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, February 02, 2006

The Passerby: Chapter 8: Thursday 14th July

And he said “The lion is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it back from the sea full of small fish. Among them the wise fisherman found a fine large fish. He threw all the small fish back into the sea and chose the large fish without difficulty. Whosoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Alan said I looked a bit tired like I had panda eyes when I got to work this morning and I said that it was because I had been reading a book and he looked at me and said what book and I said a comic book which was true. Then he was bored with talking about it and went on to talk about work and a big delivery that was coming in today and how it was going to be a busy day. While he was talking I saw that he must have come in early because he had cleared a big space in the stores for something.

I put the kettle on for me and Alan. We have a sink next to where the kettle is and a microwave oven that we don’t use because we both eat cold food at lunch time. I don’t think I’ve ever even opened it and looked inside. It is probably smelly and splattery with old food like microwave ovens sometimes get. Microwave ovens are another thing that Alan doesn’t like. He says they are dangerous and will fry your brain if you stand near them too long like mobile phones do to people who use them all the time.

My head is full of the book.

It is a comic book like I said, but not a normal comic book with superheroes and vampires or with someone like Blade who is a superhero and a vampire at the same time. It was a serious book about real things, but done with cartoons and bubbles coming out of drawings with what the people in the drawings are saying or thinking.

In the bookshop and in the stores we have lots of these books about all different kinds of things and about different sorts of famous people like Stephen Hawking. I think we sell a lot of them to students and people who are interested in something but don’t want to read a full book about it like me.

I was fishing the teabag out of Alan’s tea when the delivery lorry came. Fishing teabags can be a bit tricky but I have got quite good at it. You catch the teabag on the inside of the mug with your teaspoon. Then you squeeze it against the wall of the mug and drag it up to the top of the water at the same time. Then you can lift it out of the mug and put it in the bin. Alan usually flicks the teabag across to the bin and sometimes he gets it in, but there are splashes on the wall and on the floor where he has missed. The splashes look like big squashed spiders.

Alright says a voice behind me and I turn around and it is one of the delivery van drivers that calls two or three times a week. He has a clipboard with him and he always likes to ask me to sign for the delivery. He always waits until Alan is close enough to hear before he asks, because he knows that it annoys Alan. And it always does. Alan always snatches the clipboard away which makes the pen that’s stuck to the clipboard with a bit of shoelace or string or something swings behind him. Then the driver winks at me and grins and goes to look to see where the pallet truck has been parked.

I can never remember the driver’s name, but I’ve known him for so long that it would make me look stupid if I asked him now, so usually I just call him mate or driver.

Alan swears when he looks at the paper on the clipboard. And again when he looks into the back of the van.

There are books everywhere. Everywhere because the van is full of pallets. It is a big van that can fit three full europallets in it. A europallet is eight hundred millimetres by twelve hundred millimetres in size. Europallets are always painted blue and Alan says they are expensive and valuable. He always takes care of any europallets that arrive. There are books everywhere because some of the shrinkwrapping has come off one of the pallets and books have spilled all over the floor of the van.

Alan is angry and the driver is smiling because he has gone to see if there is any hot water left in the kettle. Alan uses the telephone to ring the office upstairs.

Then Alan and I wait until someone from the office comes down. Alan stays angry all the time because work always annoys him especially when he knows that the extra work is caused by some other arsehole who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

I’m not angry. Partly because I don’t get angry the same way Alan does, but mostly because of the book that’s in my head. I can hear the words that I’ve read bounce around in all directions inside my brain.

When Mister Dixon from the office came down he was angry too at the van. He went away again and came back with a camera and took pictures. Then he tried to be angry at the driver but the driver said all he did was drive the van mate not wrap the bloody things up mate so Mister Dixon went away again promising to shout at people on the telephone. He told us to do what we can but to put any ripped or spoiled book to one side and he would come back later.

So we did.

All of the books are the same today. They are all hardback books about a boy wizard. We sell lots of these books, but this is a new one. I’ve read one or two of them and I’ve seen the films that they made afterwards and I used to like them but the magic inside them is a different kind of magic to the magic in the book I’ve still got at home with me.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got as far as chapter eight now. Like the way the chapters concentrate on Thomas’s daily activities in a rather normal/day-to-day way but then the narrative returns to the story in hand as the chapter begins to come to an end, which I guess makes the reader want to read the next chapter…

2:27 PM

 

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