An attempt to co-ordinate and add a much-needed element of self-discipline to a writing project. It's called "The Passerby", and is set in the here and now. It's in diary format, partly because it serves the narrative's purpose, and partly because the page-a-day design may help me keep going. Doing it in public might help too, as will any ideas/comments/grumbles that people feel kind enough to chip in along the way...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Passerby: Chapter 6: Tuesday 12th July

His disciples turned to him and said to him “Do you want us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall we give alms? What diet shall we observe?” Jesus said, “Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate, for all things are plain in the sight of heaven. For nothing hidden will not become manifest, and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered.”

Alan laughs at my packed lunch. He calls it a ‘pack-up’. He always wants to know about it. It’s like a little routine that we have every day in the morning.

I like that bit. I like routines.

I like getting up at the same time every day. My alarm clock goes off at six forty five every morning and I am always awake before it goes off, unless I’m not. I like the few minutes before the alarm goes off. I like being there in the quiet. Especially in the summer when it is light.

After the alarm goes off, I listen to the radio until after I’ve heard the seven o’clock news headlines. That’s about seventeen minutes. I always brush my teeth first. Then I have a shave. Then I have a shower. Then I get dressed for work. I do this even on my days off, but I don’t get dressed for work on not-work days, I get dressed for other things that I have different clothes for.

My packed lunch is in the fridge waiting for me. I always make it when I’m making my tea in the evenings.

There are always sandwiches. Mostly I make easy sandwiches like Sandwich Spread or peanut butter or Primula with ham in it or fish paste which is old-fashioned but shops still sell it and it is grey and nice.

I only use crunchy peanut butter because smooth peanut butter is wrong.

I make three rounds of sandwiches. That means six slices of bread. Alan and I had an argument about that once. He said that a round of sandwiches was a sandwich and I said no a round of sandwiches was two slices of bread with filling in it and it didn’t matter how many little sandwiches you cut the two slices of bread into, that was always a round. I know this is true because I read it in a story when I was little. The story had two boys and two girls and a dog and they stopped some bad people being bad and they ate sandwiches that a kind lady made for them and she gave them some milk too I think.

So I have three rounds of sandwiches in my packed lunch box. And I have some fruit because of five a day like I said and because it is good for your teeth. I like apples. I get those bags with eight apples in. Braeburns are the best because they sound Scottish. And crisps. Cheese and onion crisps. I should get the multipacks because they are cheaper and you get six or eight packets inside a bigger packet, but the packets are smaller than a proper packet like you get in the newsagents. So I get single packets even though it is more money because it is worth it.

There is a machine at work with crisps in it and chocolate bars and tubes of mints but it drops the crisps from the top of the inside of the machine when you put your money in and press the code and sometimes the crisps are broken. A23 is the code for cheese and onion. A24 is salt and vinegar. A25 changes. Sometimes it is roast chicken and sometimes it isn’t. They should put the crisps at the bottom of the machine, not the top, because they are delicate like bees wings, not lumpy like chocolate which is supposed to be broken up into bite-sized chunks anyway before you eat it.

Yoghurts. Three, but I don’t always eat all of them. I like the ones with the fold-over corners with different things in like cereal or chocolate or little balls of chewy sweets. Sometimes Alan asks for a yoghurt from me and says I can read his paper as a swap and I say OK.

Alan always buys a sandwich from a shop like Marks and Spencer every day and he always says how expensive it was and what the people in suits in front of him in the queue were like and they are always bad people. And he says about the selection of sandwiches and how it isn’t proper food. He likes to read the words about calories and fat content and about how bad the sandwich that he’s eating is for him especially with his blood pressure and how he will end up with diabetes and have to have injections every day.

I know that food you make is better than food you buy in shops even if food you buy in shops tastes nicer because of the things they put in it like salt and flavourings and monosodium glutamate and E numbers. That is why I make my packed lunch every night and put it in the old big margarine tub that I cleaned out ages ago and bring in my bag to work.

