There was a shooting one morning as I was going to the office.
Every morning for years, I would park on Salked Street in Tradeston, and walk over the Squiggly Bridge to the Financial District on the north bank of the Clyde. The drive was good because I wasn’t dealing with bridge traffic, I got free parking, and the mile walk did me good.
Tradeston and Kingston are pretty run down, most of the south bank is – there are drug rehabs and homeless hostels – and the rest is ruins. I was walking as usual when I heard the shot. I turned the corner and saw a man down on the pavement. This wasn’t a good situation.
He was still alive as I phoned the emergency services on my mobile.
“I was shot. Drive by,” He winced.
He was under 40, medium build, brown hair and unshaven. No spectacles or distinguishing features other than that he had only one leg.
He was badly dressed for the weather – a tee shirt, a lightweight zip up jacket, hospital blue paper disposable trousers and a single dirty training shoe.
I agreed to stay with him until the ambulance arrived, and kept him chatting. He told me his story:
He’d got into some trouble with a gang of bad men, they chased him. He kept giving them the slip, but they kept catching him up. They chased him up a multi-storey car park in the city.
I am not sure if he was thrown off, or if he’d jumped, but he landed badly – and very publicly. An ambulance arrived, the crowd was dispersed, the bad guys vanished into the shadows.
At hospital, he had to have his leg amputated. He knew they were not going to give up, and in the recovery ward, he managed to give them the slip again – he escaped and fled through the streets only with what he could stand up in – and a stolen crutch.
He made his way to meet someone at the hostel on the south bank of the Clyde when they drove by and shot him. They just winged the side of his torso from what I could make out. I kept him talking, but he was shivering on the cold pavement. My phone rang.
It was the police.
“I hear there was a shooting?”
“Is the coast clear?”
“Can you see any gunmen?”
This had not occurred to me, so I looked around, realising I was in serious danger all of a sudden.
“The coast is clear, get here NOW!”
“Are you sure?”
I hung up. WTF?
The ambulance arrived first, I bade the chap farewell and the best of luck, and wandered off. I saw the police roll up after he was inside. They didn’t ask me any questions, they probably didn’t notice I was walking off.
I arrived at work 45 minutes late, and no-one believed one word of my excuse.
“Dave slept in” seemed to be the official record. I went home by a different route, and it was a few days before I returned to my usual way.
It was not on the internet, and no one seemed to have seen it on telly or heard it on radio.
How very strange.