Thursday 24 December 2009

WITNESS 'A' by Col Bury

Witness 'A'

The five gang members stood cocksure in the dock, their smirks testament to the disrespect within today’s society, as the prosecutor called again for ‘Witness A.’

The black-gowned court clerk scurried in shaking her head.

The judge peered over reading glasses, his red gown, white wig and wispy grey beard providing the only - albeit unintentional - hint of the festive season in the courtroom. However, Santa he was not. The only pressies he’d be giving were prison sentences, although probably not today, such was the state of current proceedings. ‘So where is “Witness A”, Mr Oliver?’

The CPS lawyer, Tim Oliver, wasn’t feeling very Christmassy. With all eyes upon him, he looked at the dozen intense faces of jury. Then he turned to the empty witness box, a burgundy, curtained screen across it to protect Witness A’s identity, and he tightened with panic. He glanced at sneering gang leader, Jerome Kingston, in the dock. Kingston winked then grinned at Tim. ‘Please, your honour, give me two minutes.’

The judge’s gruff tones oozed both authority and derision. ‘Hurry, Mr Oliver. I don’t want to miss my Christmas dinner!’

Tim Oliver dashed from courtroom one, scanned the foyer. He’d not lost a case for two years and with this unwelcome blemish on his impeccable record his bloody Christmas would be spoilt. He had discussed the probability of defeat with his key witness and David Gacy had been unimpressed by Tim’s 30-70 against odds. Had David given up on him or just got cold feet? Understandable really as David had somehow survived a brutal attack by Kingston and his cohorts. His best mate, Brian Ranger hadn’t been so lucky, his head kicked about like a football. The life support turned off only last week.

The snow bucketing outside the foyer’s expansive second floor windows briefly caught Tim's attention, until he saw a hooded youth shuffle from the Gents past a poorly decorated fake tree. Could be anyone, but something in Tim’s gut suggested otherwise. He headed for the Gents.

The door squeaked open and he gasped.

David Gacy wasn’t there. A sprawled youth with a slashed throat was.

Tim raced to courtroom one, his mind racing, his heart doing somersaults. He swung open the doors, hearing mayhem inside, people jostling past, screaming. The judge scarpered swifter than Santa on his sleigh.

Four security guards and a copper grappled with David Gacy, his eyes manic, a kitchen knife shimmering in the struggle. But it was too late. Kingston’s blood-pumping grin was now ear to ear.

Tim gazed in shock…

…but, hey…at least he’d still not lost a case.

TKnC co-editor, Col Bury is currently writing a crime novel and his ever-growing selection of short stories can be found here on TKnC, A Twist Of Noir, Six Sentences, Blink Ink and Flash Fiction Offensive. Col's story MOPPING UP won a comp' to feature in the anthology EVEN MORE TONTO STORIES (to be published May2010). He blogs and interviews crime authors at Col Bury's New Crime Fiction.


  1. Nice tale Col and good to see a bit of seasonal justice! Top stuff.

  2. Good to see you back, with some suitably vengeful slashing. Excellent.

  3. Ho-ho-holy shit, Batman!

    Someone ought to do something about security in that courtoom.

    My favorite part, though the entire story was great, was the tag, with Tim still the undefeated prosecuting champion.

    Beautiful stuff, Col.

  4. Ah yes, the priorities of lawyers. Nice one, Col.

  5. Very cool tale. The many characters were nicely managed, and Tim had a great strong voice.

  6. Nice one Col. Retribution at Christmas. Vincent Mitchell may want to meet "Witness A".

    All the very best buddy, and have a great, drunken, chilled out time.

    David, Lisa, Imogen & Melissa.

  7. Al,
    Cheers n all the best, mate.

    Even the 'noisy' one's go quiet sometimes. Doesn't mean I'm not beavering away though! Thanks.

    Chris G,
    Nice comments - thanks. That was my favourite bit, too!

    You got it in one, mate! Take it you've dealt with 'em as well?

    Chris A,
    Yeah, when writing it just flowed so I didn't consciously realize there were so many people involved, but glad you felt it worked.

    Cheers, bud - I intend to!

    All your feedback means a helluva lot to me.
    God bless you all this Christmas.


  8. I am so happy I wasn't in that courtroom. You surprised us. Good one even if it is Chrtmas.

    Jeanette Cheezum

  9. Another terrific story, Col. Merry Christmas.

  10. Witness or witless? See what I did then? top yarn! Ho ho ho!

  11. Jeanette, Anna n Paul,
    Cheers for the comments.

    Chris Grant got me thinking on the security aspects (or lack of 'em). Good point. It made me wonder if my hastily written tale was fundamentally flawed...?
    I'll address it with a couple of pointers. Maybe the kitchen knife was stolen from the court cafe...
    In the UK cops/security in court rarely have guns... unless it's a high profile case...
    You could argue five gang members up for murder is... but would the hypothetical armed cops search a witness/victim who they were expecting in the court...? Nah...
    There, I've convinced myself the above is possible!!!
    Cheers for getting me thinking though, Chris.

  12. Col,

    My comment was just an off-handed comment, not intended to point out any perceived flaw, because I don't think that there were any flaws in this story.

    But what I love is that you took the comment and examined the story anyway. Took a step back and looked at a story you'd already finished without hesitation. And that you thought over the possibility that you might have gotten it wrong and walked yourself through all of the reasons David could have done what he did.

    That not only shows the reason why I think you're a top writer but also why you are one of the top editors around.

  13. Chris,
    I'm blushing. Coming from the editor of the powerhouse that is ATON, that means a helluva lot, bud. Thanks.

    Ps. Being one's own biggest critic has to be the way forward.