Wednesday, 10 February 2016
The Boy who Cried Gun
For audio click here
It was the sound of someone cocking a gun. Not the sound you expect to hear from a locked cubicle in a gents toilet, but it was unmistakable. I mean I’ve never actually heard it in the flesh before, but how many episodes of CSI have I watched? Just about all of them, so I know the sound of a gun cocking when I hear it and make no mistake that was what I’d just heard. I stood stock still listening in the silence; water dripping from my hands, my heart beating loudly. I didn’t want to use the drier in case I missed the sound of the person coming out of the loo ready to start his or her mass shooting. I listened for further clues but there was nothing to hear; just the sound of someone breathing heavily in the cubicle and the occasional drip of water from the tap.
I’d only come into the toilets to wash my hands. I hadn’t even needed a wee. I wouldn’t have been in here at all if my idiot colleague had cleaned up properly after herself. But she never does, does she? Oh no, she lives in a world where others clean up your mess for you. She’d spilt coke all over the meeting room table and had only half-heartedly wiped it up. So it was left to me to put my laptop and hands into the gooey mess. After cleaning the laptop with wet wipes, I’d come in here to try to get the gunk off my hands. Now thanks to her this was the second sticky situation I’d found myself in in a few minutes.
My mind was ticking; what was I going to do? What was going on? Was a terrorist going to spring from that locked door any second and start to shoot indiscriminately, killing anyone and everyone who got in his or her way? Was a jilted lover planning a revenge attack? Or was that jilted lover planning to end his or her own life sitting on the toilet on the second floor or an anonymous office building. I needed to stop theorising and get moving. As I tiptoed out of the toilet I set of the hand dryer causing me to jump about three foot in the air. Once I’d regained my composure, I got my phone out and punched in 999.
“There’s a person with a gun… No, I haven’t seen it but I heard it… No, not being fired, being cocked… yes of course I am sure, I’ve seen Criminal Minds.” Once I’d convince the operator I was telling the truth, I told her the address and waited.
There were no sirens, no noise, but within minutes there were police everywhere. The Armed Response Unit looked more like military than police and were obviously taking no precautions. I bit my fingernails and waited at a safe distance as the police stormed the toilet.
“Put your hands on your head and come out quietly.”
I waited for the sound of gunfire. Would the quarry come out firing? Would a trigger-happy police officer put a bullet in his or her chest? Or if it was a suicide would the victim kill him or herself first? There was nothing. I held my phone up making sure nothing was getting in the way of the recording.
“Put your hands on your head and come out quietly.” I counted to three and then there was a bang, not gunshots but the sound of a door being kicked in.
“What the fuck? I was just having a dump?” I couldn’t see him, but I could imagine Bob from Marketing just pulling his trousers up, a confused look on his face.
Realising that this wasn’t going how I thought it would, I clicked my iPhone off. That’s funny I thought, I’d never noticed that before but the sound of turning off an iPhone 6 sounds just like a gun being cocked.
About a month later my colleague had peeled an orange on the meeting room table and not cleared up the mess. I accidently put my fingers in the sticky goo and then had to pop into the toilet to wash my hands. Just as I was about to dry them, I heard the sound of someone cocking a gun; it was unmistakable.