With the snooker world championship currently underway at The Crucible in Sheffield, now seems an opportune moment to relate a story from my younger years that (sort of) concerns the game of snooker. You might have heard the tale before, but humour me and pretend you haven’t...
Back in 1985, I was working for a sports concession in a family-run department store in York... it’s called Brown’s and it’s still going strong, although it’s a lot more highbrow now; it was seriously like Grace Brothers back then...
The Sports Department was situated in between Menswear and Carpets (or Soft Furnishings as I believe they prefer to be known) and opposite us was Haberdashery... so basically if you wanted to use a table tennis bat to whack buttons onto a rug, you’d come to the right place.
Anyway, on the day in question, I was idly watching the world go by (and so would you for less than £4 an hour) when I saw some kid sneak round the partition that separated us from Carpets. The partition wall comprised a display of snooker cues – at least our side of the wall did – and for some reason, I just felt something wasn’t quite right.
I made my way into the main aisle so I could get a better look and spotted the youngster carefully pushing two pieces of the finest ash down his trousers (both down the same leg if you must know). Not an easy thing to do at the best of times, but particularly difficult when you’re trying not to draw attention to yourself.
Sure enough, the lad looked up, saw that he’d been “eyeballed” (!) and walked briskly towards the exit.
In fairness, “walked briskly” should really have read “limped awkwardly” but that wouldn’t make the next bit quite so impressive.
I followed the kid out of the door and onto the back lane... he quickened his pace and, just like a scene from The Bill, I shouted “Oi” and set off in hot pursuit. The chase should have been over within a few yards; but the lad couldn’t bend one leg and his attempt at running was so comical I could barely move for laughing. He hobbled on gamely, but when I shouted at him again, that was his “cue” to admit defeat...
Minus his wooden leg, I marched the kid back into the store; he sat and meekly accepted his fate as the police were summoned and I was hailed a hero... in truth I wasn’t, but indulge me...
And there endeth the tale of how I once caught a shoplifter. You applaud and I’ll take a bow!
Until next time...
All my own work... almost.