by Joy Manné
“Get the door, Alfie. I got no make-up on and me ’air’s in curlers.”
“All right, Doris.” Alfie put down his Guinness and Racing Times and shuffled to the door.
“It’s the bloody police,” he bawled up the narrow staircase. “They’ve got our Teena.”
“The bloody police!”
Alfie’d never seen Doris move down the stairs so fast. She grabbed her daughter’s hand and pulled her into the house. Her dressing gown flapped open to expose bright red underwear.
“What’s this you doin’ wi’ our Teena? You leave ’er alone. She’s a good girl,” she shouted.
Constable Tim Parker looked over his shoulder at the crowd of neighbours gathering. “It would be better if you let us in, Mr Toms, unless you want to turn this into a party.”
Alfie opened the door wider.
“Nosy bloody buggers,” he shouted at the growing audience as he slammed it shut. Its filthy coloured glass-panels rattled.
Beautiful Teena, calm as a moonlit lake, looked down upon them all from her much greater height and fifteen year-old omniscience.
“We’ve come to talk to you about Teena,” Constable Mary Allan was tough and butch with pride. “She’s your daughter?”
“Of course she’s our bloody daughter,” Doris spat. “That’s why you brought her ’ere, ain’t it?” She sized the other woman up. Probably hit me harder than I can hit her.
“Both of your daughter?” Constable Allan looked at Alfie in disbelief.
“My daughter and ’is.” Don’t matter if she hits me back harder, Doris thought, preparing.
“Your daughter was caught shoplifting at Marks and Spencer.”
“You lie,” Alfie shouted, riding his wave of aggression with pride. “You never caught my daughter stealing. My daughter’s not a thief. Never stole a thing in her life, she never.”
Constable Parker’s steady look brought the little man back to his familiar dull waters.
Constable Mary Allan took pleasure in enunciating slowly, “The shop will proceed against her.”
“Bloody hell,” Doris was coming close to it, wondering where to land the punch. “They’s got so much bloody money. Wots it matter? Wot they doing proceeding against my little girl?
“Tell ’em you never done it, luv,” she said sweetly, looking up into Teena’s huge brown eyes with their sweeping lashes.
“She’s on the camera, ma’am.” Constable Parker, polite as an aikido movement, felled Doris into silence.
“You dun it?” Alfie asked.
“You bloody dunnit?” Doris said, starting up again.
“I dunnit, Ma,” Teena said. “I just never dunnit prop’ly like you showed me.”
Joy Manné would be a 100 metre runner if she was an athlete. As she isn’t, she writes Flash Fiction.