My Original Sin by Trevor Plumbly

As one enters the autumnal years, I reckon it’s not a bad idea to unburden oneself and own up to past transgressions. My reasoning for this is quite simple: if the ‘Man Upstairs’ decides he wants to see me ASAP, it’s best to announce one’s flaws in advance, so no-one gets surprised in the interview process. The problem is what sort of sins should one cough up to? We’ve all given the odd commandment a bit of a nudge now and then, so I thought the old ‘seven deadly’ jobs would make it a bit more personal, but they’re a bit tame in this day and age. Sloth, for God’s sake! (whoops!) Anyone had a lie-in lately? And as for pride, anger, lust etc, any politician worth a vote could knock the lot off before lunchtime, so there’s bound to be a queue a mile long up there of people trying to play the low risk game. I really needed a trump card, preferably a criminal offence…. Then I remembered my first brush with the law.

As an 8 year old, the greengrocer’s in our street was a source of constant temptation with neatly stacked piles of unattended, polished fruit outside the shop. It was obvious the owner couldn’t serve customers in the store and maintain watch over the goodies on the footpath at the same time. So the plan was a simple one, an innocent stroll past, a quick grab, stuff up the jumper and leg it. I strolled, grabbed, half-stuffed the apple and sprinted… straight into the legs of the law. The law in those days was more Mr Plod than Dirty Harry, but no less intimidating to a young first offender. ‘Put it back son’ he said quite kindly. I sniffled, more from a permanent runny nose than a sympathy ploy, but what the hell you never know, do you? I soon found out. ‘Plumbly isn’t it? Tell your mother I’ll pop round later this week and have a chat about this.’ That left me with two options: one, front up and get whacked for theft or two, hope he forgets about it. I decided that ‘two’ was worth a punt, thereby sentencing myself to days of mental torture. Every time the doorbell rang I imagined Mr Plod regaling my mother with the details of the crime and the punishment to follow. The sadistic bastard (sorry God) never called round, so apart from fingernail loss, an aversion to apples and cunning coppers, I got off scot-free, but I reckon it’s still in the books up there. There have been other failings of course, but I reckon I might be able to trade them off as a sort of job lot if I can persuade the selection committee that a snake set me on the downhill path.

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