6 Police Bastard
Colin felt the ground vibrating beneath his cheek. He lifted his head a few inches and opened his eyes, saw a row of boots and trainers. The ground fell away, then jerked up to smack him in the face. He groaned and sat up, rubbed his aching head. Battered, bleeding faces stared down at him. The police van drove over another pot-hole, jarring his spine.
“You, sit down with the other scum,” someone shouted.
Colin turned his head slowly, every movement causing intense pain. A policeman glared at him, tapping a truncheon into the palm of his hand.
“You all right, Col?” Spazzo asked. He reached down and helped Colin to his feet. The van lurched around a corner. Colin stumbled and fell against the other punks lining the wall of the van. A few swore at him, others reached out to help him regain his balance and sit down on the bench.
Colin looked at the faces staring at him from another bench at the opposite side of the van. The skinhead who had been helping Brian nodded to him. Blood dripped from a gash in the side of his head, his face a mass of bruises.
Colin startled. “Where’s Brian?” he asked, searching the faces of the other occupants of the van.
“No talking,” the policeman shouted.
The skinhead shrugged. “I don’t know, mate. Hopefully down at the hospital.”
“Is he all right? Did we save him?”
The policeman tapped his truncheon into the palm of his hand with more force. “I said no fucking talking!”
Trog shook his head and looked down at his boots. “I don’t know, mate. I held on as long as I could but there was too many fucking coppers and they battered me the same way they battered you. I don’t know what happened after that, it’s not long since I came round meself.”
* * *
“Empty your pockets on the desk and remove your belt and shoe laces.”
A broad-shouldered, overweight policeman in his late forties glared at Colin from behind a counter. He picked up a cracked mug and took a loud slurp from its contents.
“Is there any news about me mate?” Colin asked.
The policeman scowled. “What mate would that be?”
“He got stabbed. We were trying to help him.”
The policeman shrugged. “Don’t know, don’t care. Now empty your pockets and remove your belt and shoe laces.”
Colin crouched down and removed the laces from his trainers, then put them on the counter.
“And the belt,” the policeman said.
Colin lifted his T-shirt. “I haven’t got one, it’s on me mate’s arm.”
The policeman grunted. “Empty your pockets.”
Colin rifled through his pockets in turn, and put the contents on the desk. The policeman poked through them with a pen, separating them out. He picked up Colin’s cigarettes and put them in his pocket.
“These will need testing for drugs,” he said, glaring at Colin. “You got any objections to that?”
Colin shook his head. The policeman pulled out a form and wrote down an itemised list of Colin’s remaining possessions. He spoke aloud as he put them in a plastic bag.
“One handkerchief, used. One train ticket, used.” The policeman counted out Colin’s loose change and dropped it into the bag. “Seventy-six pence in coins. One cigarette lighter. One wallet.” He picked up Colin’s wallet, flipped it open, and took out a five pound note and two one pound notes. He looked Colin in the eye and continued his inventory. “One wallet, empty.”
Colin took a step closer to the counter. “What? Oh come on, I need that for the train home.”
“One wallet, empty,” the policeman repeated.
Colin looked down at his feet. “Fucking bastard,” he said under his breath.
“What was that?” the policeman asked, leaning forward and scowling.
Colin shook his head. “Nothing.”
The policeman sealed the plastic bag and pushed the form across the counter to Colin. “Sign here,” he said and dropped the pen on top of the form.
Colin signed his name at the bottom of the form and put the pen down. “So what happens now?” he asked.
“We’ll get you checked over by a doctor, then you can go to beddy-byes in the cells. You’ll be processed in the morning with the others.”
“What? I can’t stay here all night, me Gran will be worried if I don’t come home.”
The policeman sighed. “You’re entitled to one phone call, you can use that to let her know what a naughty boy you’ve been.”
Colin frowned. “We’re not on the phone.”
The policeman shrugged. “Well she’ll just have to worry then, won’t she?”
* * *
The doctor gave Colin a cursory examination, then declared him fit enough for custody. A policeman led Colin by the arm to a cell and pushed him inside. The door slammed behind Colin and he spun to face it. An observation hatch slid open. A face scowled through it for a few seconds, then the hatch slid shut.
Colin looked around the small cell. A bed, little more than a wooden shelf jutting out of one wall, had a thin rubber mattress on top to sleep on. There were no sheets or pillows, and the mattress itself had dark stains on it that Colin didn’t want to think about. The cell smelled of faeces, the stench coming from a chipped porcelain toilet in one corner. It had no seat, and overflowed with foul-looking waste.
Someone in the next cell sang out of tune, slurring his words. The man’s voice rose and fell in volume, occasionally punctuated by a belch.
“Shut it,” someone shouted. The off-key singing became louder. Colin heard footsteps outside, and the scrape of an observation hatch sliding open. “I said shut it, you fucking black bastard.”
The drunken singer stopped in mid-line, only to resume again from where he left off when the hatch was closed.
Keys jangled, a lock opened, and a door slammed back on its hinges. Colin heard a short scuffle, followed by a cry of pain. The door slammed again, and heavy footsteps clumped toward Colin’s own cell. His observation hatch opened. A face scowled in through the rectangular opening. Colin looked at the man and held his hands up in surrender. The hatch closed.
“Wait,” Colin shouted, walking up to the door. “Is there any news about me mate? He got stabbed at The Maples earlier tonight.”
The scowling face reappeared and glared in at him. His mouth turned into a sneer. “Died on the way to the hospital,” he said. “Good fucking riddance if you ask me. One less scumbag on the streets for us to deal with.”
Colin’s world lurched to one side. Blood rushed to his head, an ice-cold shiver ran down his spine. He staggered across to the bed and slumped down on it, holding his face in his hands. He cried for the first time in twelve years, his body shaking with loud, uncontrollable sobs.
* * *
Continued next Friday.
Punk Faction by Marcus Blakeston is also available in paperback and ebook if you don’t want to wait that long.