If Action Movies Were Real (A Slough Exposé)
8pm. The building stood, tall and proud, like a glistening erection against the rain. I sighed, tonight was going to be long. Long and hard, like an glistening erection against the rain. Beside me, Carter whispered something about not using the word “erection” so loudly and often in a hostage situation. I smiled. This kid had a lot to learn.
I heard a tired voice call my companion and flicking my cigarette into the dancing puddles I turned round to see Sergeant Phillips striding towards us. “Carter, we’re going to try talking to him, we’ve got him all over CCTV so there’s not much he can do”. He looked at me, then rubbed his eyes in irritation, his fingers stained with coffee and sweat. “And who are you? Are you authorized to be here?”.
They’d been waiting outside Chicken World, Slough, for nearly an hour now. At seven a maniac had grabbed a deep fat fryer, forced the employees to fry their uniforms and then sent them out into the night wearing nothing but golden-crispy underpants. You ever seen seven angry Korean teenagers in nothing but chicken-fried Y-fronts? It’ll put hair on your tongue. The high-calorie criminal had then barricaded himself into the building. They’d tried their best to reason with him, but he was adamant. And the Slough Metropolitan Police doesn’t take shit from nobody. For an hour they’d been at stalemate. And that’s when I showed up.
“Who is this chap?” asked Phillips, looking me up and down. My companion sighed wearily in awe and I took the opportunity to grasp Phillips’ hand, allowing him a better look at my glistening biceps and string vest. “Don’t worrry about a thing,” I whispered both huskily and comfortingly, “I’m here now. Now where is little Janey?”
“Little Janey, the girl trapped inside the building with that freak. Is she your daughter? Or yours?” I switched my view to Carter, who looked at me in despair. He didn’t need to say more. I grabbed his shoulder, being careful not to knock the AK-47 strapped to my back. “It’s going to be OK son,” I squeezed a little harder, managing to convey simultaneously my frightening physical strength and deep emotional core, “we’ll get her back for you.”
“Get who back?” asked Carter. What a guy, strong as an ox.
“Your son, my proud friend.” I smiled at him, my very teeth radiating courage and hope.
“Wait,I thought her name was Janey?”
“Exactly! He’ll be back in your arms before her dress even gets ruffled, I promise.”
“That… that doesn’t make sense.”
“What the hell is this guy talking about?” snapped Philips, “we’ve got a chav in a chicken shop, asking for his mate Kev and five hundred quid. Who is this man?”
But I’d already begun walking towards the building, shaking my head in pity. Poor Phillips. Everyone there knew it was too late, at this point negotiation was futile, but hell, grief can do terrible things to a guy.
I passed a thin white man talking on a walkie talkie and grabbed it from him. Amateurs.
I smiled, then passed the device carefully to a friendly, optimistic looking black officer. “Lesson one,” I said firmly, “white men can’t talk to the target. We can’t relate, do you understand? From now on” I winked at my new head of negotiation, “you’ll take care of the phone-calls. Just keep giving him advice, be soft-spoken, and laugh slowly but comfortingly. I’ve got your back” He stared at me, his eyes filling with either pride or confusion. Probably pride.
“Erm,” said the sticky white man, “that’s, that’s just my mobile. I was talking to my wife-”
“Let Bulldog here take care of all that from now on,” I signalled my new African-American compadre, “he knows how it is on the street. It’s something you yuppies can’t be taught”
“Bulldog?” My new star furrowed his brow, “My name’s Andrew, I’m an auditor from Kent.”
“You sure are,” I slapped him on the back, “and now’s your time to rise out of all that.”
Grabbing my duffel bag, I strode past the red tape and took a real good look at the entrance to the building. Hmmm.. This wasn’t going to be easy. A kid gone wild with a fat fryer, this time of the night, anything could happen. I slipped my hand-gun out of the back of my jeans; better safe than sorry, I thought roguishly.
“What the hell is that?” I heard a barking voice behind me. “Is that a gun?” Phillips. That guy needed to stop riding me.
“Don’t worry Philips,” I said, my tone as persuasive as my face was chiseled, “I’ve got this under control.” Winking, I slipped a silencer onto old Betsy and aimed for the window, “float like a butterfly…”
“Oh my God-”
An explosion cut off the rest of his words, as the cartridge fired loudly, splintering the shop window into a thousand pieces. Huh. Must have mal-functioned.
“Are you f*cking stupid?” Philips screamed, “Silencers don’t actually make your shots silent, you idiot! Now the boy will think we’re opening fire on him! And why the hell are you firing into a window? The front door is open!”
