Occupational Hazard

Lots of teenagers have part time jobs right? Well, so does Casey. Only hers is different, exciting...dangerous. Living in constant danger has built her a hard exterior and moving around with different identities each time has made her secluded from people her age. But when she moves to London something changes. She makes friends and meets Nathan. For the first time she'll have to make a decision. Can she let go? Can she let her heart rule her head for once?

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1. The Boot

I’m in the boot of a car. A small green Ford Fiesta Freestyle with the number plate NY15 ORB to be exact, but the details are irrelevant right now. Don’t ask why I’m in the boot of this really quite cramped car, it’s a long story. On second thoughts, the rest of this tale won’t make a lot of sense if I don’t explain why I’m handcuffed and in the boot of this stupidly small car…

It all started when I was around 13. It must be said I was having a pre-teen crisis at this point in my life. My foster family had just decided they couldn’t cope with me so I was back in the social services cycle with nobody to turn to and I was bored. I had a nice little business at my school where I would lift some sweets and snacks from various shops round Middlesbrough and then sell them to the kids for less than the vending machine. I’d earned myself a bit of cash when a weedy little kid grassed on me. I got him back with a broken nose and three broken ribs which he then grassed about again. This was why I was stood in the police station with my flummoxed social worker in front of some bemused policeman explaining that I was doing the shopkeeper a favour.  He spent most of his money on his 20-year-younger-than-him girlfriend who was also cheating on him. “You’d be a much better alibi than an enemy,” was the policeman’s only comment which only further aggravated my stressing social worker. He told my social worker to “go and get some air” so that he could have a chat with me.

“You’re a bright kid you know, if you put your mind to your school work...” I cut him off; I’d heard it all before.

“Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard this a million times. Can you not just say what’s going to happen to me now?” He smiled.

 “I’m willing to let this go without involving the courts”. I frowned, waiting for him to laugh and tell me he was kidding. After a few minutes of awkward silence I realised he wasn’t going to.

“Uh, thanks,” I muttered.

“But you still have to pay back the shopkeepers and apologise to that kid you beat up, you’ve got an impressive punch there,”

“Uh, thanks?” I muttered again, this time a little unsure what to make of that comment.

“I want to make proper use of your talents,” Now I was a little creeped out, he seemed to notice. “Nothing weird,” he tried to find the right words “Like an athlete, you have potential in martial arts and the way you think it’s quite unique,”

“Huh?”

“Don’t say anything right now, take this card, turn up at the RAF training base at 7.30 on Wednesday” and with that he left the office leaving me to think about the conversation.

I turned up to the airfield that day and experienced a new feeling, nerves, but it went OK. The policeman turned out to be the leader of the North Yorkshire Cadets. I progressed quickly, it was just army-based training and not too difficult as I was athletic and knew a lot about survival and combat. I’d been in enough fights and the survival was basic when you’ve run away as many times as me. The only thing I struggled with was the discipline. I hated being told what to do. The policeman turned out to be called Grant and within a few months I’d paid the shopkeepers back and the weedy kids nose had healed. I’d also started the local karate club where Grant taught and I’d worked my way up to the brown belt.

I’d been working on throwing people for my black belt so my muscles were aching and I hadn’t left the dojo yet. Grant called me over just as everyone was starting to leave; “Before the shoplifting incident was there any other well, incidents?” Once again, Grant had started a random, surprising and slightly uncomfortable conversation. But I trusted him; he hadn’t charged me before I felt I could trust him not to this time.

“Well, I ran away once and I had nowhere to go, the begging wasn’t great, a load of tight businessy people so I did a bit of pickpocketing. I was really hungry” I added to try an appeal to his sympathetic side. Grant didn’t really have a sympathetic side but he wasn’t angry, he just got the same bemused look as in the police station.

“I’ve been promoted” he said, again completely out of the blue.

“Congratulations?” I was a little unsure of where he was going with this. He laughed.

“I had an idea that the big bosses liked, but now I need to put it into action. Can I have your help?”

“What with?” I wanted to help Grant out, just like he’d helped me but I never volunteered if I didn’t know what for. So he explained. They were doing a big undercover raid on drug dealers and they needed someone to go in and prove that a) they were selling drugs and b) how often and who to etc. That’s where I was going to come in, I would buy the drugs, gain there trust and find out the details for the trial.

I walked down behind the terraced houses of Middlesbrough, adrenaline pumping through me. I met a tall shaven-haired man in a dirty hoody. I handed over the money, and slipped the drug into my pocket. As he turned to approach another customer I slipped a recording and tracking device into his pocket and then strolled away. Over the next few weeks I talked to the guy, flirted and gained his trust. He told me about a few of his other customers but I could only get a few vague details about his source. The hardest bit was managing not to smile when I knew he’d just dropped himself in it. On the fourth week, after going once a day, Grant decided we’d got enough evidence and enough information on other of his “associates”. I didn’t get to take part in the raid though, which I regularly moaned at Grant about. I gave my statement at the trial, and he was locked up for the duration. But as I stood in the witness box, I saw his family glare at me, the need for revenge glistening in their eyes. And as I walked out of Middlesbrough Magistrates Court I saw a load of lads with hoodies covering their eyes glance out at me, hate also in their eyes and I knew I couldn’t stay there.

