EXCERPT – Just Like in the Movies

Fuck, but it hurt!

I’d always wondered what it’d be like to get shot in the arm. I mean — I know that sounds bizarre, but you know what I mean, don’t you? In a Hollywood-movie kind of way. I had visions of clutching at the wound, pinning the bleeding shreds of skin together, my eyes bright, still watching for danger, my teeth gritted and my face hard-set in its expression. I’d drag my superbly athletic, masculine body along dark corridors, with no sound except the clatter of my boots on the hard floor and the harsh panting of my breath against the silent whirr of distant, strangely malevolent machinery.

But always finding the exit in the end — bursting out into sunlight and into the arms of the rescue force. Cynical cops would cheer; my co-star would gasp, having been the last person to hold out only the faintest of hope for my survival, and exclaim at my incredible and indomitable ability to beat the odds.

My co-star. Right …

All I knew was that, in reality, it hurt. It hurt one huge great hell of a lot, and I couldn’t seem to stop the bleeding. I sat slumped down against the wall, and I didn’t seem to have a lot of energy in my superbly athletic, masculine legs to get me up and running again. And I really did think I should be doing that. Running away. Even in the worst films, the villain didn’t stop at one shot, did he? What was worse, I didn’t know how the rest of the team was faring — let’s face it, I didn’t know if I was in at the end of the story or just opening up the whole can of blood-spattered worms in the first reel. I hadn’t given it sufficient thought in the first place.

“But you’re so brave,” my co-star would say. “Jeez, Bailey, we’d given you up for dead! I never thought you’d talk him around — I never thought you’d get out before he let loose the whole damned arsenal and blew up the bank.”

“It’s my job,” I’d modestly say. “As a negotiator, we have to be trained to go into potentially dangerous situations. For God’s sake, don’t make a fuss! Let me set off for home with just your handkerchief as a bandage, and maybe you’ll have a drink with me later on …”


I nearly laughed aloud, but luckily I thought better of it. It looked like I was hallucinating now. Okay, so negotiation was my job, but I was pretty new to the whole thing. I had a few more months to complete in training, even on the fast track — as I was — and I was only meant to be back-up for the main negotiator, the infamous and impressive Drew Fletcher.

I wasn’t sure what had made me follow him in, against the advice of the police cordon outside the bank. I just thought the guy inside didn’t look that dangerous. To me, he looked mad, and he looked hungry, and I could sort of remember a time I felt like that too. I thought I could probably find some common ground there; talk him out in a while.

Fletcher had flashed his unique brand of death glare at me when I appeared at his shoulder. Hmmm … The thought of that glare still gave me the shivers, even though the whole of my left side felt pretty cold just now. It wouldn’t be like that in the movie, would it?

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