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I was a pre-teen drug mule!



We were discussing the various jobs we had done at dinner the other night, and we worked our way back to our first paid employment. G was a milk boy, Saul was a paper boy, my gig was a little less likely.

It has even less to do with selling our products than our usual report, but it does record my only employment as a professional bike rider.

I was eleven, and I got a job delivering prescriptions for a chemist in Mount Eden. In those days that part of Auckland was still home to a lot of the original householders, by then in their golden years. Not many of them had cars, and they struggled to get to the shops. Doctors made house calls, and somehow relayed their patients’ needs to the chemist. Each afternoon a kid would sign on to deliver drugs around the neighbourhood, and the deal paid 30 cents an hour.

Sometimes the customers would kick in an extra five or ten cents, and the perks were home-made biscuits or cake.

The other kids had one afternoon each, but I got Thursday and Friday. Having two days meant I got the weirdest part of the service we provided, especially when you think about it in today’s terms. The chemist had a little trailer, and I got the tow hitch bolted permanently to the seat stays of my bike. Once in a while I would go to the chemist’s house, collect the trailer, and return to the pharmacy. We would load it with pharmaceuticals, and I would make a delivery to Brightside Hospital, a private joint in the middle of our territory.

The route to Brightside, where I went most days with my little satchel full of packaged pills, took me down Owens Road and into Brightside Road via a downhill, slightly off camber intersection with a satisfying turn of more than ninety degrees that could be taken without braking.

One day I was tucking into that corner as usual when I recalled I had the fully laden trailer on. The bike would not lean far enough to get around the bend, and the trailer was on a course of its own, with me attached to the front.

The trailer tipped over, taking me with it, the whole assemblage sliding into the kerb with resulting scuffage to knees and elbows.The contents of the trailer were strewn all over the intersection, the most spectacular being the two large glass carboys of Savlon, which had broken and looked like something Jackson Pollock would have produced, had he thought of it.

Thinking my career was over, I scraped up what I could, piled it all into the trailer, and returned to the shop. Fortunately by the time I got there I was bleeding profusely, and also crying, which got me onside with the women who worked there.

Mr Hoskins wasn't happy, the disaster cost him the Savlon, plus some first aid materials, and half an hour of downtime for his entire staff.

I kept my job, and even the tow hitch, and made the Brightside run successfully a few more times. But I could see that there was no future in being a drug mule, so I went into the third form unemployed.




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