Scraping By: Part 2 (Serial Flash Fiction)

copper            The copper leaned back in his chair. His posture was relaxed, but the tensed muscles under his sleeves spoke otherwise. “Let me get this straight,” he said. “You want me to believe that there was a high speed car chase and a shoot out on Barton Street this morning?”

Will stopped tapping his foot for a moment and stared at the blank form on the cop’s desk. “Yes, Sir.” He’d explained what he saw – twice – and the copper hadn’t written one word.

The officer leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. He was a tall man and his nose had a crook in it from a bad break in the past. “Hit and run damage to parked vehicles during the night is more common than most people think. But I find it hard to believe that there was as much gunfire as you describe and no one called the police.”

Will ran his fingers through his medium length latte colored hair. He needed to get a haircut before he had dinner with his dad next week. Will groaned inwardly. It was Friday; Tish would be working. She’d be hard to impress with a dented car and a shaggy mane. “I told you, it was really early, but I was already awake and I saw the whole thing.”

The cop narrowed his eyes. “Would you be willing to take a urine test?”

The pressure on his bladder was such that Will would have been thrilled to fill a cup, but he had eaten a poppy seed lemon scone for breakfast and the last thing he needed was to be written off as a druggie and ignored. He squared his thin shoulders, and looked the copper in the eyes. “I’m not daft.”

The cop picked up the pen. “Alright, but I’ll warn you that most of the time we don’t catch these hit and run guys. Hard lines and all. You shouldn’t get your hopes up.”

Will smiled. “I can help you there. I wrote down the license plate of the manky SUV that hit my car.”

The officer froze and his face hardened briefly before he got himself under control and forced a stiff smile. “You did what?”

“I have the license number. You can track down the driver and make him pay to fix my car.” Will glanced at the clock. If he didn’t leave soon, he’d be late for work. He knew it could be months before the courts would award him damages to fix his car, but if his father held on until Christmas, he could show him the car then. In the mean time, if the cops made an arrest on Will’s tip, Will could be in the papers before the week was out. Maybe he could bring Tish to dinner. Success comes in many forms.

“Are you sure you want those blokes with guns knowing that you’re the chap who dragged them into court?” The officer’s voice was cold, but he was finally writing on the form. “What’s your address, kid?”

“I’m not a kid.”

Kids don’t have two jobs or buy cars. Will was tapping his foot again. The officer’s eyes scanned Will from his freckled oval face to his worn out sneakers. Will hoped he looked all of his twenty years. “Address?”

Will recited his flat number and street and the officer filled in the appropriate blanks on the form. “Where’s the license number?” asked the officer. Will handed him the slip of paper. The cop folded the paper up in the form and slipped the whole thing into his pants pocket.

“Don’t you need to file that?”

“I’ll check it out first. Find a few bullet holes. I can bring you a copy. Where do you work, kid?”

Will bit his tongue; he needed the copper on his side. You catch more flies with sugar than vinegar, his mother had often said. But until you let me have a pet frog, he’d been fond of retorting, who cares about catching flies? Mom would have told him to buy a Mini, not a Jaguar, and to buy insurance before he left the car park. “Gloucester Waterways Museum.”

The officer stood. “I’ll stop by.”

Will’s phone rang. He thanked the cop and slipped into the lobby before looking at the number ringing him. He shoved the phone deep into his pocket; it was the last person he wanted to hear from at that moment.


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