The nights are getting darker now and the clocks haven't even changed yet. (I wonder if that's why the Swiss are so rich: everyone buying a new clock twice a year to save daylight.) I'm having to wear my flashing collar light again for my evening walks in the park.
Tonight in Barshaw Park we had an encounter. I had picked up the trail of a fox and was chasing after it when I stumbled upon a gang of youths drinking at the red brick shelter. My master had shone his torch after me to see what I was chasing and the powerful beam attracted the yobs like moths.
The biggest one shouted over, "Gee'us a shot o' that torch, mate," while the group moved towards him. There were about eight of them in total, six males and two females, wearing shell suits and baseball caps, flashy mobile phones illuminating their faces. My master looked uncomfortable and chose to ignore them. Then another of the crew, a ginger haired boy in a red Adidas tracksuit, made a more direct request,
"Show us your torch, deefy."
"You show me yours first!"
I couldn't believe my ears. What was my master saying? Was he nuts? I hotpawed my way over to the group, skirting the edges, distracting the less intelligent ones with my flashing light, hoping it might lessen the odds of a bloodbath.
"F*** off, a'm no showing you my d**k, you dirty perv!" the ginger one coughed back.
"That's okay. It's a torch, not a magnifying glass."
My master must have had a death wish. This was a Paisley gang. Maybe his weight loss had muddled his brain. He wasn't fit enough to outrun these guys and I wasn't about to bite any. I had a ball in my mouth and wasn't going to drop it for anyone (unless they had a treat of course).
The first lad stepped forward and muttered viciously, "Show him your torch or I'll show you my f***ing knife."
And my master handed the torch right over. His prized possession was passed around the gang as they played with it, shining it at each other, trying to blind one another with its powerful beam. They didn't even realise it had different settings. They shone it across the golf course and down by the pond and up at the trees at the top of the hill. My master just stood there, trying to get me to come over to him without drawing attention, while still keeping a wary eye on the group.
And then they just handed it back to him.
"Cool torch mate."
"I told you I just wanted a look."
And they laughed and walked back towards to red brick shelter. I sensed a smell of brown brick coming from my master's pants, figuratively speaking. We took the long way back to the car. I bet we'll be going on street walks for a while after this. Where were the police when you really needed them?