For anyone not familiar with the expression, it’s a humorous way of implying that something was obtained in a dishonest or not totally above-board way.
I’m not trying to pretend I was an Angel but then I wasn’t the biggest villain in the world either.
When I was a kid I got up to the usual mischief, nicking from shops, hanging around with the boys on street corners, being a bit lairy and having a few laughs breaking the ton on our bikes.
The local coppers knew me well, especially one. He was a big bastard with a ginger beard but these days he would probably be kicked out of the force as being a ‘non-PC’ PC. If you were caught, you were as likely to get a thump round the ear as a ticket, but I liked him. He was old-school, straight as a dye, and I’m certain the reason he knew where to look for mischief was because he’d been there, done that and bought the T-shirt when he was our age. I had a lot of respect for him, even if I tried to stay out of his line of vision.
From small acorns not surprisingly I got into heavier stuff. Maybe I should have called my house ‘Off a Lorry’ as that was what brought in the readies to buy it. OK, some iffy CDs and a few other bits and pieces contributed but I was never violent. Well, not unless I caught some of the scum who battered and bruised old ladies for their pensions, leaving them quivering wrecks. Mentioning no names but there were one or two pieces of shit who found out the hard way how good the NHS service was.
Everyone has their price. Many of the local council employees were on my payroll, as well as a few high-ups in the local constabulary, some legal eagles and the odd judge or two. It was a lot cheaper than traditional insurance, and with a good accountant to confuse the paper trail was even tax deductible as a legitimate business expense.
I became a well-respected, straight businessman, paid my taxes and made sure I didn’t get even so much as a parking ticket. I was rich, with the luxury London apartment and mansion in the country to prove it. I’d never married, and despite having a string of ladies warming my bed, somehow never found the one I wanted to share the rest of my life. Many of them were gold-diggers, but I had fun while it lasted, then got out before they could get their claws in too deep. The ordinary girls were hard to meet, perhaps they thought I was out of their league, even though I never forgot my roots.
By the time I was 32 I was getting bored, and reminiscing about being with real people, doing everyday things. Channel hopping on TV, I saw a programme about bosses going undercover to find out the truth about their businesses. The idea appealed to me and I had a quick mental run-through of the ones I owned. Most were high-powered and listed on the stock exchange so my profile would be too well-known. Then I remembered seeing a note from my accountant about a small distribution factory we had bought as a tax write-off.
The following day saw me turn up at the site with a CV based on my early life, and leaving a few gaps for their imaginations to fill in. I met the factory manager Colin Jackson, who used to be the owner, and after listening to him rant for ten minutes wasn’t surprised his company had gone down the pan. He had no respect for his staff, thought only of himself, and was just out to fiddle anything he could. Still, he gave me a job scheduling the drivers and helping out loading.
I soon got the hang of it, and discovered there were some hard-working employees there. Many of them had lost heart as it became obvious sucking up to Jackson, and letting bonuses and expenses be accidentally diverted to his pay packet ensured cushy jobs and no P45. Having nothing to lose, I shared the jobs out fairly and amended the information going to payroll, so the right money ended up in the correct bank accounts.
Jackie worked in the office and straight away I took a shine to her. She knew what had been going on but felt powerless to do anything about it as she desperately needed the job. As she grew to trust me I learnt her ex-boyfriend had stolen her credit cards, run up massive debts then disappeared leaving her to face the music. Living frugally she just about managed to exist, paying her rent, the accruing interest on her card, and a minimal amount off the sum owed. Despite her hardships, I noticed when she took a stamp for a private letter she was careful to put the cost into the postage cash box.
When I accidentally overheard Jackson making sexual innuendos to her I was tempted to punch his lights out, but she handled it with decorum and took refuge amongst her fellow workers without a word of complaint. We got to be friends but she always kept her distance, and I wasn’t sure if it was “once bitten, twice shy” or she was too scared of Colin taking umbrage.
I’d been working there for several weeks and loving every minute when the proverbial hit the fan. Suits from my organisation descended unexpectedly and went through everything with a fine-tooth comb. Luckily I came out with a clean sheet which made me laugh. Jackson was not so lucky. He was given the option to jump before he was pushed, and despite his blustering was escorted from the premises under threat of prosecution. Secretly I was pleased that my team were on the ball although I still remained incognito.
It gave me the opportunity to take Jackie out for a celebration meal, and after a few bottles of cheap vino she opened up to me as never before. That was the night we became lovers for the first time. I was in a quandary about deceiving her as to my true identity, but didn’t want to spoil what we had together. It took a few months for me to summon up courage to ask her to marry me, but thankfully she said yes.
On our wedding day I was a bag of nerves, although by then I had told her the truth. She had been shocked at first, but then admitted that she loved me, rich or poor, in sickness or in health. Despite my protests she had insisted she would arrange the transport to get her to the church. As I awaited her arrival in trepidation that she would ditch me at the last moment, she descended in her glorious wedding dress – from a lorry!
Gotta love this woman, my perfect partner.
© Voinks November 2017