THE GOODS - LEE HUGHES
Officer Harper bounced Tommy onto the hood of the car and slapped the cuffs on him.
"Duck," Harper said as he pushed the man's head down and into the back of the car.
Harper got in the front. He looked over his shoulder. "You don't think it's so funny now, do you?"
The man in the back grinned.
Harper was used to getting grief from the scum on the streets. But sometimes; on days like this one it was just too hard to ignore it. So when the idiot in the back had started 'oinking' in through the window he wasn't going to take any shit.
Now the tool was gonna end up with a fine for his stupidity. Maybe that would put him off being a joker in future, Harper hoped so.
The man in the back spoke. Harper had been thinking of other things. "What did you just say?"
"I asked you if you thought you're wife enjoyed other men's dicks more than yours? Is she dirty? Think she'd let me do her up the shitter?"
"What the..." Harper pulled the car over, released the seat-belt and twisted in the seat. "What the fuck did you just say?" Harper had heard him; but couldn't quite believe it.
The man smiled the kind of smile you couldn't help but want to wipe clean away.
"Ooh. Touched a nerve there? Has your wife been up to no good? Sucking cock not attached to Officer Bacon? Do you think she swallowed his jizz or just let him splash it all over her face?"
Harper just went blank as he dived through to the back and started wailing on the idiot. He could feel cheek, lips and nose giving way under his thumps.
Harper unleashed a good half dozen licks before he gained control of himself. He dragged himself back into his own seat and panted. He felt sick, he felt weak, and he basically felt like crying. He looked back at the bloodied face of the tool in the back with eyes that asked only one thing, 'Why the fuck did you make me go and do that, why?'
Harper put the car into gear and pulled away from the kerb. He knew he was in the shit now. He might as well just pull over, leave the keys in the car and walk to the job-centre.
"Don't worry, I won't tell," the cretin said in the back through blood.
Harper didn't turn around. "Who cares what you say? You got that resisting arrest as far as I'm concerned."
"Okay." Was the reply.
Harper signed him in for breaching the peace in a public place. The desk sergeant looked over the man and raised an eyebrow in Harper's direction.
"He fell trying to get away from me." Harper could feel his stomach sink as he told his lie.
The desk-jockey looked to the man. Who in turn nodded to show it was the truth.
Harper went through and got changed. There was only another twenty minutes until his shift ended. He showered and got into his civvies. He had never felt so vile in his whole life. He had joined the force so that he could live an honest life and give others the chance to live a safe one. And now what? He'd beaten up a man who was handcuffed.
It was the idiot's fault just as much as his own for saying such things. Yes, his wife had left him for another man and was probably doing all those things with him and more, but he didn't need reminding about it. Harper rested his head on his locker and closed his eyes in a bid to let the stress inside his skull lessen.
Harper started walking home. 'Home' was a word that tasted like shit in his mouth. It wasn't a home any longer. It was just a place for him to crash before getting up and going back to work each morning. After today, he felt he was lucky he still had a job to go back to.
"Oink-Oink," came a voice.
Harper snapped his head around. It was the idiot he'd arrested riding in the back of a very expensive car. His face was still swollen but it looked a lot better now the blood had been washed away.
"I'm not in the mood," Harper said and took up walking again.
The car kept pace with him. The man spoke; the words were a little rough due to his thick-lip.
"I'm just kidding. You at least owe me a minute of your time seeing as I didn't go telling tales on you." The man was smiling as best as he could, it still managed to look smug.
Harper didn't stop, didn't even slow. "You got what you deserved, you were lucky I was on duty or you'd have gotten a hell of a lot worse."
"You're not on duty now," the man pointed out.
Harper kept walking.
The man's patience drained away. "I said stop." He tapped the driver on the shoulder, who then drove the car up onto the pavement. The man opened the door and got out. Harper stood staring at him.
Gone were the street clothes. He was wearing as suit as though off to court.
"Do you want arresting again?" asked Harper.
"I don't think that's going to happen. Have a gander at these." The man reached into his jacket and pulled out some photographs and handed them to Harper.
Harper looked at a couple. They were pictures of him arresting the man.
The man sniffed. "Not a scratch on me when I got into the car. Then there are these pictures of me getting out and I look like I've gone ten rounds with Ali."
Harper felt his breath catch in his throat. "What do you want?"
"A minute of your time, get in." The man nodded with his head towards the open door of the car.
Harper had the photographs still in his hand. He looked from them, to the man, then to the back of the car. The man had him by the balls and he knew it. That sick feeling returned to swim in his guts again as he ducked his head and climbed into the back of the Beemer.
The man got in and shut the door. Harper was relieved that they didn't pull away from the kerb. The man seemed happy to just be parked up. He pointed to the photographs that Harper was still holding.
"You can keep them."
Harper was about to say something. The man held up a finger.
"Now's not the time to talk, now's the time to listen. You're going to be doing a few jobs for me."
"Listen," Harper tried to butt in.
The man stopped him again. "No. You listen. I can change my mind and inform them that you beat me up in the back of your police car. I have proof, which alone will get you thrown off the force. Answer me this: you didn't check your pockets before ending your shift did you?"
Harper thought about it for a moment. "No," he admitted. The sinking feeling just worked its way deeper into his gut.
"Then you didn't find the coke I slipped in your pocket while you were wrestling the cuffs on. So imagine I decide to put in a complaint about your police brutality and tell them I had drugs on me that you stole. They check and find that no drugs were signed in. Quick search later and they find it in your locker. Oh shit, now that would have you out of the force and into the slammer; you'd look like a real bad-ass."
Harper opened his mouth.
The man cut him off. "All angles are covered. You return to work now, you'll have to sign in after hours. That'll look bad in itself when put with what I'll tell them. Add that with the beating and the shit hits and sticks."
The man smiled and continued.
"Besides, we can help you out with your wife Jeanette. You don't think I just happened to choose you on the off-chance, did you? We'll sort out the man whose making himself at home in her knickers and you, well, you'll do us a couple of favors. Take tomorrow, for instance. I need you to give me a lift in your nice police car. To be more accurate, I need you to pick me up in it. You'll be paid well, don't worry. So all you've got to ask yourself is this: do you want to be sacked and put in prison or do you want to earn some cash? I'll be at this address tomorrow at two o'clock. Do not be late." The man nodded to the door, clearly his way of showing that the meeting was over.
Harper got out and watched the car drive away. He looked at the scrap of paper in his hand. His eyes widened at the address.
BIO: Lee Hughes's short fiction has or is due to appear on Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, Powder Burn Flash, Blink-Ink, Microhorror, The Daily Tourniquet, FlashShots and, of course, A Twist of Noir. And in print in Cern Zoo: Nemonymous 9. Find out more at www. LeeHughes.net