Alan talks about my aluminium foil. I wrap my three rounds of sandwiches in aluminium foil every day to keep them fresh and the bread nice and soft. And every day I fold the aluminium foil up again and use it the next day. This is to save the environment and to save money because we all have to play a part and not just throw away the plastic triangle sandwich boxes like Alan does. Every day Alan talks about me folding up the aluminium foil and putting it back inside the old margarine tub to use again.

Today I did a sort of bad thing, but not a really bad thing. I was thinking about The Word That Means God and then I thought I could look it up in a book and find out more about it. So I found a book in the stores. And I can’t read it at work because I have work to do and I can’t wait until the weekend when I can go to the library.

I have borrowed the book. I know it is kind of a bad thing, but not a really bad thing because I will bring it back in the morning after I have looked at it and learned about it.

I wrapped the book up in the aluminium foil and put it in my tub inside my bag and brought it home. The book is waiting for me. In a minute I will unwrap it so I can make my sandwiches for tomorrow. Then I will look at the book and see what it says. It is a paperback book. This means one thing.

Tomorrow I will only have space in the tub for two rounds of sandwiches for work.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Passerby: Chapter 5: Monday 11th July

Jesus said, “Recognise what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain. For there is nothing hidden that will not become manifest”.

I went back to work today. My hand seems OK and my face is alright but I didn’t sleep well so the dream with the good idea didn’t come like I thought it might.

The buses were packed because some of the tube lines are still closed because of Thursday but I think they are putting on extra buses or something. I was a little bit late but not much.

I work in a book shop. Well, not in the shop bit of the book shop but in the stock room bit. It is a big book shop, on five floors with two lifts, one for customers and one for staff like me. I help move things around, like books and sometimes toys and comics because we sell those too and I keep the floor clean and I keep the staff loos clean. Sometimes I think I would like to work in the shop and meet the customers but sometimes the customers are nasty and might upset me and there is a lot of counting in the job even though the tills are electronic and most people play with cards and their secret PINs (personal identification numbers) like mine which is 3765.

I work with Alan who has worked here for ever. Alan is my work friend. He lets me read his paper and tells me about his grandchildren who are four and eighteen months and I let him listen to my radio and we have our own kettle that we share.

Alan wants to know everything and I tell Alan everything except the Allah stuff because I know what Alan will say about that kind of thing. Alan shouts at the radio when the news is on sometimes and even shouts at the paper sometimes. He does not like them and thinks they should all be sent back or should be sacked or don’t deserve a hundred thousand pounds a week for kicking a bloody ball for Christ’s sake, though sometimes it is not easy to tell who the them are because it seems to change. Alan is nice and a family man through and through though and that is the main thing.

Alan is very interested in everything that happened and I tell him. Except I miss the bit out about The Word That Means God. It feels strange not to say about it because it is the point of the story but I don’t think than Alan will see it that way or will think that I’m stupid or something or that I love terrorists or the people that he called Pakis and worse names even than Pakis. Alan is my friend, like I said, but sometimes he is wrong about lots of about stuff and I don’t know how to say that he is wrong because he is my friend.

Alan has been reading the papers and watching the news on the telly all weekend and says he knows a lot about the Middle East and about the 9/11 (nine eleven attacks, which means the eleventh of September, because Americans put the day and month the wrong way round to what we do in England) and Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and about how it is all about oil and the Jews are just there in Israel to give the Americans excuses to be there to look like the goodies when really they’re the baddies.

I don’t think that Alan always has what he’s going to say worked out in his head before he says it because it is difficult to follow so I just sort of agree without agreeing too much.

He tells me about the things that I saw and what they mean and about how they probably used mobile phones to send text messages to set the bombs off and that was why all the phones went off in the city that day in case there were even more all programmed or planned to go off at the same time. And also it was done to make us scared because the government wants us to be scared of terrorists so we behave ourselves and do what the government says. And that’s one of the reasons the government lets all the asylum seekers into the country so it causes confusion gives us people not to trust and so we keep an eye on each other all the time.

