Life is funny in its small nuances.

Entertaining in its dark ironies.

Of course, you find nothing entertaining about your current situation, hanging over the edge of the railing with the Thames waiting hungrily for your departure. You know the Thames is brutally cold, know that your cock will crawl back in your body to flee from the ice be it you fall in.

But those guns...god, those guns.

Now shrouded in that ugly green blanket you stole from Eddy's during the stake-out, they do look rather plain, but beneath them you know very well there is a great and terrible beauty. The haggling rat in your blood demands you keep them...if not for yourself, then for future profit. You—Tom--know a deal when you see one. After haggling with Nick the fucking Bauble long enough, those guns should be yours. 200 pound for 'em. 200 pound.

Of course, it's not too much money–but the fact exists it still is money.

And money, at any time, is precious.

You give a glance to the left again, and the right. You're in the Docklands, yes, but that doesn't mean that cozzers won't be around to impound your arse if they find an excuse. And as it is, you are in a rather vulnerable position.

Ah, fuck it. If worse comes to wear, what the hell can they get you on?

You lean forward even more, fingers straining to reach the blanket and the prize beneath them, when there's a shifting in your pocket.


Yeah, it's not fancy. And yeah, it ways a ton and has caused nothing but grief for a good year.

But, like the guns, the piece-of-shit car, the stereos you sold to Nick, and everything else in your life, the mobile is money.

…and money--irrelevant to the price paid--is still money...

Now, you are in a predicament. In the current pose, looking for all the world like a fucking ballerina in "Swan Lake", you have a mobile very close to jumping its way out of the pocket and greeting the Thames, never to be seen again, and a set of guns that need to be taken back.

What evah to do?

Soap, in his strange, paranoid mind, would probably skitter back off the railing completely, asking himself why he ever even thought such an idiotic thing, and then would drive back home to his stable job with his stable life and that horrible looking pig's head on the cutting board.

Bacon would not care for money as Tom. In fact, he always hated that mobile, calling it at whenever possible chance a "crock-shit" ringer.

Naturally, now that we have taken those vital facts into store, we can predict what Bacon would do.

He'd grin, reach forward—glance down as the mobile flipped into the shimmering darkness below—and lunge for the guns. It would a long stretch, and Bacon would narrowly be missing a fall, but he'd get them. A quick jerk backwards, a drive home, and suddenly the bastard would be rich.

Eddy, the most calculating and clear-thinking of the three, would pause momentarily and pull himself back from over the bridge. He'd take the cell out of his pocket, and place it not-too-carefully on the cement floor, then would analyze the situation once again, eyes flickering before he'd make a decision.

Soap's choice would take ten seconds.

Bacon's? Thirty-seconds.

Eddy's? Five minutes.

They either went too fast or too long. You don't have time for either.

So what'll it be?

You inch backwards two feet, and slide one hand into a pocket. The cell phone awkwardly collapses into your grasp, and, seconds later, is clenched between the jaw clumsily, teeth pressing down on buttons and, in turn, causing beeps to sound from the inside of your head.

It is an awkward feeling, to say the least.

Shift forward, balance the gut on the railing. As your feet leave earth and thus gravity, vertigo ensues. You feel the mobile in your jaw shift slightly and clamp down.

Another beep.

Muscles strain as the one arm not anchored about the bridge tries to reach outward to grasp the blanket. Tendons tighten in the neck, and fingers shake with the exertion of the ever-awkward pose. You plead with yourself, with your lacking stamina, to hold on.

Two inches. Just two.

Mobile dials number four.

"Would you like to call this number?"

It is strange to have a real voice mutter inside your head, especially a robotic female one.

Go away…

The two inches become one. The one inch becomes half. Victory is now in sight and soon you'll have one hand on that blanket.

That's all you need. Just one hand. Just the satisfaction that you've got a grip on something ridiculously expensive, and for once it's not a prostitute.

The half inch is winding down. The shudder that had quarantined itself to the hand has now moved upwards, engulfing the arm like a virus. You bit down harder on the phone, ignoring the now aggravating woman yammering away inside your mouth, and try to shake off the pain.

Just a little more…

You slip, and surprised jerk forward, grunting along the way.

A hand bounces onto the blanket, and the arm wrapped around the railing loosens slightly.

Momentary disbelief ensues.

Well, then…

The left hand, perched ever-so-precariously on the green blanket, spiders itself up into a arched position and kicks at the blanket, scrambling for purchase.

Meanwhile the right hand—or arm, for that matter—screams of agony and harsh granite digging into the skin.

You block it out. Left hand has made landing and is not going to leave unless it has to. You must get those goddamn guns, come hell or high water.

The fingers search for something to grab onto has come up successful. The four inches curled up under the main fingers gets scrunched into the palm as the hand goes into grip-mode. You lean further off the railing and try not to look down at the Thames. Another flop of the left arm and a jerk. The four inches became eight inches, and now the guns, the guns themselves are no more than five inches away.

More scrunching, though it's more frantic now. Victory is in sight. Tom has triumphed over an inanimate problem and money is at hand. It's only another dangerous stretch and then bam; the guns are there, in your hand, feeling solid and heavy and—Jesus Christ—very real.

A momentary celebration follows. It lasts about three seconds before you realize that hey, you're over the Thames, you're cold and your right hand is slipping. So yeah, you have the guns, but now what?

The move to retreat must continue. Spine feeling as if it's going to snap, you try to worm your way backwards, but find that—with your hands full of some expensive guns and everything—you can't really get purchase unless you let go of something.

…and then the phone rings. The goddamn mobile, sitting uncomfortably in your mouth, has decided to extract its revenge. It's making you choose now, what is more important, and it's demanding that between you, the guns, the phone, and the grip on the railing, something's gotta give.


Now what?