Flash Fiction Friday – One Thousand

The Last Job

It was Oliver Twister’s last job. His family, those who were still speaking to him, thought he was going straight. Well robbing a betting shop was not theft, the punters had already given their money away.  His family and the probation officer thought he was clean and he was more or less, given that he could no longer afford to pay the drug dealers. Money was short; hence his latest plan. Nobody would stop him, who would risk their life to save the bookie’s money? Not that they would be risking their lives, but if they believed they were about to be shot or gassed they would flee the shop.

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It was Bill’s last visit to the betting shop, that’s what he had vowed to himself. He was supposed to ring his ‘Gamblers’ Anonymous Buddy’ if he got the urge. But this was not gambling, it was a certainty; he had followed the horse since she was a filly and everything was in her favour for the ‘three fifteen’ at Ascot. The jockey had notched up several wins with her, the wet weather made for the soft track that she loved and Ascot was her ‘lucky’ course. When Bill read in Racing Times that the favourite was out of the race with a tendon injury, he knew he must place one more bet.

17

It was Samuel’s first visit to ‘The Bookies’. He had won ten pounds when he bought himself a lottery ticket for his eighteenth birthday, that in itself had been an act of rebellion against his Exclusive Brethren parents. A bloke at work assured him this was a good omen and gave him an excellent tip for the ‘three fifteen’ at Ascot; there was no reason why his parents or the elders of the church should find out. The only problem that he could foresee was that he had not a clue how to place a bet. When he walked into the shop trying to look casual, the first person he saw behind the counter was Lara, the beautiful girl he had worshipped from afar when she was in upper sixth and he was in fifth year.

‘Is it young Sam? I bet you don’t recognise me,’ she trilled ‘don’t tell the elders you’ve seen me working here, my aunty goes to your church. I need a part time job, my student loan isn’t enough.’ She helped him place the bet. ‘Just in time, you can watch it live on the telly in five minutes.’

There was only one other customer in, who looked like a regular, but their cosy chat was suddenly interrupted.

The door burst open and a gun entered, followed by an outstretched arm belonging to a large man wearing a contraption on his face that looked like a gas mask. They could not hear properly what he said, but they got the general idea when he waved his gun at Lara and Samuel. As Lara screamed, another primeval cry came from Bill the regular punter. He launched himself at the masked man, catching him off balance, but it was not enough. For a split second Samuel was paralysed with fear, but he focused on the dangerously waving arm and pistol.

Somehow the robber was face down on the floor. The older punter was sitting on him and Samuel had the arm pinned to the floor.

‘Don’t touch the gun,’ said Bill ‘it might go off.’

Samuel knelt on the robber’s wrist to make sure the weapon stayed at floor level, pointing away from them. A muffled cry came from the robber.

‘Shall I press the alarm’ said Lara, rather belatedly.

‘Not yet love, the race starts in two minutes.’ Bill pressed down heavily on the robber’s shoulders. ‘Nobody robs our bookies, no one threatens our Lara.’ He felt like a cowboy.

A faint gurgle was the only reply.

It seemed a long wait till the race started, but in seconds it was over. Bill cheered, while a confused Samuel asked which horse had won. Lara pressed the button.

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The police were quick to arrive and Lara was thrilled to be surrounded by hunky officers, who seemed more interested in her welfare than the prisoner.

‘I pressed the alarm button straight away’ she said.

‘Well done.’ They turned to the men on the floor. ‘Okay chaps, don’t move till we’ve got the handcuffs on.’

The prisoner did not try to resist; when Bill and Samuel struggled to their feet the prisoner did not move at all. The officers turned him over and with difficulty removed the fake gas mask.

‘Bloody hell.’

Suddenly all hell did break loose, one officer was urgently calling on his radio for an ambulance, while the others whipped bits and pieces out of their first aid pouches. Something was put on the robber’s blue face and a policeman started blowing, while another pressed on his chest.

Just as Lara kissed Sam’s cheek to thank him for saving her life, he looked down at the body and realised the full implications. He fainted.

Bill raised his feet while Lara patted his cheek.

The paramedics shook their heads, but soon had the man on a stretcher with an oxygen mask where the gas mask had recently been.

As the sirens receded into the distance the remaining officers chatted for a few moments in a surprisingly light hearted manner. Bill thought he heard one say ‘Oliver Twister’s finally got his come-uppance then, he won’t be missed.’

They put on more serious expressions as they turned to the two men.

‘We have to arrest you for murder of course, but it seems like a clear cut case of self defence, the CCTV will prove you saved the young lady’s life. You don’t need to worry about being charged with murder.’

‘CCTV,’ groaned Bill ‘I’m not worried about the murder charge… my wife will kill me when she finds out where I’ve been.’

‘We won’t be on the news will we?’ said Samuel ‘How am I going to explain this to my parents and the elders?’

‘At least you both won some money’ said Lara sweetly.

 

 

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