But what can I say, rules must be obeyed

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The Vaccines – The Winner Takes It All (ABBA cover)

The 14-year-old dickwad who lives across the road and four doors down stole his mum’s keys and hid them in our letterbox. She knocked on our door on Monday afternoon wearing tracksuit pants and shape-up trainers, having evidently worked her way up the street Jehovah’s Witness-style.

“He does these things all the time,” she said. “He does these things all the time.”

With the kind of exasperated frankness that only mothers can muster, she told me about the fiasco. I’m still not wholly sure what happened – her story juggled three different cars, two separate cases of vehicular vandalism, various ways to punish the kid (of which she asked my opinion), and a plea to sign her petition to widen our road.

The total cost of events was somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000, $500 of which was designated to key replacement, the rest going to repairs for the two accidents (the cause of which remained undetermined to me). Having left me somewhat nervous over living mere doors away from a potential car vandal and key thief, she blustered back to number five, keys hanging from her thumb as she waved goodbye over her shoulder.

I saw the dickwad a few days later, riding his dickwad skateboard around outside our house. His hair was styled and his jeans were skinny. His shirt was begging for more muscular padding. He smirked at me through the window – eyes dark, brow lowered, mouth upturned at the side, the barest hint of pointy canine protruding over his lip.

He looked like a key-stealer. He probably stole the skateboard, too. He probably took things from every house he visited – stashes of single socks, TV remotes, kitchen utensils, lighters, yo-yos. That’s where my sunglasses were. That dickwad kid had them. He probably took important things too, more important than keys. He probably threw out all his sister’s tampons the day before she needed them, and poked holes in his parents’ condoms.

On behalf of all the inevitable late-night rushes to the nearest tampon seller, and all the potential pregnancy scares to a couple with teenagers, I wanted to punch that kid right in his smirky dickwad face.

He remounted his skateboard and rolled off back to number five, hair flipping and jeans creeping down his backside. I locked my door and decided to forgive him for taking my sunglasses. He was in enough trouble already. [Please, Please Do Not Disturb.]

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