Dad's Justice
from A Poet Called Dave
© Dave Viney, 2015

Summer 1985
and a look that we knew only too well -
behind dad's eyes
Wanted posters were going up:

BIKE THIEVES WANTED
DEAD OR DEAD

To hear mum tell it,
our house was the last bastion of home security:
fences too rickety to climb,
weeds fashioned into trip wires
and a cat with anger management issues
on 24 hour purrtrol.
She never mentions the attention seeking
Pick me! padlock on the shed.

Then there was the window sticker -
pure sticky-back lies
for the thickest of thieves:

WARNING - THIS HOUSE IS ALARMED

Yeah, ok mum - if you say so.
Tell it to our telly,
'cause the space where the video used to be
ain't listenin'!

Dad could maintain evil eye contact
all the way through the winding down of a car window -
a skill that we were completely in awe of.
Could tame name-makers,
steel toe-capped ball breakers -
lads that sweated warm beer,
fags and fighting.
Chests deflated, shoulders sagged,
cheek in check.

But it stayed Bike Thieves 1 Vigilante Dads 0
and we adapted to pedestrian adventures,
but dad never got his justice.

In June the following year,
the pageant came to Stretford:

kids with candyfloss,
kids with balloons,
kids with BIKES.

Every cyclist a suspect.

Every bike a lookalike.