After what seems like an age of staring at a petrol station on the Edinburgh to Balerno road, I finally follow my friend on to the bus. David has the widest smile on the bus. It is wider than a peeled banana. Even the most enthusiastic of bus enthusiasts could not grin quite like David is today, this smile is an introduction all of its own. My friend knows him from their time at school together, and introduces me to him.
David and my friend chat for a while. This mainly centres around the fact that David is stoned. I think I’d be exaggerating if I said that I could go fishing in his dilated pupils, but I’m not too sure. He then tells both of us that it’s his day off, he’s off to buy bongs from a shop well known for selling drug paraphernalia and, allegedly, drugs. He hops off the bus at our stop, although my friend does have to point this out to him. My friend also suggests that he might want to come with us to a nearby caff – David has just told us that he hasn’t actually eaten in three days. I ask him how much he’s smoked today, “Dunno..,” he grumbles, “I havnae slept…today is last night, (I’m) goin’ out tonight” he adds, starting to lose track of things. I leave it there.
As we make the short walk down the busy street he randomly says “hiya” or “hey” to people walking in the opposite direction. “That’s something else ah dae.” It’s then that he tells us that he’s on something called EMT – “it’s like a mixture of acid and ecstasy.” In the caff I go for a delicious, if calorific, triple decker roll. Whilst we wait on our food, he recalls some tales for us, still beaming as if looking upon his first born. The other morning, he claims, he had to go bin-raking because his mother had thrown out a bag of his marijuana, “Thank fuck she put it in a prawn cocktail crisp wrapper!” Oblivious to him, me and my friend are bent double with laughter, even more so when he adds: “Tasted fishy.”
For some reason, David thinks he should tell us about he and pals’ idea for a youtube channel: the appropriately named “EMTV.” What’s going to be on it? “Adverts that make nae fuckin’ sense.” Okay, an example, perhaps? One of these has the tagline “stand up an’ show yer no a racist.” He then describes the onscreen picture: “It was toast…burnt on one side…bread on the other. Just bread.”
Has he ever been done for something, I asked him? “Aye,” of course is the answer. David and a friend had been heavily abusing alcohol, weed and tobacco one night when they ran out of cigarettes. Being 1am, there wasn’t anywhere for them to buy them, but they thought the local chip shop, which had a cigarette vending machine, might still be open. It wasn’t, so they kicked the doors in and stole the machine. Next, he tells us of how he and his mate used scaffolding poles to strike the machine “like piñata for fags” and then stuffed the packets down his top. Unsurprisingly, he was arrested.
Surprisingly, neither he nor his mate were charged for burglary of the chip shop instead, the charges were split between them. David was presented before a Sherriff for possession of a Class B drug, and “breaking into a safe.”
Throughout this little story David’s smile has stayed pinned to his face. He seems to be utterly remorseless, apart from a small aside about the chip shop he robbed: “Ah felt well bad, cos soon after they went out ay business.”
His description of his day in court hinted at some sort of remorse too, he talks of how he was led into the courtroom with his friend laughing, until he saw their parents in the gallery. He alleges that he “went from pissin’ masel to shitin’ it.” I think I would too. Sometime later, he left with a £150 fine and a conviction for safe-breaking. Nothing more, I’m quietly amazed.
Was it his first conviction? “That was the ma first thing wi’ the police…that ah got done for anyway.”