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Two Thousand and Tyranny

1000 word extract of a novel I began writing this year, based on the London riots,  Two Thousand and Tyranny.

6th August 2011

I flicked through my tattered notepad and tried to find her name. What was it? I had written it down yesterday and had painstakingly ensured her name was spelt correctly. There it was. Sumani Youlou Fransendger, age thirty-three and a protestor at Redham Court Flats last week. Pompous Paul had instructed me to find out all I could about her background as a protestor and find a creative way to angle “protester strapped to flats for three days, crumbles”. His eyebrows remained raised and pointed throughout the team meeting this morning.

For the past month of working at the paper, Paul had worn the exact same suit. His reliable grey pinstriped suit perfectly ironed with padded shoulders and no marks. He complemented this look with an off white shirt, black tie and impeccably shiny, grey snake-skin shoes. I imagined his wardrobe; identical outfits hung neatly from wooden hangers in chronological day order. Every day he manages to arrive ten minutes after everyone else: a Starbucks coffee in one hand, a briefcase in the other and always, without fail, a serious motionless face.

A distraught yell banished the images of my daunting news editor, snapping me back into reality and back within the walls of my red Fiesta. Outside Tottenham police station stood three figures in black surrounding a young, short male police officer. One of the trio, a girl easily identifiable by her curvaceous figure, was waving her arms frantically and her mouth was moving at an unimaginable speed. The other two were shifting from side to side and towering way above the police figure that now resembled a trembling mess.

In front of the station a huddle of protestors stood with banners offering support for Sumani. The older protestors in the group remained stationary clinging to their signs whilst the younger protestors reeled off numerous expletives and made disgruntled, animalistic noises.

The sound of screeching tyres came from a white Honda Civic that mounted the curb on the road opposite. Out of the front window a boy, no older than fourteen, stuck out his arm and chucked what seemed to look like a bright sparkler. I watched in horror as it fell in front of the young policeman and the trio scattered. An explosion of orange flames caught the officer’s trousers. Out of nowhere stones and bricks were being hurled at the front of the police station. Smashing of glass and cries of terror were the background noise to a high pitch alarm ringing indefinitely.

I froze. I was unsure whether to stay within the safety of my car or advance towards a scene of chaos and the unknown. Come on Joanna you need a good story after all. Breathe. I am a reporter, this is my job.

Reluctantly I grabbed my satchel and headed towards the station.

Everyone was shouting and screaming in hysteria. I could only just make out the police announcements. A tall rigid policeman was standing in the entrance of the station urging people to calm down. “Please stop your disorderly behaviour. We have called for backup and we will be arresting those of you involved. We urge those inflicting harm towards the station or our police officers to stop immediately.” From behind the megaphone a swarm of padded and protected officers appeared. The black bustle of bodies used clear plastic guards to rally the protestors back. A ragged boy started to provoke one of the officers, squaring up to the shield announcing his ‘fearless’ attitude.

What the… I became muddled in a massive group of hooded individuals that had moved backwards. I struggled to see anything apart from clothing and all I could smell was the stale stench of body odour. I involuntarily gagged. The shouting was deafening. A stone pounded my cheek and I could feel the gushing of blood running down my neck and seeping into my blouse. I touched my face feeling the warmth of the blood, my nerves began to tingle.

Fifteen minutes before. Tick tock.

I glanced down at my watch as it flashed 9:45am. I thought they would have called by now but maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

The smell was nauseating and I refrained from coughing. No doubt that would have made the two chuckle visions cohort in laughter.

“Oi James try this. It’s good shit.” Dan’s piercing red eyes stared intently into mine.

Mum had yelled and screamed at the top of her lungs to get them to stop but they hadn’t; nor would they ever listen to her anyway. They only cared about having a roof, food, alcohol and drugs. I wanted more than this. Leave this place and do better for myself.

“Nah, you’re alright, I’ve got these.” I lit a cigarette and inhaled the fumes slowly. The heat slowly crept down my throat and I shut my eyes. A buzzing sensation interrupted my thoughts. Private number.


“Hey is this James Greenmay?”


“It’s Andy from JTL. I was meant to call earlier but the missus broke down. Sorry. Well I was just calling to say well done and, well, we look forward to having you on the scheme.”


He laughed. “Don’t sound too shocked lad. You were one of the best candidates we’ve seen.”

“Well, I err, that’s great. Brilliant. I mean thanks.”

“Dickhead. Look at your rosy cheeks.”

“Awww, she’s blushing,” chortled Sam.

I ran on ahead: leaving the two idiots and the stench of marijuana far behind me.

“Sorry about that ermm.”

“No worries. Well if you’re available, say Monday next week, we can book you in for an initial test? For your entry-level.”

“Yeah I’m free Monday. What time?”

“Ten. If that’s not too early?”

“Yeah no, no, that’s fine.”

“Look forward to seeing you Monday James. Thanks.”

“Thanks. Bye.”

This is what I have been waiting for. I stopped myself from screaming out loud just as they appeared either side of me: punching my arms and beginning their usual daily ritual of abuse.

  1. emmaeagle
    December 1, 2012 at 7:33 AM

    Hi loved this please write more ….

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