Amazon, I know how awesome your kindle is and I would really like one, but I cannot at the moment afford one, so please stop sending me emails about them. It makes me die a little bit inside.
What’s on your mind?
You’ve got a Facebook, your mum’s got a Facebook, your business/dog/cat/band probably has a Like page (formerly a Fan Page and before that a ‘group’). Facebook is an evolving social network, which is currently in a Time Line fad. It has more users than any of…
I hope Rosary don’t mind me putting this song on my blog, but it is my favourite and the song I most relate to at the moment. Give it a listen, It is called “The Picture” and it is beautiful.
Today’s topic as given by the fabulous Iwan Pitts is Utopia. This is just going to be a blog about the word, no prose, no poetry, just the honest to God truth.
Utopia is a feeling you have of the world as a child, well if like me you live in the west, had parents that sheltered you, loved you and gave you everything you ever wanted or needed.
Then, you grow older and you realise everything is not quite what you had believed it to be. There are several things that do this to you and I think these two are some of the most important:
1) Your parents tell you that to get you everything you ever wanted they had to work their hands to the bone, scrimp and save every penny and often go without themselves. I was dressed in hand me downs and charity shop clothes when I was younger and occasionally when my mum could afford it, she would buy my sister and I something new even if it meant she had to go without. I have not got a problem with charity shop clothes or hand me downs. Everything I ever wore was like new and I was thankful. My first computer was bought from a boy in my year and was really old, but I really loved it and looked after it. Parents never tell you how hard they had to work and they shelter you from the world. Growing up is like being born again. It is like being dragged kicking and screaming from the womb, it really is. It is only when you grow up, if you are as privileged as me, that you take a look around you and see all the problems in your country and others and I have to admit it hurts.
2) There is no shortage of media that will tell you how bad the world is, you can even see it with your own eyes. Aid adverts trying to get people to give them money so that children can have water that won’t kill them, can have medication and food so they don’t die. This is just one example. I see crying children on my screen daily, some of these children look like they are going to die because they are so impoverished, starving and sick. It makes me sick, so when I have money I give money, but it never satisfies me. I am one of those people that cries at those adverts because I want to do a Madonna and stick my hands through that television and pull the child through. The media tells us that people get murdered daily, hate crimes, terrorism, war all over and even in your own country. I am not so stupid that I don’t recognise that I live in one of the most fortunate countries on this planet, but even we have problems. I have a degree and can’t now get a job. That is a first World problem. Children dying because their parents can’t feed them, or are dead is a third world problem.
There is nothing perfect about the world we live in. We have done too much damage and we are too selfish and we are unable to help ourselves. Utopia is something that doesn’t exist and it is only when you see the world for what it really is that you despair for it, everyone in it and everyone yet to come.
This title was given to me by Iwan who wants me to do something creative with it. Here goes… free verse poetry.
Lipstick swipe, shadow, blush.
Hooks breech face to smile.
Bag lists on purple shoulder.
gentle shoes canvass hard feet.
Hand on door without mind.
Sway slightly with complete stop.
Step. Step. Step. Step.
Tomorrow, I promise instead.
When you’re just sad for no reason. Something brought you down and don’t even know how. Trying to keep yourself happy, but you just can’t seem to do it. Listening to upbeat songs, but nothing happens. Trying to smile but the things on your mind and your feelings just bring you down. Like, everything you think is a bad or sad thought. When you’re just, lost.
|—||Me, just now. *insert troll face here*|
There are a shit load of modern film adaptations of classical fairy tales and I had to write one for my course, based on little red riding hood with a sin city flare thrown in. I can’t really claim any credit because I have basically stolen half the storyline and shaped it to what I wanted it to do. So if you like half mashed fairy tale - graphic novel mixes, then enjoy…
My final case and it’s been a while. I’m not at the top of my game anymore. An old cop, that’s me. Medals and honours all the way up. They don’t mean a damn thing anymore, not like they used to. Each one is as good as a death sentence around here, and I have been treading on death ever since I came to this God damned place. Get yourself in with the right people, that’s what they said. Too bad the right people are the bad guys. Never been much for being the bad guy. Letting the innocents die and the killers walk away from the electricity was never my style. That’s why I’m being forced into early retirement. They say I’ve done enough for this city, but I haven’t. I’m in their way and they sure as hell know it, too hard for them to kill as my career will show. I’ve put away enough scum for them to be gunning for my blood. Too bad for me that most of the political elite are friends with these fuckers. I took a long hard drag on my smoke, it’s nearly done and he’s late. Jack Pool my partner, Jackie boy. He got in with the right people. Bastard. Watching my every move until he has free reign of this place and everything is in the gutter. Just one more case and that’s it.
