Tuesday, 6 November 2012

190: On Guard

Phil took pride in his mirror-shined boots, polishing them for 20 minutes every day before work whilst he drank a mug of Tetley.  His father had shown him how to shine his boots when he was a boy and he never forgot, following the same routine now his father had done all those year before.  As an officer in the Territorial Army Phil had insisted his soldiers had gleaming boots for every set of manoeuvres and expected them to maintain the shine whatever the weather or the terrain.

His lads never let him down, much more than could be said for the shower SupaValu employed to guard this store.

According to the store manager none of them was senior to the others but Phil felt he was a natural leader amongst the store security team.  He helped with tweaks to rotas, posting advice on the staff board and offering words of advice to the younger guards.  Phil instigated shift handover procedures and encouraged the others to take part.  At least, he handed over to them in a fulsome manner.

From the front of the store Phil could see the car park, the shop floor and the checkout area.  He had a strategy for each area, optimal positions for viewing each location and an emergency plan for, well for emergencies.  Soon there would be the chance to launch his plan and there might even be a promotion in it.  Phil patted his breast-pocket, making sure the folded sheet of A4 with instructions hand-written in small capitals was still there.

The youth in the blue hoodie and jeans wasn’t yet anywhere near to causing an emergency situation but Phil had him on his radar.  His face had that ‘trying to look casual’ air to he as fingered items he had no intention of buying.  He should be in school this time of day too, which made him stand out even more.  And that red baseball cap, hardly blending in.  Phil was tempted to take him to one side and explain the principles of camouflage to him.  Guys like this made his job too simple.

Phil kept to the lower half of the aisle as the boy sidled up to the display of Kindles.  He watched as the boy played with the buttons, tapped and poked and lifted it up seeming to judge the weight in his hand.  He put it down and walked on a little way, lifting and touching various items, still feigning innocence.  Phil felt sure he was about to make a move and take something, one of the readers probably but maybe something else he could sell quickly.

Outside the main door a car zoomed past, tyres screeching audible well inside the store.  Phil caught a glimpse of red streaking in front of the windows and turned to see a car driving well above the displayed speed limit.  He rushed towards the door and watched the car drive slap bang into a blue car reversing out of a parking bay.  Phil took a little black notebook from his breast pocket and wrote the pertinent details down.  Time, weather conditions, registration numbers, fault and blame, what he saw, other possible witnesses, what he had been doing immediately before…

Remembering the boy in the blue hoodie, Phil rushed back inside, unsurprised to find the boy was nowhere to be seen.  Torn between hunting for the boy in the store and the chance to take control of a level 2 emergency situation, Phil chose the car park option.  It wasn’t as if he had seen the boy take anything, after all.

Taking one last look towards the Kindles as he rubbed the toes of his boots on the backs of his trousers legs buffing the shine a little more, Phil walked out of the store with purpose and headed for the scene of the traffic accident.

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