Sometimes I see the vans they use to transport prisoners as they drive around town. I have no idea why I started calling them ‘meat wagons’. I think dad mentioned it once, maybe, but I could be imagining that. The wife doesn’t like me calling them that, and I can sort of see why. Those things can’t be fun to be inside.

Phillips and Henry, peerless enforcers of the law, were out walking the beat. It was a nice day for it, too. Law and order was always better enforced on a sunny day, they felt. It was certainly more fun.

So far things had been quiet though. People crossed the street when they saw them but were otherwise polite, doffing their caps and waving at the two of them. To their experienced eyes this was only right and natural. People should respect the law, and a significant part of respect was discomfort and fear.

It should come as no surprise then that the one individual who did not seem afraid – and in fact did not seem to notice them at all – was clearly a suspicious individual. Phillips and Henry eyed the young man closely as he approached, and when he got within range they knew they simply had to act.

“Stop right there,” Phillips said, smashing his baton into the man’s head and sending him to the ground. He made a faltering attempt to rise but another blow from Phillips put paid to that a and left him a twitching, bleeding heap, hair matted with blood where Phillips had struck. Phillips was very good at hitting the same spot repeatedly. It came from experience.

“Is he guilty of something?” Henry asked, not especially concerned about the violence or the man’s health, though he did worry that if they’d made some kind of mistake there might be paperwork involved. Henry could not hold pens.

“Everyone is guilty of something. It’s always just a question of what. So let’s have a look at this one…”

Putting his foot onto the prone man’s back Phillips brought his arm back and then swung down a few more times until he heard the skull crack. Then he did it a few times until the brains spilled out onto the paving slabs.

“There we go,” he said, squinting at the patterns they made. Henry watched with detached, professional curiosity. He’d found it always paid to pay at least a little bit of attention when Phillips was working as it was a good way of learning a trick or two. Learning from Phillips was a very organic experience.


Phillips nudged some of the larger lumps of brain a around the pavement with the tip of his baton and clucked his tongue.

“See…see here. See that one? That’s a bad one, that is,” he said, pointing to a particularly intact chunk. It still had some hair on it. Henry looked closer.

“It is?” He asked, screwing his face up in concentration and cocking his head to the side. He couldn’t quite see what he was supposed to be looking for. Phillips gave the chunk another nudge and turned it over. The man’s leg twitched spasmodically and he wet himself, but no-one really cared.

“Yeah. Watch the way it oozes,” Phillips pressed the baton into the chunk and, sure enough, it oozed “that’s impure thought juice. This guy is what we in the business call a ‘bad egg’.”

Standing up and looking very satisfied with himself Phillips rolled the man over with his foot being giving him a clout across the face, stoving his skull in even further, a long crimson streak of blood splattering out almost halfway across the nearby road.

“You hear that, son? You’re nicked!”

If this made the man upset it was hard to tell.

“Lying on the floor like that does constitute resisting arrest, you know,” Henry said with a grin, double-checking in his book and feeling a thrill of vindication at being right. The man remained inert and prone, despite an encouraging kick from Henry.

“Lazy criminals are the worst criminals,” Phillips said sagely as he slipped a portable Criminal-Hook from the carry case on his belt. Extending it, he rammed the sharp end into the prone man’s chest. The upper, hooked portion waved in the air, waiting for the next meat wagon to come down the road whereupon he would be loaded up and carted off.

It was an efficient system, as justice was nothing if it wasn’t efficient and objective.


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