Stealing sweets from Jesus
Was this my first sin
or the green shoots of entrepreneurship,
and is there a difference?
I still claim God is somewhat culpable:
of all the places in all the world
to site a sweet shop next to a church.
So here’s the scam in easy steps,
(for storytelling purposes and not to
encourage a new generation of Fagin’s friends).
1. Spend all your pocket money
except for two shiny new pence
and take this gleaming conspirator to church.
2. When it’s time for the collection
ask Mum with innocent puppy eyes,
“Pennies for the plate”?
3. Mum, panicked, would rummage for silver.
Usually ten, sometimes fifty pence.
4. Use your best Penn and Teller
French Drop to substitute copper for silver
making the result. Jesus 2, you 48.
5. As soon as the last Amen sounds
slip silently from the blessed hubbub,
check for a tail, meet your dealer at the shop.
6. Launder the cash for kola kubes,
midget gems and only on cooler days,
as often as you can
without arousing suspicion.
These are the seven steps from heaven,
forgotten for many years until
the new, old sweetie shop opened on the High Street.
Fifty pence doesn’t even buy a quarter now,
but the sugar-laden oxygen
takes you on a journey money can’t buy.
To when Mum was close by and
there was no greater feeling than the
rumpled, paper twist of sweets in your pocket.