And then he started talking about the government tracking us through mobile phones because of the way they work and how that means with a simple flick of a switch they can have maps showing where our mobile phones are and so where we are and where we’re going and who we’re talking to and what we’re texting about. And sometimes the government uses this information and sometimes it just keeps it in case it needs it in the future.

While he was talking I was opening boxes of new books and stacking them up on my trolley and I had the new book smell all around me. It is my favourite smell in the world apart from maybe fish and chips. And petrol.

My trolley needs more tape on the handles, but I keep forgetting to get some more tape for it, so there is just bare metal where my hands go and sometimes it is cold. That is nice now in the summer but I need to sort it out before the winter comes again.

Alan talked lots more all day. He says that they keep an eye on you in supermarkets too. Everything is done with computers in supermarkets like we do in the stock rooms and the shop here. Alan scans the labels on the packing slips into the computer here which tells the computer the books have been delivered and are in the shop. When a book is sold there is a scanner next to the till and that scanner tells the computer that the book isn’t in stock any more. Sometimes that tells the big computer in Head Office to send us some more books too. With supermarkets, the computer remembers everything you have bought and when you bought it, and if you pay with plastic then it knows who you are and they can use the CCTV (closed circuit television, or security cameras) to see you if they want to and they can look at what you buy and work out what you do in your spare time like if you’re an alcoholic because you buy lots of whisky or if you’re a bargain hunter because you only buy the stuff on BOGOF (buy one get one free) or the things in the big fridge that have been reduced and have the big orange stickers with the new price on, like sometimes sandwiches and yoghurts and always little bits and bobs of the ends of the big tubes of sliced meat that they have on the posh cheese and meat counter with the big bacon slicer.
There were lots of boxes to open today. Alan must have been really busy when I was away last week because there were all of Friday’s and most of Thursday’s deliveries to sort out as well as today’s but we got them all nearly done.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Passerby: Chapter 4: Sunday 10th July

Jesus said, “The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child about the place of life, and he will live. For many who are first will become last, and they will become one and the same”.

I am in bed still, even though the sun has almost gone down and I haven’t eaten all day except for bananas and apples from the shopping bag from yesterday because I could reach them without getting up because I went straight to bed when I got in and just left the shopping bags next to my bed which was a bit lazy I suppose but alright because there was nothing to go into the fridge.

On hot days like this sometimes when I am in bed I lie on top of the bed with no clothes on with the window open so the wind cools me down, but to open the window means getting out of bed so I haven’t and I am hot and itchy because of this and because I am staying in bed all day and I am not getting up or out. Plus if I move I will need the loo more and that will mean getting up or out too so I must stay here on my tummy and try not to move too much.

He was standing near the front of the bus, even though there were some seats free downstairs and there was loads of space upstairs because I saw the empty windows when the bus got to my stop.

He was there when I got on the bus. I had to squeeze past him to sit down. That was why I was looking at him because I don’t like standing on the bus because it rocks and bumps on the roads especially when you have got a heavy bag like he had. When my washing machine broke once and I had to use the launderette I filled my big rucksack with my socks and stuff and carried them to work and back on the bus and went to the laundrette on the way home. The bus was full that day and I got in the way and my back and shoulders ached and it was heavy and awkward all the way there and all the way back. I was sweating like he was, but his bag was smaller than mine was, but it must have been heavy because it sagged on his back even though it wasn’t full, like it had a brick in it. And he was in a rush or something because he kept looking at his mobile phone like he was expecting a text or checking the time over and over again or something.

One arm was hooked round a pole holding him up and he kept the other on his mobile phone. He was about my size and about my height and about as tall as me and his trainers were brilliant. I didn’t see much of his face so I couldn’t give the policeman a description of it, but he had black jeans and a white shirt and a dark blue baseball cap on.

