Unsafe Load


To say I could do without this would be to massively understate my problem. I need to get out of the city. Fast. The car that pulled out in front of me at the last junction and is now doing a steady 15 however, is not matching my urgency. I wouldn’t have let him out, but he didn’t give me a lot of choice. Didn’t even look, pulled straight out. And now he’s ambling along at walking pace.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand his caution. I’m fucked if I’d want to be driving around with all that shit strapped to my roof. Looks like he’s moving house and didn’t want to spring for a removals company. But then, I’m carrying a pretty unsafe load of my own, in that it’s hot as fuck and I’d imagine by now the fellas I stole it from have worked out its gone. And, who’s got it.

I take a look past the loaded up car. It’s clear in front but there’s no way around. The traffic heading into town is heavy and I can’t squeeze through. I bang my hand against the wheel in frustration.


They’ll be looking for me by now – I know it. See, the thing is I’ve got a boot full of guns. Jimmy O’Keefe’s crew invited me in on a job. I was game, but after a while it started looking less and less interesting. The problem was Jimmy kept adding people to the job. Benny the inside man, I understood that one. But then there was Yuri and Tyrone for extra muscle – We had guns for Christ sake! Frank Wheeler was brought in to drive – I’m no stranger to a handbrake turn. Terry was going to get a cut because we’d be using his lock up to store the stuff whilst the heat died. It was getting silly. With every new person my cut was getting smaller – and the score wasn’t that big to start with. It was starting to look like I’d be lucky to clear a couple of grand.

And then it hit me, the guns Jimmy’s boy Alan had arranged for the job, they had to be worth at least five grand on the street. So, I lined up an out of town buyer, went to Terry’s lock up, boosted the arsenal and decided it was time to move on. I’ve never stayed in one place long anyway.

I check my mirrors, nothing behind me at the moment. But I know they’ll be looking.

‘Fuck, this was a stupid idea, Roy!’ I shout at myself as I bang the wheel again.

Another look up the queue of oncoming traffic gives me hope. 200 metres and it’s clear. I can pass this cheap bastard with his whole life packed in and around his car. I edge up closer to him. I want to be ready to overtake when the time comes.

He clears the traffic and I go to make my move.


I hit my brakes hard as the load from the top of the car spreads across the road. I realise I’m done. The load didn’t fall from the roof. It was cut free. I look to the passenger side of the car that had been carrying it. I guess I was right. They were on to me. Seems I didn’t get all the guns either, because Jimmy’s boy Alan has one pointed at me and he’s wearing a grin wider than the mouth of the Thames.

Can I back up and make a run for it? My eyes flicker to the rear view mirror. But there he is, Jimmy O’Keefe himself approaching fast in a silver Range Rover.

Yep, I’m done.

~ fin ~

Aidan Thorn is from Southampton, England. His short fiction has appeared in Byker Books Radgepacket series, the Near to the Knuckle Anthologies: Gloves Off and Rogue, Exiles: An Outsider Anthology, The Big Adios Western Digest, Shadows & Light, Hardboiled Dames and Sin as well as online in numerous places.

His first short story collection, Criminal Thoughts was released in 2013 and his second, Tales from the Underbelly in 2017. In September 2015 Number 13 Press published Aidan’s first novella, When the Music’s Over In 2016 Aidan collated and edited the charity anthology, Paladins, for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, working with 16 authors from the UK and USA to deliver this project.