PC WAYNE WINTERBOTTOM
A fair-sized crowd gathered to watch me die.
This didn't surprise me. I believe we all possess a sadistic streak. In some of us it's buried deep down, so deep that the carrier is not even aware it's there. In others, such as myself, it's near the surface, just under the skin, so that the slightest scratch is enough to bring it out. Even now, in this so called civilised world we live in, I am positive a public execution would draw a decent audience, and I'm more than certain that if a couple of murderers were put in with a couple of lions, it would be a sell out.
Anyhow, agree with me or not, a fair-sized crowd gathered to watch me die.
It didn't take long for the word to get around that some loony was on top of the city's multi-storey car park, and it looked as if he were getting ready to jump.
Well, loony or not, I was up there, and I was getting ready to jump.
Time and time again, I've heard people who don't know any different, calling others who commit suicide, cowards. They're all wrong. Believe me. It takes a lot of raw courage and will-power to climb onto a ledge, god knows how many feet from the ground, and stand there looking down at the pavement far below. Somehow, in a perverse sort of way, it made me feel quite godlike. For the first time ever I was in total control of my own destiny. I felt exhilarated. As a rush of adrenalin surged through me I felt all the hairs on my body stand on end as if charged with electricity.
The time had come.
I spread my arms wide, took a deep breath, shut my eyes. I lifted my foot to step away from the building.
That's when I heard the shout over my shoulder. For a second I felt suspended in mid-air, just like one of those silly cartoon characters, then my arms circled crazily backwards and I crashed against the metal railing behind me, banging my head.
A policeman was standing just the other side of the safety barrier. A young policeman. With acne.
What on earth are you trying to do? I said. Give me a frigging heart attack? You could have killed me. I laughed. Even to my own ears it sounded like a madman laughing.
The policeman frowned. What's your name?
If you give me yours, I said, like a tetchy kid at school swapping football cards. I'll give you mine.
Wayne Winterbottom, he said. PC Wayne Winterbottom.
There was I, a forty-three year old bank manager on the brink of taking my own life, and the police force had sent a kid called Wayne Winterbottom to save me from damnation. A kid with acne. I started to laugh again.
I wish you wouldn't do that,he said.
I frowned. What?
Keep laughing like that.
I shrugged, got to my feet, rubbed the back of my head; I had hit it a good one when I had fallen backwards. One step and I was at the edge again. I leant forward and peered down. PC Wayne Winterbottom must have thought this was IT. He lunged across the safety barrier and grabbed hold of my jacket, pulling me towards him. I heard something rip. Then we were inches apart, his face in front of mine. I could feel his moist breath warm on my skin. A faint hint of juicy fruit chewing gum.
I burst into tears.
...TO BE CONTINUED...