Except some of them ride scooters instead of bikes and they’re all much younger than those guys in the photo above. And no-one has crazy Nicole Kidman hair.
And none of them smile at me. Ever.
And there are way more than three. Sometimes I have seen them ride in packs of, like, ten.
Their ages range from twelve to as young as maybe six. They live in the same street in the same estate as me. And they are FULL of menace.
In fact, we live in a close which is to say, it comes to a dead end. Therefore, we have no through traffic and in many ways, it is a lovely place for children to play.
Anyone but these children.
They ride haphazardly around the street (which is already ridiculously narrow due to developer greed), having absolutely zero respect for the rules of the road and certainly none for their own personal safety.
On the first occasion they came to my notice, I pulled out of my driveway one afternoon and was met by their staring little faces. As soon as I pulled in front of them, I saw their silhouettes flash in my rearview mirror. I suspected mischief was afoot but I had no proof.
A few days later, B confirmed that they had car surfed behind him by holding onto the tailgate.
Ha! I knew it. Mischief. Well and truly afoot. Afoot as mischief can be!
Other infractions have included deliberately cutting in front of my moving vehicle, riding along side me in a way that is very unnerving, and also, yelling out, “Shut up! Your singing is crap!” when my totally NOT crap voice happened to float out of my open window and into their menacing and clearly, stupid little ears.
And they don’t wear helmets!
Oh, and this one time, I was driving home from the gym and they followed the car to my driveway. Then, in menacing gang fashion, they stared at me as I proceeded to attempt to reverse the vehicle into my garage.
It was 9.30pm on a school night and frankly, why weren’t they at home in bed?
“It’s 9.30pm. Shouldn’t you be at home in bed? Where are your parents?” I demanded.
They all looked at me blankly. Except for one boy. The oldest of the lot. The alpha dog. He just smiled at me and gave me the thumbs up.
Are you serious?
Is that not a future serial killer right there?
Last week, I was winding slowly through our street on the way to pick up some dinner. The entire gang was out and milling in one driveway. There were at least ten, so many that they were spilling out onto the street. And then there were two or three kids on the other side of the road. They all turned to watch as my car approached and not one of them, not a single one, made a move to inch their bikes forward so that I might pass through easily. Being that I had small kids on either side of me, I was genuinely nervous about hitting one of them.
I managed to manouevre my way through but then caught sight of some wild gesticulating in the rearview mirror. But before I could determine what was going on there was a “THUMP!” as my wheels bounced over something. I hit the brakes, my heart in my mouth. I turned to see a couple of the kids circling something in the middle of the road. A scooter. A fucking scooter! Only after I had passed by and was seconds from hitting it did they seem to recall that someone had left it there.
I kept driving. A hit and run, I suppose. But I figured it was best to keep going because if I had gotten out of the car right then, I would have cried.
And possibly strangled one of them. Lightly. Just to teach them a lesson. By strangling.
When I returned, the gang was nowhere to be seen. Vanished. No doubt called inside to wash their hands and eat their dinners. Bad asses.
I kept bracing for a knock on the door. An irate parent shaking a broken scooter at me.
But no such knock was forthcoming. Either the scooter was fine or the kids figured leaving it in the middle of the road gave them very little recourse.
There have been no further incidences.
The menacing has abated somewhat.
But last night, while I held an unsettled Zee, I thought I heard something outside. As I was rocking the little one back to sleep, I peeked through the blinds. Riding along our street, at 11.30 at night, were three of the kids. Not one of them older than twelve.
11.30pm? For a child? Where the hell are the parents?
It was then I thought that my funny story about the menacing gang of BMX bandits didn’t seem so funny anymore.