“That’s where he’ll expect us to go,” I yelled knowingly
“Stop shouting for God’s sake! You’ll have the whole city out!”
I ignored his piggish whining and proceeded to climb in through the exposed window frame, like a magnetic oil painting on a massive steel canvas. Aware of some scuffle behind me, I assumed that a group of under-appreciated hardworking officers had been inspired by my action, and had thrown themselves into helping me in my crusade to save young Cindy’s life.
“Get out that building and hand over your firearm, sir, you are not authorized to be here!”
Typical. Once again, I’d have to do this shit on my own. I didn’t have time to worry about the girlish apron-flapping of the admin machine, little Billy might have only minutes to live. Tucking my handgun awkwardly into my shoe (it’s important to mix it up), I wiped the sweat from my brow and pulled out my AK 47. I was inside the belly of Slough’s most infamous chicken shop – there was no more time for messing around. For good measure, I fired a couple of rounds into the darkness just to keep the bastard on his toes. The screams of relief from outside let me that I was doing the right thing.
As my eyes got used to the light from the florescent “Mr Cluck’s Special Deal: £2.99” sign, I finally got a look at the room. Or what was left of it. Some bastard had shot this place up pretty good. Upon closer inspection, it looked like rounds from an AK 47, rounds that didn’t sit pretty on the fading floral wallpaper. Whoever this guy was, I liked his style.
I noticed more flashing lights from outside the once-window. Police cars, and a lot of them. “About time”, I growled seductively to myself, at least someone is taking this as seriously as I was. “Come on then, kid!” I shouted into the darkness, “let’s dance! This doesn’t have to end with bloodshed, OK, just hand over Timmy and we can talk about-”
My rousing speech was cut off by a honking mega-phone from outside –
“Sir, throw your weapons down and come out of the building with your hands in the air.”
I rolled my eyes, nice try guys, but freaks like chicken-boy don’t listen to reason. I fired a couple more rounds into the air to show my irritation, before having a look around for the fugitive. Suddenly, a blur of white adidas exploded from behind a stove – I smelt cheap lynx aftershave and self-hatred – the maniac! He ran clumsily for the door, shrieking obscenities about a madman. “Where is she, boy?” I screamed as calmly as I could, scrabbling with a swan-like grace inside my shoe for my hand-gun, “What have you done with Tanya?” It was too late. The idiot had given himself up to the iredescent fires of the almighty badge, and as far as I knew they might have mowed him down. Idiots. Never kill before you know where the hostage is stashed. It was up to me to find her now. at least that bastard could never hurt her again. But strangely, the flashing lights of the emergency police were getting brighter rather than darker, and the mega-phone was shouting louder than ever. What in the name of heck was going on? Suddenly. It clicked.
This was never about chicken-boy. The feds never wanted little Aimee to escape this place. She’s seen too much, she knew too many secrets – she was just a pawn in a corporate chicken chess game. And I? I was the joker in the pack. And sure, I’d had moves, but this was chess – the house always wins. I’d been betrayed, betrayed by everything I held dear. “F*ck you, Phillips”, I thought, trying to cock my handgun and feeling annoyed when fresh ammo just spilled out on the ground instead of making the cool clicky noise. Come on then, you crooked assholes. Let’s see what you got. I stroked my AK, strode to the door, and making sure the moonlight was hitting my abs just right I kicked the wooden hinge. I opened fire. My AK sang its beautiful song, roaring like a panther in heat. I heard myself laugh gloriously, tossing my hair back and weeping with pure grief and joy. For about four seconds. Suddenly, my baby stopped singing. I looked down with horror at my useless weapon.
“No! NO!” I cried, “I saw Arnie with one of these in Commando! It lasted for about an hour and a half!” As I scrambled for my hand-gun, I heard Phillips, the brains behind it all sneer mockingly, “a 30 round AK, and he doesn’t bring any spare ammo”.
In your face Philips, I thought triumphantly as I heard his boys raise their weapons in the blinding glare of their lights, you have no idea what I’ve got on under this vest. Bullet-proof, baby. “I’ve seen Back To The Future,” I screamed, “I watched those terrorists serve Doc a bullet milkshake with extra whipped death on the side! I know how it works! You could empty the entire stock-room of the IRA into my chest and it won’t cause a mark on this peachy hide! Kevlar, baby.” Go on, I thought, do it for little Sally. My magnificent chin stubble glinted bravely as they took aim. “Nice try, assholes! Give it your best shot!”