SILHOUETTES - Second instalment - Chapters four and five.
For more information on this novel, click Here. Next instalment coming next week.
It was twenty to eleven when he finished his second patrol, touring an empty office block for the minimum wage. Not much to do, not much in the way of job satisfaction, but that was the last patrol, and this was his final shift. He phoned the security manager’s office at HQ again and was told by Valerie, the office temp, he was still in a meeting. He changed into the civvy clothes he’d brought with him and folded his uniform neatly and put it in a plastic bag, marked return’s on the bag and placed it in the middle of the desk. Stuff waiting till six o’clock when his shift officially ended. The building he was in contained over two-hundred thousand square feet of office space, and it was all empty but for some office furniture scattered floor to floor, except this reception office just off the foyer on the ground floor. It contained a chair, a table, a phone and a fax, and a small portable TV and kettle belonging to one of the other guards. He got a piece of A4 from the fax and wrote, ‘Please accept my immediate resignation' on it in large letters, then crumpled it up and binned it. He took another sheet of paper, ‘For ignoring my calls, please accept my immediate resignation, you fat bastard!’ and he wrote at the bottom of the page, ‘keys under plant pot in reception’. He signed it, ‘yours sincerely, Dave Stuart,’ then placed it on the fax machine and pressed button one. The machine began the auto dial to HQ. He had about thirty seconds to change his mind. He waited, dithering whether to cross out the ‘fat bastard’, it struck him as not being quite pc – gravitationally challenged with mixed parentage seemed more apt, but then the paper was drawn into the machine, and he smiled to himself wondering if Tony would be dragged from his no doubt fictitious meeting when Valerie read the fax. He put on his jacket and placed the keys under the plant pot, who the fuck would break in before Tony, or some other fucker arrived to take over his shift? And anyway, what the fuck was there to steal, it was an empty shell, an ex-call centre for Telcomcal Services that’d closed after opening up a similar, though cheaper run, operation somewhere in Asia. The phone began ringing just as the door closed behind him. He crossed Grimeforth Street and entered the Salvation Arms. He would get a pint of lager and watch who came to take over from the window. Not that he really gave a fuck, for apart from being free of the job, he was also free from the Agency back home. He realised he was suddenly happier than he’d been for a long time.
It was after twelve before he had the curtain back up in a semi-permanent fashion. If his eyes were in a fit state to stare hard, he was sure that would be all the excuse the heavy drape and rail would need to take offence and come crashing down again. He tip-toed warily around the window, picking up empty beer bottles and filling a black bin bag with rubbish. He noticed a scribbled note from Debbie to walk Bruno at mid-day. He binned that also. Not all his mess, he reminded himself to save that fact as handy ammunition for the row that would erupt sometime this evening. The pizza boxes and globules of dried wax that used to be candles weren’t his, neither were the red open crotch knickers one of the lucky bastard’s had removed from some female and thrown behind the couch. They certainly weren't Debbie's.
After the big tidy, and a quick walk around the park with the mutt, he decided enough was enough, the dog wasn't interested, he wasn't interested in the dog. They paced together in parallel, like a couple on non-speaking terms, contentedly ignoring each other, trying overtly to ensure neither encroached the other's personal space enough to warrant a communication between them. His memory of last night still eluded him, to the extent that he reasoned the only way to bring it back, was to retrace his steps of the night before. That and also the fact that the hangover, instead of abating, was becoming more like a terminal illness of the drugs-don’t-work-and-destined-to-die-in-spasms-of-agony type. The dog back at the Lomond Lane house he shared with four students, and him back out once more, it was with relief when he finally entered the Salvation Arms and squeezed a space at the bar to order a pint. The sweat was oozing from every pore as he took it to his mouth, paranoid that everyone in the bar sensed it was shaking in his hand. The pub was beginning to empty of the lunch time drinkers and he began to relax, feeling a bit better as the beer took effect and he was less crowded in. By his second pint he had a bar stool and could hear the music from the juke box, which was always sedate in the way of volume during the day, to ‘enhance the atmosphere without detracting from the eating experience’, or so he had been told by one of the barmaids. He was unsure whether she’d been taking the piss or not. At present, Thom from Radiohead was singing, ‘I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo’, and he thought about giving Debbie a call and see if he’d fucked up finally forever, which in reality he knew he had. If last night wasn’t the end, then the relationship was in the last throes of death. He’d be lucky to get a few more shags before her consuming hatred of him overtook any regard she had left, and the fact that he was even thinking in terms of a few more shags told him that he was past any attempt at even making a pretence of a meaningful relationship. Cowardice got the better of him though and he decided to send a text instead, and quickly typed in, in his clumsy manner, ‘Hi, Babe, how ru hope no ruf as me lol x,’ he pressed the button to send, and noticed a vaguely familiar person at the table by the window was staring at him. Looked like a nutter too. Paranoia, fucksake, he thought, and turned back to the bar and ordered another pint and a whisky to go with it. She would be at lectures so he didn’t expect a reply till after four, so, he decided, this was as good a place as any to pass away the afternoon.