And he started talking to himself. His head was bobbing like he was listening to music and he was talking to himself. And then he stayed in the same place as he was but sort of scrunched himself up a bit like you do when your Dad is hitting you to make you understand and he was breathing hard like he had run all the way to the bus with that heavy bag on even though he wasn’t out of breath and I saw that his mobile phone wasn’t a mobile phone but must have been an mp3 player like the one I want from the catalogue because it only had one button on it and wire coming from it going into his clothes like people do.

And I remember smiling because I was right that he was bobbing his head to the music but I stopped smiling because it didn’t make sense because there were no earphones in his ears or even just poking out of his top and hanging round his neck.

And then he weed himself. There was wee coming out of the bottom of one of his trouser leg and onto his brilliant trainers. He must have been holding it for ages like I am doing now because there was enough wee to come all the way down his jeans and over his trainer and onto the bus floor. And someone else on the bus saw this too or smelled it and said something loud and rude.

And the man with the mp3 player and the rucksack and the wee on his trainers pressed the button on his player and wow.

Wow? Said the police man. He liked that word because it was the first one that had made him stop all day and say anything to me. He just sat there with a plastic cup of black coffee I think which must have been cold because we had been there for a long time in the interview room. It said Klix on the side of the cup which is a make of coffee and tea from machines.

Wow I said. I told him that I had learned in school or on telly that light travels faster than sound and I saw and heard it proved on the bus.

I told him everything.

I saw him press the button with his thumb and he was still scrunched a bit and there was wee on the floor and the man was shouting or swearing and that was when his rucksack lit up from inside. Sometimes I get time mixed up but I told him just like I saw it and felt it.

Time got all stretchy and elasticy.

The rucksack lit up from inside. I could see the light coming through the gaps in the stitching and the little holes between the teeth on the zips and then through the weaving of the material the bag was made of.

Then the man with the rucksack turned around like he was swivelling with the one hand looped round the pole where he was standing and I could see his face and his eyes were wet with sweat or maybe he was crying and he opened his mouth and his eyes and the brightest light in the world shone through his mouth and eyes at me.

And the world was filled with nothing except the light that was behind him and inside him and coming from him and shining on me.

He saw me with light and he spoke to me with light.

Then he touched me with the force of his light.

That was when the sounds began to catch up.

And he was stood there, his arms stretched out now and he became light and as he became light the Word That Means God hit me.

Allah is the Word That Means God and I heard it carried on the light and before the rest of the sounds. It stood alone in front of the rest of the noise that followed after it.

And the bus was filled to bursting with light. The windows bulged like your cheeks when you’re blowing up balloons for a party. People’s faces were rippling like water and their hair was dancing with light that would turn to flame. And like a balloon everything popped at once. The light was so bright that I had to turn to one side and I put my hand up but I was mostly behind a seat and I was saved.

The bus must have wobbled and swayed because everything rocked and I fell over onto my side and fell in the gap between my row of seats and the one in front. I saw the shouting man’s face fall off. I saw a foot on its own. There was blood and barbecue smell. Then I closed my eyes and tried to close my ears because the hairs in my ears were burning with the light and the power of the word.

But I could hear crying and a noise like a burp and then there were more flames in the floor and on the seats and the smell of oil and burning paper from those free papers you get on buses and trains sometimes.

I’m not sure how long I stayed on the floor between the seats. People were moving around me. One lady was crawling towards the front but stopped when she got to where the man had been standing and just lied down there. The floor was warm but it was a nice warm not a nasty warm and I stayed there until firemen came and I was pulled out and paramedics came and looked at me and fussed over me and sat me away from the bus and there were people everywhere and shouting and sirens and I got taken away to the hospital where I was sat down and waited for a while and started to watch it on telly with everyone else until it was our turn to be seen by the doctor. And first they said it was gas but it wasn’t. And things had happened on the tube as well and they said at first it might have been to do with the electrics but it wasn’t. And then they started talking about terrorists.

