Spotlight: Surveillance by Mary T. Bradford


Response to Writing Prompt Thirty-Three: A blue canal. Three boats. White marble walls. And you.

It’s my turn to watch the suspicious goings on down at the canal, like a stalk out. Three boats and two barges are docked. At least from my vantage point I can see the main boat in question. It is big, a cruiser style. The canal is wide enough for barges and the like to pass each other without harm to either.

It was meant to be Jackie’s turn to be here, but she swore off sick. I bet there’s a new season of something starting on telly. She’s always hooked on some programme. Plus she doesn’t like water. I know, stupid you’re thinking for a member of the force to be afraid of water. But you see that’s just it, I’m no cop, and neither is Jackie, she’s my mate.

It’s a beautiful night. The moon is out and the smooth water reflects off the white walls of a nearby bridge, marble like. This part of the canal is quiet, not much traffic passing on the bridge. Even the leaves on the trees are still. A beautiful night for a walk, a romantic one. Imagine, down on the canal path, hand in hand, with moonlight and leftover heat from the summer’s day. Just a cardigan thrown over your shoulders to ward off any chill.

I should get out my pen and write this down, I could use it in one of my stories later, never know when the muse strikes. So I do. I get out my trusty jotter and take notes on how the water is, the moon is, the noise surrounding me. I smell the air, just to cover all the senses you see, as a writer I need to do this. Only curry chips and fried cod wafts towards my nostrils. I’d forgotten the burger and chip shop not far away. A good spot for the barges to dock in fairness. Apart from the chipper, there’s also a small restaurant and tavern back from the canal bank.

You will never guess where I’m hiding. Not in the bushes or in a car but on a barge. It was Jackie’s idea to keep an eye on the boat I mentioned earlier since it pulled up three days ago. She reckoned it was belonging to a drug lord, I kid you not. She said she recognised the logo on its side. Since I own this barge, inherited it from my father, she insisted we watch the goings on in case there was a raid or somewhat. Then we would have all the details for the police and we would be in line for a reward.
I thought she was daft. That was until she showed me a picture from a Sunday tabloid the exact same logo on a yacht that was owned by you guessed it, a drug baron. Imagine having a drug baron pull up to your local berthing spot and causing all sorts of grief in the community? So I felt duty bound to do some stalking. Well I don’t want my barge involved in some smuggling ring or stolen for their getaway if the heist they are planning goes wrong. Not that we know they are planning any. But just in case.

I can hear the sing-song started inside The Blue Canal. Give it another half an hour and they will spill out from the pub singing and joined arms. I enjoy a good sing-song. Especially with the other boat owners. There’s a good community amongst us canal folk. Sometimes on soft summer nights like tonight, we would share barbeques on the banks and tell a few stories and sing. I should organise a night soon, when the drug baron’s boat has moved on.

Here they come. Oh I see Danny and Kate, they own the other barge like myself and there’s Tony with Amanda. They all seem in good spirits, laughing and joking. How they will thank me when they find out how close their boats were to being robbed by a top druggie. Do you call them that any more, druggie?

Well look who is out after them, the couple off the boat under question if you understand me. They are shouting to Danny and Tony, something about joining them for a nightcap. Well, I never, the four of them are going to go on the cruiser. It must be beautiful inside. Imagine Amanda and Kate boasting about being on the cruiser when the job goes wrong. They will get better interviews in the media than me and I after forfeiting my nights to keep watch. It doesn’t seem fair. I am thirsty, sitting here alone. Well, if they are willing to go and party with a boat full of suspected dealers, than so am I. After all there’s safety in numbers.

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