Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Death by Cop

The other day, cop spotted a speeding motorcyclist, and decided he would nab this scurrying hero of the highway.

I gather the cop and the biker were facing opposite directions, and the cop's magical device told him that the motorcyclist was in a bit of a hurry.

The motorcyclist hadn't seen the cop on approach, because this minion of the law had taken a leaf from the Duke of Wellington's book: he'd hidden himself over the crest of a small hill. The enemy can't see you when there's a large lump of landscape in the way. The Duke hid his men so the French couldn't kill them. Our cops do it in order to help them apprehend vagabonds and miscreants.

Once the biker had zipped past... the rider no doubt thinking thoughts like "Whoopsy!" (you can tell I'm a fierce bearded road-warrior, can't you..) the cop decided to do a U Turn.

Remember, he was purposefully parked where oncoming traffic wouldn't be aware of him until too late.

Imagine the cop's surprise (not to mention job-satisfaction) when his car stopped a second speeding motorcyclist. Fatally, unfortunately.

Comment on t'media has been furious. I think the cop was acting like an idiot, and should at least have to face charges of dangerous driving, and preferably dangerous driving causing death. Some people point out that if the biker hadn't been speeding, then the cop wouldn't have pulled out to do a three-point U Turn. But I really don't think that any speeding offence is worthy of a death sentence.

LISTENING TO: Roxy Music, "India". No, I don't know why, and am about to go and gargle some sulphuric acid to make myself feel better. Whoopsy! Just changed it for Ryan Adams, "Rock and Roll". Much better.

READING: Neil Gaiman, "Neverwhere", the graphic novel version. Very, very, very good. Be a great movie. Be a bloody great movie. Has anyone told Terry Gilliam about it? (Now is where I read, tomorrow, that the movie's being released next week. It worked that way with Coraline, embarassingly..)

WATCHING: The Pacific. Good battles, well done. I thought they were over the top... then I went and Wikipedia'd Guadalcanal, and have found that, if anything, they've understated the carnage.

More Paper Heroes:

So be it, they thought. So be it.

3.17am, 27 February, 2001.

His vision is blurring, and he knows that loss of blood is close to making him black out. His hands flutter to the wheel, but the massive vehicle is running on autopilot, and flings itself into the Devil’s Bend. The twin Lycoming turbine engines howl behind him, and marbles of rubber spit from the tyres.
Two miles to go, then I’ll be home. Two miles, at 94 mph, that’s, god dammit, think. How long? Stay awake, stay alert.
His head is starting to nod. He won’t make it. Best to hit the distress signal, let Jenson and Sparrow know he was hurt. Autopilot will take you the rest…
No, not Sparrow. Sparrow’s dead, old man. Dead, No time for regrets now. Get back to the cave.
Blood is dripping from the cowl. Using his teeth, he fumbles a gauntlet off his fist, and pulls the cowl back.
An incarnadine river flows over his face. The thick taste of copper floods his mouth.
The cowl had been holding the blood in. Scalp wound only, they bleed a lot. God dammit. That’s not what’s causing this dizziness. It could be the arrow through the lung, or the mess that used to be a right foot. Christ. Autopilot’s on. Relax. Think, go back, go back over it all. Was there anything I could have done different?

They had come, fluttering in the night, their voices a million ultra-sonic squeaks in the cloud-strewn sky. His skin crawled a little under the poly-carb armour, and he wondered how much longer he could stay like this. He’s older now, too old, but no wiser. He still patrols every night. He still hangs from the sides of buildings, listening to the voices within, as they plot their intricate schemes. Damn them. Damn them all. Corporate theft was not only widespread, but encouraged. Damn this criminal fool in the White House, this new president, this bumbling fool who had crawled into office like a craven dog, who not only encourages this theft, but stimulates and legalises it.
Tonight, he’d heard one of New York’s richest men, a man with whom he might share a quiet drink at the Club during the day, a man who he might have called a friend, a trusted friend, and who, god dammit! God dammit! A man who was betraying the trust!
Clive Roberts IV owns and runs a multi-national company, with interests in high-tec weaponry, shipping, airlines, and, of course, the media.
This man, Clive Roberts IV, oh yes we can’t forget that Roman I V, can we Clive, employs over 70,000 people in the USA More than half that number were working right here in New York, and then there was the 90 or 100 thousand who worked offshore. We can almost excuse the sweatshop labour in Viet Nam, Thailand, Malaya, and Indonesia, can’t we, Clive: poorly paid and badly treated though they were, they were still better off than many of their fellow citizens. But not by much.
What strikes at the heart of the black-clad man is the fact that this friend had just admitted within range of a well-placed and well-hidden microphone that he was bilking his American workers of their pension funds. What does a man who has ready access to billions want with more millions? Crusader flicked at a moth fluttering in front of his eyes, and tried to control his anger. The moth flits away, and cracks against the sheer wall before coming back. Crusader’s sensors go to automatic, and his suit feeds him an alert. The moth is, God dammit, a bug! He’s been seen. He crawls rapidly up the wall, his progress followed by the tiny flying camera. It keeps well out of arm’s reach, and tracks his progress.


  1. Neverwhere was made into a TV series in Britain, apparently. A six-part sort of a thing. I haven't seen it, but I've got the book. You're right - brilliant. He's a genius.
    I've got his mini-novel Odd and the Frost Giants - Sonya sent it from the US for Theo's birthday. A chapter a night is a treat for us both. Will past it on when we're finished.