Snapshots of a Meltdown.
First instalment in a small flash fiction series I’m working on. Snapshots of a Meltdown focuses on one character as bizarre things continue to happen to resulting in his abnormal behaviour. Give it a read sure!
My name? Jeez I think I’ve been asked that question ten times today. What’s with the sudden interest of my name? It’s not like this is a regular thing for me. It’s a one off, one time isolated incident. In some respects I can understand why that makes it more shockin. Those that know me, know I’m a patient, easy-goin gent. Those that really know me know this was a long time comin. Dominic always said I’m ‘one red wire snip away from exploding’ but what does he know? I’ve been sat in that room for the past two hours bored out of my skull. I’m sure that kid probably has his own overly dramatized version of events that could be made in to a three part mini-series. It’s not like what happened was even that bad, if anythin he should’ve seen it comin. Anyway you be the judge coz I’m tired of defendin myself.
So I’m walkin down the high street, loads of people are out coz the sun’s out and automatically that draws an extra thirty per cent of people out of hibernation. I get a phone call, instead of checkin the screen like I usually do I just answer you know. So I’m like ‘Hello’ and they’re like ‘Hi, I’m callin’ from some place you’ve never heard of to offer you some things you have no interest in, but first can I start by asking your name?’ (First time). ‘I’m just headin back in to work now so it’s not a good time’ and he responds in that stupid voice ‘No worries, I can give you a call back after work if that’s ok’ and like an idiot I say ‘sure thing’ and give him an actual suitable time to call me back. So I hang up annoyed at myself and that idiot who just called me, but coz I’m headin to the deli it’s not so bad. I reserved an order for my favourite sandwich, roast beef, red onion, pickles, lettuce, mayo and mustard. I reserve it every Thursday when they make roast beef and every Thursday the same woman answers the phone and asks me the same question. ‘Deli’sDeli how can I help?’… ‘Sure, what kind of bread?’… ‘Your name?’ (Second time)… ‘Ok it’ll be ready in ten minutes’. It’s never ready in ten minutes, I fall for it every time and then I end up being bumped around by these wankers in suits who are obviously managers in their office and treat their employees like shit therefore they treat everyone else the same way.
Anyway so I’m slipping my phone back into my trouser pocket when a street fund raiser just appears in front of me. He literally appeared out of nowhere, I swear, I would’ve noticed his stupid bright yellow jacket and hat. ‘Can I spare a second of your time?’ He asks in that ridiculous happy go lucky voice. I do the honourable thing and just act like he isn’t there you know, so I try and walk around him. But the little snake just shuffles in to my way. ‘Look you’ve stopped now so you may as well just hear me out. My name’s Toby, what’s yours? (Third time). ‘ I don’t have time for this I need to get my lunch and get back to work, sorry” I apologised out of kindness, fact of the matter is I had nothin to apologise for. I didn’t do anything wrong. ‘Did you know that over eighty five per cent of children in third world countries will never be able to say that sentence?’ Jesus Christ! ‘Why? They learnin another language?’ I joke back ‘No! Because they don’t have the resources to ever be as lucky as you’ he says like he’s about to cry. ‘Don’t you care at all?’ He asks visibly hurt by this. ‘Not really’ I respond again trying to walk around him, then that’s when it all kicked off. I tried to walk away but he stopped me by putting his hand on my chest then saying ‘How could you be so heartless? You’re nothin but a stuck up suit.”
Now in my book that’s an insult that warrants a complaint. So I start making a load of noise about supervisors and not being spoken to that way and eventually this short haired woman comes over to diffuse the situation. ‘Is everything ok sir?’ She asks me softly. ‘No, this little turd insulted me and continually gets in my way when I try to leave’ I complain hoping that she’s smart enough to just let me go and decide it’s not worth it. So much for my faith in humanity, if she was smart I wouldn’t be sitting here. ‘Can I just ask, what’s your name sir?’ (Fourth time) she offers a hand for me to shake. I look at it and think better of it, that’s how they rope you in. She withdraws ‘I’m sure Toby here was just letting his passion get the better off him’ she smiled; she had a cute smile to be fair. ‘What passion’s that? Gettin punched in the face for talkin to much?’ I react angrily. ‘Now there’s no need to threaten violence we only want to make people aware of our mission to help those less fortunate’ she spoke placing a hand on my arm. The bullshit meter was off the scale at this point, all that crap about helpin people was a load of arse. ‘The only help you want is the nine pound per hour you get for pissin people like me off. This twat couldn’t care if a kid in Africa eats a ham sandwich or not, he’s doin this coz his mum and dad don’t want him sleepin and wankin his days away.’ She was stunned when I said that, the look on her face was priceless. ‘Who do you think you are?’ Toby questioned. ‘Whatever’ I muttered finally getting around the two do-gooders and headin towards a roast beef haven until the little shit stain stuck his foot out and tripped me on the floor. Like literally on the dirty gum stained pavement, a charity worker.
