Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Held Hostage

For audio click here 
The police helicopter hovered just above the rooftops, its blades creating ripples on the canal at the front of the house. I’d often heard the chopper overhead at night but this was the first time I’d seen it in the full light of day. I watched as it circled around and came back to hover over my block of flats. I couldn’t see any other action, so I went back to my sofa and back to Facebook sure that the chopper would find was it was looking for soon and buzz off. I heard a siren from the street outside and guessed the airborne lot had called in the ground troops. Like all middle-class, law-abiding citizens I had that guilty feeling for a split second, was it me they were looking for? but I dismissed it as soon as I started watching the latest Jonathon Pie video.
Something caught my eye, I looked up just as my clothes horse was falling towards me pushed over by the man who was climbing in my window.
            “Oi,” I said.
            The man stood in front of me, bloodstains on his t-shirt and blood dripping from a knife in his hand.
 “Is there a back way out?” he asked. He could have only been about seventeen, or maybe his bum fluff-y moustache and pimples made him look younger than he was.
            “You’re dripping blood on my carpet,” I said.
            “Sorry mate, it’s just, well I’m in a bit of a jam if the truth be told.” The sirens were louder now and the helicopters blades were beating just outside my window.
            “Is there a way out that way?” he pointed to the door.
            “You could try the bedroom window,” he slammed the door open and went into the bedroom just as three police cars screeched into the courtyard.
            “Fuck,” he said.
            “They’re out the front too,” I said.
            “Fuck,” he opened the window. “Don’t you fuckers come any closer or I’ll fucking kill this old geezer.” It took a while for me to realise he was talking about me. Christ I’m only forty-six.
            “Just drop the knife and come out side, Danny,” one of the police officers said.
            “I told you, you come any closer, I’ll kill Grandad here.”  He slammed the window and turned to me.
            “Sorry fella, a man’s gotta do...”
            “I’m only forty-six,” I said.
            “Fucking hell mate I thought you was about seventy. I thought I’d had a hard life.” He looked around. “We better stay here in the hall so they can’t get a shot at me.”
            “What have you done?” I asked.
            “I gave some old pervert what he deserved,” he gestured a stabbing motion and blood flicked onto the walls. “he’d been fiddling me and the other boys for years. Well, I wasn’t gonna take it no more.”
            “How old are you?” He suddenly looked very young.
            “Fifteen,” he said.
            “Look mate…” I started.
            “Don’t say it,” he waved his knife around.  I ain’t gonna give myself up. No way, they’ll send me back to the home.”
            We sat there not saying much for around twenty minutes, he chewed his gum loudly and rolled a ciggie.
            “Mind if I smoke, like?”
I did mind, but he had a knife. He sat back and leaned his head on the wall as he breathed in the nicotine.
“Listen,” I said. “the chopper’s gone, maybe they’ve given up.”
“They won’t give up.”
“Maybe they will, why don’t I go and have a look?”
“No, you stay there. I’ll go.”
He stood up and walked right into my trap. As soon as he went into the bedroom a loud bang echoed around the canal. Danny fell to the floor.

When I left the police station, having given my statement, I picked up the evening newspaper, the headline read:
Man holds pensioner hostage in knife siege.

            “Pensioner?” I said. “I’m only forty-six,”

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