Hero

In my area we have this little corner shop come post office, you know the one, where the local centre it’s in, used to have separate shops for everything, a butchers, news agent, grocer, post office and pub. Then Tesco came along and wiped out most small businesses in a 30 mile radius, like some kind of nuclear blast. These areas then had to shut nearly everything except one shop. If they were really lucky then they got left with a shop and a pub. So the ‘local shop’ was born- a scaled down supermarket with higher prices and a funny smell throughout. Some of them, like the one I was in had little wooden shacks erected inside to act as post offices to dish out the dole money and pensions to the local work shy and coffin dodgers.

I’m just a regular working guy, skint like everyone else at the moment, I don’t earn much and they had cut my hours at the factory so about a year ago I’m stood in the queue for the post office waiting to send off some of my unwanted tat to some idiot off the Internet, minding my own, being patent, tasting the air that sort of thing when in comes some trampy looking guy from the estate. Simon was his name. He lives in the flats near the main road- everyone knows he’s a smack head.

First of all he just goes behind the counter and starts necking the vodka off the shelf, until ‘, Devina the owner, manages to push him to the floor. I’m just watching the show at this point not getting involved when suddenly Simon is shouting out that his back and neck hurt from the floor, Devina’s claiming she never pushed him, that he fell when two young scoundrels from the estate run in and go straight behind the counter where the two tills are and reach around the back and pop the drawer open.

Sneaky fuckers, I think to myself, Where’d they learn how to do things like that? I’ve never seen it on the TV.

Simon is still on the floor and as Devina heads for the lads, he grabs her legs. It don’t matter anyway as they have emptied the tills of all the notes and start running over towards the post office lean to, the bigger of the two just does a running jump at the door of the structure shaking it like jelly there’s a lot of panicking in the queue, the woman in front of me starts crying, the woman in front of her is looking to the ceiling and praying in a language which isn’t one of the two I speak, English or Bullshit.

I was a little scared if I’m honest. I challenge any man reading this to say he wouldn’t be with all the banging, shouting and panic going on around him.

The first thought that goes through my mind is run off and sod everyone else but something inside me stops the almost instinctive movement that I can feel about to burst into life. Then the thoughts came, I’ve always wanted to be someone. Not super rich or harassed in the street, famous or anything, just… Someone, you know?  Have people nod at you out of respect, talk about you in a nice, respectful way when you’re out the room, remember you when your gone,that sorta thing.

This is probably why I did what I did, why I risked being on this earth, why I risked never seeing my mum again, never feeling the joy that being a father brings, never being able to shout abuse randomly and without retribution in the street as a pensioner.

I checked the door there were no other members of this outfit blocking the door. Then something inside me, call it bravery or stupidity, made me dig my heels in,against my own plans. I looked about for a weapon ‘Ah ha ha,’ I say excitedly and grab a tin of mixed veg.
Before I know what I’m doing I’ve hurled the bomb of canned goods at the two likely lads who are kicking the door and screaming at Devina’s husband, Tufan on the other side to ‘Open the fucking door you cunt.’

The tins miss, pound against the thick plastic front and make the lads turn their ADHD towards me.

‘You fucking want some mate?’ the Ginger one with a lame eye shouts across.

‘Err,’ I reply. I mean what do you say to that? In that situation! It’s gotta be only nutters that turn round and say “Yeah, alright mate. I’ll have some.” That just sounds bent.

I opt for launching a few more tins all of which miss the mark but do cause most of the people in front of me drop to the floor as the lads start hurling them back, knocking things of the shelves all around us.

“Stop it,” one older lady is says scared out her wits from near my feet.

Just then one of their cans catches me right between the tit and shoulder blade. Arrrgh! That fucking smarts.

It isn’t my throwing arm though so I just continue to belt tins at the two perps.

It seems both of their attentions are focused on taking me down now, rather than kicking fuck out of the poor excuse for a post office employee.

‘Yea blud, you step to us your going get messed up,’ the boss eyed one shouts at me, the cock behind starts heading my way “You want some? You fucking want some,” he says moving closer with his arms outstretched, leaving himself wide open and much closer.

