Yep, finished the creative writing course this week, and by ignoring all the advice I got from it, and just doing what I do anyway, I wrote this for the final piece, which had a 1000 word limit on it, that I also ignored.
It got very positive reviews from the other poor sods doing the course, I wrote it far too quickly, and thought it was okay. However, all this, and turning 37 have left me with very little time to write anything else this week, so I’m posting this due to extreme laziness taking over, enjoy, it is loosely based on a not anywhere near as interesting true story.
Sorry for the laziness, usual ranting will be resumed next week, when I will have a lot to say about birthdays when you’re a grown up.
Just Because You’re Paranoid…
‘Excuse me,’ came a voice from the car that had just reversed 200 metres back up the road, ‘I know this sounds weird, but could I take your photograph?’ Pete was taken aback, that did sound weird. But sometimes weird is good, and interesting, and if there was one thing Pete wasn’t, it was impolite. And it would be tremendously impolite to refuse such a simple request, besides, he was only strolling out to the pub for the evening, he had time, and this did appeal to his vanity.
‘Ok, why not.’ Pete leaned into the window of the silver saloon car, pushed up his Aviator sunglasses, and grinned manically at its occupant. Inside he could see tripods, lights and all the assorted paraphernalia of the photographer’s trade, which put his mind at rest on one count. This chap was a photographer, or at least had made sure his back story held up okay. Pete was cursed with an over-active imagination, and within the time it had taken for the car to reverse back up the road towards him, and his answer to the man inside, he had enacted five separate scenarios in his head, which all ended with him dead, and none of them were nice.
‘Sorry to do this, it’s just that you look really interesting, and it’s a sort of hobby of mine, collecting photographs of interesting looking people. I’m not some kind of weirdo, honest,’ the man chuckled nervously as he got out of the car. He was wearing a corporate uniform, blue jacket and matching trousers, with the logo of the energy company he represented emblazoned on the left breast. This reassured Pete a little more, the man would have to answer to his employers, a serial killer wouldn’t have an ID badge casually hanging on a lanyard around his neck. Possibly he was just some kind of government spook, looking for subversive elements, and Pete had once been to a greenpeace meeting, that was pretty subversive. But it was true, Pete did look interesting, with his brothel creepers, midnight blue drape jacket, bootlace tie and quiff, you would swear it was still the ’50s rather than the twenty first century.
‘No, no, you’re fine, to tell you the truth it’s not the first time this has happened’ Pete lied, he didn’t know why he felt the need to lie, it was probably to put the man at his ease, though why he needed to put him at his ease evaded Pete completely. This encounter would either be over in less than two minutes, and they would never see each other again, or Pete would be knocking on the boot of his car and screaming at the top of his lungs to be let out. Either way, there was no need for the chap to be at his ease.
‘I’m not surprised, you do have an enigmatic look about you, I’m Darren by the way, pleased to meet you,’ said the stranger, smiling through a neatly trimmed beard, and he put out his hand in greeting to Pete, who shook it excessively firmly and vigorously, in a meaningless attempt to show his strength, in case Darren still turned out to be some kind of weirdo, also it might prevent Darren from injecting him with any kind of tracer or bugging devices, by increasing his blood pressure enough to spit it right out again.
‘Now, if you can just stand there, against that wall with the graffiti, I think that would make a really interesting backdrop,’ Pete did as he was told, the wall was, he had to concede, a pretty good backdrop. Some street artist had sprayed a 10 foot high image of an electric guitar surrounded by stars on the electricity substation by the road. Pete dutifully stood in front of it, doing his best Elvis sneers, while Darren snapped away from every angle he could find.
‘All done, thanks Pete, do you want copies of these shots? I can email them to you later if you want?’
‘Yes please mate, that would be excellent,’ Pete said, before he’d had time to think it through, and before he knew it he was writing his email address down on a scrap of paper for Darren. Why had he done that? You could use an email address to call up every bit of personal detail you needed on somebody nowadays couldn’t you? He might have been following Pete for weeks, and just needed to confirm his email address to make sure he had the right guy. They could link this to PeteyRNR75 from all those Rock and Roll internet forums he hung out on. What had he said? Was he going to be locked up in some Orwellian nightmare for his strong views on period correct equipment for rockabilly bands, or laughing at the guy who’s turn-ups had been half an inch too short? He awaited the knock on the back of the head, and resigned himself to being bundled into Darren’s boot.
‘Well, thanks for that, I’ll send you the pictures once I’ve jiggled them about a bit, speak to you later!’ and with that, Darren drove away into the hazy sunshine of an early June evening. Pete took a deep breath, and walked on to the pub. He managed to talk himself down, and realised that Darren was almost certainly just a harmless eccentric with a photography project, just as he had said. He thought no more about it.
Later that night, having returned from an uneventful evening at the Three Pigeons, Pete found an email in his inbox with the photographs attached, they were good. They were really good, Pete looked fantastic, with the sunlight glinting off the sides of his Raybans, and his brylcreemed quiff shining majestically in front of that giant guitar in the background. He sent a quick reply, ‘Thanks mate, look really good, I hope they help with your project. – Pete’ and then went off to bed.
Outside, just past Pete’s garden wall, Darren closed the email he had just received on his blackberry, nodded to himself and took out his little bag of lockpicks.