So after his attempt to scale the mountain Michael settled down to spend the rest of his holiday in Lanzerote sans legs by scooting his electric mobility scooter up and down random promenades avec lots of boredom and a few glasses of lager in every bar that he passed, as long as his scooter would squeeze between the tightly packed pavement tables and chairs then he was in there like a rat up a drainpipe.
The days passed like years, each one long and hot, each one involving sitting on a hot plastic seat and driving along pavements looking in shop windows, sunbathing not being an option after being warned by the hire shop not to take the scooter onto the beach, luckily they hadn’t mentioned “don’t take it up the mountain either” as they carelessly assumed that no disabled person would be THAT stupid.
And then one long, hot afternoon he parked outside the sort of shop that haunts Spanish holiday resorts, the electronics bargain shop, the sort of shop that trades on the fact that English people seem to like to buy cheap electronic goods whilst on holiday even though they probably have the same cheap electronic goods at home and they didn’t bring them this year because they haven’t used them since they bought them on holiday last year and didn’t have room in their suitcases anyway.
Cameras and portable CD players were the thing to sell in those cheap electronic goods shops in Lanzerote that year and every resort had its cheap electronic goods shop staffed by the same asian family who seemed to have brought a container full of cheap electronic goods from Taiwan that year.
Michael already had one of the battery-sapping portable CD players, if you were really lucky and had bought the very expensive Duracell “Last for Ages” batteries then you could get the thing to play almost all the way through one CD before they needed changing but today his eye was caught by the video camera in the shop window.
“Hmm” he thought, “if a man with no legs on a mobility scooter had one of those things then he could film all day long as he perambulates up and down this promenade and bore the hell out of his family with hours worth of such a video when he gets home”, he scooted into the shop without hesitation.
The young Indian guy behind the counter spent some time showing him several video cameras and explaining how he wouldn’t get a better price anywhere on Lanzerote and after he’d chosen one Michael set to work on the bartering for being a Yorkshireman he would never pay the ticket price, was inbred not to part with his money until he felt instinctively in his water that he had properly trousered the retailer – he managed to knock a good amount off the price and then get some tapes thrown in for free, some spare batteries and then he bought some more tapes at a cheap rate – and off he went to film “A day in the life of a man with no legs, stranded in Lanzerote until next week”.
A couple of days later the filming was going well, he had hours worth of video shots of him trundling slowly up and down various promenades, gripping stuff, and he’d run out of tapes so off to the same shop to buy some more.
A pack of five tapes were produced and Michael got his wallet out, then he was told the price. He laughed a little and told the proprietor that there must be some mistake for only the other day he had paid less than a tenth of that price for his original batch of tapes, “Yes but they were specially discounted because of your large purchase” explained the proprietor, “today you are just buying tapes and this is the real price”.
You may have the impression of Michael by now that he was a determined, nay stubborn man, and in that you would be correct, I would go so far to say that he was without doubt the most stubborn man I have ever met, indeed his whole family was in contention for the prize of “most stubborn people in the world, ever”, for when he died they all fell out with each other over his will and have never spoken to each other since, all over a fruit bowl too.
Michael was not going to take this sitting down, well actually he had to take it sitting down for as we all know by now he had no legs to stand up on, but still, he protested long and loud, long and loud enough for the retailer to insist that he left the shop, he even came around the counter and tried to shove Michael out of the shop but shoving a mobility scooter when the brakes are on is quite difficult so he threatened to call the police and have him surgically removed from the shop instead.
He left under duress but on the way out met two people coming in to buy something and told them not to deal with this set of crooks for they had just tried to con him into paying far too much for some video tapes and no matter how much the retailer tried to plead his case the two people looked from the retailer to the poor man in the mobility scooter with no legs and it was obvious where their sympathy lay, they turned and left.
Which gave Michael an idea, the retailer could throw him out of the shop but he couldn’t throw him off the pavement and he determined quickly to ensure that no customer would cross the threshold that day, I told you he was stubborn.
He spent the rest of the afternoon and all of the evening sitting on his mobility scooter outside the entrance to the shop and every time anyone made to open the door he’d stop them and ask if they were thinking of buying anything from this retailer then explain to them what they had done to this poor disabled man on a pension with no legs and barely enough means to bring him on a nice holiday to Lanzerote – and every person shook their heads in dismay, waved an angry fist at the retailer through the window, turned and walked away.
Then the police were called.
The same policeman who had given Michael the bollacking for mountain climbing just a few days earlier, “oh hello again” he said as he walked into the shop having been summoned by the retailer, “You’re not thinking of buying something in there are you ?” asked Michael and he recounted the tale one more time.
The policeman was clearly not at all impressed with the tale of this poor disabled man who liked to climb mountains with no legs being ripped off by these foreign retailers, particularly as they were foreign to the Spanish too and far from being the victim of an annoying customer who had prevented his till ringing for a whole half day the retailer found himself at the centre of all sorts of threats of persecution and prosecution from the local police, eventually the police officer emerged from the shop with a handful of tapes, gave them to Michael and explained that the shop owner said the he could have these for free as long as he never came within 100 yards of his shop again and the police officer further explained that next time he would have to arrest Michael on an obstruction charge, so go away now and no climbing mountains with no legs and no picketing shops with no legs from now on, for gods sake why don’t you just lie in the sun like all the other English people do ?
And after all that, when he got home he showed me his home movies – they really were as rubbish as you’d expect from a man who just spent all day trundling around the streets at 3mph, certainly not worth going to prison for.