When the inner suburbs of Sydney swelter the heat out west at Parramatta can give you a severe headache and make you feel queasy. If you are nursing a hangover then the weather just adds to your torture. After his night of drinking the profits of the snatch and grab from the Persian supermarket’s till Darcy was well and truly under the weather and in no shape to go to football training. So he trudged home early along the white-hot concrete footpaths of Parramatta’s city centre.
Darcy’s ill-health had put him in a forgetful state of mind. Without thinking he chose to walk straight up Church Street after crossing Victoria Road. That route eventually brought him to the Iranian shops on the corner with Pennant Hills Road. The baker spotted him first and quickly alerted his countrymen. By the time Darcy was about to walk under the shade of the shops’ awnings four of them waited out of sight in three doorways.
The baker pounced first and Darcy’s first instinct was that he could fight his way free of a single assailant.
“Let go of me yer wog c**t! Piss off!”
Darcy had barely got the words out when he was grabbed from behind by the shopkeeper. Two men burst out of the restaurant and in no time at all the teenager was held in a variety of wrestling grips that gave him no chance of escape. Struggling only made Darcy feel sicker and he slumped to his knees and vomited. The baker pushed the boy’s head to the ground and rubbed Darcy’s nose in his own mess.
There was a quick exchange of words between the retailers and the baker said something that sounded like an apology. He was the strongest of the four and his eyes were full of a fiery passion induced by the Australian’s racist taunt.
The shopkeeper made a call on a mobile phone. Darcy realised it was a call to the police. He knew he had a bit of time to break free because the police were notoriously slow to respond in this area. As it happened, Darcy was wrong. In less than five minutes a siren heralded the arrival of a paddy wagon from south and the swift intervention of two hefty male officers. Without any preliminaries they bundled Darcy into the back of the truck. Then they spoke briefly with the shopkeeper. It was handshakes all ‘round. The baker handed over some free loaves of sangak bread that still smelled fresh from the oven despite the plastic wrappers.
As the vehicle journeyed back to the station Darcy vomited again in the stifling air of the paddy wagon. From that day on he was, as they say, known to police.