Thursday, 30 June 2011

Thursday @ 3 - "A Dirty Job"

Late pulling this one together and struggling with the word-count, but at 333 it still fits my criteria!

No pre-amble this week - just get stuck in!


Strachan cradled the cardboard warmth of his takeaway latte. The cold city landscape, complete with detritus from the previous night, was not a sight that thrilled his heart.

Despite the day starting like any other, much would have changed by this time tomorrow. Joe Public, shuffling though his day of labour for meagre reward, would not see the relevance of the subtleties that Strachan and countless other officers monitored silently and unseen.

Across the rooftops, others watched and waited; black-hooded men in dark, unobtrusive clothing; shambling tramps who appeared to talk to themselves; bag-ladies pushing trolleys, seemingly cursing the world.

He looked through the telescopic sight and marked the gates to Downing Street. Raising the stock of the rifle he dipped the scope to view the street below, surveying the tripled police guard, dallying a moment to draw a bead on the anti-stab vests they wore and silently pursing his lips to mime bullets flying from the barrel and searing through their body armour. A dark humoured laugh rattled and then died in his throat as he saw the car waived through.

The exchange of affirmations and compliance hissing in his ear was a distraction as he leaned closer, his eyelashes almost catching on the lens as he adjusted the focus. He watched as the car door opened and two figures emerged, his finger resting on the trigger, softly tightening in readiness.

A slight realignment drew the crosshairs into position and as his colleagues played their part, collecting intelligence and passing unseen through the reality that was being played out daily before an unsuspecting world, he pulled out the earpiece and disengaged from the operation.

Life, he reasoned, was a monochrome study with varying shades of grey between the extreme polarities of black and white; much like politics. MI5, at sixes and sevens with itself, blurred the edges even more.

As he found himself straddling those boundaries to obey his spectral masters in their Whitehall labyrinths, Strachan blinked once then squeezed the trigger.


  1. Terrific, Sue. I'm not sure I get the ending trigger pull. At least at first I thought something else was going on, then not.

    At any rate, I still enjoyed the taut writing. Good stuff. :)

    How're you doing by the way? Haven't talked in a while.

  2. Hi, Yvette - (messaged you on FB) - thanks for the comment!

  3. Very nice! The buildup of the tension was awesome.

  4. ...he pulled out the earpiece and disengaged from the operation. I don't think I'm going to figure this out Sue, His unseen masters in whitehall. All very intriguing and a good puzzle. Very Good.

  5. Mike - I suppose it all comes down to which part of the goverent he's actually working for! Who actually 'runs' things - Home Office? Parliament? MI5?

  6. Hi Sue - you've certainly captured the essence of the few minutes Strachan waited .. and there's definitely a few stories in there .. or ways the piece could be taken - I feel cold now .. you've transported me to his world ..

    Enjoy your summer weekend .. cheers Hilary

    PS and I can now comment .. many thanks!!

  7. Great little piece, Sue. A lot in a little! Well done.

  8. Real character to this. Strachan's got balls, that's for sure.

  9. Scarily tension-filled, Sue. Up to your usual high standard.

    Just out of interest, did you hear Mr B on BBC R5 this morning at the Portsmouth CSI?