Fandom: Life on Mars
Rating: Green Cortina, for swearing and blood
Word Count: 880 approx
Written for the Time Limit Challenge on 1973FlashFic The usual thanks to my beta jinxed100
Sam looked in Gene’s fridge and sighed. In 2006, in his shiny kitchen, everything had been organised. Packets were arranged so that they were either finished by their “use by” date or disposed of. Nothing that had been opened was kept in his fridge for longer than three days. Method and order were everywhere. Gene’s view seemed to be that if it hadn’t grown legs and walked out of its own accord then it was still edible, you just needed to cut the furry bits off.
“You should have died of food poisoning by now,” he remarked as he picked up a half empty bottle of milk. “There’s a limit to how long you can keep food, you know.”
He poured the milk into the two mugs of tea and watched as large white lumps floated to the top. “And this milk has definitely passed its limit. I’ll make some more tea.”
“You can’t keep him any longer.”
“You haven’t charged him and you can’t detain him any longer.”
“Okay, so I’ll charge him.”
“What with? You’ve no evidence.”
“How about that theft at the museum? You’ve been on at me to do something about that for days.”
“How does that help?”
“We’ll need to detain him while we search his house. He might have the head off one of them assy things – they’re dangerous weapons.”
“You mean assegais and I don’t think the local museum had any African artefacts.”
“All right – a pike then.”
“And he smuggled it out under his coat?”
“Why are you such a picky pain? All I want to do is keep him in for a bit longer, so that his mate has to make a move and we can nab him.”
“I still say you can’t keep him.”
“Keep this up for much longer, Gladys, and we’ll have spent so much time arguing I won’t need to think of a reason to keep him.”
Sam looked at his watch. Still no sign of Gene and the others. If he waited much longer there was a risk that the gang would disperse and they’d never be able to catch them all. He’d told Phyllis it was urgent and she’d said she’d pass the message on. No doubt they’d decided to finish whatever they were doing – probably filling in the pools – before coming out.
He glanced again at his watch. He’d have to risk it; if he was careful he should be able to overhear them and at least he’d have an idea of where they were going.
Sam crept into the warehouse. He could just make out the murmur of voices. He took a few tentative steps towards them and trod on a creaking plank.
“Shit. There’s someone out there. Right, let’s split.” The gang leader wasn’t going to hang around now. Four men ran towards the outside door, the last one taking a pot shot in Sam’s general direction. As they emerged they heard the screaming of tyres as three police cars drew up.
Gene jumped out of the Cortina. “Ray, get this lot into custody. Now, where the bloody hell is Tyler?”
Since Sam didn’t emerge, Gene reasoned that he must still be in the warehouse and went to have a look. On entering he found his DI sitting on the floor holding his shoulder, with blood dripping past his fingers.
“Playing the bloody hero again? You should have waited.”
“Where the hell have you been? I waited as long as I could.”
“Lorry jack knifed on the main road. Had to take the back route. When will you learn to trust my timing?”
Gene would have continued his lecture, but at that moment Sam slipped sideways. His hand fell away from his shoulder exposing the hole made by the gunshot.
“Okay, let’s get you to hospital. I’ll finish this some other time.”
Sam woke up with a throbbing pain in his shoulder. He couldn’t see the clock from where he was lying, but from the sunlight coming through the curtains he knew it was quite late. He debated whether to try to get up, but quickly discovered that any movement made his shoulder hurt even more. He lay still and listened to the sounds of Gene’s footsteps coming up the stairs, combined with what sounded like crockery. He hoped this meant that for once it was his turn to have a cup of tea in bed.
Gene entered the bedroom triumphantly carrying a tray.
“Breakfast in bed,” he announced. “Tea, cereal and I’ve even brought you some orange juice since you like that sort of healthy rubbish. And don’t worry, milk’s fresh – the milkman left it this morning.”
Sam tried to move and groaned.
“That’s what else I’ve brought you – pain killers and a sling.” Gene helped him sit up, gave him the tablets and expertly tied the sling. “If I’d known you were awake I’d have done you a fry up, but I wasn’t going to waste my efforts on a sleeping beauty.”
Sam smiled weakly. “This is all I want, thank you.”
“Good. And unless you wish to disagree with the Gene Genie in your usual contrary fashion, I suggest we spend the day quietly at home.”
Sam’s smile grew brighter, “That’s fine by me. We have all the time in the world.”