Extract: A White Arrest by Ken Bruen

R&B they were called. If Chief Inspector Roberts was like the Rhythm, then Brant was the darkest Blues. Pig ignorant, more like, was also said.

On Robert’s desk was a phone, a family photo, a bronze and wood scroll, which read:

On Easter Monday 1901, the Rev. James Charmers stepped ashore on Goaribari Island, off the Southern Coast of New Guinea, intent on converting the islanders. The Goas ran down to meet him, clubbed him senseless, then they cut him into small pieces, boiled him and ate him that afternoon.

It was all you needed to know for police work, he said.

WPC Falls contemplated the sugared doughnut. It sat like a fat reprimand next to her coffee. Another WPC joined her, said: ‘Now. that’s temptation.’

‘Hiya, Rosie.’

‘Hiya-so, are you going to eat it?’

She didn’t know, said: ‘I dunno.’

Falls was the wet dream of the nick. Leastways, she hoped she was. A little over 5′ 6″, she was the loaded side of plump, but it suited her. Seeing her, the adjectives of ravishment sprang to mind: lush, ripe, buxom, available. The last in hopeful neon.

She gave a low laugh, lewd and knowing.

Rosie said: ‘What?’

‘You know Andrews?’

‘From Brixton nick?’

‘Yeah. him. I gave him the old con last night-you know the shit men believe.’

Rosie laughed, asked:

‘Not the “Sex has to be spiritual for a woman, she can’t just fuck and fly?”’

Falls was laughing out loud, into it now, the story carrying her.

‘Yeah, I explained how we have to be emotionally involved. The dim sod went for it completely.’

She took another wedge of the doughnut, let her eyes dance with sugared delight and went for the kill:

‘Worse — he believed me when I said size doesn’t matter.’

Rosie was trying not to laugh too loud. In a canteen full of men, women’s laughter was a downright threat. She held up her thumb and index finger, measuring off a quarter inch, asked: ‘Look familiar?’

Falls shrieked.

‘You had him too, wanton cow.’

‘Well, he was quick, I’ll say that for him.’

Falls shoved the remains of the doughnut to her, said: ‘Seeing as we’ve shared the little things…’

WPC Falls had curly hair, cut short in almost dyke style. It emphasised her dark eyes. A snub nose gave her an appearance of eagerness and a thin mouth saved her from outright prettiness. Her legs were her worst feature and a constant bane. Suddenly serious, she said:

‘I was thirty-two years of age before I realised that when my dad said, “I’ll kill myself and the girl with me”, that it wasn’t love-just drink talk.’

‘Is he still alive, your dad?’

‘Some days, but never on weekends.’

‘Sounds like my Jack. Ever since he got laid off he’s been legless.’

‘The stronger sex, eh?’

‘So they think.’

Rosie had what’s termed grateful looks. She was grateful if anybody looked. Few did, not even Jack.

Leroy Baker was a poor example of strength. As he did the fifth line of coke he roared: ‘Ar…gh…rr. Fuck!’

Then stomped his unlaced LA sneaker, adding: ‘That shit’s good.’

He surveyed his flat. Awash in everything that money could buy. Leroy had a mountain of cash. The drug business was flourishing and he felt a little tasting of the product couldn’t hurt, good for business in fact. That he was now hopelessly addicted got away from him.

He’d say: ‘Keeps me sharp-a man in de biz gotta stay focused.’

A pounding on his door failed to register at first. The cocaine pounding of his heart had deafened him. As the hinges gave way and the door moved, he started to pay attention. Then the door came in and four men charged into his domain. He had a vague impression of boiler suits and balaclavas but fixed on the bats-baseball bats.

It was the last focus he had.

Twenty minutes later he was dangling from a lamppost, his neck broken. A white placard round his neck proclaimed:

e is enough

Leroy was the first.

Down the street, a lone LA sneaker gave witness to the direction from which he’d been dragged. As the ‘E’ story built, it would be alleged one of the gang whistled as he worked. The tune suggested was ‘Leaning on a Lamppost at the Corner of the Street.’

Like so much to come it was shrouded in wish fulfilment and revulsion-the two essentials for maximum publicity.

More about A White Arrest

About Ken Bruen

Also by Ken Bruen (published by The Do-Not Press)

The Hackman Blues
Taming The Alien
The McDead
London Boulevard