Betting on Amber | By Christopher Mooney
The shit-eating grin never left the fat fucking face as he wrote the ticket and gave me the lecture about it being better to get there late than not get there at all. I’d called it as a late yellow but the cop who pulled me over fifty metres down the road, lights flashing and sirens wailing, insisted it’d been red. An early red, he conceded, but a red nonetheless. I should’ve kept my mouth shut, but couldn’t help myself. Didn’t want to. Next thing I know he’s wanting me out from behind the wheel, demanding I open the boot. Oh fuck. Now I’d done it. It was all over the moment he saw inside: he knew the gloves and duct tape and length of rope were not for recreational use. Clasp your fingers together and put both hands behind your head. I wanted to tell him how incredible the hurt is. How before she left I didn’t know there could be that much of anything at the same time. But the words wouldn’t come. Now. Down. Down. Down. Down. I wanted to tell him it had only been a few short weeks since I started driving by her place with the headlights off and the engine rumbling low – probably just after I’d priced pistols at the pawn – but he really wasn’t interested. Cheeks against the concrete. I wanted to ask if he’d ever been in love – really in love – but couldn’t get a word out because he was kneeling on the back of my neck, shouting. Don’t you move you motherfucker or I’ll put a bullet in the back of your skull. He seemed to be a man of his word and I took that threat as a promise. I unclasped my fingers and began pulling myself up towards the sky, aiming for a standing position. There was a horrendous boom half-way, then the relief of dark nothingness.
Christopher P. Mooney was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1978. At various times in his life he has been a paperboy, a supermarket cashier, a shelf stacker, a barman, a cinema usher, a carpet fitter's labourer, a foreign-language assistant and a teacher. He currently lives and writes in someone else's small flat near London and his debut collection of short stories -Whisky for Breakfast- was published by Bridge House in November 2020 and is available now from wherever you get your books.