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...

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.

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