Free Stuff: Excerpts and Teasers.
We All Fall Down started as a short novella in an anthology along with six other stories. When I wrote the original story, my intention wasn’t to make it a long, drawn out episode. My hope was that it would be an engaging short story, and that would be the end of it.
But as is the want with these things, the story took on a life of its own, and due to space limitations in the original anthology, it wasn’t enough to hold the whole story, in order to do it justice. This is how the finale, came about. Yes, it has taken me far too long to set this in motion, but as happens, life gets in the way.
However, I am proud to say, that the story itself is finished, I’m revising in order to send it to my editor, and then it will be coming to you. I also hope to publish the first and second parts in one volume, for those that read it before, so both parts are in one volume, and also for people who like to hold a book in their hands.. (me).. so you’ll have both parts in print.
11:25a.m., 24th October 2005
“What’s it like, Jones?”
“What’s what like?”
“You know,” Doug glanced away into the bustling heart of the operations centre. “Marriage… kids… the whole works?”
Jones studied him, knowing there was more to it than just the question that rolled off his tongue. leaning back in his chair, he stretched long legs forward across the small space they shared. The grey, overcast morning had spat barely enough rain to soak the pavement, but it was chilly. An uncomfortable feeling similar to the one Jones had when speaking about his relationship with Val to Doug, or anyone for that matter.
It had nothing to do with him not being happy, he was ecstatic. Overjoyed in a way that he’d never thought he’d ever be. But intuition warned him be cautious, to keep his joy under wraps and to himself. With everything that had gone on over the last few months; the threat of Val’s ex and a gang, willing to murder and maim for the chance to take over the streets of London, made Jones feel very cautious.
So, if he didn’t answer Doug straight away, it was to make sure there wasn’t a dip in the noise outside of their cubicle. No one could be trusted. Especially when everything pointed to there being a mole. A snitch who didn’t care if a member of their own team was put out of commission. So Jones hesitated with good reason.
“Sorry, man,” Doug apologised, “I didn’t mean to ask such personal questions.”
Jones grunted, non committal.
“It’s just that,” he rubbed his broad chin, “this time last year, you were a miserable sod, getting yourself in trouble and me along with you.”
“Now…” Doug looked him up and down, “Now you have goals, drive, a sense of purpose and…” Doug scratched his nose, “a baby on the way.”
Jones couldn’t help the smile that lifted his cheeks and spread his mouth in a wide arc. His baby. His and Val’s. It didn’t matter that technically they weren’t married yet, or that Val was avoiding letting him tie that final knot. But that baby she was percolating changed everything. For him at least.
He took a quick glance at his watch, “Sorry, Dougie,” he said, “I can’t tell you what its like. You’ll just have to find someone stupid enough to take you on.”
Doug’s face wrinkled in annoyance. “Pillock! I ain’t that bad.”
Jones eased out of his seat, “Which is why there’s a hundred desperate women clamouring to make an honest man of you.” He slipped his jacket off the back of the chair.
Doug aimed his middle finger at Jones, “Spin on that.”
“As much as I’d like to, Dougie,” Jones moved to escape the cubicle, “but I have an appointment with a very pretty lady, who’s currently carrying my unborn child.” He twitched his brows, a smirk on his face.
He stepped past the boundary of the cubicle, breathing a sigh of relief that he’d escaped Doug’s questions.
“And just where the fuck do you think you’re going?”
Jones looked around at the bustling room and spotted D.C.I. Mackenzie coming towards him with a thick wad of papers in his hands.
Groaning, “Val has an appointment, Sir.”
“And she needs you to hold her hand?”
“Well, no,” Jones admitted, “but I did request the time off last week, sir.”
“Did you now?” D.C.I. Mackenzie gave him a withering glance before shaking the papers in his face. “Well, work in this department doesn’t stop just because you’ve finally got yourself a life.”
“Well, get back in there,” He waved the papers at Jones, and sidled in behind him. “I haven’t got all day either.”
Jones gritted teeth, already on edge with Doug’s too personal questions, and stood next to his desk. No matter what his chief said, he was going to that appointment with Val regardless.
At seven and a half months pregnant, it seemed his child wanted to make an appearance too early. Val had already been in hospital overnight due to severe Braxton Hicks, and he wasn’t taking any chances. Not with her. And not with his child. So whatever his miserable D.C.I. said, he was going to that appointment, or neither of them were going.
“Right,” D.C.I. Mackenzie said, “how come you haven’t caught these bastards yet?”
Doug looked at Jones as though he couldn’t believe his ears. It was hardly their fault the leaders of one of the most ruthless gangs they’d come across was still at large. And D.C.I. Mackenzie knew that.
“Sir,” Jones said, “we’ve been blocked at every angle.” He looked at Doug for confirmation.
“Every time we seem to get close,” Doug added, “we end up further away.”
“I don’t want to hear any of your shit excuses,” D.C.I. Mackenzie had gone red in the face, “I want these people off the streets!”
“And we would get them off the streets…” Jones drew a calming breath, adding quietly “If whoever is passing secrets over is stopped.”
“Are you accusing one of your own, Jones?”
“Someone who gives the enemy information that they shouldn’t have, is not ‘One of my own’, sir.”
“So, what the fuck are you saying then, Jones?”
He pushed a hand through his shoulder length hair, “What I’m saying, sir, is we need to find the mole, and bury him or her, for good.” He watched his bosses face as it turned a frightening shade of purple.
“Are you a fucking moron, Jones?”
He’d been called a lot of things, and most of them would be justified. But Jones knew what he knew. Someone on the inside was being paid off. And that someone was high enough to cover their tracks, and cover them too well for it to be a beat bobby. No, this turncoat bastard was up there holding office space, with enough clout to make the information he passed on, the evidence that went missing, and the false trails that had been passed on, worthwhile and meaningful. Jones knew that whoever the fuck it was, he’d have to expose them first, before he could tackle the real problem. Furthermore, he knew that time was running out.
“I don’t think that’s called for, sir,” Doug said, shock in his tone.
“Shut up you, unless you’ve got something of value to add?” D.C.I. Mackenzie turned on Doug swiftly, pinning him with his small eyes. “I didn’t think so.”
Jones leaned against the desk, squeezing the life out of his leather jacket.
“No more excuses,” D.C.I. Mackenzie pinned them both with a menacing stare. “I’ve got those uncooperative shits upstairs breathing down my neck, therefore, I’m turning the heat up on you too.”
Doug cast a quick glance at Jones, but neither chose to add anything to the conversation.
“I want results, within the week,” His thick jowls wobbled, “even if you have to pull it out your arses!” He threw the wad of paper on Doug’s desk and stomped out of the cubicle, screaming at detective Stein who’d almost run into him with a cup of hot coffee.
“What the fuck has crawled up his arse?” Doug looked at the sheaf of papers, bending to retrieve the few sheets that had fallen on the floor.
“I have no fucking idea,” Jones stood, “but I have an appointment with Val, and that fat bastard has made me late.” He flicked a glance at his watch. “I’ll be back when I’ve finished and taken Val home.” He reached into his pocket, pressing the speed dial number for Val. “Sorry, Dougie!”
“Yeah, whatever,” he shuffled the papers into a pile, “I’ll just start looking through these. Who know’s, we might actually find something useful.”
Jones grunted, marching out of the cubicle with this his phone pressed against his ear.