Cambridge Circus

Never a dull moment, never a second where something doesn’t occur. This is what the twenty-four hour city means, life breathing constantly. Morning commuters rush to earn their daily wage, buses barrage through the day and taxi drivers bang their horns, demanding the right to the road. Tourists mill around Covent Garden, homeless seek a quiet doorway and revellers struggle with balance as they play cat and mouse with the early delivery men. Stand on the corner with smokers from the Cambridge and life passes you by. Black, green, blue, rich or poor, doesn’t matter how different, within seconds every face seen is forgotten, replaced by another; the perfect place to hide.

Le Carré would be proud. Perhaps I should dedicate this to the master of double cross. Who is outwitting who? I see my opposite, watching me. He thinks I haven’t noticed him but I’ve been round the block a few times, particularly this one. I know when someone is truly admiring the view and not just staring at street signs to avoid catching my eye. He was a classic grey raincoat, Trilby, a friendly face, Telegraph folded under his arm with yesterday’s headline. Just so I would know he’s the right man. We will approach each other on the crossing, not a glance to share. I will step in his way, as if by accident, just enough to be chest on chest, just enough for the cash to find one hand, and for the package the other. Only I have no intention of paying. Instead he will feel a small prick across his heart. Before he realises, I will be gone. Yes, Le Carré would be proud.

The clock on the building opposite strikes three as prescribed. I allow our eyes to connect across the street. He’s ready. I’m at the crossing, package in one hand, weapon in the other. One step onto the road A woman jogging, steps in front of me, knocking me off balance. Steadying myself, I see the man ahead has gone. My left hand is empty and there’s a warm wetness on my chest

As I fall to the street I know Le Carré would be proud.

© S.G.Norris