nice little runner

by James

After a long while, Jimmy blinked. He seemed aware of his surroundings again, eyes focussing upon the pistol in his right hand as though it were an old friend. He found the glass in his left wryly amusing, carefully tilting it back to almost true before it slopped down the front of his shirt. He raised the glass slowly, but not to drink; eye to the pint and pint to the light, looking through the golden hue with a goofy grin.

He focussed on the figures beyond the pint, and said, ‘Oh. You guys.’

The two armed officers were stood just a few feet from Jimmy, guns drawn but pointed slightly to the floor. Jimmy was sitting on a bar stool, his back against the bar and from here he had the perfect view of the suddenly empty bar; drinks scattered, chairs flopped to the floor.

Jimmy addressed the female officer. He said, ‘I want it known – I’m not miss-o-jin-istic, and if I take you out it wasn’t intent, it’s just you’re closest to my gun.’

She said, ‘You can try it.’

Jimmy smiled again. ‘Can I drink my pint?’

‘Why don’t you put the gun down first?’

‘I don’t know, why not?’

Jimmy grimaced. ‘Oh, yeah. Something about three murders, maybe?’

‘We can talk about it. Find a way out of this. But you have to put the gun down.’

Jimmy smiled a little sadly. ‘Only one way out, yeah?’

He twitched his pistol, and the officers tensed. It made Jimmy smile wryly once more and then he drank from his pint. The guns of the police rose then fell in time with the glass.

Jimmy was shaking his head. ‘Bloody housing market.’

The female officer nodded. ‘Tell me about it. We’ve spent five years saving our deposit; still getting nowhere.’

‘It’s a scam,’ Jimmy said. ‘How many times you see a place go online? Literally, I mean. It’s not there, you hit refresh, and it’s there. Then you call up, and they say sorry sir, already under offer.’

‘It’s crazy. Half the time I swear they’ve sold them before they put them online.’

Jimmy pointed at her with his pint. ‘Thank you.’

He relaxed back against the bar.

‘The way they talk, how smug they are. _Sorry sir, it’s a seller’s market at the moment. Smart buyers come down to the office in person.’

Jimmy grinned again.

‘Think I registered my interest pretty good, you reckon?’

Neither officer said anything. Neither took their eyes from Jimmy with his gun.

Jimmy said, ‘Talk about your jobsworth though. There’s more to life than making your quota on parking tickets, right? Come on? She couldn’t hear the gun going off? It’s really loud.’

A moment later, Jimmy said, ‘And you know whose fault I took so long getting down to the estate agent? That bitch of a salesman. You know what she said to me? “Nice little runner”. Talk about your clichés.’

Jimmy raised his glass again, but didn’t drink.

‘Maybe it does run good, when it’s not stalling at the lights five times in a row.’

Up once more with the glass, then another pause. He squinted at both the officers, grinning at them. He said, ‘You know who wasn’t a nice littler runner though?’