Jackie boy pulls up in a cop car, what a fucking joke. There ain’t no one policing this place but me, the old cop, and I’m out. Jackie gets out the car and tells me that we found Sykes and he’s dead. He doesn’t sound happy, but I guess that’s the way it is ‘round here and he wasn’t supposed to let this happen. I have been after this twisted shit for eight years. Eight God damned years and now he’s dead. I would have taken that fucker out myself if I had the chance. Case over, just need to wrap it up.
“Who hit him Jackie?” I don’t care much for the details, but whoever it is will be dead soon enough anyway. No one messes with Vertigo and gets away with it. Everyone knows about him but they don’t mess. He bribes anyone he sees as a threat and kills the rest. He owns this City and everyone in it.
“We don’t know yet, boss wants us to get on over there now.” Which boss Jackie boy? Though they all come back to the same man; Vertigo. I’d like to get that son of a bitch. He belongs in hell. “Come on Hunter”
I light another cigarette and get in the car; at least it has one cop in it. Jackie boy is driving and he looks shaken up. Guess his head is on the block for this one. He will probably turn up dead next week. The papers will say “hero”, but he ain’t no hero, no not this fuck. I’ve seen him do things to make the devil look good. Not that I haven’t tried to set things right, bring the bad guys in, save the innocent. Although Jackie boy ain’t always with me. He likes the young ones, younger the better. Being judge Pool’s son, one of Vertigo’s men, not to mention a cop means he may as well be a God. Can’t do any harm to him, not while I’m still trying to do something good. I can’t do anything if I end up dead. We’re in the slums of the city now. Jackie boy is white in the face and sweating. He’s in a bad way. Good. We get there a few minutes later, no one else is there. Looks like this one is all on the quiet.
I followed Jackie boy up the steps, this is a good neighbourhood, nice people, one of the only ones. It’s a prime target for people like Johnny Sykes, who have no business elsewhere. Someone here might have said something or known something they shouldn’t. Once we’re in, the blood clings to my nose, even the fresh cigarette can’t block that out. I’m used to it now, seen it every day my whole career, but what follows the blood never gets any easier to digest. I wonder where Jackie boy got the tip off from. No one else is here. I don’t question him; I take a drag on my smoke and follow him, looking round all the corners, my gun loaded in my free hand and the safety catch off. There’s a noise. I look round, my eyes not what they used to be, old cop, remember? The corner I scoped has a little girl hidden in the dark folds and she’s crying. Jackie boy looks over with interest. Oh no Jackie, you ain’t having this one. I go over to the girl quick, stowing my gun away. I don’t want to cause her more alarm. She looks like she has seen enough tonight. I offer my hand and she takes it. I pull her upright and tell her it’s going to be okay.
“What’s your name kid?”
“Red” She answers. Good answer. Not her name, but the first thing that came into her head. Maybe because of that bright coat she’s wearing. Maybe because of the blood, but she knows enough about the way this place works not to give out her real name. Smart kid.
“Where’d it happen?” she shakes her head. Too young to have seen so much. I’d have to leave her with Jackie to go see for myself. No chance there. “Can you be brave for me? I won’t leave your side I promise, but I need to see.” Maybe she understands the situation better than I thought; she looks over to Jackie boy and sees the look in his eyes. Don’t trust him honey, not for one minute. She looks back at me and nods. “Can you take me to where it happened?” She nods. Sensible kid. She keeps hold of my hand and leads the way, Jackie brings up the rear.
We’re on the landing now, and the smell of blood is making me gag. Breathe through your mouth Bob, breathe through your mouth. My gun is out again and pointed over the girls head towards the smell of the blood. I hear Jackie do the same. Not a comfort, he’d sooner plug me than any criminal still here. Red stops. I guess this is as far as she goes. I go in first and Jackie follows. The smell is overwhelming. The scene is sick, sicker than usual, and that’s saying something. I lean towards the door and hear Jackie vomit behind me. One body skinned and the other mutilated. Johnny Sykes is there, just like we were told. Tabs called him the Wolf-man. No one took him seriously at first. Who would with a name like that? His Wolf tattoo still visible and his mouth fixed in terror. They call him the Wolf-man cause of what he does to his victims. His mouth has a set of filed teeth, sharp enough to strip raw flesh from the bone. This guy is a piece of work. Looking at the set of sharp teeth scattered on the floor, I’d say whoever slugged it to Sykes made sure he wouldn’t take his teeth to hell with him. The other body must have something to do with the kid outside.