So obviously my reaction was well deserved and instinctive. Sure he probably told the police that I tripped on the pavement while trying to storm off, and she would’ve agreed. I had no witnesses to back me up of course, but I was provoked. I don’t usually condone violence but every now and then it’s the only solution. I bet you he won’t be so pushy for starving children in Africa now. Of course the other do-gooders came swarmin in and it just turned in to melee. Eventually the police and an ambulance showed up, which was the last thing I needed coz it definitely meant I wasn’t gettin my sandwich. Also everyone who just happened to be walkin by all of a sudden was a witness, they didn’t want anythin to do with it before the police arrived, but now there’s a chance they could be on the news they’re all involved. The police put me aside round the corner; a six foot northern mammoth of man was questioning me, ‘What’s your name lad?’ (Fifth time) I spilled my guts giving him detail after detail and all he said was ‘Ok, wait here’ as if I was gonna hot foot it away. I’d done nothin wrong. A paramedic came to me while they were loading Toby in the ambulance. ‘Is everything ok with you?’ she asked. I ignored her trying to see if Toby was still breathin, ‘Can you hear me sir? Nod your head if you can hear me’ I nodded hopin it would shut her up. ‘Great do you wanna tell me your name? (Sixth time) I shook my head. She examined my wrist where there was a small cut. I didn’t notice to be honest but it must of happened when I was tripped. The giant officer came back with another cop and they loaded me in the back of a police car for ‘more routine questioning.’
At the police station they sat me in an interrogation room, the room was freezin, I sat with my jacket on and arms folded. It was about thirty minutes before anyone came in the room. This woman dressed in a grey business suit walked through the door and briefly introduced herself and the fella flankin her. Her name was DCI Richards or Roberts I can’t remember. ‘Can you confirm for the tape your name please?’ (Seventh time) ‘Great, has anyone offered you drink? Tea? Coffee?’ she asked, ‘I’m fine.’ The man stood against the wall facin me, he was doin his best bad cop impression and was just fixated on me. I wasn’t intimidated or anythin it was just weird. ‘Ok so this incident, tell us from the beginning what happened’ her voice was high and chipper, but I had the feelin like her partner behind her she could be a mean bitch if she wanted. I gave her my version of events which was the true version of events. ‘Just to let you know, we’ve had a slightly alternative version from Toby’ she said. ‘Well he’s lyin, I’m not hiding my part in all this, I did what I did and I’ll happily do it again if I had to’ I said. Her partner spoke up sayin ‘Do you know what remorse is?’ What a stupid question, I hate when people ask questions that everyone knows the answers to but they ask anyway in a poor attempt to make themselves seem smart. It was probably the wrong time and place to act like a smartass but why not I thought to myself. ‘No, can you explain this concept to me? It sounds very enrichin and may change my life’ I gave him a smile after to let him know I was only kiddin about but he didn’t take to kindly to it. DCI Richards or Roberts left the room and he followed slowly behind givin me the evils. They came back twenty minutes later and put me in another room. I saw two other officers take a dirty homeless man in there afterwards; they came out holdin their noses and laughin. Great fellas. The room they put me in was just by the exit of the station. I’m pretty certain I could’ve left if I wanted to but I didn’t want a nationwide manhunt being sent out for me. After about ten minutes sitting there I was already fallin asleep, people were walkin back and forth but none of them stopped to talk to me. I saw DCI Richards or Roberts partner leading the short haired do-gooder out. He was all smiles with her and made a point to show that to me. She caught my eye and quickly turned away. She probably just sold me up the river to save her nine pound per hour job and the little wanker she supervises. After two hours passed I was asleep on the seat, it wasn’t comfortable but I was so tired I would’ve fallen asleep anywhere. Plus the room was quiet warm, unlike that interrogation room. A man in a pink shirt woke me up, since when do cops where pink shirts to work? You couldn’t take him seriously as a policeman, I couldn’t. ‘You alright in ere mate?’ He asked soundin like he was fresh off a market stall. ‘Yeah I’m fine just waitin for them to get back to me’ I responded. ‘You in for that incident down on the igh street?’ ‘That’s the one I replied’ clicking my fingers and pointin at him. ‘What’s your name?’ (Eighth time) ‘Yeah mate you can go. I thought ‘arry told ya, the kid’s supervisor vouched for your story and e aint pressin charges so you can go.’ I sat dumbfounded.
It must have been around two hours I sat in the same spot and no-one told me I was free to go. I didn’t even call my job or anythin. They just let me sit there like I was in detention or somethin. ‘Yeah sorry bout that mate, go to the desk and get your stuff. He held the door open for me to walk out, he smelt like he poured an entire bottle of cologne on himself five minutes ago. Unless he’s an undercover agent he’s a serious cliché. There was a line at the desk, but I finally got to the front after the guy in front of me finished discussin last night’s game with the cop behind the desk. ‘Name?’ (Ninth time) he spoke without looking at me. I got all my stuff back in one of those see through plastic bags. It was dark outside now, I checked my phone no missed calls. Ironically I’d lived in London all my life but never been to this police station in this area. So I had no idea which way I needed to go. I just started walkin in the direction I saw a bus, to me that signifies a main road somewhere and that’s all I needed. My phone vibrated in my pocket, I was so tired that I just answered it. I figured it would be my job, or Dominic or maybe my mum or somethin. ‘Hello’ I mumble without checking the screen, the next thing I hear is ‘Hi I’m callin’ from some place you’ve never heard of to offer you some things you have no interest in, but first can I start by asking your name?’ (Tenth time) Jesus Christ.
Greg J Allman