The police man got me a cup of coffee. I had it black no sugar like he had his. He asked me again about the man with the rucksack and I told him everything again and he was very interested in the mp3 player but not very interested in God. And though he was nice to me and patient I could see that he wanted me to go so I asked if there was anything else and he said no, but he had my details if they needed to talk again to me and I said fine that would be OK because I want to help and he said good. And he asked if I had friends and I said yes and that made him smile.

He said the important thing is that I’m OK which was nice of him and that I had shared the information which would be very useful and I tried to say yes but the important thing isn’t the important thing that you think it is. But maybe because that’s because he’s a police man and his job is to catch terrorists and other bad people and not to talk about God like I wanted to. So I kept a bit quiet even though it was difficult and tried to think about what to do next so I went to bed to dream a good idea.

I need a wee really badly and the good idea still hasn’t come. It is dark outside, but warm.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Passerby: Chapter 3: Saturday 9th July

Jesus said “If those who lead you say to you, ‘See the kingdom is in the sky’, then the birds of the air will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea’, then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside you, and is outside you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realise that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you do not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”

I get to the police station nice and early because I know that it can be busy there on a Saturday because of people being drunk and disorderly and drink-driving and wife-battering and selling drugs at the weekend so the police will be busy. I go to the all-night supermarket first, though, and I buy some apples and some bananas and some prawn noodles and some tuna fish with brine in tins. This is so I can have my protein and my carbohydrates and my vitamins from eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day even though sometimes I cheat by counting up some things that I really shouldn’t. But I am trying, and that is the main thing and my heart will reward me with years of service.

There are some people outside the police station when I get there. They are sitting on the grass outside and on the stairs that lead up to the doors that open and close by themselves like a shop at the front of the police station. Some of them are wearing their going-out clothes. One of them, a lady, is sleeping. I know she is sleeping because she is snoring and it is funny and the other people are looking at her and smiling at her even though they are outside a police station so are probably there for a sad thing.

I go in through the opening-by-themselves doors. There are hard plastic seats like at the waiting room at the train station and lots of signs telling you to be good and a another lady with a duvet wrapped around her and a door and a desk thing with a window like a post office or an ice-cream van with the police on the other side of it.

There is a bell to press so I press it and it rings and I sit down to wait for a police person to finish their mugs of tea or coffee or whatever and come to the window.

I am glad that I can sit down because I can put my shopping down. The bag has left creases on my hand like the sleepy-creases you sometimes get on your face and see in the mirror in the morning, but my hand does not hurt like I thought it might have done. That makes me glad because it is a sign that I am getting better and I smile.

The lady with the duvet wrapped around her is looking at me so I change my smile from a smile about my hand to a smile about seeing a lady and she smiles back a little bit. She has no shoes on and she is holding the duvet around her like a she is a wizard in the snow, so I ask if she wants a banana or an apple because I have got big bags of both and she says no thank you and asks me my name and I say Thomas and she says hello Thomas my name is Marie.

I was going to ask my new friend Marie about where she got her duvet from because it looks nice and warm and is brown and white like toast and bread but a lady policeman comes to the window and says hello and says to Marie that he will be out soon and Marie says thank you. The police lady looks like she is going to say something else to Marie but does not and looks at me instead and asks if she can help and I say no because I think I can help you and she says OK you better tell me.

I ask the police lady if she wants an apple or a banana first and she says no thank you. Everyone is nice and polite here. Not like at work. I like it here already.

The police lady asks me what I’m doing here at six in the morning and I tell her that I was there on the bus on Thursday and I saw something and I want to tell the police in case it is helpful.

Saying that makes the police lady look at me more. Her eyes change or something. I’m not sure how to put the words in order to make it sound right. Her eyes change and like you know when someone is thinking, she is doing that thinking thing.

