March 29, 2011

"Heavy Begging" by Donna Moore

I was in Glasgow city centre shopping and left in the early evening when the place was starting to empty of shoppers. To get to my bus stop, I decided to cut through a back alley.

Yep. Bad idea. There was no-one around except three NEDs in flammable shell suits.

Now I'd better explain NED as I think it may just be a Scottish term. It stands for "non educated delinquent," but is specifically used to describe the types that hang around causing trouble.

Some Scottish politician recently said that we shouldn't use the term NED, as it is demeaning to young people. Well, it's not. Young people are great - it doesn't describe all teenagers. It describes...well...NEDs, and, quite frankly, they deserve it.

The Glasgow version of the NED is a quaintly dressed specimen. He's invariably kitted out in a shell suit (generally white or various shades of blue) that rustles cheaply when he walks, and causes sparks as his legs rub together. It usually has "Lacoste" or "Fila" emblazoned on the back, front and all down the side of the legs. He wears trainers of the expensive variety, but the only exercise he does
is kicking empty cans down the street.

His socks are white sports socks and also have a famous brand name down the side. You can easily tell this because for some reason, the fashion this year is for
shellsuit bottoms to be tucked into the socks, leaving about 4 inches of sock showing.

Perched on top of this lovely ensemble is a baseball cap. Often Burbery. When the hell did Burbery start making baseball caps? And, more to the point, who told these arbiters of fashion that a blue and white nylon shell suit went like a dream with a beige, red and black checked cap? Anyway whatever baseball cap they're wearing,
it too has a name emblazoned on it.

Seeing a NED is like seeing one of those taxis covered in advertising. I keep expecting to see one lurching along the street carrying a sign saying "This NED sponsored by Reebok. To advertise on similar NEDs call...."

Without the baseball caps their hair is short and stuck down with enough gel to float a battleship. Either that or he has a Barlinnie haircut (i.e. shaved in jail). Should you be unfortunate enough to see a NED naked, you can still recognise him without his flamboyant plumage, by the enormous gold sovereign rings. About 8 of them.

The female NED is distinguished by the 18 gold necklaces round her neck (most of them saying "World's Greatest Daughter/Sister/Mum") and the ponytail poking through the back of her baseball cap (the Glasgow facelift).

Anyway, back to my three specific NEDs (who were indistinguishable from the rest of their obnoxious breed so I don't need to describe them any further.)

As I walked past them they fell silent and stared at me. I carried on walking and heard the ominous sound of the crackling of shell-suited thighs as they followed me. There was still no one else around. Oh dear.

They surrounded me so I had to stop, and one of them said:

"Gonnae gi's yer money."

Several responses floated through my head:

"It's 'Gonnae gi's yer money, PLEASE' young man."

"Listen, I've been mugged three times - the first time I got hurt, the
second time no-one got hurt and the third time the mugger got hurt, so
come on punks, make my day."

In the end I settled for a stern "No."

"Aye ye are."

"No I'm not."

"Aye ye are."

Scintillating though this conversation was, I tried to move off. They closed in until I thought I was going to be smothered in nylon. And the smell of cheap aftershave was making my eyes water.

"Gi's yer purse."

OK, I was a bit fed up now. I was wearing cheap unlabelled clothes, a pair of silver earrings and a silver watch. Tweedledee, Tweedledum and Tweedledumber were covered from head to foot - literally - in labels, and between them they were wearing enough gold sovereign rings to send a small gold mine owner into an orgasmic frenzy (by the way, it's the gold mine that's small, not the owner. I have no idea of the average size of goldmine owners).

I could tell they weren't serious (as in slash my face with a razor serious). And I was more exasperated than scared, so I said the first thing that came into my head, which for some reason happened to be:

"Look, I'm tired, I'm pissed off, and I couldn't find any boots that I liked, so fuck off."

So they did.

I wish I could say that they limped off licking their wounds from the ass whooping I gave them, using my finely honed self defence moves. Well, I could say that, but it wouldn't be true.

Instead, they just slithered off like poorly co-ordinated lizards badly in need of a

Not much of a mugging - more of a heavy begging.


Donna Moore is the author of "Go to Helena Handbasket" - a spoof PI novel which won the Lefty Award for humourous crime fiction in 2007 - and "Old Dogs" - a caper novel set in Glasgow featuring two elderly ex-hookers (nominated for the Lefty Awards). Her short fiction has been published in various anthologies. 

Moore runs the blog "Big Beat From Badsville" focusing on Scottish crime fiction at


  1. Fantastic! I never knew that Ned was an acronym!

  2. Same here, but I've run into the U.S. equivalent many times.

  3. That was brilliant. We have Ned's down Brighton way too, but we tend to refer to them as scrotes instead. I have to ask though, did you ever manage to find some boots you liked?

  4. Paul - apparently so, based on my vast research of the topic :o) Have no idea what chav stands for though...

    Glaznost - eventually I ALWAYS find boots :o) I am utterly single-minded where footwear is concerned.

  5. Very cool story, Donna! *two thumbs up!* Awesome!! I have seen the term NED before - don't remember the book - and wondered what it meant, as the author did not explain.

    We have thugs like that around here too (who doesn't, eh?)- "Skids, scrotes, assholes (hey, we don't sugar-coat!), street thugs, STs, mall thugs or MTs (empties), etc...

    Jenny and I were coming out of a late movie at Clackamas Towne Center about a year ago... these three losers accosted us in the parking lot.. "hey bitch... give us some money" in what I suppose they thought was a menacing tone. We looked at them and laughed. I said something like "picture your nutsack hanging off the heel of my shoe (wearing 4 inch Bulbi peep toes". Yeah... they slunk away... you do NOT want to mess with this girl!! :)

    I love your story... hope to see more!

  6. "Picture your nutsack hanging off the heel of my shoe."

    Man, nothing beats putting scum in their place. ESPECIALLY when the scumbags pick on women. Feel free to submit that story, Veronica, in its full-length. I'd love to hear more from that episode.