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#OutofOfficeQuotes 33: "The London bombings presented Hook with an opportunity..."

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

The London bombings presented Hook with an opportunity he’d never realised he was waiting for: to disappear, leave Monica and Shelley behind and follow his dreams. He’d been gone two hours when he realised he’d made a dreadful mistake – he didn’t have any.

Hook checked into a cheap hotel off Berwick Street. Sat in his tiny room on that strange day, something on TV made him laugh. A helicopter picked out a train making its way to Essex; as the camera panned back he saw the whole of London sprawling, and it seemed hilarious that anyone had the arrogance to imagine they could take on this vast, ancient city and win.

Lying on a tatty single bed, defeated by the challenge of finding a dream, Hook tried to conjure up a new identity. After a few hours he realised he couldn’t even think of a name, let alone a whole new act.

It became apparent the police could name every one of the victims of 7/7, and they hadn’t found one cell or wisp of cloth from his shattered body. So he drank himself into a stupor, threw away his coat and went home, blaming what he’d seen on that terrible morning. It worked: Monica held him tight. She wasn’t to know, and CCTV hadn’t revealed, that he’d stood on the platform and let the doomed train go because it was full.

Over the next few weeks Hook went home each lunchtime to ensure he got to the credit card bill naming the Berwick Street hotel before his wife. That was the last time he tried to disappear. Maybe disappearing wasn’t something you could at will: you had to wait for it to happen.


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