Monday, 6 October 2008

The Offence

Detective Sergeant Johnson:

A man with a face, burned away, his face. Acid. They tied him to a chair. He knew, they thought he knew do with money, I don't remember. He was in this room, he had no face. I didn't know what to do, I didn't know how to make it stop - the pain, the screaming. I didn't know.

Red on white, Timmy Miles. The man had a thimble of pain, Timmy told us, for naughty boys the man said. But Timmy was a good boy. He did what the man told him to do. Filthy, obscene things, the man told him. Things...

He was well-spoken, posh, Timmy thought. Eight years old, blue eyes, fair hair, cut short, fresh complexion, wearing a school blazer with a badge on the breast pocket. Grey, grey trousers, white shirt, school tie. Timmy was missing for three days. The man had him for three days.

She was dead when we found her. She was dead. The wheels of the train had cut one leg off just above the knee. It was still there when we arrived beside the line. The girl was half a mile away. She crawled after the train cut... She crawled. God knows where she thought she was going, she didn't get there. 'Course she wanted to die, so...that was alright.

Now, she's dead. She went through the windscreen, bloke got the steering wheel. His mother said he just went up climbing after the cat and the railing just happened to be there when he fell, the bloke didn't know what he was doing.

He used twice too much jelly on the safe, painted the walls with himself and his mates, and the girl was pregnant and she wasn't married. Didn't have anyone, you know, to talk to. She went into the woods, deep into this wood, and hanged herself. That was in the winter, November they reckon sometime. We cut her down in March.

Running, burning streets. Burnt alleys, standing in doorways, dark corners, always night. No one there. Silent, empty, people dying. No one, bloody dying, no one. Oh, I've seen it.

Three weeks in the water, hung up on a branch, hidden under a bush. There wasn't a lot left. A baby, you could tell it was a baby, you couldn't tell much else. Fished it out, couldn't leave it there, leave to rot, go on rotting. Fished it out, no sweat, no fuss about the job. Plenty of things people have lost, thrown away...

(screenplay by John Hopkins)

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