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Wayword

Lachie looked at the dark and ominous sky, icy cold winds lashed at his face; this was perfect weather for the execution of his plan. Fewer prying eyes…

Would Mr Watt’s shop be closed for the day? The only jeweller on Haydon street. Lachie desperately wanted to satiate his growling stomach. But first he had to pull off this game.

Only sixteen, he had successfully pulled off countless petty thefts. Somehow, he seemed to be out of luck this time around. He had been keeping an eye on the Watts but was unable to find the ‘magic moment’ to make his entry. Mr Watt’s hawkish eyes never left anyone who entered 40 Haydon Street.  His wife who sometimes relieved her husband was a different story. A pale faced lady whose face sported bruises that appeared mysteriously.

The problem was that no-one, but Mr Watt, knew when he needed a break…

Lachie had to take a chance. He lurked around the doorway but then thought that he might raise suspicion. Luckily the bookshop opposite was deserted, he might spend some time in there…Not that he was a booklover, but it was the perfect location for him to keep an eye on the jewellers’. Who knows it might be his lucky day. The ‘Penguin Classics’ aisle, an ideal lookout for the shop next door.  

The Watts, unlike other jewellers, did not have security cameras. Mr Watt was too stingy for such luxuries. So now it was just a waiting game for the perfect moment… As he flipped through a novel he saw some movement from the corner of his eyes. He turned to get a better view of 40 Haydon Street and what do you know! Mr Watt was walking out his shop leaving his wife to take care! Maybe the weather convinced him that there wouldn’t be many customers.

Lachie waited for five minutes before he slipped out of the bookshop and briskly entered the shop. Mrs Watt’s smile was laboured, there was something motherly in her gaze as she looked at Lachie. As planned Lachie told her that he was looking for something special for his mother’s birthday.

“Would you like to see a pair of earrings?” She asked softly. “Do you have something in mind?”

“I will know when I’ll see it”, Lachie’s replied shrewdly.

So, she brought out some pretty pearl studs and then some earrings with colourful gems. She carefully placed each pair on a velvet display tray. Lachie still looked dissatisfied and suggested maybe a trinket box might be a better option as he looked in the direction of the display case at the other end of the room. As Mrs Watt walked in the opposite direction Lachie quickly slipped the pearl studs into his pocket.

Unnoticed Mr Watt entered.

“How are you, young man?” came a booming voice. He quickly turned around to see Mr Watt looking at him curiously. Mrs Watt nervously shuffled towards them with a trinket box. Something immediately changed in her demeanour.

“Oh, he was looking for something for his mother’s birthday…” Her voice trailed off as her husband interrupted “Well then hurry-up, you know that the shop closes in fifteen minutes,” he snapped.

Lachie took this as a cue to leave, “Oh I will return tomorrow, mum’s birthday is still a month away.” Saying this he hurried out of the shop. Wondering what Joe, at the pawn shop, would offer him for the pearl studs. He forced Mrs Watt’s face away from his mind.

“You must be joking!! Fifteen dollars?? Really, is that all you can offer, Joe? These are pearl studs!!” Screamed Lachie.

“Hey, take it easy! Go find another buyer for your crap! Moreover, where is the receipt?” Joe yelled back. Joe knew Lachie didn’t have a receipt, he never did…

“Okay, okay,” grumbled Lachie. “Give me fifteen dollars, hear take the pearl studs” Lachie grabbed the fifteen dollars and stormed out of the shop.

Lachie spent most nights in a homeless shelter, he thought that he would stop over at Wilson’s for a burger and then head off to the shelter. He did not want to be locked out as they had accommodation for up to 50 people each night. If you were the 51st you were plain unlucky.

 The smile returned to Lachie’s face when he saw Lauren at the food counter. She always gave Lachie a generous serve of meat and potato mash. It had been a cold and miserable day; a hot meal was all he needed. Old Tom was sitting by himself, Lachie decided to join him for dinner. Tom wasn’t a great conversationalist he grunted in response to Lachie’s greeting. They shared a couple of short sentences and then returned to their meal.

Lachie’s earliest pleasant memory was of his 5th birthday. He had a colourful cake and his mum had invited his neighbourhood friends for a tea party. His mum had been struggling financially and emotionally, it was only a matter of time with her drug habit.

Most of the events that followed were a blur. Social services intervened, and he moved from one foster family to the next. School life was erratic, his grades were appalling and at 16 he found himself on the streets.

He often wondered about his mother. He hadn’t met his dad, but his mum provided him with some sketchy details. He was a friend, they had a fling and Lachie was the result of that short affiliation. They had been teenagers, and nothing was given much thought. His mum moved away and was determined to keep and raise her child independently. Her parents disowned her, and she was left to find her own way.

Though the odds were against him, Lachie desperately wanted to make things work. He wanted to start a small business with the money he had been saving. He had always been fascinated with cars and thought that a Car detailing shop would be ideal. He would then look for his mum and maybe support her… But he desperately needed some money for his plan to work.                         

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