The Most Unlucky Man in the World (2)

Hamilton was furious, forgetting for a moment his curious string of misfortunes, the sight of this odd looking tweed clad stranger rifling through his briefcase, disarranging his painfully prepared profit projection presentation filled him with outrage. Perhaps a little unstrung by his awful morning, his voice is louder than he had perhaps meant as he shouts to the stranger in what had been his seat. “Hey you! Get your beak out of my bloody briefcase!” Even as he shouts, a momentary perception flits across his mind, “Beak? Slang for nose of course, but wasn’t there something else, another one of those things?” Other passengers, hearing a raised voice have turned to look. The individual addressed, looks at him mildly. “Blplplp! Your briefcase? Really?” “Well of all the nerve! Yes it’s my briefcase!” “Blbplplblp! Sure about that now?” Hamilton feels himself growing red faced with anger, “Yes! Yes I’m sure! I’m positive! That’s my briefcase! Give it here!” “Blblblbp Very sure of that are we? Wouldn’t want any mistakes would we?” “Yes! That briefcase, and all the things in it are mine!” Hamilton yells, losing all control. Every head (except two, which are too busy kissing one another passionately (insofar as a beak can kiss anyway)) in the carriage is by now turned to see what the cause of all the shouting is. “That is my briefcase! Mine! Give it here! It’s got my important things in it!” “Very well then. Blplplp. If you insist!” So saying, he proffers the case, Hamilton grabs at it, but the other does not seem to want to let go. He yanks at the handle angrily, just as the tweed clad gentleman relinquishes it. The briefcase flies open, showering it’s contents all over the floor of the carriage, but instead of his carefully crafted notes, the case is filled with filth encrusted sex toys, postcards depicting a wide range of jaw droppingly filthy interspecies sex acts and a number of charity collection tins, most of which seem to be from agencies specialising in the care of terminally ill children, and which have been clumsily prised open. A shocked hush falls upon the carriage, Hamilton is the cynosure of every eye. The silence is broken by a disdainful “Really!” And then a tumult erupts, cries of disgust and anger engulf him. “Shame!” “Fucking sex case!” “Call the police!”  In vain he tries to protest, “Not mine…” he stutters, “never seen these things… wrong case…” The crowd are having none of it, and of course the Turkey is quick to remind him of his angry insistence upon the very fact of ownership which he is now trying to dispute. The crowd are growing aggressive, causing him to back away down the carriage. A voice cries “Blplplp! Trying to run! Get him everybody!” Panicking, he turns and flees into the next carriage, and then attempts to continue into the next, but the automatic door fails to open in time, catching him a nasty blow on the side of the head. Desperately he wrenches it open and tumbles into the next carriage, where through the window he gratefully sees that the train is pulling into a station. The angry hubbub of outraged commuters grows louder, terrified, he pulls the emergency exit handle and tumbles from the still moving train. Hitting the platform awkwardly, arms flailing, he lands among a group of elderly people awaiting their train for an outing to the seaside. Unable to control his momentum, he plunges through them, scattering them like ninepins. His first instinct is to stop, apologise, and explain, but the shouts of anger from his erstwhile fellow passengers, and the cries of alarm and pain from the pensioners leave him little choice but to flee. Fortunately for him, his pursuers are held back waiting for the doors of the train to open, and he manages to escape from the station with no other mishap than sending an unsuspecting big issue seller flying as he races down the concourse.

Two or three streets away, he stops running and leans against a wall panting. What a dreadful day! He tries to pull himself together. “Meeting.” He mumbled to himself, “Must get myself together for the meeting. Whole career depends on it.” Looking round, he realises that the wall he is leaning against is that of a small, decent looking pub. Perhaps a quick drink will help, give him time to calm down? Accordingly, he enters the pub, and orders a small whisky. The barman goes to serve him, but slips and pours quite a lot of the drink down his shirt. Apologising he ineffectually dabs him down with a bar towel, and gives him another drink on the house. Hamilton sits down at a table, and tries to remember as much of his presentation as he can. He finds it difficult to concentrate however, as the TV above the bar is quite loud, and keeps distracting him. Irritably he looks up and sees that it is displaying a local news broadcast, and he listens as the presenter reads out the headlines, “…and fire crews have given up on their attempts to extinguish a blaze in a house in Lincoln, which has now completely destroyed the property…” There on the screen, wreathed in flames and smoke, is his own house. Appalled he stares open mouthed. His home, his car, all the things he had worked so hard for… destroyed! “Get a hold of yourself Conrad, you still have the insurance at least, yes it’s a tragedy, but with the money, you can rebuild, start again!” The presenter continues, “…dozens of jobs lost, and thousands of policy holders left with no insurance as local insurance company Johnson and Co announce shock bankruptcy…” Hamilton sags, speechless. “No insurance? But… what Will I do now?” The tone of the announcer changes, becomes grave. “And members of the public in the Sheffield area have been asked by the Police to help catch this man, whose image was captured on CCTV at the train station…”

