Chapter One (Part Two) - Charlie Broker

I've no idea how he ended up on the floor. With a bullet in his shoulder. And a gun aimed at his head.

I don't even know his name. But I do know that I'm his backup, and when the person you're supposed to be backing up is on the floor about to have his brains blown out, you don't really stop to think about stupid things like names.

I don't, anyway.

I've only got seconds before Big Guy with the gun there gets itchy fingers.

'Oi!' I yell. Not such a good plan, you say?

He turns the gun on me.

Ah. Maybe you were right.

'Oi, big boy! You gonna pull that trigger, hey?'

He grunts. Ha! What an idiot! I bet he's got the IQ of a goddamn cabbage. This is gonna be easy.

'You hand yourself in like a good boy, and we'll say nothing about it.' He's not going to hand himself in. I'm just buying time.

'You got my friend down there pretty quick.' I nod at the bloke on the floor. He looks bad - all white and bloody, but I put that out of my mind.

Bingo. Big Guy glances down at the bloke on the floor, giving me a second-

I leap forwards, and hit him in the crotch and kick the gun out of his grasp. It goes off as it hits the floor, and just about misses everyone. I think.

He tries to hit me and I block and hit him back and he's reeling and - no! He's coming back and I duck and try and get his legs, but he's like a goddamn car-park pillar - he won't budge - and he hits me and I ignore it and hit him back.

And I floor him.

Oh yeah. I'm proud of that.

I twist Big Guy's arms up behind his back, stick the handcuffs on him. Then I handcuff him to the fence, just in case. That should shut him up for a bit.

Oh, brother. Copper on the floor looks bad. I pull out my radio and give them the situation, tell them where we are. Thank God I noticed the street name!

I crouch by the bloke on the floor. 'You okay, brother?'

'Yeah.' His voice is rough with pain. He blinks and tries to look slightly brave. He fails. He's a right mess. He's really pale, his hair's all sweaty. His shoulder's slick with blood. His uniform has turned dark and wet. I don't want to touch it, in case I make it worse. I'm good at giving people injuries, but not so much the healing bit.

'Why didn't you have your bulletproof on?' I mutter, trying to help him into a sitting position. I don't know if that's what I'm supposed to do, but I can't just do nothing.


Something hits me hard in the side of my head, sending my down. Christ-

I broke one of the most basic rules of martial arts - I turned my back to Big Guy.

And now he's got a gun. His gun? No, that's still lying on the floor where he dropped it. Another gun? Why didn't he use it before?

It's Copper-on-the-Floor's gun. Why didn't I think of that before?

Somehow, Big Guy thinks he's gonna shoot me with his hands cuffed behind his back, but my head's reeling and I can't get up. I'm such a wuss.

And he's standing up-

Standing right over me-

And he raises the gun-

Christ, he's gonna kill the both of us-

And he's got a goddamn grin all over his goddamn face-

And he's gonna shoot-

And- what the hell?

He's on the floor, and the gun's sailing out of his hands for the second time. God. Copper-on-the-Floor hit him. And floored him. And saved my life.



By the time the medics arrive, Big Guy's positively silent. Copper's lost consciousness, but not before I made a complete mess of trying to thank him. Well, I think I said the words 'you' and 'thank' in roughly the same sentence, so it counts. I think.

I wonder who he is. I've never owed someone my life before. It's a weird feeling. I think I ought to hate it, that feeling of owing something to someone. But I don't. I think I quite like it.

I think we're gonna make a good team, actually. Copper-on-the-Floor and Charlie Broker. Yeah, I think that could work.

So I'm smiling when they drive me back to the station. Grinning from ear to goddamn ear.


It's a good feeling.


The End

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