A Life Less Scary
"The interesting and varied life of Scary Duck, Genius, French Cabaret Chantoose and small bets placed."
Typical. Wait all day for a Beatle and four turn up at once
George Harrison was the nice, quiet Beatle, wasn’t he?
I spent much of my teenage years in Henley-on-Thames, the town George had chosen to sit on his huge pile of money chanting “Hare Krishna” to anyone who was listening. I’m actually doing him a disservice here, as he was immensely popular in the town, where he was treated as just another guy instead of the mega-celebrity he was elsewhere.
His massive country pad had rather disconcerting signs at the gate to keep prying tourists out, but what the tourists didn’t know was that there was a public footpath going right through the grounds. And being in a youth organisation that supposedly went in for the outdoor life in a big way, we purposely organised route-marches that went past George’s house in the hope of catching a sight of him.
We never did.
Not until one evening, just as it was getting dark. Night hikes were a thing we liked because it made it more difficult for the lads to get back alive, and there was always an outside chance of ending up near a nice country pub.
And there he was, walking the other way with Mrs George.
We gave him cheery shouts of “Alright George!” and “Where’s Ringo?”, and I shall always remember the words he offered us in reply. Words of wisdom, wit, the distilled knowledge of ancient mystics handed down from generation to generation.
“Fuck off lads.”
We fucked off.
And good thing we did, otherwise we would have missed some couple going at it hammer-and-tongs in the back seat of a Ford Escort up in Harpsden Woods. I sneaked up good and close, just to check it wasn’t George and Mrs George. It wasn’t. Now that’s what I call good karma.
Good karma, as any scholar of Buddhism will tell you, has to be balanced by an equal amount of bad karma. And this, in the words of Beatle John, was instant bad karma. Not George in the car turned out to be built like a brick shithouse. And he’d seen us.
We legged it. Not George legged it after us with remarkable speed for a guy with his trousers round his ankles.
Bad karma was piled on bad. On the way back, our esteemed leadership had laid on a little “incident” to test out our knowledge of first aid and emergency planning. They had set up a little scheme where one of our Commanding Officer’s mates would pretend to get him arm trapped under the bonnet of his broken down car just as we walked past. We were supposed to rush to his aid, and all would be laughter and joy, followed by the pub and/or Chairman Mao’s chipshop on the way home.
We walked past.
The car bonnet slammed down.
“Aaargh! Me arm! Me arm!” shouted Coop to add to the effect.
We kept on walking.
“You silly bastard” said one of our number, who may well have been me.
Seconds later we heard running footsteps behind us. Convinced it was Not George the Phantom Shagger after our blood, we squared up for a fight. It was Steve and Coop, chasing after us to get us to do the first aid exercise, fake blood dripping everywhere. Whoops.
“Now who’s a silly bastard?”
Two weeks later we saw George again, opening a charity do at the Town Hall. We accosted him for autographs and general glad-handing on the way out.
“I remember you lot - didn’t I tell you to fuck off?”
What a geezer.
While this story is based on actual events in the life of Scaryduck, certain identities and venues may have been changed to protect the innocent.