Monday, 22 June 2009
RESPECT - by Col Bury
A second intro into characters from Col’s ongoing novel.
Check out ‘Blind Alley’ from the TKnC archives for the first…
Respect has to be earned, but that’s a difficult concept to achieve when you are dead. Showing respect may prevent death, but that depends on the persons involved.
You know, what seems like the most trivial thing at the time. The booming voices of a drunken mob of yobs shattering the relaxed hum as they enter a pub demanding ‘respect’, eyeing everyone and something inside tells you to leave. Call it a gut feeling, or that thing that isn’t very common, especially when intoxicated – common sense.
Then the next day you hear about a young man, you stood beside at the bar, being ‘disfigured for life’ during a ‘drunken argument,’ when his girlfriend was soaked in crimson after a pint pot was shoved into his unsuspecting chops. His hand severed in a reflexive and somewhat ironic attempt to prevent injury.
You look in the mirror and glide a hand across the contours of your face thinking, shit, that could’ve been me. And sometimes you wish it was you. Only, you trusted your instincts and it was some other poor bugger who, through no fault of their own, wanted to continue their jolly night out, and simply wasn’t as aware as you of the truth about this degenerating society we all live in.
A society that desperately needed change; a society that desperately needed someone to instigate that change.
No Superhero was about to clean up the crime-ridden cities and rescue the innocents. For that is just mumbo jumbo, the consequence of fairy tales. Realism was required.
The guilt you felt demanded it.
The old dear - someone’s Gran, Mum, Sister - nipping out for a loaf to the corner shop only to be pushed to the pavement, her brittle bones snapping, her skin bruising, horrifically, her purse containing £2.37 taken, her groceries strewn, her will to live lessened immeasurably. This was the reality.
Okay, so respect isn’t an issue here in the aforementioned sense, but a reflection of our eroding society it surely is. And a lack of respect is undoubtedly prevalent therein.
This is my problem, you see. Respect has to be earned as they say. Well I respect the old dear who’s worked all her life, supported local charities, out-lived her husband, survived wars, heartbreaks and all, and paid her dues to society. To a society that returns the favour with a distinct lack of fuckin respect.
Okay, so I sound angry. You’ve sussed me - are you a rocket scientist? Too fuckin right I am angry. My kid brother had respect: had being the operative word. A glittering future ahead of him. He was a top, top cueist and was gonna turn pro’. He didn’t of course. It’s hard to turn pro’ when you’re dead.
So now you see that I have motive. If the truth be known I had it all along anyway. Since I returned from Kabul I’d witnessed a distinct lack of respect. Now it was time for those life-destroying bastards to learn exactly what the real definition of respect was, and not their bullshit, macho, empty version based on fear.
Now I could teach them about both respect and fear in one swift lesson.
Got the gist? I’m sure you have. So how do you solve a problem that forty three police forces, including one hundred and thirty thousand cops, couldn’t solve?
Answer: clichéd, but true: you fight fire with fire.
A society dying like an ailing animal needs an injection pronto to make that animal strong again.
I am that injection.
The first was always going to be pure rage. Instinctive: a reaction to circumstances.
This could have been you, but fortunately for Joe Public, it was me.
Chip shop, 10.30pm. A bit peckish, I am. Polite Chinese bloke wrapping my chips, curry n rice. Five lads enter, drugs n booze running through their bloodstreams. Eyeballing me. I refuse eye contact out of respect…and common sense.
One nudges me from behind, accidentally on purpose. A tad disrespectful if you ask me.
He grunts and his mates stifle laughter, egging him on because I’m weak, right? Ignoring them is weak right? But I know Mr Sou’s CCTV hasn’t worked for two weeks now. And, even more importantly, I know what respect is. And when a man is pushed to the limit he either crumbles or retaliates. Do I sound like the type of guy who crumbles?
‘Do you mind not doing that, fella?’
‘Soz, mate. I didn’t see you there.’
‘No worries then.’
‘What do you mean by that?’
‘I meant that you don’t have to worry as you've apologised and I accepted.’ Sodding the chips, I eyed him unflinchingly.
He scanned his mates and rolled his shoulders before squaring up from five feet away. ‘You dissin me? Fancy your chances, you pussy?'
I moved to within an inch of him. ‘Respect me or you’ll regret it.’ I saw a flicker of fear in Fuckwit's eyes then clocked his mates edging closer.
Surprised, he retreated a few feet back into his comfort zone. ‘Hey, Big Man, I’m just joshing you. Chill out.’
A typical response from a fuckwit, but I knew this wasn’t over. Far from it.
Mr Sou smiled sympathetically as I turned my back on the gang. Piss-taking Chinese accents made Mr Sou dip his head.
As I took my supper from the businessman who was respected by the local community, I was pushed in the back again and span round like an owl on speed. A different face was in my face. An ugly, scarred individual with a look as pale as a zombie with the flu.
Unfazed, I knew words were worthless and head-butted the fucker.
They say spark out the big one and the rest’ll run off, but they didn’t.
Fuckwit lunged for me and bizarrely tried to bite my face. So I elbowed him in the nose and it burst, splattered-tomato style. Another flicked a knife open and jabbed it towards me. Granted I jumped back. So would you.
But I was just widening my fighting arc. I adeptly withdrew the baton from my left sleeve and blocked the next jab of the knife with a clink. Another lad tried to punch me from the side, but I impacted his skull with a thud and swiftly withdrew the baton to sword-fight the advancing knife again. One lad did nothing and looked shit scared in the corner. Sensible.
Knifeman looked determined.
‘If you want to live, go now,’ I said casually.
‘Fuck you, man. You’re nothing.’
I shook my head and threw Mr Sou an apologetic glance. As the other two rose to the their feet, all five stood before me, moving closer.
‘Leave now. Last chance, boys.’
A tirade of abuse.
I’d earned my respect long before this, so I took out my Glock 17 and executed the fuckers with five sharp cracks. They fell like dominoes.
Funny how little blood spurts from a bullet to the forehead, isn’t it? Nice n neat and so very concise. And respectful for Mr Sou - less mopping.
Mr Sou stared in amazement. Then nodded. A mutual respect. I knew he’d seen nothing because he knew what I knew. They’d killed my beloved Josh and I’d tracked their movement for months since the farcical court case.
And this was just the start…
…I would outdo the inept politicians by going National…
…until respect was restored.
Col Bury is currently writing a crime novel and his ever-growing selection of short stories can be found on TKnC and A Twist Of Noir. He blogs and interviews crime authors here: