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Just a job. (standard:drama, 1331 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: Nov 02 2008Views/Reads: 1828/1014Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Most days he was a grocer, but every now and then he performed a different occupation. he followed a family tradition.

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

fried sausages.  Shoes cleaned of scuff marks, and hunger satisfied, I 
leave the great station hall and enter the wintry streets of London. It 
is 7.40.  It is my habit to arrive at eight o'clock. 

The rain is turning to sleet, people are moving cautiously, leaning
forward, hats held fast with gloved hands, scarves covering misting 
mouths. Stray dogs shelter under barrows that are yet to be filled with 
produce. It's 7.45 as I buy my morning paper from a ruddy-cheeked, 
cloth-capped vendor. Not unfamiliar to me. He neatly folds the 
newspaper, which I push under my arm and signal a cab. The vendor 
offers a cheerfully voiced opinion. I've heard them all. Every one. 

The driver honks his horn and pulls away from the curbside. I open my
briefcase, and remove a small flask of whisky. The sensation of taste 
on my tongue teases the need for more, but I resist. I do it out of 
respect to my father and his once a day morning ritual, always just 
before eight, clear of his breath by nine. The warmth slides into my 
belly. I screw the lid back on and place it, reverently, back into the 

The headline of his newspaper is in large, ominous black print. 

‘No reprieve for Bentley.' 

I have my job still to do. 

As the cab comes to a halt, crowds cheer, some jeer, others are simply
cajoled, then persuaded with police batons to move away. away. I give 
the driver sixpence. He touches his cap in thanks. I stand for a moment 
beneath the gate, straightening my coat, looking up at the notice. 
‘H.M.P. Wandsworth' 

My assistant, Harry, greets me. ‘We still have it to do,' he says. 

At 8.45 The cell door is opened. I stand behind a burly guard, two more
at my rear and we enter.  Derek, clearly nervous and quiet, looked up 
at me from a bunk bed. 

The guard, not unkindly, asked Derek to stand, which he did without
hesitation. I put the pinioning-loop upon his wrists and suddenly made 
it tight. 

Quietly, reassuringly, I whisper to Derek to follow me. “Just follow me,
lad, everything will be alright.”  He looked his nineteen years. It is 

As my train rattles back to Bradford snow is falling heavily. I'm once
again absorbed in the game of wondering what people are thinking. Then, 
disturbed by the clattering of a train passing in the opposite 
direction, stirred from these thoughts, I open my briefcase, remove the 
chrome and leather bound whisky flask, and drink the remnants. 

Lying flat among the shoe cleaning materials, and the calf leather
strap, is a white cotton hood, some government papers, and fifteen 
guineas.  I place back my whiskey flask and Snap the briefcase clasps 
shut. I wonder, furtively, how business is at the shop. 


End note: 

Nearly 46 years after he was hanged for murder, Derek Bentley had his
conviction quashed at the Court of Appeal 

Albert Pierrepoint, the hangman, died in 1992. 


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