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My Best Moment Ever
by Neil Ferguson

You must be wondering how my dad, a senior sales executive with a new Audi in the garage, ended up in gaol and is no doubt baffling the prison psychiatrists as we speak. Well, it all began when I was gazing out of the window and spotted a burglar breaking into our neighbours’ house.  

I should have said something but can you imagine the situation that would have arisen if I had made a mistake? My dad would just about hold it together until the police had gone and then allow his instability full rein. I decided to investigate for myself. 

I tip-toed downstairs and went to the shed to collect a hammer. If the burglar saw me, I would lash out and run home. I slipped inside our neighbours’ gate and crouched inside a bush. When the burglar reappeared, I realised that it was Mr Overton. I stood up in the bush and said, “Hello Mr Overton your son Mike goes to my school,” 

He looked surprised. 

“What are you doing here?”  

“Just looking round Mr Overton.”  

His grip tightened on my school tie, “You thieving little toe-rag. What do you do? 

Sheds and garages?” I nodded in agreement but there was a hint of menace when he said, “So where are your tools?” 

I showed him the hammer. 

“Absolutely useless!” he said. “You need bolt cutters.  What do they teach in schools these days? It’s not common sense, is it? 

He shook his head pityingly and handed me a bag. “These will be worth a few quid.” 

We shook hands and he disappeared among the shadows. 

I really like Mr Overton. I never have a proper talk like that with my dad. 

I stopped off at the shed to put the hammer back and saw that the bag contained some medals. I hid them in a drawer but the next morning my dad appeared clutching my bag. 

“Judith,” he said, “What are these medals doing in the shed?”  

My mother said, “How do I know? They were probably your father’s. We still have a box of his stuff in the garage.” 

“I thought my sister got his medals when he died.” 

“Well obviously not,” she said, bristling with irritation. “Put them back in the shed”.  

My father obeyed.                                                                   

When the police came to search the surrounding gardens, they found my medals in the shed. My father explained that they belonged to my grandfather but one of the police officers said, “I don’t think so sir,” and grabbed his arm.  

My dad was furious. He twisted and turned and the constable fell backwards on to our kitchen table. It collapsed and sent him sprawling on the floor. My dad laughed nervously and was promptly handcuffed and taken away in the police car. 

Last week, I went to our school prize-giving. Mr Overton was there. I said, “Hello dad!” and then blushed furiously. “I mean hello Mike’s dad”. He winked at me and whispered, “I’ll take you out one night and teach you a few things” and then he gave me a pretend punch on the jaw. Some kids from my class were watching.  

It was the best moment in my whole life.