I need to talk to the kid. Make sure she’s safe. I leave Jackie in the room with the bodies. I go back outside the room and close the door behind me, I see Jackie take out his phone. He must be putting a call in to his boss.
She looks up at me with those sweet brown eyes, terrified.
“Hey there little Red, You want to tell me what happened here honey?” It’s a long shot to ask, the kid looks cracked.
She leads me downstairs and outside to cleaner air. She perches herself on the wall opposite the bridge; poor kid. I’ll let her talk in her own time, but the less Jackie boy hears the better for the case. He’s still inside for now, better that way. I light up a cigarette hoping it will chase away the smell of the blood. Red starts to talk after a while.
“She’s dead, isn’t she” This wasn’t a question; the kid must have seen the whole sorry mess.
Lying to her won’t help anything. “Yes, she’s gone honey. Was it the Wolf-man?” I ask, still expecting this fragile little thing to go into shock at any moment. She nods. The more pressing question is why, and who killed him…
“Can you tell me from start to finish? I won’t interrupt, but you can stop if you want.” Again she nods, and then pulls in a breath ready for speech. I take a drag of my smoke, never taking my eyes off her.
“He came ‘round, can’t remember when; everything is so blurry. He never wanted Grandma, he wanted me. I know he wanted me. He’s been after me for ages but I wasn’t home. I got away from him once before.” She’s getting high pitched, but tries to calm herself down. I start another smoke.
“Did you see what he did to her? It is what he wanted to do to me. I’m glad he’s dead. He was waiting for me when I got back. He was he was…” She couldn’t finish. I put my free arm around her and gave her a hug. The smell of blood hung round her little red coat. I let her stay still, told her I wouldn’t interrupt. She started talking again.
“He was wearing her skin” She whispered it and fell silent. I could feel her body shaking under my arm. Sick bastard, sick twisted son of a bitch. She was alone in that house with him then someone disturbed them, but who?
“It’s okay honey. He can’t get you anymore. We’re gonna get you out of here.” I tried reassuring her, but my words fell on deaf ears.
“There ain’t no getting me out of this mister. They’re after me now no question about it. He wanted me dead and I’m still alive. He’s dead. They’re gonna want revenge, and who do you think they’re gonna be taking that out on then? They will want to be finding the little girl who lives here with Grandma” I hate to admit it but the kids got a point. I will do everything I can to keep her safe. Maybe the answer is with the one who killed Sykes.
“Do you know who killed Sykes?” She’s looking at me now, staring into my face, my eyes, looking for the truth. She knows I ain’t gonna do her no harm. Like I said, smart kid.
“Murphy Jones” That’s all I need. Murphy Jones ain’t exactly a good guy, but he sure as hell doesn’t work for Vertigo; he doesn’t work for no one. Murphy is like me, except he ain’t a cop. I’d wager that he is the only one in the city that has a bigger price on his head.
“Why was Sykes trying to get to you?” She is looking all terrified again.
“You gotta promise to keep this a secret” A demand, I can deal with that.
“Murphy Jones is my dad. Sykes found out, I don’t think he told no one. He said he wanted to get the information from me to give to his boss.” It all becomes a little clearer. I’m betting that Sykes was out of favour with Vertigo and the others. Been causing a lot of problems for them for a long time. So Sykes here stumbles on something that leads him to believe that little Red knows something about Murphy Jones. He goes to question Red himself instead of bringing her to the boss. Not a smart move, but I guess he wanted to get the glory, that and Sykes can’t help himself when it comes to violence. He probably would have finished Red tonight if Murphy hadn’t showed up, then he would give Vertigo the information he wants. Vertigo wants Murphy dead more than he wants my head and that’s saying something. I’m not gonna die until I get off the force and he knows it.
“Where did Murphy go little Red?” He left the kid here; he must have a damn good reason for that.
“He said he’d be back for me.”
I hear a foot stumble behind me. It’s Jackie boy, but how much has he heard? My cigarette drops to the ground before I hear it. The gun is cocked and loaded, and at a guess pointing right at the back of my head. Looks like the bastard might have heard more than he should have.
