Photo owned and copyrighted by Katie Johnson. Photo credit: https://katierenejohnson.com/
“And there, right there, is where we pulled a bum out. He was a popcicle before the sun went down.” Archie was getting on his nerves. “Over there, we found a couple, victims of a robbery gone bad.”
Jake knew the bridge had a history. He raised his left arm to point at a spot where the bridge cables met. “Is that covered by cameras? Where are they?”
“Ah, that isn’t really covered by the cameras well, see, over there, and there.” He pointed up the bridge ahead and swiveled back the way they came a short distance. Jake’s over coat flapped in the unpleasant breeze. It promised another cold night.
Low railings provided little protection from gravity. Gravity always won.
Archie smacked his gum. If there was one thing Jake hated, it was hearing other people chew on their food. Gum included.
Archie had the walk of a confident beat cop. slightly bouncing with each step. Overconfident whelp. He had no other training than what the police force gave him at his academy, and what pitiful training that was. he was sure that without his gun, Archie would not be able to fend off more than one untrained attacker at a time. Jake would have four, perhaps five alternate ways to deal with the attackers.
Training was everything. The sudden thump, thumping drew his attention. he reached for his concealed handgun at his side under his jacket almost before he knew it, and paused. a trio of children’s balloons had found their way up to the bridge and caught in the cables at the mercy of the wind.
“A bit jumpy there are we? Nah, there’s nothin’ here during the day to worry about. ‘cept maybe a few loud mouths. they’ll hurl insults, but we can’t touch ’em for that.”
“Do you never wish to instill some civility into their heads?” Jake wouldn’t allow that sort of behavior if he was in charge. the do-nothings would be put to work, even if it was to dig a ditch and fill it in again. The value of work had to be learned, and as of yet no one had taught most of these hooligans what it was. the self- worth it gave you.
Jake looked up and down the bridge again. Knots of people walked by engaged in their own lives. The fluffy red blue and gray coats on the people bundled up in the wind were perfect hiding places. Pistols, clubs, knives were the most common. Huh, even pepper spray is a weapon. but most thought of it as defense. So soft. the people go about their day and think they’re safe because that star lets them see a bit further into the shadows. The shadows can be closer than they ever thought possible.
“Tell me. How many pass over this bridge in day?” Jake posed the question with only passing curiosity. the number really didn’t matter, it was what drove the individual and how many individuals had parallel purposes.
“That depends on who you ask. Just cars, pedestrians, total of people in the cars and pedestrians, the number is always different. But up here, it should be somewhere…”
Jake stopped listening. It wasn’t really advised, since he could have learned something, but Archie’s accent was one that grated on people all over the world. people just did not like Americans, and Archie was proving why. “I see. And you are certain that there will be adequate coverage for the procession? My main force will be in front and behind, but I will need added forces. Her Ladyship will be most displeased if any harm comes to her or hers.”
“No worries cap. It’ll be all Bangers and Mash. That’s right isn’t it? Bangers and Mash. you peoples sure do talk funny don’t ‘cha. Well, listen. we’ve got it covered from here, you just do your thing down there, and we’ll do ours. no worries, mate.”
Jake didn’t think he could make it out of this stinking, refuse- filled city. Not with all of his intelligence still attached anyway. His hand twitched to the side holster again. Just too many ruffians in every corner, sucking intelligence like their fad of zombies.
A commotion from further down drew his attention. people in their puffy jackets scattered in front of one shambling man. Jake groaned. Maybe they would need to choose a different route after all. The shambling man drew closer. There’s something wrong with him. His skin is grey and is that teeth showing? Jake drew his pistol, instantly recognizing something was wrong.
The shambling man continued forward issuing hisses and gutteral noises. A zombie! in actual life! “Get behind me,” Jake commanded. “Get your people down here on the quick, this could be very bad.”
Archie slapped his hand down, “Put that away. It’s a zombie crawl. Or don’t they have any fun across the Pond? I don’t know why I got saddled with babysitting you foreigners. Guess I’m just a good guide.”