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London - 1990

Ray groaned as the alarm clock rudely summoned him to a grey Monday morning.  Drawing the curtains he gazed out at the wet gloom of summer.  Some summer!  Steam rose in spiralling ribbons from the cracked pavement slabs.  Without stopping to take a shower, Ray pulled on his heavy navy blue trousers.  He tugged his belt to fasten it around his belly which had recently grown even bigger.  He always ate when he felt down.  He took a crumpled blue shirt from the chair where he’d left it last night, smoothing it out a bit, before putting it on.  Still creased.  Shrugging he tucked it roughly into his trousers.

He was a large man, standing at well over six foot with a physique to match.  He looked like an ageing boxer who had let himself go.  His puffy red face, tired skin and bloodshot eyes betrayed years of drinking.  Rescuing a cup from the overloaded sink, Ray poured himself a coffee.  He added just enough milk to make it cloudy and then stirred in three heaped spoonfuls of sugar.  This along with a cigarette was all he had time for before grabbing his jacket and peaked cap and rushing out of the door.  He’d get breakfast at the station, as he did most mornings.

The traffic was worse than usual along Finchley Road.  Ray looked at his watch and then at the long line of unmoving cars in front of him.  He checked his rearview mirror, opened the window and put his siren on top of the car.  Bugger waiting!  


Four minutes flat, a new record!  He stepped into the station at exactly 8 o’clock.  All the lads did it from time to time.  They covered for each other if the searg got suspicious.  Not a bad bunch.  If it wasn’t for them, he would have jacked the job in years ago.  Not that he was in any position to do so, of course.  He needed the money.  Julie, his darling ex saw to that.  Not only booted out of his own house, but ordered by the court to continue paying for it!  Then there was the maintenance for the kids…  


‘So, what delights do we have in store for us today?’ he asked George.

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