Oh s***!’ I cursed to myself as I sprinted round the corner, my colleague, Kevin, next to me.
‘What is it?’ His voice was flat and tired, he didn’t even bother to take his eyes off the back of the escaping robber to see what I’d managed to do wrong this time.
‘I forgot my gun!’ I heard a sigh of exasperation, or a panicked gasp for air, as Kevin despaired over my incompetence.
‘It would be you wouldn’t it.’ Kevin shook his head. ‘Well hopefully you won’t need it.’ Our target disappeared round another corner.
‘Oh b*****! Now he’s getting away.’ I picked up the pace, overtaking Kevin easily and running back out onto Regent Street. First thing you need to know about me is I hate London. I don’t mind living there but the bad guy always manages to get away by disappearing into a crowd. I know you think that only happens in films, but trust me it happens all the time to me. But I wasn’t going to let that happen this time.
I looked left then right and caught a glimpse of the unnaturally blonde head of our criminal. I turned left and hurtled through the mass of bodies, all trying to go the other way and refusing to let me through.
How rude of me not to introduce myself properly, my name is Alannah and I’ve been a policewoman for the last five years. Not that you could call me the best cop in the world, in fact, I’m surprised I’m still alive. I never thought I would become a policewoman, I always wanted to be an actress or a musician, but when my father told me I was being ridiculous I gave up on that dream. I don’t think I even chose to become a cop, I just sort of turned into one. Sorry, I’ve distracted you from my story.
So I’m running as fast as I can down Regent Street, bumping into shoppers left, right and centre. I felt so bad when I ran straight into this one little old lady and knocked her bags out of her hands. I dithered for a moment, wondering if I should help her, when I heard a shout from Kevin who was five meters behind me.
‘Keep going!’ So that’s what I did. The blonde head was getting harder to see in the swarm of people but I kept running, hoping that I could still catch him. Then he disappears again. One minute he’s there, the next, poof! I slowed to a slow jog until I reached the spot where I think he vanished. I look edaround, trying to see where he could have possibly gone.
Then I noticed the small gap between two buildings, not big enough to be called an alleyway, but there was enough room for someone to squeeze down the gap. By now Kevin had caught up with me and was breathing quite heavily.
‘You- - - I’m – catch - -‘
‘What?’ Kevin gave up trying to talk and gestured to me to follow the robber. ‘Let’s hope I’ve lost enough weight recently,’ I mumbled humorlessly as I approached the wall. To my great relief I could fit through the gap and began to make my way along the wall.
The blonde man was having a bit of trouble reaching the end of the passage, his stomach was obviously just a little too big, and I was moving fairly swiftly towards him. In fact, I had gained so much ground that by the time he had emerged at the other side, I was almost an arms length away. I half fell out of the gap and staggered after him. I could see he was about to get away and gave it one last shot.
Taking one big breath I hurled myself at the thief, arms outstretched and mouth open in some sort of war cry. Everything seemed to slow down, he turned to look over his shoulder, his eyes growing wide as he saw me flying towards him, eyes mad and hair falling out from my usually neat ponytail.
Now there are two endings to this story, the one I like to tell and the way it actually happened. In my version, I managed to grab the man around the waist, brought him to the ground and made my arrest in a dignified manner, pinning his arms behind his back and saying something appropriate.
What really happened was went a bit more like this. I’m not one hundred percent sure what happened, but I think my target tripped on a stone, or something like that, and went sprawling across the floor. I missed him and landed flat on the hard concrete, twisting my right wrist and my left ankle as I tried to land safely. What ensued next was a comical sort of struggle, where I grabbed the man’s ankle to stop him from running away, he tried to shake me off and I slowly pulled myself up his leg until I was sitting on his chest. What made it even worse was what I said next. You would have thought I would have been able to manage something cool and impressive sounding, but no. All I could say as I fastened my handcuffs around his wrists was, ‘gotcha!’