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#OutofOfficeQuotes 68: "He's woken at five by a terrible blaring noise..."

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

He’s woken at five by a terrible blaring noise that seems to fill the universe; sitting upright he stares wildly around and realises he’s in a bus lane. Starting the ignition he lurches forward, the bus driver apoplectic in his mirror, shaking his fist and screaming obscenities. Stumbling into first Hook pulls into a side road, the bus driver sounding his horn a final time as he sails by with his empty load and his heart’s tachograph ticking.

Parking up Hook gets out and stretches, hungover and hungry and cramped, and it seems the only things that makes his continuing existence bearable are the clean clothes he pulled on during the domestic storm up at the Towers; hooded top, tracky bottoms and trainers.

He remembers the altercation and zooming back to London with a load of angry fishermen in hot pursuit. They probably explode if they get too close to town, he supposes, like deep-sea fish when they reach the surface.

The talk show is still droning on about the monster and then some advert comes on for an evangelist church; he’s been tuned to some crazy religious station all night, the background burble chattering away like a schizophrenic. Maybe that explains why Hook’s dreams prominently featured a young long-haired boy with bleeding palms.

Hook turns off the radio, snorts two lines off his hands, puts the toilet bag in his jacket pocket and reluctantly leaves the safety of the jeep. Feeling light-headed but better than he has on a Monday for months he goes to the dolorous Sikh and buys a SuperBrew to wash down his depression pills, plus a few tablets he’s found in the cup-holder of the jeep. Then he limps sorely back around to the pub, followed by his gang of insects. No sign of life: the cop trailer has gone, a corrugated wall erected to keep crackheads out and ghosts in.

Despite the coke Hook feels drained, so he decides to go to work. It’s the one place he can be sure of some peace and quiet and a brie and lettuce roll.


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