Tales of The Wire: 1. Ziggy

The words hero and Ziggy Sobotka just didn’t look right in the same sentence. The car thieving, drug selling, manhood flashing, duck loving longshoreman was bereft of redeeming characteristics. He is a daft boy, that’s true, he is also a cold blooded murderer convicted for twenty years.

While doing his stretch, Ziggy swore to change his outlook on life. His impeccable behaviour behind bars resulted in a reduced sentence for his crime; the aforementioned murder. He wracked his brains to find a meaning, an outlet for his brand new taste for redemption.

He sought solace in a six string acoustic guitar and twanged away with his tattooed knuckles at a melody. Alas! Ziggy couldn’t play guitar. Discarding the guitar Ziggy vowed, no more will I be the village idiot, a comic strip goofball, I am going to be a legend.

As a born and bred harbour man Ziggy couldn’t just drink like a fish and he scoured the docks of his homeland hoping to see a swimmer in distress that he could save. Unfortunately he seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and floaters were found in other parts of the docks. He left the baywatching to Hasselhof.

Rescuing cats from trees didn’t rock his boat either. Now if it were ducks up a tree…

He deliberately avoided descending into the stevedores den of the Delores’ bar and made his way downtown to watch the annual east side v west side basketball match at the new Baltimore Kelvin Hall.

It was the usual rough and tumble affair with ringers on both sides. Ziggy had been knocking back pop like the weasel and he needed a pee. Gliding down the corridor -he had not lost his nonchalant stride- he found what he was looking for in his new adjusted life. The chance to be a hero.

Sitting sore-thumbed in the middle of the floor outside the toilet was a holdall. Ziggy immediately thought: bomb. He remembered years ago an Oscar winning film called The Hurt Locker and he put himself in the shoes of a bomb disposal expert.

There was no time to lose, he didn’t have any pliers and the countdown was probably approaching zero he thought. Only one thing for it, I’ll go out in a blaze of glory and save everyone else. Ziggy launched himself at the bag and smothered his body over it intending to take the full force of the blast.

A used jockstrap and pair of number 23 Jordan socks came hurtling out of the bag as Ziggy flattened the holdall. An attendant walked round the corner and exclaimed.

“You darn fool. This is a sports centre, everybody leaves bags lying about.”

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