DCI Moses Waif was the commander of a crack police specialist firearms and hostage situations unit. “I am the commander of a crack police specialist firearms and hostage situations unit” he told the reflection in his bathroom mirror as he stood flicking the floss in and out of the gaps between his unruly teeth. He raised his left eyebrow and the corner of his mouth exactly 25 degrees (he had measured) and held them in place until he felt his cheek beginning to cramp. This was ‘triumphant glare number 5’ - it made him look steely and magnificent. “I like it” he told his reflection and his reflection liked it back. He was on the top of his game.
He entered his kitchen which was glutted with child related ephemera and picked his way to the best chance of sitting down the room had to offer, the top of an upturned filing cabinet. All chair related surfaces had long ago been mandated for nappies - unused, ancient, full and any combination of the three. His two year old son Noah paused from his routine of throwing all food items from his high chair and then screaming for them to be returned to dissect the man who purported to be his father with his blue-gray stare.
Moses sat down and excavated an inadequately small landing area for his cereal bowl in a table that groaned under the weight of every cooking utensil and receptacle he and his wife had ever possessed, each one more besmirched / debased with the remnants of cooking disasters past and present.
Moses tried the ‘triumphant glare number 5’ on his son - a ray of sunlight played through the kitchen window and illuminated his face and he imagined that it made each feature effervesce.
"I told you not to do that with your face it scares the shit out of him" snorted
his wife, Charon as she blurred through the tiny room on the way to clean baby sick off her baby sick coloured blouse.
Moses searched his sons features but he stubbornly refused to resemble him in any way.
Minnow their opulently disgruntled au-pair lurched into the kitchen, opened the fridge, took out the last carton of milk, drank it from the carton, swirled around the remaining dregs, drained these, held the carton up to the light to make certain that what remained was so insubstantial that it would prove insufficient to extract even the smallest essence of the DNA of the donating cow and put the empty carton back into the fridge.
Minnow was of indeterminate gender (it stated this on his/her application form for the job) and had a physique which was both, in parts, obese and anorexically thin. It wore a kimono which and nothing else which was often left alarmingly agape. Moses had never glimpsed the undercarriage which lay below, he feared it too much.
“What about a little bit of cleaning in here?” Moses asked with forced joviality.
Minnow stopped in the midst of a rapid flounce back in the direction of his/her room and launched her pupils into the roof of her head as if they were two tiny spacecraft. The following conversation was conducted with her back to Moses.
“What do you clean?” demanded Moses surveying a kitchen which appeared to showcase the total collapse of western civilization.
“I clin dis” Minnow held up a single mug - his/her mug which contained a drink which he/she made every morning and every evening that was of a greenish brown hue and was almost certainly toxic to humans.
“It’s true” intervened Moses’ wife now in another, different baby sick coloured suit - have a look at it - “that cup has been cleaned to a sub atomic level”.
“And I clean dis” Minnow whisked up his/her kimono exposing an arse which glinted in the morning haze and exited the room.
Moses looked despairingly at his wife as she skimmed past him with her work case under one arm and a large pile of school exercise books against her right hip.
“If you want to change au-pairs again Moses you will have to sack this one - good luck with that - advertise for a new one and interview them - I haven’t got time - I have to leave for school right now.”
He looked at Noah who was munching down on a huge rusk with stoic determination. “Tell mummy what daddy does for a job Noah.”
Noah’s eye’s brimmed with joy, he stopped mid chomp, put down the rusk carefully into a lake of dribble and rusk effluent - this was the thing he did for daddy and he was proud of it.
“You de the colander of a crap piece of special flying pants and a ghosty station”
“Fuck me our kid’s a genius - shall we call the Times” shouted Charon from the depths of their walk in fridge.
“I don’t see why it always has to be me who has to take time off work.”
“It’s not as if you do anything important Moses - I mean shouting through a loud hailer, the occasional bit of ducking and shooting, anyone could do it.”
“Shooting people is important Charon, especially if you’re the person getting shot.”
“Yes yes, as I say, all very interesting but what do you actually achieve?”
“I negotiate with armed kidnappers in high pressure scenario’s, I free hostages, I save lives, I make a difference.”
“And when’s the last time you managed to do any of that? I thought your record this year was three sieges - no-one saved, everyone dead.As I say, anyone can do that. You want to try explaining to a class of rapacious 10 year olds about why they should stop trying to set light to their Geography teacher and come back to school to learn French - that’s pressure sunshine, not indiscriminately wiping out half of North London with big boy’s guns.”
Moses’ mobile rang - a call from DCI Minerva and he was relieved to bring yet another one sided argument with the most frightening woman in the world to an end.
“We’ve got a rogue policeman Waif - he’s already killed a bank robber, a junior officer and a headmaster. We need you to flush him out before the situation escalates. He’s armed and he’s wounded and he’s the size of a bus.”
“I’m leaving now sir” Moses assumed his -’I’m on or life or death mission’ expression and stood up hurriedly.
“Oh and Waif, try not to kill everyone this time.”
Moses put on his bullet proof jacket and strode purposefully toward the door, his mind already awash with tactical stratagems and manpower synergies - he was a world beater.
“Where the fuck to do you think you’re going?” Charon was suited and held a case brimming with exam papers.
“I’ve got to go - there’s a situation that needs my tactical assault team.”
“Not before you empty the dishwasher and change Noah.”
“Charon, there’s an armed maniac at large and a police SWAT team on it’s way too..”
“Yes well thats all very interesting but I’m sure whoever he is, he won’t mind waiting a few minutes while you fulfill your responsibilities as a father and husband.” With this she gave him the kind of look which Medusa was employing a couple of thousand years ago to turn men to stone, ruffled his hair, kissed Noah and strode out of the house.
It is difficult to really appreciate the finer points of a meal consisting of a 36 piece Chinese feast, a family sized quatro fromagio pizza and a whole Tandoori chicken when you are bleeding to death. It was not that M had lost his galactic appetite it was more that food which is covered in your own blood all tastes the same after a while.
M had tried to patch his wounds with the tiny sticking plasters which he had found at the back of his bathroom cabinet but after experimenting with other objects, found that the only effective method of staunching the flow was gaffer taping half a dozen copies of Playboy over the entry sites.
He sat in his favoured green velour armchair and turned the gun over and over in his hands. Its cold weight was reassuring. He pointed the gun at the front door and dug around in the allotment of his memories to unearth Daniel’s face, but he could not retrieve it. He could not remember the face of his son and he needed to remember it if he was going to erase it and him forever.