The Wrong Man

6 Dec

He stepped out from under the bus shelter and stood in the middle of the pavement, illuminated by the streetlight above  his head, his features shadowed by his oversized baseball cap, which he wore under his hood. His full pockets were testament to the productive evening  he’d had, moving around the borough on his bike, which now leant against the glass of the shelter. He was blocking the path of who he planned to be his last mark of the evening, who was pacing meaningfully towards him.

Charlie walked briskly, his full attention on the text message that he was reading for the umpteenth time on his iPhone. No matter how many times he read it, it never changed. She’d gone to stay with her sister for a bit up north. She didn’t want him to call her. She needed some time to evaluate things. Charlie was going home to an empty flat. This was the last thing he needed just a week before he fought the biggest fight of his life, to become regional welterweight champion. He stopped in his tracks and looked up to see who was stood in his way.

‘Nice phone, Blud. Give it to me. And your wallet, yea?’

A broad smile came across Charlie’s face, as he looked his accoster square in the eye.

‘Is you deaf or just stupid? I said, “Give me your wallet and phone, innit, Blud. Don’t fuck about.”‘

The feeling came over him that he may have picked the wrong man to end the night with.

Charlie just said, ‘Your jeans need pulling up, mate. The whole world can see the white of your pants. You don’t want that, do ya? You look silly.’

He had definitely picked the wrong man. But what could he do now? He was right in the middle of a situation he had brought on himself. He didn’t like having to do it, but he pulled his blade from inside his hoodie and held it out in front of him.

‘I’ve tried to make this easy for you, now we can do it the hard way, innit. Give me your phone and your money or I will stab you up, d’ya get me? I ain’t playin no games here, Blud. Heroes like you end up dead.’

Charlie, still smiling, and smelling the fear of the shadowy figure in front of him, reached into his tracksuit pocket and pulled out his wallet. Slowly, he held it out in front of him and opened it. He then pulled out the money that was in it. Three £20 notes and a tenner.

‘Look at that, there’s 70 sheets there.’

Charlie put the cash back into the wallet and then threw it down onto the ground in front of him, carefully dropping his phone on top of it.

‘There you go. That’s what you want, ain’t it? There’s my iPhone and my wallet containing 70 quid. Now bend down and pick it up.’

The two men stood facing each other in silence. One was smiling. One was shaking.

bus shelter


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