WHACK! A tin smacks him right on the forehead and he goes down.

‘Aha! Got him!’ I yell forgetting I am in the middle of a robbery and not at
a funfair.

I feel like doing a little dance and picking the granny up off the floor in front of me and kissing her in celebration. My elation is short lived though as I feel an almighty pain in my right ankle. I look down and Simon is fucking biting me. Arrrrgh!
‘Get off you stinking junkie,’ I shout down at him, he doesn’t listen so is rewarded him with not one but two tins to the side of the face leaving him out cold, bleeding on the floor next to the granny.

I look up and the other assailant is just standing like a rabbit in the headlights. I’m just weighing up what to do now, sit down and cry from the pain in the leg or just keep pelting these tin grenades. I chose the later and just kept hurling them ‘BANG BANG BANG,’ they go as they all miss and hit the Perspex safety glass. They are having the right effect though, as he looks like he is going to cry. ‘Your out your league son, just give it up and get on the floor’ I order him.

“No you’ll knock me out with a can if I do that,” he shouts back, guessing my plan.

‘Well you’ll save yourself the fall then, won’t you’ I say in mocked tones as I lob one more, aiming for the Perspex this time just to create a bit more panic in him. DUF!

‘Fucking hell mate, leave it out, I surrender, OK?’

This is where it all went pear shaped, I showed weakness, I’m not one for watching someone suffer and as I looked at the fear in his eyes, I crumbled inside and came down off whatever adrenaline high I had been on, chucking the tins.

I put the tin I had been gripping tightly in my hands down and started to approach him.

‘Call the police will you,’ I shouted over to Devina.

‘Already pressed the button’ she replies smugly.

I approached the robber, who looks no more than sixteen god knows what I thought I was going to do when I got there, hold him down or something but it didn’t get that far.

I was so pleased with myself for stopping the robbery single-handedly that I didn’t see the knife he pulled out until it was well on it’s way towards my gut.
I don’t know why but I put my hands over my stomach to block it. I think it was just a knee jerk reaction. The first bow hit my wrist which made my hands, which by now had a mind of their own, move away, I didn’t have time before the next thrust got me in the stomach, I felt an awful pain instantly.

I’ve seen on crime watch that some people think a stabbing feels just like a punch but not in my case, it fucking hurt like a punch on the outside and a hot sharp thing cutting open my stomach lining on the inside. I started falling as soon as the knife came out, I didn’t have much time to think before the next few digs went in and out my left arm.

I was on the deck by the time the stabbing stopped. I had eight wounds in total.

After the only surviving member of the gang had had it away Devina came over and asked me if I was Ok.

“Not really girl, I’m in a bad way,” I reply. That is the last thing I remember before I blacked out.

The police dragged Simon and the ginger from the scene, as they hadn’t stirred from their snooze by the time they’d arrived. I think Devina’s or Tufan had given their bollocks a good stamping while they were out cold, the court papers stated they had injuries there too and I know I wasn’t that my aim with the tins wasn’t that good. Sadly.

Devina had tried her best to stop the bleeding before the ambulance crew arrived with towels but wasn’t able to stop the stomach wound and I had to take a fast trip in the back of an ambulance, which I can tell you now is not ascomfortable as it looks on the TV I lost 5 pints of blood that day in total.

I stayed in hospital for a week in total. I’m told on the first day Simon and the ginger were in the same ward both cuffed to their beds.

It’s funny I never thought at the time I might die. I haven’t since although the nightmares still scare the shit out of me.

The hospital told me this would happen, post traumatic stress they call it. It took 6 months for the case to go to court, with my statement and witness testimony and of course the CCTV, Simon got three years, Mikey, the one who made it away, got 7 for attempted robbery and attempted murder and the ginger got 4 for attempted robbery.

Me? I got 6 months off work, post traumatic stress, negative feedback off the buyer of the item I was posting that day and my name remembered from Devina and her husband every time I go in their shop now.

The best thing that came out of it though was the newspaper article. It read
“HERO STOPS ARMED ROBBERS” Yeah I was publicly named as a hero.

Just what I always wanted.

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