“Don’t move Hunter, the girl is coming with me.” Not if I have anything to do with it, that kid ain’t going anywhere near you Jackie. I keep quiet. As long as I’m not saying or doing anything Jackie won’t plug me.
“I called for back-up, they shouldn’t be too long.” Back-up, if that’s what he calls it. Those fucks aren’t back up, hired hands is more like. They won’t take no-one in. Kill first ask questions later, you know the type. I’m angry at myself. Jackie boy has got the better of me and the upper hand. Red is still sat next to me, her eyes wide and scared.
“Don’t worry honey; you ain’t going no-where with that piece of shit.” I whispered it into her ear so Jackie couldn’t hear. He moves closer to me, big mistake. He is close enough now for me to take the gun from him. I will probably get hit, but Jackie boy will get worse.
“What’s that you’re saying Hunt…?” I grabbed it. It fired through my hand. Jesus H Christ it hurts. I need to keep my mind on the case, focus yourself Bob, remember that little angel that you just gotta protect. I swung the gun around and hit Jackie in the face with it, hard. He fall’s to the floor clutching his nose. Looks like his back-up is here. Damn and I thought we might get away. Looks like the kid will be… Best not think about it. You are still standing and you still have a gun. Take as many of those fuckers out as you can before they take you. I shoot Jackie in the groin, he won’t need it ever again and now they know I mean business. I tell Red to run, but she won’t. Looks like she’s with me, ‘til the end.
The big thugs look at Jackie on the floor, then to me and Red and put two and two together, slowly. They open fire. I throw Red and myself over the garden wall for added protection. This earns me a bullet in my thigh. The blood pours and that sick stench returns to my nose. I take out my gun and Jackie’s and give them everything I got. They manage to hit me three more times, but I take two of their boys out. I’m out of bullets.
Oh God the pain. I laugh at it and cough up a pile of blood all over my soaking shirt. I grab another smoke and light up. The fuckers are back in their car, guess I managed to hit the last two too. I thought I was too old for this shit, but this is what I do, and what I have always done. If my last act is protecting that little girl from harm then so be it, I can’t think of a better way to go out. I live for it. You can’t say adrenaline is a bad thing.
“Mr. Hartley?” A small voice reaches my ear. She looks scared again. I don’t blame her. “You’re really hurt.” She cries for me. Poor kid. She’s seen too much. I can’t let them take her but I’m out of weapons. The thugs are up and firing again, but they ain’t firing at me no more. I look ‘round. Thank God for Murphy Jones, vigilante son of a bitch. Looks like he heard about Red’s situation. No idea how the fucker does that, but I’m sure glad to see him. I wouldn’t have been able to hold out much longer. Murphy takes them out as easy as if they were target practice.
They are all down and Red runs into his arms. Murphy looks at me. I haven’t seen him in years. He has a few more scars than I remember, but still the same old Murphy. He looks at my wounds. He knows just as I do that I won’t walk away from this shit. Murphy lights me another cigarette.
“How’s it going Hunter?” Always the joker.
“Fine thanks Murph, never better. Going into retirement you know.” Not the only joker. I try and keep things light. Don’t want to upset Red more. “Look after her Murphy, she’s a good kid.” He smiles at me.
We don’t have time for conversation, my head is spinning and I hear another car screech up. Looks like more of Jackie’s back-up. Murphy has to go and take Red with him. They can’t stay here, they need to go and watch out for each other. I mouth to Murphy telling him to leave; Red is still buried in his shoulder and doesn’t see. Murphy hands me his gun and smiles in thanks. No long goodbyes, I’m glad. It’s time to take some more of these fuckers down. I start with Jackie. That no good shit has had it coming to him for years. I guess he has bled out enough now. I want him to feel pain for a bit longer, but I know I won’t last, and he needs to be taken down. The force doesn’t need any more corruption from him.
I wait ‘til Murph has gone. Red is looking at me from over his shoulder. She’s crying even more now. So long kid, take care of yourself. I shoot Jackie in the face. He sees it coming. It gives me pleasure to know that he was scared shitless. The thugs are firing at me again. I fire back screaming my rage at them. Seconds that feel like minutes and I am down on the floor, I’m done. At least Red got away. I hope she has a happy life; she deserves it more than anyone. Almost time now. The papers will be calling us hero cops and feeding the city some sort of major bullshit cover up story, I don’t care anymore. I have done my job for thirty years now. I’m heading on out. Time for retirement.