End of story

WHEN I was growing up, I would catch Dad doing the oddest things if he thought no one was watching. One of my earliest memories, for example, is of watching him standing in front of an open window with his shirt off, executing a slow and very graceful breast-stroke.

Another time - again when I was small - I was outside the house, peering in through a downstairs window. Sid was sitting in an armchair. I saw him get up out of his chair, pick one of my toy arrows up off the floor, lick the sucker, and fasten it to the exact centre of his forehead. After admiring himself in the mirror for a few moments, he walked about the room, pointing his arrow this way and that as if he were a dalek or something. Then he went over to his cup of tea, bowed his head over it, and tried to stir it with the end. We all do odd things, I suppose, when we are alone.

I reminded Sid about the arrow just the other night. There were four of us having a late drink over at El Rabioso in Torremolinos. There was me, Dad, Veronica (Dad's latest leg-over) and Little-Eyed Dave. Little- Eyed is the owner of El Rabioso and Dad's best pal. We were all sat at the bar drinking this new cocktail of Dave's called Slash And Burn, and we were talking about the bizarre things people get up to when they think no one is looking.

Veronica's English has improved markedly in the last couple of months since she's been going out with Dad. The only trouble is, the more she understands of his conversation, the less she likes him. Which is ironic, because unusually for him, Dad has been smitten by the purple light of love and is following her around like a doting mallard.

When it was Veronica's turn to tell us what she does when no one is looking, she took a thoughtful sip of her S&B and confessed to leaning against the corner of her washing machine when its on "spin". Dad looked adoringly at Veronica on hearing this, then he looked puzzled, then he looked disgusted. Then Little-Eyed Dave started in with this story about a friend of his called One Punch Peterson.

One Punch is head doorman at a rave club in Ibiza. Part of his job is to see that the only people selling drugs in the club are those who pay the doormen for the privilege. One night, One Punch broke an unaccredited drug dealer's jaw before ejecting him. In retaliation, the drug dealer found out where One Punch lived and burgled his apartment.

(A typical Little-Eyed Dave story this. He loves to give the impression that he's on back-slapping terms with all the top south and east London faces and what he doesn't know about villainy isn't worth knowing. To mark the much-publicised arrest near Cdiz last week, Dave had Kippers a la Kenneth Noye on the menu as a starter for one of his specials.)

So One Punch comes home and finds his apartment turned over and all his electrical goods missing. Particularly upsetting for him was the loss of his brand new 29-inch flat-screen TV with Nicam digital stereo and Dolby surround. Also, the drug dealer had left a horrible mess in his little girl's bedroom.

One Punch was livid. He'd paid over pounds 800 for that telly. As soon as he found out where this drug dealer lived he went straight round to shoot him.

When he found the house, he went round the back and looked in through the patio doors. On a living room table was a glass bowl with a goldfish in it. And leaning over the bowl and whispering to the goldfish - was this drug dealer.

("Lets have a look at the old scoreboard!" interpolates Sid, in his Bruce Forsyth voice.)

According to One Punch, this drug dealer's lips were almost brushing the surface of the water and he was whispering to this goldfish as if he was trying to change its mind about something very important. When the dealer started singing to the goldfish, One Punch stepped into the room and shot him. As an afterthought he shot the fish as well, just for badness.

"What about the telly? Did he get it back?" I said to Little-Eyed. "No - but he was in luck," said Dave. "When he went to prison, they gave him a nice little telly with Nicam stereo all to himself."