WANTED. DEAD OR ALIVE.
This running thing. It's tough. My knees are objecting a little but I must persist as it's part of a bigger plan... and if I can't run 5km without having my lungs hang out of my eye-sockets, I may as well abandon all hope before I start.
Earlier this week, the running track was full of people at rugby training which threw a brick through the window of my plan but across the road, there is a park. A kids park, general park - you know the kind of thing - just a big patch of grass really and there was nobody in there. I parked up, went through the gate and ran. It wasn't too dark when I went in but as the songs passed by on the playlist, it was kind of getting that way, but no big deal.
I had finished the scheduled run, went back to the gate and found it locked. No problem - there was another gate a little further along. Also locked. Down at the other side of the field there are some tennis courts but those gates were locked too.
Hmm. Not even nine o'clock and I find myself locked in a field. I'm not particularly inconspicuous and I wasn't running in the shadows but whoever it is that's in charge of the security of the field didn't give a damn either way and strapped those babies up good n tight with their industrial padlocks.
What's a man to do?
Close to the tennis courts, there's a house where I thought this security person may live. It's the only house within the field so it made sense. I looked around some and then shouted up at the only window with a light on:
"Hey motherfucker! How about letting me out!"
Action behind the curtains and I see a man looking down on my wearing blue pyjamas. You know what he did? He closed the curtains against me and did nothing at all.
Maybe I went in too hard a little too early.
The field, all the way around, is circled by one of those fences you find protecting schools. Metal rods about ten foot high with arrow-head spikes to stop people climbing over. The kind that, when you're in school, there's always some story about a kid who impaled his testicles on them when he went to get his ball. That was the first thing that crosses my mind while I was standing there looking at them.
To hell with it. What does a man need testicles for anyway in an already over-populated planet.
Using the chain and padlock around the gate as leverage, I hauled myself up onto the top, teetered around between the spikes for a few seconds and jumped.
Not so bad. The landing was not so good and my knees complained a little but I was out. If nothing else it might make a humorous story...
The following day, I took the dog out. To make a change in the mini-heatwave, I figured I'd take him to the park with the river running through it - there's not much he likes better than jumping in during the summer and getting cool.
We parked up, crossed the road with some other people who were hanging around and found that over the winter, somebody had moved the gate and replaced it with a fence, though there was a sign saying to use the other gate maybe fifty metres along the road. Simple.
"Somebody moved the gate," I said to one of the guys who had crossed with us and was looking confused. This guy looked mid-thirties, maybe forty at the top end - certainly a fair whack of years younger than me anyway - which is important because then, he looks up and down the road and says:
"You're young enough to just jump over the fence."
And I stood there for a moment wondering if a) I suddenly looked a lot younger now I had been running for one whole week and/or b) pictures of me escaping from the playground had made it onto the internet without me knowing.
Or maybe the old guy in the house had put hundreds of those blurry CCTV posters up around the place of me like when a cat goes missing.
The universe sure does have a weird sense of humour.