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Dec 14 2010

A Charitable Case

As I left the house that morning I felt the day stretch out before me: breakfast consisting of a croissant and coffee, followed by a slow and steady perusal of the extortionately priced English daily newspapers, followed by a stroll down by the harbour, coming to rest on my usual bench by the sea.

Retirement was suiting me just fine and I considered it well deserved after forty five years of loyal service and an unblemished record. Not many could boast of that – especially in my neck of the woods, those foolish sods always got caught out in the end and then they’d be working some god awful security job for twenty odd years. Nope, definitely not for me. I should probably mention at this point that my neck of the woods was the Metropolitan Police Department and in particular the South West quarter of the city. At some point in my career I had worked it all from Richmond to Brixton and all points in-between.

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Dec 14 2010

A Minor Distraction

The slight breeze blowing through the half open window provided at least some relief from the relentless heat that seemed to have built up over the course of the past few weeks. It was the end of August and the hottest one in thirty years according to the smiling weather girl on the morning news, who also encouraged everyone to get out and enjoy it while it lasts. For Krantzen it seemed like some sort of perverse punishment meted out so that one could laugh at the blanched bodies of people wandering around in a state of unselfconscious undress.

Luckily his apartment was on the fifth floor of a nondescript ex-local authority block, otherwise there would have been no breeze at all. The street below was becoming dusty and baked and the people who moved along it seemed to drag themselves with great effort to where ever they were going, stopping every so often to wipe sweat from their faces. The ones who moved faster attempted to dodge from one patch of shadow to the next, sighing as they went.

The grey, purpose built block was just outside of the city centre in an area which used to be notorious for its crime rate but which had started to become relatively fashionable due to the cheap housing prices and close proximity to the rail station.

Krantzen sat at his computer desk by the open window looking down at the street below. The curtain caught the breeze and blew it into his face so he carefully tucked its bottom below the desk lamp. The stifling heat was making him sweat even more profusely than usual. It made him irritable and itchy and he wished for the winter to hurry on its way. He was wearing just his boxer shorts and was scratching at his flabby, hairy chest whilst watching a small boy in the street below circling his large, waddling mother on his scooter with seemingly limitless energy. The woman suddenly turned, grabbed the child, and annoyed, shouted something at the boy which was incomprehensible to Krantzen. The child looked down sullenly and mumbled something then looked up directly at Krantzen’s window, the mothers gaze followed her sons and briefly they both seemed to stare at him before the mother looked away and walked on. The boy continued to look for a few more seconds before following his mother, this time pushing his scooter by his side.

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Dec 14 2010

A Short Drive

The car sped along the slick surface of the road. Passing through patches of water it sent a fine spray out from its rear every few seconds. The headlights elongated and made shadows disappear in such quick succession they appeared to be animated. Streetlights flashed off of the brand new metallic paintwork making the car appear almost unreal.

The driver relaxed back in his seat proud of the vehicle which was now his and confident in his abilities even as the speedometer touched 110mph. The driver ran his second red light of the night and carried on seemingly oblivious, his foot easing down  further on the accelerator. For a city that never sleeps a lot of people seemed to be in bed at this time of night, especially on this stretch of road pedestrians were a rarity. He’d passed one late night off-licence about five minutes ago, the owner in the process of clearing away the fruit and veg when the car had gone roaring past, causing him to stop, head turning quickly, a disapproving look on his face.

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Dec 14 2010

Promenade

As I walked along the promenade I made sure to keep to the shade of the tattered awnings which fluttered in the breeze. I was walking south which meant that the sea was on my left and the town on my right with the rocky outcrops and mountains rising behind it. The beach stretched silent and undisturbed in either direction littered only by the skeletons of the occasional sun bed whose plastic bodies hadn ’t been washed away or disintegrated in the heat. It was midday and the sun was beating down hard making the concrete beneath my bare feet too hot to walk on except in the shade.

As I passed a small boarded up shop front I noticed the shutter at the front had not been fully pulled down to reach the floor. I went to one of the darkened windows and tried to see what was inside, I could just make out a rack of deflated lilos and rubber rings to the left of the door. Perfect, just the kind of shop I was looking for, I reached down and gave the shutter a hard pull. Nothing, it wouldn ’t give. I tried again and thinking of the long walk ahead I gave it all I had. After the first couple of inches it began to slide up easily. Trying to conserve as much energy as possible I slid it slowly to the top.

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Dec 14 2010

The Light

I was tugged into the blinding light of this foul place kicking and gouging, this part I remember. I had gone to the unknown place, like most, as a matter of circumstance but ultimately choice. That is if one can be said to have a degree of control over it. Myself? I believe you make decisions which ultimately, decide your fate. I made my decisions and they took me to the unknown place as inevitably as the rising of the sun.
It must be said that those choices certainly gave me a certain view of the world which made the unknown place the only place where I felt truly at home. Cut off from the usual, I delighted in dealing with the unusual, both in the form of events and people. These people in particular, who formed an extremely diverse grouping of backgrounds and personalities, came to be in a certain sense, Family. This is despite the fact that the interactions we had together were minimal and cautious. But like any group of people facing a tenuous and at times dangerous situation there was always a sense of brotherhood and, when one was in trouble these people would always band together and issue advice and warnings. Well, that is unless the trouble was of too dangerous a nature. In that case one was usually left alone and avoided in the street almost as if invisible.
You have to have rules.


Dec 14 2010

Lynch

Inside, the train was silent except for the faint noise of the rain lashing the windows. Lynch stared out – trying to make out where he was by the blurred shapes he saw through the rain. Buildings flashed by quickly, large brown apartment blocks, with shops beneath whose shutters were covered in graffiti. Lynch was running and although he was now hundreds of miles away from London he still feared that Ricardo could find him.

Lynch had decided quickly on Spain as his destination – remembering a summer holiday when he was twelve years old. His mother had taken him and his sister on a rare trip abroad to Reus during the summer holidays. Lynch had loved it – cried even when the time to go back to England had come. He loved the fact that it wasn’t home – the estate with its grey blocks and weed cracked pavements seemed just so far away. The sun and the sea had made it different enough that it seemed to offer a chance of something different and he never wanted to go back.

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