There on the screen is Hamilton, in a grainy, but instantly recognisable image, his mouth open in what looks like a brutal snarl, his hand connecting with an old lady’s face. “The man, in his mid forties, is wanted for questioning in relation to a series of shocking assaults on the elderly and vulnerable, as well as a number of thefts from children’s charities…” Wildly, he looks round the sparsely populated barroom. Nobody appears to have noticed him yet, but it can only be a matter of time. He sits there, rocking back and forth, “God, what am I going to do?” He repeats to himself over and over again. “You all right mate?” He looks up startled, it is the barman. “Think that youhave had enough mate, talking to yourself, best be on your way.” The barman pauses, peers more closely at him, “Hang on a fucking minute! You’re him aren’t you? The Sheffield Granny Basher!” Hamilton screams and leaps to his feet. Avoiding the barman’s clumsy attempt to grab him, he bolts out of the pub, followed by a resurgent hue and cry. Again outdistancing his pursuers, he takes refuge in a dark and gloomy alleyway, where he collapses against a wall, weeping with shame and frustration. He jumps, ready to flee again as he hears a noise behind him. Standing there, looking concerned, is an elderly and kind faced clergyman, about whom however there is something familiar. “Poor man! Seem troubled? Perhaps can help?” At these kind words Hamilton’s last reserves of self control give out and he collapses sobbing into the clergyman’s arms, gasping out the whole story between blubbering. “Blplplp! Poor fellow!Most unjust! Sure when dust settles, explain everything. Blplplp! Problem is of course, wanted man yes! Public enemy number one! Blbplplblp! What you need is disguise! Wait moment!” The figure rummages in a bag, and emerges with a large permanent marker. Suddenly seizing Hamilton’s nose, he draws a splendid lion tamer style moustache on his upper lip. He cocks his head to one side and admires his handiwork. “Blplplp. Not bad! Problem is. Those trousers! Most distinctive! Dead giveaway! Never mind! Soon fixed!” There is a whisking noise and Hamilton feels a cold draught round his legs. Before he can question what is happening, he feels a powerful shove in the small of his back, and is propelled, blinking back onto the main street. “Blplplp! There he is everyone! Granny Basher! No trousers!”

Looking behind him in confusion and shock it appears that there is now no alleyway from whence he can have come. But the breeze round his legs is real enough and so he presumes is the splendid lion tamers moustache. People are pointing and shouting now, a policeman has been alerted; the situation looks hopeless. Hamilton, a man who thought himself made of quite stern stuff, looks plaintively towards the approaching lawman, trying to convey nothing but pure submission. Yet somehow this not what the officer sees and with a sudden cry of “Everyone down, he’s got a gun!” he raises his hands up in the air as he calmly approaches Conrad, with no little fear showing in his own face. “Look mate, you don’t need to do this, we can talk, just put the gun down, nice and slow, nice and calm” Horrified, Conrad looks at his gun wielding limb which is indeed pointing towards the officer and utters the words “I don’t know what’s going on, I’m putting the gun down” but as he goes to put the gun down, his finger spasms and the trigger pulls, the policeman’s leg gives way and he falls to the floor screaming and clutching a wound on his thigh. Immediately he’s on his radio trying to call for help through the pain. Hamilton thinks he must help, he manages to drop the gun and goes to make amends “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” he wails as he reaches his hands towards the felled man. “You keep away!” the officer screams “back up I need back up now!” The horrified onlookers watch Hamilton’s zombie like grasp reach for the policeman, at last a local lad can stand it no longer and hurls himself at Hamilton, crashing him to the floor, but the young hero misjudges the interception and whilst he does knock Hamilton down, in the process overshoots and badly bashes his head into a nearby lamppost, going limp almost immediately. Hamilton pushes the body off him, sirens are now screaming in the background, wary onlookers back away quickly, a nearby car incomprehensibly explodes, injuring a couple of people and filling the scene with smoke and debris. Hamilton just stands there, seeing no point in running, there is nothing to do. The police reinforcements arrive and he makes his way towards them with as much dignity as he can manage only to slip on a well placed banana skin and smack his head so hard on the pavement everything goes black.

When we wakes, he is in a hospital bed with an awful headache and a sense of an awful dream. But then the slow realisation comes that it is no dream. He tries to move only to find one hand is handcuffed to the bed. Blearily looking around he notices a policeman is half slouched in a chair next to him, noticing his awakeness the officer eyes him warily but severely “So you’re awake Mr Hamilton, my oh my are you in a lot of trouble chummy” Hamilton has no retort and slumps back into the bed. Time passes in the hospital, nobody talks to him and he has no words for his sentinel. More time passes and a man in a suit and a man in a doctor’s coat arrive. The two figures stand at the end of the bed, the suited one addresses the doctor clad gentleman “so he’s fit to leave now yes?” “Yes yes, he seems to be, quite what his psychological condition is I couldn’t say, but physically, a bump to the noggin but that’s it inspector.” The inspector turned to Conrad “Right Mr Hamilton, you’re coming with us, get out of bed and put your clothes back on.” “Smithers, unlock Mr Hamilton please” So constable Smithers unlocks the padlocks and Conrad slowly puts his clothes back on, a pair of black jogging trouser have been supplied to replace his old ones. When the last shoe is tied, he is handcuffed again and led away. Down through the hospital corridors, to the exit, into a plain police car and away. A grey uncomprehending despair fills his mind as he harks back to just this morning, his poached egg, the telegraph, a dog walk, just pop in for ‘What HIFI’ and a can of Goose boost then off for a career defining presentation… all now in tatters.

