Another Police Killing
This piece was inspired by a newspaper headline.
“Another police shooting.”
I’d watched for some time. The place was empty when I went in. Only me and the old dear behind the counter. The same counter you’d find in a thousand other corner grocery stores. Three tills, one working, two idle; three aisles to my back, shelves stuffed with all the usual branded rubbish. Back of the counter, proprietary drugs, cigarettes and booze; the spirits type. The kids couldn’t get at them there.
There’d only be a handful of quid in the till but I was desperate. Why was I desperate? Ask our beloved rulers. They taught me to kill the first time around in Iraq. Then they pumped me full of ‘juice’ to protect me, they said, from Saddam’s chemical arsenal. When I became ill the bastards threw me out, ‘too sick to work’. Compensation? Huh! Not until the MOD said so, and that could take from now until never.
Meanwhile, I starved. They should try living on sixty quid a week. And yet they knew I was a hero with the medals to prove it! The thoughts go round and round in my head; bitter, bitter thoughts. Cold sweat trickles down my back and I shiver a huge, nervous, sobbing shiver. The kerb’s cold to sit on; my feet are in the gutter. What a bloody mess. Why wouldn’t he stop? What was he trying to prove? He’d only come in for the packet of gum he was holding out toward the counter assistant. I told him to stop but he kept coming. I told him to STOP. The gun was in my right hand, elbow pressed into my hip, in the special services way, two shots to ensure the kill. Standard procedure. It was automatic, without conscious thought. I didn’t mean it. It was what I’d been trained to do.
He just looked surprised, not frightened, just surprised. He’d only wanted some gum. The old dear screamed and I legged it, heading for the anonymity of the dark, wet, dimly lit city streets. But there was no anonymity any more. I’d be on camera; for certain. Desperation had clouded judgement. I was a cop killer with nowhere to go. Sure, I’d killed men before. But they were men who were trying to kill me. The copper was unarmed and just doing his job with more guts than I’d ever had, despite my medals. I feel sickness, fear and loathing creeping about my innards like writhing, twisting worms. Even the crims I know won’t help a cop killer. Too risky, too high profile. Not on their patch.
Memories of happier times fleetingly intrude into the jumbled turmoil in my head. An idyllic country childhood, my mother’s concern when I joined the army, her heart bursting pride when I arrived home on leave with my three stripes and my D.S.M. Yes, I’d had happier times. The short, stubby gun barrel in my mouth is still warm and tastes of oil and powder charge, my thumb is on the trigger and I SCREEEAAAM inside my head as I pres……!!!