Sunday, 23 September 2012

Seventeen Seconds

(Seventeen Seconds - The Cure)

They timed it for the court case, from the CCTV taken inside the jewellers. Not the CCTV from me leaving the Tube station and walking to the shop, a patchwork of pictures taken from one camera here, another one there, joining together in one long panorama of me walking head down and fast. Not the CCTV from outside the jewellers, me spilling out through the door all arms and legs while shoppers stop in their tracks like the picture had been frozen, or the CCTV from above the office at the end of the street that silently watched me tear around the corner.

Not the CCTV from the shop in the next street that caught that quick moment when my hood was slipping back because I was running so fast and the black scarf fell down around my neck, and they had it, one still from half a second of footage. It was just a grainy snapshot of a face but it was enough for someone who knew me to make a phone call and that was that.

They played back the film from inside the jewellers, and they said it was seventeen seconds.

In through the door, hood almost down over my eyes, scarf pulled up to my nose, shotgun out from under my coat, screaming out to everyone to get down on the floor, screaming to scare them, screaming because I was terrified myself. Five seconds.

The manager coming out from behind the counter, brave or stupid or just sick because this was the fifth time for him. He shouted, red face. The woman customer on the floor gaped up at us both. Eleven seconds.

I lost my nerve, lost my will, turned to run. Twelve seconds.

He grabbed my shoulder and span me round. Thirteen seconds.

The gun fired. I didn't fire it. I didn't mean to fire it. I know it was my finger, but I didn't mean to fire it, I didn't fire it. The gun fired. Fourteen seconds.

I ran out of the door, all arms and legs while shoppers stopped in their tracks.

Seventeen seconds.

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