A JUMPER FOR CHRISTMAS
The wind blew over the North Bridge like a bastard. Whoever said Edinburgh could be a faithful mistress was talking pish.
'Where the fuck is he?' Detective Inspector Mickey Ridge said, giving up trying to light his cigarette.
'Over there,' DS Ian Robertson said, pointing to near the top of the road.
It was eerily quiet. Usually by the afternoon, there were arseholes all over the place, cutting off buses, running red lights, and competing to see who could kill the most pedestrians in the least amount of time. But Christmas Day was different.
A patrol car sat with its blue lights flashing at the top of the road, while uniforms stopped what little traffic there was from the Princes Street end.
'The jumper's name is James. James don't-call-me-Jimmy Pierson,' Robertson said.
'Could the prick not have chosen a fucking warmer day to go sky-diving?'
'He's holding his dog as well.'
'Fuck me, a window licker. Let's go and see the bastard then.'
The two detectives walked down the road. A uniformed officer was standing in the bus lane where normally he would have been splattered by a number 33 by now. 'What's the script here?' Ridge asked the officer. He wondered if he could retire early and fuck off to Miami or something. Anywhere to get away from this fucking December chill.
'He said if he sees another uniform, he'll fucking jump. Wants to talk to a detective.'
'I wish those fuckers would just take a bottle of pills and be done with it.'
'I'm sure the Evening News would love to publish that comment. "Police spokeman says jumpers are a pain in the hole",' Robertson said.
'Fuck 'em. I'm freezing my nuts off here because some fucking half-wit decides to take his dog sky-surfing.'
'You said sky-diving a minute ago.'
A box was laid against the side of the parapet. Did Jimmy put it there to climb over or did a uniform crew put it there? The fire brigade were standing by with their rock-climbing boys, the specialists who led the dozy bastards off Arthur's Seat who had got themselves stuck.
Ridge stood on the box and looked over the side. The wind blew over his shaved head. He wished he had a poofy haircut like Robertson at times, something to keep the chill off.
'So what's the score here, Jimmy?' Ridge said.
'My name's not Jimmy; it's James.'
Jimmy was holding onto a Jack Russel. The dog was shaking in his arms.
'So what's up Jimmy? Too big a line to get on the Ferris Wheel?' The Winter Wonderland had opened up for the Christmas Season, but today the fairground lay dead, the skating rink abandoned.
'You can fucking joke if you like, but I'm deadly serious here.'
Jimmy was dressed in a ragged pullover, dirty jeans and muddy shoes. His hair was being blown all over the place. The dog was wearing a harness and looked up at Ridge like it needed a pee. Or was about to shit itself.
'What's this all about, Jimmy?'
'My name's not Jimmy, it's James. And I'll tell you in good time.'
'You'll fucking well tell me now; I'm freezing my bollocks off here, and I've got a bottle of Becks sitting in the fridge with my name on it. So hurry up and tell me why you're fucking up my Christmas Day.'
'What, has the Police negotiator died or something? You the only one they could dig up at short notice?' He gritted his teeth at Ridge, his face trembling with cold and anger.
'Listen fuck face, you're getting yourself over this parapet in the next thirty seconds or you'll be the first man in history to have a Jack Russel surgical removed from his arsehole.'
'That's nice fucking talk.' He was bracing himself against the cold, concrete wall, but the ledge was wide, so Jimmy wasn't going anywhere fast.
'You got a problem, talk to me about it while I can still feel my balls,' Ridge said.
'That lassie they found in the harbour yesterday?'
'What about her?'
'I killed her. Cut her tits off and dumped her in the water.'
Ridge knew the tits thing was a detail the press had left out. 'Get over here and we'll talk.'
'They're going to stick me away for a long time for doing that to her. I'm not going to prison for that fuck. I didn't know what I was doing.' Then he smiled at Ridge, a dog-vomit kind of smile, full of teeth and lies. 'You're going to tell them I'm a nutter. That I wouldn't have been on this side of the bridge threatening to throw myself and my dog off if I was sane. You'll help me get a nice room in the psycho hospital or else I'll jump.'
Ridge looked back at Robertson. 'How old was that girl we found yesterday?'
He looked back down at Jimmy. 'Fuck you.'
'Yes you fucking well are, you cunt. Or else I'll come over there and stick you with the same blade I stuck her with.'
Ridge could see the blade in the front of his trousers, tucked into the waistband.
'Pull me fucking up now!' Jimmy snapped. He reached a hand up. Ridge reached down. Grabbed a hold of the dog's harness. Stepped down off the box as Jimmy's screams were cut short by the glass on the roof of Waverley Station.
'I missed the fucker's hand,' he said to Robertson. He passed the dog over to him.
BIO: Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, but now living in the Hudson Valley, in New York State. Alan has had stories published in Flashin In The Gutters, and Crime Scene Scotland, under the pen name John Carson. He is currently working on a novel.