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Monday, 4 February 2013


The police station front-counter sergeant was sitting behind his desk, day-dreaming about his allotment. The noise of the automatic entrance doors opening brought his mind back to reality. He got up from his desk and went to the counter. Waiting for him the other side of it stood an unkempt, unshaven vagrant wearing a dirty, ripped army greatcoat. On his head was a maroon beret with a Parachute Regiment cap badge. A rusty shopping trolley full of what looked liked rubbish was parked beside the reception area chairs.

“Corporal Richards reporting Sergeant. I'm here for my debriefing after the skirmish on my patrol this morning.”

“What are you going on about old man? What the heck is that shopping trolley doing in my reception area?”

“That's all my kit in there. That's the easiest way to move it about as I can't carry it because of my spine problems.”

“Well I'm not having that filthy thing and rubbish in here; take it and yourself back outside and go away.”

“I can't leave it out there; someone will try and steal it again. That's what the two men tried to do this morning. I warned them not to but they didn't listen. They attacked me so I had to kill them to save myself.”

“What are you going on about? I don't have time to waste chatting to you. Now out you go.”

“I was on my daily patrol this morning going through an alley towards the common when I was confronted by two men wearing hoodies. They blocked my way and tried to steal my gear. I told them to clear off and let me pass – but they wouldn't. They each had a knife and tried to kill me – but I was too fast for them.”

“So you ran away from them and came here to waste my time complaining and boring me with your story.”

“No! I told you Sergeant; I killed them and I've reported here for my debriefing.”

“That's it I've had enough of your nonsense! Get yourself and your rubbish filled trolley out of my reception and my sight or I'll find something to arrest you for, and lock you up. Now move!”

Ex-corporal Richards lifted his right leg, bending it at the knee, moved it next to his left leg, slammed his foot to the ground. Standing at attention he shouted: “Yes Sergeant, right-away Sergeant.” He executed a smart military about-turn, collected his trolley, and marched out of the building at double-quick-time.

The sergeant returned to his desk and his day-dreaming.

Awhile later a telephone in the rear of the office started ringing. A Constable standing nearby lifted the receiver to answer the call: “Hello?” He listened to the voice at the other end of the connection for a few seconds and said: “OK I'll tell him,” and replaced the handset, ending the call.

“Hey sarge two bodies have been found in the alley that leads from the high street towards the common.”

© Elliot Sampford 2013

If you haven't already, you might like to read my other short story on this theme: 'Utrinque Paratus'


  1. Pays to listen, methinks. Enjoyed reading this, now I'm off to read more of your work.

    1. Hi Valerie,
      Thank you for your kind comment and for becoming one of my select few followers.


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