His name was Graham Hood, so naturally we all called him Robin. He hated the moniker, but he was stuck with it – many people thought it was his real name. Buddha was to blame; he was the first to daub him ‘Robin Hood’ as a joke – he once referred to me as Little John, but wilted under my baleful glare. The appellation never surfaced again and I was relieved, the wrong nickname can be a death sentence for your credibility and I often pondered what part his name played in Robin’s fall from grace. It must be hell to be referred to constantly by an alias that you hate.
Robin was the grand zombie and prince of thieves. His habit was tattooed into his flesh with a million track marks – there wasn’t a vein in his body he hadn’t tapped out. The monkey on his back was toothless with age and so was Robin; his teeth had long gone the way of his scruples. Robin’s idea of wealth redistribution was to rob the poor to pay his dealer. He was always on the lookout for a fast buck; which is why he once tried to rob a bank – with his usual half arsed aplomb.
He was sick, real sick, after three days without a hit. We could see that he was in trouble which is why we were playing him at pool for pints and letting him win. We didn’t know that he had been down to the bank where he had taped an ‘out of order’ message over the night depository with the instruction to post the cash through the bank’s letter box. He had also taped a plastic bag to the inside of the letter box and stuffed it inside. He intended to return to the scene to fish out what money he could once all the local businesses had closed for the day.
It was a stroke of genius by Robin’s standards and he might have gotten away with it had a wary shop keeper not phoned plod with his suspicions. The fact that Robin was late and miraculously drunk when he finally got to the bank did not help. He was just about to extract the bag from the letter box when Sergeant Holden stepped out of the shadows.
“Hold it son, don’t touch the bag!” He was doing Robin a huge favour. If he had laid his hands on the cash he would have been done with robbery – instead of attempted robbery. As it was a cruel judge fetched Robin three years in Saughton jail for his efforts. His life truly hit the skids after that. He could be seen panhandling for change in the High Street most days and the rumour was the he had become quite an accomplished cat burglar by night. It’s good to see that the government’s re-education and rehabilitation services had an impact on Robin’s life.
I sometimes wonder what became of Robin. I lost touch with many of my old compadres when I left the city. He was in so deep that I don’t suppose he ever got out of the life. I imagine that he overdid one day – his last hit proving as fatal as his first.