky TV and am a firm favorite of their Fox Crime Series.
CSI, in various locations around America, their HiTech equipment must be the envy of the world..a major, complex crime is solved within the hour, fantastic….but this is fictional TV…Criminal Minds..(I love that private jet) Glades, Bones, etc.
There are so many stories and they are all horrific. If these shows are a true reflection of the crimes carried out in the States then it is a wonder that anyone lives there, where do they get them from?
I imagine the producers/writers and researchers scour actual crime records and then go on to embellish the stories they unearth..At least I hope they embellish them.
Having said that I was recently reminded of a story from my childhood, in the dim and distant past.
I grew up in a slum, cockroach infested house, two rooms upstairs and two small rooms downstairs, a toilet, unlit, across a backyard, no electricity or hot water. My parents were fond of a drink and that seems to be where most of our family income went. I never had a holiday, ever, and I went out on a paper round to finance my own purchase of a bike. Tough times.
But my life as a child was idyllic..…I lived on the outskirts of a small town in a remote part of England and I was surrounded by woods, rivers, playing fields.
I was also feral, my parents would see me briefly in the morning before I went off for adventures.This was Huck Finn, Just William and L’il Abner country, there was even a ruined castle in the woods.
My little gang of urchins would set off and fight the crusades, be Captain Cook, discover gold mines, you name it..we did it.
When we got hungry we would forage, the fields always had a good supply of raw food which we would cook over a twig fire and if we got really lucky we would catch a trout and roast that.
We had no demands on our time and we only went home when it got too dark and scary or cold to stay out, after we had the last game of football or cricket of course..Fantastic times.
During the winter months we would indulge in our favourite indoor pastime, this was in Pre TV days, and of course we had no power, just gas lights.We were all fanatic readers of Comic Books, Captain Marvel, Superman, Tom Mix and the other cowboy heroes such as Hopalong Cassidy, Bill Holt and the singing cowboy Roy Rogers.
These careworn rags were read and re-read many times, they were always old because we had no money to buy new ones so you can imagine the excitement when rumour went round that a new kid had arrived in town, our part of it, with a whole stack of brand new, all colour American comics.
This excitement was almost frantic, who was he, where did he live, what did he have, what was the swap rate.
These vitally important questions kept us on a knife edge for weeks, but we also had a new diversion to deal with..A pedophile had also arrived in our part of town.
We had the regular one, his name was Joe, he never harmed anyone, just lurked around places we were likely to be having fun, we never went near him or him near us, if he did get too close then a few well aimed stones sent him off.
But this new man was sinister, whereas Joe was a familiar face, a slightly backward man, always scruffily dressed, this new weirdo was always smart, in a business suit, we didn’t see many of those in my part of town.
He would just appear from nowhere and run at us, with his erect penis exposed.
He never ever caught up with us…we were off like scared rabbits.
This went on for some months and we were on constant alert for this man.
But I digress. In the meantime we had found out the address of the new Comic King and with two mates , our arms stuffed with our precious swappies , off we went to see if we could trade.
A new housing estate had been built on some fields just across the river from our usual haunts and these houses had everything, very posh, with electricity, central heating, indoor bathrooms and hot water.
We went nervously up the garden path and knocked on the door, it was answered by a woman, we explained our mission.She invited us inside and introduced us to her son.
He was in a wheelchair, could barely speak or move and his only contact with the outside world was through his comic books which were sent to him from the States by a relative there.
His mother was delighted that he had some new friends…so were we.
He had the mother lode of all comic books, hundreds of them, all colour ones, latest editions, new characters…we were in seventh heaven and some serious trading took place.
If you think tough trading goes on in Wall St or the London Stock Exchange then it was nothing to the feeding frenzy that took place in that small living room’
And although this new kid looked like he had no cerebral activity we were soon put right, he drove a hard bargain and would push a good deal, for himself…four of my treasured possessions for a new Batman..it was a tough old session, with the three of us spread out on the carpet flicking through the mountain of visual delights and the Kid sitting there just waiting to make a killing…wonderful moments and I remember them vividly.
Then the door slowly opened and in walked his dad… A smartly dressed man in a business suit….the pedophile.
He saw us and we saw him at the same time. He stood in the doorway for a second or two and then moved to a large armchair in the corner of the room and continued to stare at us.
Stunned silence all round.
It took about ten seconds for my team to gather up their comics and out of the door. We ran all the way home and never ever went back to see the Comic Kid again.
I never saw him around after that and I often wonder what kind of life he had..
But I can see where the stories come from for the Fox Crime series..