Me and Grant have been touring the country ever since. Part of the YPP (youth protection program) -me as the Honey Trap, Grant who does the paperwork and makes the arrests. We are a good team. We’ve caught drug-dealers, frauds, cheats but I now mainly work on Honey trapping child abusers. It’s not always nice work and often scary but I know that I’m saving innocent kids and bringing others to justice. This particular case I’d been working on for a few months on Facebook, talking to this guy who claimed to be 17 and be interested in sports and have a six pack. It had moved quite quickly and I had to work on other cases while being “groomed” as it can take years to get them to ask to meet up. As it happened this one was a little sloppy. He wanted to meet me in the ASDA car park, I mean really? ASDA? But pretending to be really stupid was one of my specialities so I went along that day to find one small green Ford Fiesta parked on its own. I pretended to look around and check my phone messages before swearing at my phone and making a remark about my battery being useless so the guy thought nobody could contact me. I could see him glancing in the wing mirrors and sweating furiously with nerves. Just as I was getting bored he opened the car door.

“Looking for someone?” he asked with a smile on his face, shifting from foot to foot.

“Yeah, I think I’ve been stood up, I was meant to meet someone here” I replied so he knew I was the girl.

“Ah, can I help in anyway?” this was painfully slow, I was impatient to close the case, I didn’t like the area, it wasn’t that exciting.

“Actually yeah, can I borrow your phone please mine’s ran out?” I said and his eyes lit up in a smile. I shuddered, I couldn’t help myself.

“Yeah, sure,” he fumbled round in his car, I pretended to look away when I saw he’d brought handcuffs out of the car. Really? Handcuffs? This guy was very amateur. He grabbed my wrists and shoved the handcuffs on them. He was about to pick me up and throw me into the boot, but I wasn’t really in the mood for being thrown so I kind of hopped in when he shoved me. I let out a little yelp but not loud enough for anyone to hear. Normally I’d call for back-up there and then but we needed a location on the guy. So that’s how I ended up in the boot of this small green Ford Fiesta. That’s why I’m curled up in a little ball and my legs have gone to sleep. I wish he had a bigger car. I wish I’d just asked for a lift so I could sit in the back seat while he took me to his house. I wish I’d thought of that earlier. The car rounded a bend and my face was smeared against the side of the car. I could even see the catch on the handcuffs, I had a good mind to take them off for a bit they were starting to give me blisters. The car pulled into a drive and the light shone into my eyes when the boot was opened.

There were no other cars in the drive, so I knew this guy didn’t have any associates. He dragged me out by the handcuffs and for some reason, maybe I was tetchy about being hurled in a boot for half an hour, I just flipped. It was time to call Grant and finish up here. I reached into my pocket and pressed the button on my locater telling him to come; he was probably just around the corner. But the guy had a creepy look on his face, I decided enough was enough. I mean really? Handcuffs? Big mistake. He turned around to unlock the door. I hooked the handcuffs over his neck and kicked the back of his knees. He came tumbling down backwards I stuck my foot out so he didn’t hit his head on the pavement, because I didn’t want a head injury on my hands. But I wanted him unconscious. I brought my two, still hand-cuffed fists, down onto his nose and I heard it crack. The guy fainted at the sight of his own blood, what a wimp. I flicked the catch to remove the handcuffs and sat down on a tree stump. Grant’s blue estate rounded pulled into the drive along with two other plain-clothed police cars. Relief flooded Grant’s eyes when he saw me perched on the stump. I motioned at the 6 foot man lying unconscious on the floor and he rolled his eyes.

“The key to the house is somewhere on the floor, I don’t wanna go inside” I told him.

“You take all the fun out of kicking a door down,” he replied. I didn’t want to hang around while they sorted through the contents of the house. Grant saw this from the look on my face “Hey, I’ll be back in about 20 minutes, gotta take the little’un home,” he called to one of the many police men who I didn’t recognise.

There was little conversation on the way home; I was always quiet after this kind of job. We reached the small flat we were renting. I opened the door of the car “Well done today,” Grant said “You can skip school tomorrow if you want, my treat,” he winked. He knew I hated school. I smiled gladly, let myself into the house and plonked myself on the sofa. When I looked out the window Grant had already left.

The next few weeks were the end of the summer term and all about tying loose ends up for me, as I’d be leaving at the end of the month. New case, new location, new school, new people and of course new appearance!

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