I’ve just looked back up at what I’ve written and I forgot to say about the door. There is a door next to the window where the police are behind and that door opens and a man comes out. I can see behind him that there are policemen looking at him. The man looks angry and has tired red eyes and he needs to shave because his chin matches his head. The man starts talking to Marie. His voice is hard and fast and low and he is angry because I can see his neck all tight like he is holding his breath although he isn’t and he is trying to say nice things to Marie and I’m not sure if he means it or not and is just saying it because he is in a police station and she is a lady with a duvet.

But what happens next I’m not sure because the police lady coughs to remind me she is there and the door slams shut at about the same time.

How can you help the police lady asks and I tell her a little bit and she says wait a minute love and she goes away. I look back but Marie and the man are outside the doors on the grass walking away and there is some space between them and the other people are looking at them and looking twice at Marie and then they turn when they get to the pavement and I can’t see them any more.

When I look back at the window there is a policeman standing there and he is old with grey hair and glasses and he looks exactly like a policeman even though he is a policeman, if that makes sense. And he asks me, like the police lady, what I want and again I tell him like I told her and I wonder why they didn’t talk to each other about this but maybe that’s just what police men and police ladies do all the time to catch out bad people. Just ask the same questions to make sure. So I told him like I’d told her that I was on the bus and I saw something and no-one had asked me about it afterwards and I thought it might be important so I had got up especially early today as soon as I was better and my head wasn’t singing the bad song in my head I cam to the police.

And he said alright and did I want to come inside into an interview room and I said OK and he sat me down and asked if I wanted a tea or something and I said no and he asked me about the bus and I told him everything.

Especially the bit when I saw God. I know it was God because he spoke to me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Passerby: Chapter 2: Friday 8th July

Jesus says that the one who seeks should not cease seeking until he finds. And when he finds he will be dismayed. And when he is dismayed, he will be amazed. And he will be king.

I rang in sick and they said it wasn’t any problem at all and they hoped I was OK and was I on the telly or interviewed or anything and I said no and then they didn’t know what to say so I said goodbye and they said goodbye too.

I went to the paper shop and got all the papers and it was everywhere. The girl in the shop didn’t say anything about my hand, or about my face. I was glad about that.

The fronts of the papers were the same as they showed on the news last night. I like it when I see that. It’s like time travelling. Seeing tomorrow’s news a day early, even if it’s already happened.

It’s still over the telly news as well. They’re playing the same bits of film over and over again, like that’s going to tell anyone any more information than it’s already done.
The telly news has lots of little bits of stuff people videoed on their mobile phones or tourists did on their cameras or pictures people took with their mobiles again. They are asking for more people to text them and send them in. The videos are wobbly and exciting.

I’m going to read about it in the papers now and see if it’s true, what’s printed in them. See if they say what I saw. I’m going to make a drink and drink the drink while I’m reading it.

It’s the same but different in the papers. They all say the same thing about how terrible it was and why it should never have happened and about why it was entirely predictable even though no-one seemed to have entirely predicted it was going to happen yesterday.

Everyone says in the papers and on the telly as well, because I have that on too, that this is no way to reach people and that it is a cowardly thing to have done. Then there are lists of what’s been damaged and numbers of people that might be missing or might be dead and how busy the police and the hospitals have been. There is stuff about police having promising leads and extensive lines of inquiry and Interpol and the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the NSA (I don’t know who they are, but they’re Americans so they must be our friends) being involved. And the Queen has said she is sorry and upset and the President of America and the Prime Minister are sorry too, and a bit angry.

My hand hurts. I have some pills for headaches and hangovers and some of that lemon powder stuff for drinking when I have the flu so I try some of those but they are rubbish. My face is not sore, but I can feel the scabs cracking a bit when I try to eat and when I was on the phone to work so I don’t eat much except for some chicken noodles.

I like noodles. Usually I get a packet of noodles and make them up like it says how to. Then when they’re nearly done, I add in a tin of tuna fish and mix it up together. I don’t buy the kind with oil in it instead of water because too much fat is bad for you. I get the stuff with brine in it. Brine is the science name for salty water.

