The Modern Milky Bar Kid In Leeds

I don’t know where this came from. It’s not part of anything bigger. It just is, little piecre of flash fiction. Make of it what you will.

When I was little, still a nipper, there used to be an ad on television. A smug little kid with fair hair and NHS specs, dressed in a cowboy outfit. His big line was ‘the Milky Bars are on me.’

This guy reminds of him. Same pale hair and round glasses. But this fucker isn’t going to be giving me any chocolate. He has a Glock in his hand. And he’s not smug. He’s shit scared, I can see the tremors in his wrist.

Evening, one of those old, little streets off Burley Road. Close by, there’s a bar with craft ales, a couple of takeaways, and blocks of shiny new student flats where mummy and daddy’s beloveds can live in comfort while they take their degrees.

I know what this guy’s thinking. It’s so obvious that he might as well come out and say it.

Killing a copper will make him a big man. A few will reckon he’s a hero.

But killing a copper means he’ll be a hunted man. No matter where he goes, or how long it takes, they’ll be coming for him.

He’s posed on a very fine line, and right now I don’t know which side he’ll choose.

Slowly, I extended my arm, palm up. A gesture; give it to me. He just tightens his grip on the gun and hunches in on himself.

My own fault. A tip, someone who claimed to have a little information about a crime. Nothing to make you suspicious. And Burley Road was more on less on my way back to Cookridge. Didn’t even see the need to tell anyone where I was going.

After so long on the job, I should know better. But that’s how it happens; you let down your guard and bang, it’s over.

It’s cold, dark, a clear Leeds sky up there. I can see my breath when I exhale, but I’m sweating. Under my arms, a trickle down my spine. I’ve faced down thugs before, back when I was on the beat. But in those days, a truncheon and a uniform seemed to carry some weight. Now I’m just a bloke easing his way through late middle age, a bit paunchy, more grey than brown in his hair. Detective Chief Inspector. Senior.

I might even make it to retirement if this fucker doesn’t shoot me.

Something’s changed on this lad’s face. He’s made up his mind. Raising his hand. Is he going to give it to me, or is he going to shoot?

Well? What are you going to do?