Just Act Normal

by John Killick

God was I hammered last night! What time is it? Cripes, 11:15 already Head hurts like a mad bastard. Mustn't have got back 'til about 3 this morning. And to think; I was going to go to A.A yesterday! That's a bloody joke! 'Was gonna...' Story of my romance with grog; always 'gonna' quit, but never get past 'gonna'.

Aaaggh.. Shit. Head really thumping like nothing else..Where'sa mirror? Must look like shit..Fuck! That's a doozy of a bruise. Lucky it's Sunday. No work. Got the afternoon and night to recover. Last night..where'd I end up? Started off at 'O'Shannon's', then met up with Dazza and Mick at 'Suzy Qs'; bit of dancing, seem to remember some nice skirt gyrating away in front of me..Oh yeah, then me and Dazza had a drunken argument 'bout nothing, think we 'exchanged pleasantries' (Did he give me this bruise? The prick!)...

What's that smell? Oh fuck-me! I puked all over my shirt last night. Gosh was I drilled, I diodn't even take off my puke-covered, blood-soaked clothes..Musta been the whiskey I had at the last place, some anonymous dive on the edge of the club zone; What was that rhyme that yank frat-boy used to tell us? 'Beer and then liquor, you'll be sicker'. Fuckin' oath. Then there was that wanker that picked a fight...Blood? Fuck. Lots of it, damn, on my pants and shirt, mixed in with the puke..

HOLY FUCK!!! I THINK I KILLED THAT PRICK!!!

Panic. Christ! Fuck. Shit! Jesus...That's right, bloke got in my face (he was pissed too), bitta' push and shove, both got tossed by the bouncer. Wanted to go home by then anyway, almost seeing double. Lurched off to a nearby alleyway, puked a bit and took a slash. And then, as I'm draining the lizard, the arsehole whacks me in the head from the side (Cue bruise). Then..well..fuck, then I just went apeshit.

I remember knocking him down, screaming at him, kicking him in the head..where're my shoes? Shit, yep, bloodstains. Next thing I was sitting on him, pummeling him relentlessly, his face a bloody pulp,. All my anger, all that seething rage, anger at Sarah, at my cunt-of-a-boss, at Dazz, at my-fuckin'-self let's be honest; It all just poured out of me, I couldn't control it. too bad forMr. Wrong place, wrong time'. I remember now, grabbing his head by his already bloody hair and banging it against the pavement, had to have been more than ten times. He became a limp, squelchy rag-doll beneath me as I struggled with my demons, After a time, even in my drunken haze I realized he was dead. I had killed him.

I jumped up and looked around, my realisation having a semi-sobering effect; no-one there, only a barely-conscious wino who would have trouble picking me out of a line-up comprised of only me and large zoo animals. I had no time to waste on him so I ryshed out of the alleyway (it was a dead-end, no pun intended!). Two people in front of me. A guy and a girl. I almost barrell in to them; the guy shouts 'Hey, Watch where you're fuckin' going!', no damage done, but as I run down the street I hear the chick pipe up I think that guy has blood on him, Gav!'

BITCH!!! How could she see that in a split-second on a poorly-lit street at 2:30 in the morning when all self-respecting people still on the street are drop-dead drunk?

O.K., O.K., calm down and just act normal. Get a grip - can't be helped. Gotta' think.. Clothes! Have to burn them. I pick up the shoes and socks and take off the blood-spattered, puke-encrusted shirt and jeans. The 'phone rings. It's fucking Dazza. Fuck that, all I need. I ignore it. Lucky I ditched him and Mick before I went and..before..that happened.

I stuff the soiled, incriminating clothes into a plastic bag; where am I gonna burn them? I know! The vacant lot up the street a bit. Should wait until dark. But what if the cops come before then? That bitch had the look of a 'good citizen' type who was sure to have gone to the cops about the blood-stained whirl that had almost knocked her and her guy flying.

The copswould have found the body by now, looked at the street-camera footage: I was running full-throttle, musta run home: It wouldn't take Sherlock Holmes to work out that the bloke bolting down the street in blood-stained clothing from the scene of the crime was a good suspect. They would pull all the surveillance footage from all the cameras in the surrounding streets and piece together a nice picture of me doing the 100-yard dash all the way to my place. They'd probably even have images of me going in to my building, as my street had a surveillance camera (It had helped catch the cunt who stole my car last year).

