An inner city
police station somewhere in England.
9.30am. Tick-tock, tick-tock, the
second hand on the clock ticked its way around the dial. High in a corner of
the room a video camera flashed its red light recording the proceedings. A
female Detective Sergeant sat facing the man at the opposite side of the
Formica topped table, an A4 pad in front of her, fiddling with the pen in her
‘Mr Harrison, you do know why you
‘I’m old love, not senile,’
replied sixty four year old Herbert Harrison as he sat tearing frills around
the rim of an empty polystyrene cup.
‘Sorry Mr Harrison I’d didn’t mean
to sound patronising.’
‘Don’t worry about it love, when
you get to my age everyone thinks you’re either deaf or daft.’
She glanced at the wall clock.
‘I’m ready whenever you are ready
Mr Harrison,’ said the detective, leaning forward on the table with pen poised.
‘Where to start…’ Mr Harrison
said thoughtfully, as he sat back in his chair, folding his arms across his
‘The beginning is usually a good
‘We might be here some time.’ Harrison
rocked in his chair.
‘Take your time, I’m in no rush.’
She hoped it would not be too long.
‘You know it’s a crying shame, I’ve
lived down that street for nigh on all of my life, I was even born in the front
room of number 152, back in 1950. Things were a lot different then I can tell
you. I went to school two streets away and left when I was fifteen; the brass
foundry I worked in was less than a mile away from home. I was there until I
was made redundant and bastards stole whatever pension I was due, but that’s by
It was a real community, there
was always someone there that you could rely on. We never used to think twice
about going out and leaving the door unlocked, see, we all looked out for each
the time I thought it was bad luck on my part when my girlfriend fell pregnant.
In those days having an abortion wasn’t the done thing, so in the June of 1968 I
married Josie, the girl I had been going out with since I was at school. I
suppose you could call use childhood sweethearts. Anyway nine months later Tricia
was born, a healthy 8lb 6oz bouncing baby. I like to think we gave Tricia a
happy childhood. Things were ok. I had a good job and Josie went back to work,
fair enough we did have our ups and downs along the way, but then again don’t
‘Is this relevant Mr Harrison, you
seem to be going off on a tangent?’
‘It’s relevant to me.’ The police
officer decided maybe the long game was the best. ‘It wasn’t until Tricia left
school that thing started to go a bit pear shaped. Tricia made the same mistake we had; she went off
and got herself pregnant. She’d met the lad at work, he was a shelf stacker at
the local supermarket, not the brightest crayon in the box. When she told him
the news he couldn’t run fast enough, and to this day I’ve no idea where he
Well there we were, me, Josie, Tricia
and our new addition Aaron, he was a good lad in the early days, bright, know
what I mean? I hoped maybe one day he’d go to university. Things went smoothly
for a few years until Josie took ill that was when me and Tricia had a bit of a
falling out, over money of course and her staying out all hours expecting us to
bring the lad up.
just couldn’t see Tricia was taking advantage of her, and Tricia, well she just
didn’t give a damn and I just wasn’t having it.Needless to say things were said that shouldn’t have been, resulting in Tricia and Aaron
moving out into a one bedroom flat. That was the last I saw of them for a while,
not a word, not even a Christmas card.
She decided to show her face at the
funeral. See, Josie just went downhill after they left, never fully recovered. I was in pieces as you would expect,
I mean, we’d been together since we were kids. Tricia put on a good show as the
caring daughter but that is all that it was, show. Things changed a bit, she
started to come and see me once, maybe twice a week, I thought maybe she’d
turned over a new leaf. She convinced me to let her and the boy move back in,
unknown to me her landlord was in the process of evicting her. I found out once
she’d got her feet under the table. Aaron, he was a little bastard, Tricia had
no control over him, at thirteen years old he was running wild, and even the
school had given up on him. I tried my best with the lad; I really did but just
couldn’t get through to him.
Needless to say it wasn’t long
before Tricia found herself a new man, another no hoper. With the lad in tow
she moved out, lock-stock and barrel into his council house on the estate just
over the flyover. I tried to get her to leave the lad with me. I thought maybe without her around I’d be able
to straighten him out like. She wouldn’t listen. The only time I ever saw
Tricia after that was when she was on the cadge for a few quid.
This was about the time the
council in their wisdom started to demolish the area, the bulldozers came in and
people were sent out to the new estates on the edge of the city. The problem
came when the council ran out of readies, leaving half streets standing amongst
what amounted to bomb sites. Families
moved out and the rats moved in, you couldn’t walk two hundred yards down the
road without seeing one of the disgusting things, and the nights, well they
move about in packs don’t they?
Those empty houses that weren’t
bulldozed were boarded up and left to rot. It used to be a decent sort of
neighbourhood, it really did. About the
same time residents moved out the rats moved in, so did the druggies and the
squatters. They just came along, took down the steel plates from the windows
and doors and moved in lock stock and barrel, one or two of them were ok, but
on the whole they were a bad lot.
It got so bad people were scared
to open their front doors, never mind walk down the street and that was in the
daytime When it was dark you just had to keep yourself inside with the door
locked and the curtains shut.
Do you know, one day last week I
had a walk to the supermarket and came back to find dog shit blathered all over
my front door. Who did that eh? You tell me? Bren, who lives next door to me
was took ill not so long back and the bloody ambulance parked at the top of the
street and wouldn’t go any further until
your lot came to escort it because of the gangs. Twenty bleedin minutes they
waited for ‘em to turn up!
Dog shit, wheelie bins tipped
over, empty cans and syringes, how can decent people live amongst that? I despair,
I really do.’
‘Mr Harrison, can we get back to
the reason why you are here today?’
‘Aye, well, the gangs began to
rule the area. Don’t deny it - you know full well they do, you lot do bugger
all about it. Gangs of young kids during the day, some of ‘em can’t be older
than twelve, but the buggers frighten you all the same. Soon as it get darks it’s
the druggies that take over, but to be honest they don’t bother me so much,
it’s notoften I venture out once it
does get dark. It’s the kids, proper little bastards, gangs of ‘em.
Aaron, he started running with
one group nasty little bastards and things came to a head this morning. There
was all this yelling outside, I looked out of the window but there was bugger
all to see. That’s when I opened the back door and the little bastards rushed
me, backed me up against the kitchen unit, goading me. They was all wearing
them hoodies and shouting and pushing me they were, that’s when I put my hands
behind me and grabbed the carving knife to frighten the buggers. It didn’t
work, they just kept pushing, I was holding the knife in front of me. Then the
next thing I knew there was blood everywhere, he backed away and fell to the
floor and the others ran out calling me a murdering bastard.
I grabbed a tea towel and knelt
down next to him. It was Aaron, he was dead.