Can’t catch a break

By Donna Foulis

I finally got the chance to put the kettle on and relax after a gruelling days’ work. Deliveries had been messed up and a member of staff didn’t show, resulting in me having no chance for breakfast. Needless to say I was not in the best of moods. It had been several months since I had opened my clothes boutique in the centre of London and business was starting to really pick up.

Cradling my cup of tea and sitting down with a magazine was a short, well deserved break before attacking my to-do list for the next day. I was dunking my second kit kat when I heard a rowdy crowd of people outside. Frowning, I got up to lock the door. I assumed the drinking crowds were starting early as it was a Friday night but the actual scene on the streets was one I was completely unprepared for.

There was a huge, swelling crowd of young looking people, fighting and shouting angrily. I couldn’t make sense of what was happening; there appeared to be police trying to calm the situation but the swarm of people were taking no notice, in fact some were even picking fights with police officers. I ran to the phone to call 999 but it was engaged. Then I heard glass smashing and dashed over to peek out of the blinds.

The next door sweet shop no longer had a window; these deluded teens were piling in and grabbing products left, right and centre. I had a moment of sympathy for Mrs Phillips before, with a jolt of panic, I realised they could come here next. I was alone and no match for the manic crowd so I hurried across the shop floor, grabbed the money out of the till and tore into the back room. I shoved the days’ takings under a loose floorboard and with trembling hands locked myself in.

Dialling 999 from my mobile, I was put on hold this time. No use, I could hear the stampede approaching my shop. Checking the situation out of the back window showed me the street on that side was quiet, so I slipped out and ran across to Mrs Phillip’s apartment opposite. I rang the doorbell, desperately hoping she was upstairs rather than still inside the ransacked sweet shop. She answered with a shaky voice, “who is it?”, “It’s me, Bella Stanley from the boutique,” I replied in an equally scared voice. The buzzing sound told me to come on up.

Mrs Phillips was waiting at the top of the stairs as I approached. Without saying a word she gently took my arm and we walked over to the large window in her front room. Taking a deep breath I watched as she pulled aside the net curtains and we then looked out onto the street below to watch the destruction of both our livelihoods.


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