So, no time to waste: Gotta burn the clothes now. I've seen people doing burn-offs during the day before, no big drama. This was the inner-west, the cops were too busy raiding meth-labs to have time to bust people for breaking council ordinances. I have to put some other shit in with the bloody-clothes, old newspapers, magazines, even some other clothes I don't wear anymore. There we are; That's less conspicuous.

Right, I'm out the door, Let's get this done. I don my sunglasses (Head still throbbing like a son-of-a-bitch, don't fancy that bright mid-day sun). Get a text, from Dazza; 'Hi mate, Sorry about last nite..givus a call. Daz'. Bit late for that, fuckwit, Down the steps from my second-floor flat, and out the front door of my building. I run in to Mrs. Chang, 3rd Floor. 'Hi Sam' 'Hi Mrs. Chang' and I'm past her, oblivious to something she says after the greeting. Just act normal, Crap! A cop car!

What're the chances? Just two doors down from me, sitting there, engine idling. On a Sunday at noon. Don't they have a Police and Citizens BBQ to go to or something? Is this a co-incidence? Fat-bloody-chance (Be just my luck if Mrs. Chang has started cooking up meth in her bathtub, day after I..hem-haw..kill someone.

Don't look at them. But don't be too obvious in NOT looking at them. Just play it cool. Act normal. Did I act nervous when I saw them? The cop on the passenger side is looking at me. Shit, my hands are shaking..CALM DOWN! I half drop my bag. Now I start walking, away from the cop car. Opposite direction..Am I walking too quickly? Forget it! Just act casual. Just be normal. They aren't here for me, if they were, they'd say something to me. Keep wal-

'Hey mate!'. Fuck! It's passenger porker. I keep walking. Just act normal. They're talking to someone else.

'Mate, you, with the bag. Wait a sec', The engine starts humming. They're rolling up the street behind me. That bitch must have given a description and they're checking me out; she probably has a photographic memory..the cow ('And he's got a tiny mole on the lower left part of his face'). Add in the security cams, AND the bouncer and barman at that bloody bar got a really good look at ne, might even have seen my photo ID (The bar was not far at all from the alley).

No. They're on to me! Run!

Instinct takes over; self-preservation, fight-or-flight, whatever you wanna call it. I drop the bag and bolt. Where'm I going? Who knows? Anywhere away from the pigs. I hear the car-door open and light, quick footsteps as they (presumably passenger smurf) give chase; 'You! Hold it right there!'

I run even quicker, almost stumbling, sunnies fall to the ground, I see and hear the car draw up along side me as I reach the corner of my street and Smith St. I'll jump over the bloody thing if he tries to block my path.Then, 'WHAAMM!!!' A heavy weight crashes in to my back and knocks me down on to the ground. Passenger has dive-tackled me (grazing his arm badly in doing so). Just my luck: the cop chasing me moonlights as a Rugby League fullback.

Next thing I know, driver copper is out of the car and they hand-cuff me. Passenger says; 'Why did you run, mate?' I don't say anytjing. Then driver says to his pal; 'I'll go and get that bag he dropped'. Fuck! The game is well and truly up.

'So why'd you run, eh?' Passenger pig pulls me to my feet, I can now see his name badge 'Senior-Constable Fredericks'. Great; collared by Fred Flintstone. I'm guessing driver is P.C Rubble. I can see he's not gonna stop asking 'til he gets an answer, so I indulge him; 'You know why'.

'Fred' looks at me bemusedly and says: 'No, I have no bloody idea mate. Why don't you tell me?' I look at him with a smork. Stop playing games! Barney is jogging up to us now, my plastic bag in hand, excitement on his face.

- 'So why did you call out to me then?' Iquery Fred. (At this instant, I recall the bank robber Clint Eastwood used the first 'Do I feel lucky?' on in 'Dirty Harry': 'Hey! I gots 'ta know!'). A comforting thought occurs to me: at least in prison I can still watch the occasional movie, and I'll have plenty of time for weight-training.

Fred laughs (Prick!) and says; 'I just wanted to ask you where 174 Richards St. is. We couldn't find it' Oh My God! Tell me you're winding me up, please...

Barney speaks now, he can't contain homself any longer. 'Seior, there are what appear to be blood-stained clothes in the bag' They both fix their gaze on me. Fuck, they didn't know about last night after all.. I just had to act normal!

'How do you explain being in posession of these items, sir?' Fred's gone all 'The video camera's rolling, sarge' on me. I look at him, and then at Barney. They are expectant, they feel they've made an important bust. I'm beyond caring. I just have one question for them;

'Do they have an A.A fellowship in jail?'

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