A Shilling for a Copper


(Spanish Coches [CC / Flickr])

Graham was supposed to walk beside Bill, but somehow he was always half a pace behind. A brand new copper was ranked far behind a constable with twelve years on the job in his actions, so it felt right even if it wasn’t regulation.

Bill stopped dead and pointed to a Ford Cortina parked by the kerbside. “There we go.”

Graham raised an eyebrow, but didn’t ask. If Bill chose to explain, he would. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t.

“First time for everything,” said Bill.

Graham had no idea what he meant, but every day was a string of first times having no idea was nothing new. Thinking about it had left him two full paces behind so he hurried to catch up as Bill crossed the road.

Bill walked round the back of the car and knocked on the passenger side window.

Graham saw a head bob into sight above the back of the seat. Its owner must have been crouched on the floor.

As he caught up, Graham saw the broken-toothed grin on the man’s face as he wound down the window.

“Hullo George,” said Bill.

“Awight Bill.” George sounded delighted to be looking up at the two coppers. “Just looking for me glasses. I think I dropped ’em down here.”

“You’re wearing them,” said Bill.

“Am I?” asked George. “I mean, I know. Found ’em, didn’t I?”

Bill reached past him to open the glove compartment. He whistled.

Graham leaned closer. What he saw sent a thrill coursing through his whole body. “Is that…?”

Bill turned a glare on Graham. It shut him up as efficiently as a smack in the mouth.

“Oh, that.” George still sounded delighted, if a little less than before. “That’s my nephew’s water pistol, that is. He must’ve forgotten it in there.”

“Are you sure?” Bill pivoted at the hips, looming closer to the car. “Because that looks an Enfield thirty-eight revolver with a sawn-off barrel to me.”

George shrugged, his grin back in place. “You know how kids are. They like ’em to look real.”

Bill said nothing.

George reached into his pocket. Graham’s fingers tightened on his truncheon. This was everything he’d been warned about at college, but something about Bill’s relaxed manner suppressed every instruction he’d ever given and kept him from drawing the truncheon.

George’s hand appeared, clutching not a weapon but a fistful of notes, which he handed to Bill. Bill flicked through them and nodded to George.

“They really shouldn’t make water pistols look so realistic,” said Bill. “Someone might get the wrong idea.”

He peeled off five twenty-pound notes, added a couple of tenners and handed them to Graham.

“Don’t you think so, young Graham?”

Bill’s eyes locked on Graham’s. It was being able to say so much without speaking a word that made Bill such a good copper.

“Yes, Bill.” Graham took the money and slipped it into his pocket. “It’s a scandal that they’re allowed to make them like that.”

“Good lad,” said Bill.

George looked at Graham for the first time. “He your new pair of wings is he, Bill?”

Bill grunted in acknowledgment.

“I see.” George nodded to Graham. “First time for everything, right?”Saturday Hooptedoodle: A Shilling for a Copper #FlashFic #flashfiction

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

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