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Friends like these.

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?????written by: Pritul Patel ?? Friends like these Our estate at Clapham Junction had the reputation of being one of the worst in the south east of England. No one could walk safely in those dark narrow alleyways and even I was walking home from school in the daylight, my knees would knock and my heart would thump, until I was safely inside the house. I had lived there since I was born. Most of the kids I walked to school with lived in the same estate and always seemed to get into trouble with the police. It was rather like a "good versus evil" situation; they were not interested in studying or getting somewhere in life, whereas I wanted to stay clear of trouble and achieve something with my life. However I had to remain friends with them, as not doing so meant being picked on by them. Telling my parents was no use since they had enough troubles of their own and usually told me to "get lost" as they rarely had any time for me. ...read more.


Once I had asked one of the boys what he wanted to do when he was older; he simply shrugged his shoulders and swiftly changed the subject. In a bizarre turn of events the solution presented itself. There was an after-school swimming activity at the local pool, reserved exclusively for our school and I joined that as a form of relaxation and sport. That first session proved to be much more than just swimming. Not only did the three new-comers have their trunks forcibly removed, but the price of their return was to agree to join the "Fin Club", their term for the gang they operated. From what I could understand, the sole purpose of this gang was "Trouble." At first it didn't seem to be too serious. Two or three of us, usually ma and two fourth or fifth year boys, would go out together and they would steel something small, say a jacket that had been left unattended, or something like it. But matters took a dramatic turn for the worse when Winston, one of the boys with us that night, suddenly snatched a gold chain from an elderly lady walking towards us. ...read more.


He talked to the magistrate and then the magistrate stood up and spoke, "You Winston Lane and you Spencer Jones will both go to the Remand centre at Risley for six months. You Leroy Brown will spend the next six months on probation. Winston and Spencer were led away and the headmaster explained what probation meant. Two days later I met the probation officer and we talked for an hour or more. At the end he asked me if I would like to have tea at his house on the Saturday. I said I would and took his address. That Saturday changed my life. He and his wife suggested that I spent Saturdays with them- later it was the whole weekend. They became a second set of parents to me; they listened to me and took an interest in me, unlike my proper parents. They were far to busy to notice and when I began staying overnight they didn't say a word. After "O" levels I asked if I could move in with them and my parents agreed. This was no surprise at all to me! My good Samaritan had succeeded and I never looked back. I never saw my friends again. ...read more.

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