You have to open the tuna fish first though and be careful and drain away the water in the tin. If you do this after the noodles are cooked then the noodles stick to the side of the pan and the pan is not easy to clean. Tuna and noodles is best with the prawn flavour ones, but I only have chicken and curry ones in the cupboard today. I will get some more soon. Hopefully when my hand is better, so the shopping’s easy to carry. Unless I use my rucksack, except that’s a bit big for my shopping.

There’s nothing in the papers or on the telly news about what I saw, though. Only what happened afterwards. Maybe I should tell someone. If I feel better in the morning I will go to the police and ask them if they want to know, and if so, what they want to know.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Passerby: Chapter 1: Thursday 7th July

And he said “Whosoever finds the meaning of these words will not taste death”.

It’s late. The canteen’s closed down, but there are those machines with sandwiches and things in. That’s where I am now.

It’s quiet now. It might even be Friday, I’m not sure. I can hear the motors in the vending machines whirr. I can hear the pumps on the fridge units on the back of the fizzy drinks can machine kick in every now and again. I wish there was a change machine that could break a tenner because that’s all I’ve got but there isn’t.

I got the paper from one of the nurses. She keeps looking at me, like I’m kinda taking up space or something. She’s the one that gave me the pill earlier on. She said to the doctor about giving me a two or a five and the doctor said five without looking back over his shoulder even. They say I can go home when I feel up to it.

No-one’s even watching it on the telly in the waiting area now. There was going to be a film on but they had to change it in case people were upset, I suppose. They always do that and sometimes doing that makes sense to me and sometimes it doesn’t, like people should be able to tell the difference between the real things like apples and the not real things like fighting skeletons.

I’d like to watch a film now. Even in here where there’s the picture but the sound’s turned down low. I could just look at the pictures and make my own story up. Sometimes I do that at home and sometimes the story I make up is much better than the story they made up.

So there’s extra news on instead, with different people all saying about the real thing. Maybe real things are less upsetting than stories, but that doesn’t make sense right now to me.

My face feels OK but my hand still hurts. That pill hasn’t done it any good yet.

The Passerby: Note inside front cover

These are the words that the living Jesus wrote, and that Thomas wrote down.

(This is arrowed back from the July 7th diary page onto the preceding, otherwise blank diary page. That this is the first writing in the diary indicates that this diary was bought for the purpose of recording these thoughts/sentiments as opposed to an existing in-use diary. Any significance of this is unclear. The diary itself is a WH Smith branded A4 size diary, one page per day, plain black in cover. There is no indication of when it was bought. The ubiquity of the diary makes it difficult to mount an investigation into this for the value any subsequent information might be.)

Author: RJH 19/11/05

The Passerby: Preface

Note for file: The binder contains a series of handwritten and word processed diary entries, online and print news articles, transcripts of Instant Messenger conversations, SMS (short message service, or ‘texts’) messages and suchlike.

The intent by the author or authors is unclear. Though a document of the three months preceding the events of October 28 last, it is unclear if taken together, these constitute a suicide note, a declaration of intent, a political manifesto, or simply a personal journal for private usage. That efforts appear to have been made to direct others to these documents (or document, if they are intended to act as one artefact) implies that the latter option outlined above is unlikely.

That being said, intent is unclear. An open verdict may thus be the obvious course to follow, should this binder’s contents be taken into consideration at either any inquest or subsequent criminal investigation or trial.

(NB The following is taken from handwritten diary entries or paper inserted/stapled into the A5 diary separately logged into evidence unless otherwise indicated)

Author: RJH 19/11/05

Rationale

Um. Hi there. So here we go.

This blog is an attempt for me to co-ordinate and add a much-needed element of self-discipline to a writing project.

The project is provisionally called The Passerby, and is set in the here and now.

It's in diary format. This is deliberate; partly because it serves the narrative's purpose, and partly because the page-a-day design may help me keep up with the project. Doing this in public might help too, as may any ideas/comments/grumbles that people may feel kind enough to chip into the blog along the way...