It was just after 4 a.m. yesterday morning when I woke with a parched throat, I’d been sleeping with my mouth open. I had a slight headache as well. I didn’t want to get up but knew I’d benefit from a glass of water. I made my way to the kitchen leaving my girlfriend, Madly, asleep. Her parents, aficionados of mid-20th century popular music and, of course, film noire, had named her after Jacques Brel’s remarkable wife, Madly Bamy, and she really is.
I didn’t need to switch on any lights because the flat wasn’t in pitch darkness with outside lamplight and moonlight seeping through the blinds and drapes. As I stood before the kitchen sink slowly sipping cold tap water to alleviate my throat, I leaned forward to glance, through the Venetian blinds, across the green front lawn area and road towards the old terraced houses opposite.
I could see a number of armed police officers, dressed in combat gear, hooded, gas-masked and wearing bullet proof clothing, crouched either side of the front door of the house immediately opposite. Without disturbing the blind, I looked up and down the road either side of me. In both directions I could see parked black vans.
I stepped back. I walked into my study and picked up and switched on one of my mobile ’phones. I scrolled through the contacts and pressed ‘call’. The ’phone rang once and a voice said, “Jay?”
I said, “There are armed police officers at your front door.”
The ’phone clicked and the line was dead. I picked up a camera and a mini tripod and returned to the kitchen. I set up the camera with the lens pointing through the blind and started filming.
Madly’s voice behind me said, “James?”
I said, “Don’t turn on the lights. Come and look at this.”
She came over and stood beside me, took my hand in hers and gazed discreetly through the blinds. Then she saw the camera.
“You’re filming it?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Quick thinking,” she said with a squeeze of my hand. “What do you think it’s about?”
“No idea,” I said.
“God, I hope they don’t shoot him.”
“I ’phoned him.”
“Oh God, James. How will he get out?”
“He’s already out and gone by now. Those old terraces have one long loft running through all of them separated by a half wall. He’ll get to the end, down the stairs, out the back door and gone.”
“You could get into trouble.”
“No. Unregistered single use SIM to unregistered single use SIM.”
We watched as the front door opposite was smashed in and a stream of officers entered the house. Within moments we heard muted explosions, we guessed from stun bombs and gas canisters. Then the property exploded in one huge flash, blowing out all of the windows. Madly was frozen in shocked silence then, moments later, all of the officers emerged from the smoked filled doorway, dazed but unharmed.
“Oh my God!” exclaimed Madly. “They’re alive. They’re so lucky.”
“Carefully placed special effects,” I said. “Just a warning shot and they haven’t got him.”
“Neighbours are coming out,” said Madly and we could both see people emerging and coming into view from both sides of the street.
“Let’s get out there with them and act as shocked and confused as they are,” I said.
“It’s like the beginning of some optimistic writer’s spy novel,” said Madly.
“Because it is,” I replied.
“And I suppose I’m just a figment of your imagination?” she smiled.
“Naturally,” I replied.
“Some hope,” she replied and kicked me hard.
© James Sapsard 2016