There had been a bit of an altercation at the Saturday night dance. A bit of a ruckus. The occasional punch may have been thrown. The odd, so called 'Glesga' kiss', might have been bestowed. Usually the result of too much beer and whisky being taken. Oh! You know what I mean. Or you would do, if you had been to a Saturday night hop in the 1960's.
I was a stranger in this little town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Fortunately I was not alone for long. My charismatic persona, handsome chiseled good looks, and flowing black hair, had, as always, attracted the girls. It was ever thus.
Perhaps one of the local lads had become jealous of my success with the local lasses and kicked off. I had this problem a lot in those days. It was something I had learned to live with.
Well anyway, a fight had started. There were only about twenty of the local lads against little me, so it was a foregone conclusion that they would come off worse. I mean come on, twenty small town youths against me, a nineteen year old merchant navy deckhand, who had fought in some of the roughest bars and dance halls known to man. What chance did they have?
The first plane I ever flew in was a de Havilland Comet. The worlds first commercial jet liner. It was only a short flight, from London to Aberdeen in Scotland. I remember a slight trepidation as I boarded. The weather was awful. Blowing a gale and pouring with rain.
Now if I'm any judge of character, you are probably sat there, avidly devouring my words, wondering what I was doing on an aircraft. Well, I am just about to tell you all about it.
What's that? Oh the hand-cuffs. The detective. Sorry I nearly forgot. I'll tell you about that as well.
It had all started with the aforementioned dance hall fight. The local police had been round to see me the next day. There had been a complaint, - honestly some people! They were keen to hear my version of events. Actually, as it transpired, they were keen to put their version of events to me, and for me to confess that the whole thing was all my fault.
After they had left to frame a case against me, sorry, I meant to say, further their inquiries, I decided that it would be prudent on my part if I left town. I hitchhiked down south.
Which is how I came to be in London at the shipping federation offices, looking to sign on for a long voyage on the first available ship. Which is where I was, sat patiently on a bench in the outer office, when two officers of the Metropolitan police force arrived and arrested me for evading a summons. Which is how, dear reader I found myself hand-cuffed to a detective, being rocked and jolted violently by turbulence, in a de Havilland Comet jet liner on my way back to bonny Scotland to face the wrath of the Sheriffs court.
To tell the truth I got a bit of a kick out of the situation. I could see the other passengers looking at me and wondering just what sort of criminal I was. I bet some of them got a kind of vicarious thrill about being sat next to this violent bank robber, this international drug dealer, this notorious jewel thief. I was quite pleased that they did not realise I was only in this position for a lowly 'breach of the peace'.
There was a nice meal served on board. Because of the handcuffs it was a bit difficult to eat. My detective escort made me promise that I would not attempt to escape if he removed the cuffs. I had to remind him that we were at thirty five thousand feet and I did not have a parachute. He saw the humour and laughed at my joke. He was a nice guy actually, and I think he was as bemused as I was by the situation we found ourselves in. He had quickly and correctly decided that I was not a real bad person.
There was hell to pay when I finally stood in the dock. Hell to pay! But not for me. Oh no! The Sheriff, Lord Hamilton, a judge whom I had been before frequently during my unhappy teens, unleashed his fury on the justice system, namely the police, who had wasted their time and everyone else's in bringing me back to Scotland. By air! From London! Ridiculous he said. The lad had not even received the summons. I agreed with his Lordship of course and sagely nodded my agreement, feeling extremely self righteous. It was true I had left before the summons had arrived.
Of course I plead not guilty, and my good friend the sheriff was of a mind to agree with me. Indeed he even told the police to issue me with a rail warrant,so that I could fulfil my original intent and ship out on a voyage from London.
Justice. It is such a marvellous thing. Especially if, just for once, you are on the right side of it.
Fighting? Who me? Never!