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Snapshot Vigilante Chapter 1

by  Barney

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2003
Word Count: 891
Summary: The start of a novel I'm aiming at teenage boys... there seems to be very little out there for them which credits them with any intelligence, so I thought I'd give it a go...

I SIT IN THE COLD CELL perched on the edge of a bunk that is basically a wooden box with a pitifully thin mattress and a scratchy blanket. I am three feet from the dull steel toilet and I have been practising lobbing spit into the bowl. Consequently my throat is dry and they refuse to bring me a drink. Consequently there is a phlegm and spittle dot-to-dot of my lousy aim on the floor.
There is very little to do. I have counted the white bricks on the far wall. I won’t tell you how many because you don’t deserve to know. You haven’t earned it through three hours of boredom. That’s just for me, and the idiots who have tried to immortalise themselves with their crude graffiti messages that currently keep me company. Apparently a number of people, male and female, have been known to suck. Daz, Simmo, Nosh and Robbie have all frequented this cell. They all ‘woz ere’. For want of a pen, a turd was curled and used. The police might have cleaned that up. Didn’t they know I was coming? Ha ha. My favourite is written in red biro by the side of the toilet. There is an arrow and a message that reads: Tunnel This Way.
Red pen. I wonder if it was a teacher? I wonder if any of my teachers have ever sat in a police cell at four in the morning? I wonder…
The blood on my arms and hands has dried, so I begin picking it off and flicking it in the direction of the elusive steel bowl. Rusty petals fall atop thick tears around a chrome coffin, mourning for waste. I could get an ‘A’ in English for that rubbish, though I guess exams are now out of the question, not least because they’ll have to get all that blood off the hall floor before tomorrow’s opener, history.
I’m history.
In what sense yet, I can’t tell.

Half an hour passes before I get any company. Two plod walk in, dressed in civilian clothes, but with their badges held out in front of them like talismans. Lord protect me from the sixteen year old covered in blood. He might have killed two already. They don’t look scared though, just doing things by the book. The badges disappear.
The oldest speaks. He has grey hair at the sides and a goatee to compensate for what he’s losing on top. ‘I’m Detective Inspector Harris, and this is D.S. Nolsen.’ Nolsen doesn’t even flicker. I wave and get a scowl in return.
Harris tells me to get real. Apparently I’m in serious trouble. He makes a point of mentioning the names of the dead. Frannie Young and Trevor McSpree. Fanny and Muck Spray. He’s trying to bring home to me the enormity of the situation. He tells me about giving the bad news to unsuspecting mothers. He even mentions my mum, hoping that he might just squeeze out a tear yet.
I give them nothing, but ten out of ten for trying.
The only comment that gets a reaction from me is the news that we’re moving rooms. I’m swapping ‘cell six’ for ‘interview room two’. Thank God for more bricks to count. I smile as I pick off more blood.
I suffer the rigmarole and indignity of cuffs that take thirty seconds to put on and forty-five to take off, for a walk that takes only six seconds door to door. This is a very small station. The interview only appears bigger than the cell because of the absence of a toilet. I might put in for a transfer.
Once in I am seated in a chair by a table, upon which I must have my hands at all times. It is flush to a wall where a tape-recorder is built in, presumably so I can’t pick it up and stove in somebody’s head. I am disappointed that there is no mirror with big cheeses looking in on me from another room. My headmaster, my mentor, my mum.
They both pull up chairs opposite me, hunching forward like that ‘thinker’ statue they tried to make us imitate in art. My sculpture did something else with its fist. Two day exclusion.
Harris explains that they want to ask me some questions about the evening and record them. I agree to it, although some part of me thinks I should have my lawyer present, or is that only in Hollywood?
They set the tape rolling, introduce themselves and then me (I say ‘hello’) and then read me my rights. They’re delivered with lack of conviction and in such a sleepy rhythm that I don’t actually hear the words, only droning sounds.
I do hear the first question though. Quite clearly. ‘Tell us what happened,’ says Harris.

Police, teachers, parents; they always want to hear stories backwards. They always want the end first. Despite the open-ended nature of Harris’ question I know he wants me to start with the deaths of Fanny and Muck. Then maybe if he wants more I can work back from there.
The story is better than that. Starting at the end doesn’t do it justice. Still, I give them what they want.
To them I say: ‘My English teacher, Alfred Willie, killed them both.’
But to you I say…