“The most unlucky man…” he mumbles, but the police don’t respond. The car pulls up at the station and he is lead out and into the station. At the reception desk there seems to be some discussion as to where they should put him, all the holding cells are full. Then the desk sergeant suggests the old toilet might be used. The inspector looks doubtful that this is allowed, but the others urge him to remember this is a police shooting, moral reprobate they have on their hands and a spell in the old toilet won’t do him any harm. The inspector smiles benevolently and his underlings and gives his sympathetic blessing. Thus Hamilton is lead to what seems to be small toilet cubicle that the police can lock from the outside. He is rudely shoved into this tiny space with the words “don’t be fooled, the flush doesn’t work!” then the door is closed. He sits himself down on the seat in the dark and continues his ruminating numb despair.

As time passes, his mind begins to assemble itself somewhat and he comes to tell himself what is essentially true, that he hasn’t really done anything wrong, that British justice is the finest in the world. That he of course never did steal those charity boxes or engage in any of those acts in the pictures and as for the policeman well, that clergyman must have put the gone in his hand and nerves had done the rest. The clergy man he thinks, the tweedy man on the train, yes that was who it was like, they were?? The same man? He must tell the police all of this when they come to ask him. This is no time for blubbering and apologising, he must fight these forces whatever they are. Maybe its Morrison from sales, he was set against the project, it would be just like him to sabotage me. But to this extent? Really? The word ‘really’ plays horribly through his mind as he hears the tweedy gentleman saying it as the briefcase falls open in the train and all the incriminating things fall out. Knocking the old people over? Just a man fleeing a mob, a terrible accident but nothing more malicious. Stand your ground Hamilton, we’ve got to figure out Morrison and the tweedy man’s plot and then… But the stream of consciousness is interfered with by the door opening. “Come with me Mr Hamilton” says an officer. Not waiting for him to answer he is roughly grabbed and ushered through the stations corridors. This goes on for some time until he is shown into what is clearly an interview room. The plain clothes inspector and another officer are seated and there is some kind of tablet on the table in front of them.

Conrad is seated and offered a tea or coffee which he gratefully accepted. After a moment of silent sitting, the inspector addressed Conrad “Now Mr Hamilton, do you know why you’re here?” “Yes, well no, you see I haven’t done anything, I’ve been thinking it through, we need to go over the train footage, there was a tweedy gentleman and a vicar, they’ve done it you see.” They eyed him wildly “What have they done sir?” “Planted the whole thing, charity boxes, the pictures everything” “Charity boxes sir? Pictures sir? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Perhaps sir things will become a little clearer after you watch this. Barraclough, the footage.” Barraclough fiddles with the tablet for a moment before setting it in front of Conrad. The footage shows a train exit, seconds later the orange lycred Johnson ushering a recognisable Angela off the train with a slap to the behind, his trademark string bag by his side. “That’s my wife!” Shouts Conrad at the screen, “What’s she doing with that thing!? Is he in on it? Is it Morrison?” “Calm down now sir, that’s not all” Next the scene cuts to a hotel lobby. Angela is looking round the lobby, whilst Johnson leans nonchalantly against the reception desk talking to the receptionist, who giggles and hands him a key, he then extends a flipper to Mrs Hamilton who follows him off camera “What are they doing? What’s all this about?!” shouts Hamilton “That’s not all sir.” Comes the calm reply. The scene is now a hotel bedroom in which can be clearly seen Johnson and Angela, she is half undressed and Johnson has already slipped out of his one piece lycra, bottles of liquid line the bedside cabinet one of which is in his flipper and is being poured over the enthusiastic Mrs Hamilton. “What!!! What is this??! Angela get that thing off you!!!” Clearly distraught, Hamilton looks up from the screen to the police and then back in horror “Why are you showing me this?” he says unable to avert his gaze “That’s not all sir.” Comes the same reply as more extreme footage follows which goes on for an interminable length of time leaving Hamilton fried and horrified beyond his possible comprehension. The radio goes in the inspector’s earpiece. “Yes sir, you want to see him now, right, ok, yes he’s seen the footage. Ha ha yes sir.” A pause and he looks at Hamilton. “The chief inspector wants to see you matey, to get to the bottom of all of this” The door opens and Hamilton freezes suddenly  to hear a familiar tone “Where’s the man inspector? Blblblbp? This one here?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on January 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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