Walking back to the car after a bad blind date
|I'm going to write a book, I decide sardonically as I turn down the side street. First Dates: Worst Dates.|
And Mr Creepy I'm-Gonna-Be-A-Writer gets title page. I kick crisp packet in frustration. It had seemed cute at first, in a hipster kind of way. I guess I'd envisioned someone my age, fresh out of university, looking to make an impact. Maybe he wrote about environmental issues or travelogues - hell, maybe he got paid to travel; maybe I could convince him to do some romantic city-break stuff. Barcelona would be nice. Or Venice. Prague's a bit over-rated and full of the beer-for-a-quid stags and teenagers. And I did Rome last year/last boyfriend.
And even if it turned out that Bob (really, Bob?) wrote, like, well fiction then at least it was bound to be indie stuff. Oh yes, I could brag to Stella, Robert has several books published. Independent houses too, none of that Kindle self-eBook what-have-you. Oh yes, I was going to enjoy the look on Stell's face when I trumped her bass-player.
"Horror? Like, Stephen King?" I stared at my blind date. He shuffled under my accusatory look.
"Mmmm, I wish. Stephen's got this godlike ability to manipulate his worlds."
"Stephen? You know him?"
"What? No! It's just the fan-sites never bother with surnames for the Big Ones. Everyone knows who you mean. Stephen. Dean. Edgar. Bram. H.P. James. Angus."
I felt like head-desking the bar table in front of me. Kay set me up with this? We stumble through the next half hour. Vodka helps. Would help. I'm driving; I stick with J2O.
Vodka would really help.
The crisp packet blows blows back at me; the club next door has an a/c unit howling out into the alley. The packet flies up into my face and it's sticky with street grime and hell-knows-what. I throw it aside in disgust and wipe my face.
Why didn't I just fork out the five quid for parking? Now I've got to trek fifteen minutes down murky side streets and back alleys to get to my car. Insult to injury, I actually have to go through the car park first.
The heel goes on my boot. Great. This evening is just going from fabulous to nova. Lifting my foot, I can see the stiletto dangling from my boot. Irritable, I snap it off and throw it after the crisp packet. Now I've got to walk lopsided back to my car. The fun in my life never stops.
I seriously consider breaking off the other heel, just because I look and feel ridiculous hobbling past the club and cutting through the car park. There's a security guard stationed in the far corner, over by the pay-and-display machine. Even from here I can see he's just a spotty, fat kid with the sort of wispy face fuzz he's probably downright proud of. I stifle a laugh, you want mustachioed security meat? Try the six foot slab that doorman's Sheply Plaza. Now that's a 'tache.
I reach the far side of the car park and push my way through the stairwell and out on to the next street. A loud crash sends me spinning. A dustbin spills its guts into the middle of the road and a mange-ridden fox streaks past.
Now if I were walking back arm-in-arm with Mr Eco Writer, I'd probably suggest we scoop up the litter or at least tip the bin back upright. But I'm not, and Mr Eco doesn't exist (although I'm sure Mr Fanboy Horror Writer would just love this setting), so I just ignore the filth and continue on my way.
Headlights glare up ahead, so I twist and press myself up against the buildings to my right. The car slows, lights still on full beam. I squint and turn my head. Arsehole.
The car speeds up again and some half-drunk kid leans out of the passenger window, hooting and leering obscenities. Arsehole squared.
I'm nearly back at my own car thankfully and can quit this rundown neighbourhood. I'm probably not going to mention tonight's bust to Stella. Kay on the other hand is gonna get a mouthful.
I blip the key-fob and my little Renault flashes its hazards about six cars further up the road. Finally. I can take these stupid boots off and go home.
I never see the guy until he leaps from between a couple of parked vans. He slams into me and we go crashing to the ground. Greasy tarmac sticks to my face and blood mingles with grit as he rolls on top of me. Snatches my wrists and pins them behind my back. Hot beery breath makes my eyes sting as the attacker breathes in my ear.
"Why hello, gorgeous. Think you cut the evening a bit short didn't you? Don't worry hun, I've got loadsa ideas for the night." Strong, lean hands spin me over, even as my assailant straddles me. "I've got a few scenes that still need researching. I'll just pop you in my van here, and bob's-your-uncle, we'll be off."
Fanboy drags me to my feet and slams me against a white Transit. He fumbles with the side door and that last thing I remember is Bob grinning like a psycho-maniac, the street light gleaming through his curly hair like an heinous halo.