It's Friday night in Blandmore, and while the man at Grove Road considers his options, a thirteen-year-old robber fresh out of custody climbs the stairs of a multi-storey car park and stands on the edge of the top level waiting to be noticed.
There's disorder brewing in the town centre. The 24hr newsagent has been serving out of hours again and the teenagers are gathering outside it and scuffling with each other. We've had five or six calls, but every time we go down there the kids are "fine". The inspector is deciding whether or not to shut the place down.
Three miles from where I sit drumming my fingers on the dashboard of my panda, a young wife deliberately writes out a final farewell to her husband, leaves it on the doormat and goes out without her coat or inhaler.
Finally the armed unit arrives and 5 Grove Road is surrounded, insofar as one officer can actually "surround" anything. Negotiators are called. Tactical decisions are laid out on the table. Some will result in the deaths of innocent people. Some will bring glory to a brave armed officer. Almost all of them will result in PC Bloggs sitting alone in the dark for a further nine hours.
At the car park, Kyle Rodgers gets bored of waiting to be noticed, and phones his mum to tell her he's about to jump.
In town, the kids start offering cannabis to passers-by.
The negotiators have Mr Kidson on the phone. They establish his basic needs: the deaths of everyone he knows, followed by his own.
Three miles away, a young husband comes home and begins a frantic search. He calls the police, but without knowing whether his wife is "high" or "medium" risk, the police aren't sure how quickly to attend. They set off slowly and are diverted to a report of a teenager standing on the edge of a multi-storey car park.
Mr Kidson decides that if he only had some cigarettes, he might not need to kill anyone.
The newsagent reports that two younger teenagers have just had their mobile phones snatched outside. The inspector gets on the phone to the chief inspector. If they shut down the newsagent, the press won't be good. If more kids get robbed, the press won't be good. It's a toughie. The inspector doesn't feel that there are enough police officers in Blandmore on a Friday night. The chief inspector is adamant that Something Is Being Done About It.
Hours pass. Laws are made and broken.
Mr Kidson stops cooperating with the negotiators. Armed units sneak into the house and taser him where he sits quietly in an armchair. He'd fallen asleep mid-negotiation and his knife-hand dropped to the floor as the armed officers entered, making them think he was about to slash himself.
In the meantime, somewhere by a river, a young wife slides off her shoes and slips down the bank into the dark cold depths. She doesn't tread water, and she sinks.