top of page

Two Unlikely Thieves

Elizabeth  Phillips Scott

Elizabeth Phillips Scott is a graduate from the Royal Scottish Academy and worked as an actress till MS struck. She has written a play with Caroline Patterson called Hejab and the lift man that was put on at the little royal lyceum in Edinburgh, which they both acted in also. She has had various poems published. One of her short stories called A long journey home will be published in a book called The war child and will be in Waterstones for the new year. She can be contacted at



Betty the bag lady and her wee west highland terrier were well known in the west end of Glasgow.  She could be smelt and heard before seen with her nicked shopping trolley from Tesco’s.   Bobby, her white westie, was sitting in the trolley with all her belongings being pushed along the road while she sipped on a Tenants super lager.


She would stop at regular intervals to see if there were any scraps of food left on the road or in buckets for her and wee Bobby! She always slept in a cardboard box, behind one of the big stores,  the air vents letting out hot air all night long.  As long as she went late enough – usually around 11pm – no one would move her on, and that was where she was headed now.  She had to get there early; if she didn’t someone else might steel her spot. Betty liked that spot as it was next to the place where they threw out the out of date food.   They would eat all the leftovers in the plastic wrappers and sometimes there was fruit as well. Melons were hard to cut but the pears and apples and oranges were Bobby’s favourite.  Bobby loved the cuts of beef or mince they could no longer sell. 


That night, Betty put out her cardboard box and laid down the plastic bags for a good night’s kip before the workers arrived the next day at 7 o’clock.  She foraged in the big bin and found left over fruit and cheese for herself and Bobby’s favourite left over mince!  As usual, the two of them settled down for a good night’s sleep after eating their way through the food.


Just as they were bedding down all the street lights went out. Betty searched in her shopping trolley for her emergency bag and a torch she had found with batteries in that someone had thrown out.  She shone it on the back entrance of the shop, noticing the back door had not been shut properly.  She scooped up Bobby, put him back in the trolley and prised open the back door to the store.  Quietly she walked in through the back.  As she did she shone the torch and managed to reach the front of the store with all the goodies.  It was like winning the lottery!


She saw the coat rack and tried on a lovely new coat!  She had never had a new coat since she was a teenager; like Cinderella’s slipper it fitted.  Yes!, she thought as she left her old coat in its place.  Bobby wagged his tail excitedly in appreciation.  She then moved over to the hat and gloves section and, yes!, she found a beautiful new set to match the new coat. She left her old ones in their place.  Bobby barked delightedly.  Then she noticed the pet stand;  a new coat for her best friend was not off the list on this shopping trip.  She put the Royal Stuart Tartan coat on a beaming Bobby.  Reaching over, she scooped up some health products for Bobby, to keep ward off the fleas and keep him well.   Then she gave him the biggest doggie chew she could find.  Bobby and Betty were the happiest couple alive.  She then noticed some lovely warm socks and traded in her old ones for new ones and when she saw the boots – well her Christmas days had all come at once!!!


She was warm and comfy in her new outfit and Bobby was happy with his chew.  She better scarper before the lights came back on she thought or they were bound to catch her on CCTV. 


Betty and Bobby vacated the shop in a better condition than they had entered.  In her brand spanking new outfit, sipping on her Tennants super lager, she skipped up the road like a teenager.   As she did so the street lightening came on again and she was just close enough to hear the shop alarm being triggered.  


But would anyone recognize her now she was all done up!  If anyone recognized her she could always tell them she found a lottery ticket that was a winner!   After all, God helps those that help themselves.










bottom of page