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Champion of Woolies

What do you think of when you hear the name Woolworths? Maybe it's playing an innocent game of 'Who can hide the most non-pick n mix items in the bottom of their pick n mix?'. Or perhaps it's the still bitter resentment of being denied The Eminem Show on CD by some hairy mole'd witch because of the parental advisory sticker and having to buy P!nk's 'Family Portrait' instead. Surviving the existential shame of going full-circle on P!nk. From genuine disdain, through all forms of ambivalence, even beyond pretending to not like P!nk. Until finally you know all the words to Family Portrait and swear to all that is holy that Woolworths will RUE THE DAY they orchestrated this cruel fate upon an unwitting lad. Or if you're my friend Keif it's of me, shitting into the giant industrial fan on top of their roof. Keif's name isn't really Keif/Keef or even Keith. Keef is just what we exclusively call each other. I don't remember how the Keif thing came about but I do remember which Keif was to blame for this Wollworths ordeal. As usual we were trespassing on the roof of our local Woolworths. Sat above the high street was the completely baron flat top roof except for the giant industrial fan in the middle. We're still here to tell the tale thanks to the safety provisions, a one foot high wall which ran along the perimeter. It seemed nobody ever looked up, so we would waste time dangling our legs over the edge shouting obscenities at any ginger twats. We were 10 and would pass the time by playing a particularly idiotic game of chicken where we would start from the back of the roof and sprint as fast as we could towards the shopfront. First one to stop running before the edge was considered a loser, believe it or not. It was 2002 and nobody wanted the shame of being considered 'not mental' by their fellow children. It wasn't all fun and games on the Woolworths' roof though. We discovered that if we shout "BOGEYS" into the giant industrial fan you could hear it inside the shop. "I wonder if you can hear my farts" I asked with all the hopeful sincerity a 10 year old law breaker can muster. Equally devoid of any irony Keif responded "Definitely mate. You could probably smell them, it is a fan." Scarcely a minute later I was naked from the waist down, except for my Total 90s. Arse at the ready, knees pointing to the flats opposite. I shouted back betwixt my legs at full 'bogeys' volume so Keif could hear from within the store "How much are the tissues!?" Keif walks out to the street to reply, too inhibited from the gaze of the checkout hags to yell in their domain. "50p"... "You joking? (We didn't have 50p) Get back in there". There I squatted, coin purse flapping in the wind, knots in my stomach knowing we were at the precipice of history. This is the stuff of legend for a 10 year old.

In the interest of scientific integrity I did not shout down the pipes when I was finished. But for the first time ever, I heard a voice go the other way, past my bare arse and into my lug holes... "I can smell it!" Imbued by the magnitude of our achievement he repeated himself in front of the Witches of Woolies. I could hear undeniable delight and pride in his voice. He skipped out onto the high street like Charlie holding his golden ticket, squealing "I could smell it!!" He was leaping for joy on the high street and so I looked down over the wall to share in the moment. He yells up "Put some pants on!" And runs round to the alley, climbs up the fire escape and we share tears of joy. In his hand was not a golden ticket but a pair of 'ducky' baby socks he'd shoplifted for me to wipe my arse on. It was a proud day for us both. By the following weekend, word had spread of our victory and so I borrowed the family digital camera to take a photo. To our shared horror & delight our trophy had turned white. "No ones ever gonna believe you did a white poo." "Well, we obviously can't waste it. Let's throw it off the side" "I aint picking it up" "Calm down, I've got a dog poo bag right here." It should be noted that Keif has taken issue with the use of the word 'we' in this story. And so we scooped up my white turd and we launched it off the side, howling uncontrollably. Unfortunately for us the poojectile did not hit an elderly woman. We looked over the edge to see two extremely angry men in their twenties. Their anger sent us into hysterics right up until they climbed the fire escape and confronted us. Imagine Gareth Gates & Will Young auditioning for the Football Factory. "Do you think it's funny do you? Throwing bags of dog shit. You little weirdos" Keif darted me a look that needed no explanation: 'Do Not Say It Was Your Shit'. "Sorry we didn't aim it or anything. It was a spur of the moment throw" "I know you're lying you little prick. How's a dog climbing them ladders? You must of climbed up here with it!" Keif and I looked through each other, fighting the will to prove we've not been outwitted. "Maybe someone threw it up?" "Maybe in imagination land" We Keefs instinctively look away from each other. Any eye contact after dickhead's use of 'imagination land' was grounds for laughter. This was no time to get the giggles. "This is our roof now. Now fuck off."

We climbed down and made our way past the shop front staring at our feet. The Pop Idle Massive started shouting down in perfect harmony "Jog on back to your mummys". This really got under our skin - we were ten, of course we were going back to our mummys! These two herberts were humbling us so resoundingly that we were about to start a new life of quiet dignity and philanthropy. But then I spotted it. Our protagonist was giving me the eye from the middle of the pavement, so I bend down to pick it up. Stone Idle pipe up with a note perfect duet "Don't you fucking dare pick up that fucking dog shit!" Keif looks to me and catches my contagious evil grin. He yells up "Don't worry, it's not dog shit. It's this dirty bastards!" We were expecting a reaction but they froze, this sideways information explicably stumped them. I took advantage and launched my champion with perfect accuracy. As it sailed to its final resting place I screamed the magic words "Imagination Poo". Sending us back onto hysterics, only this time we remembered to run.


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