Got nothing to rant about this week so here's the first chapter of an unfinished book I started years ago: Sausage Roll Finger. It was the sequel to Spies, lies and pies (now renamed The Spy With Eczema.)
Funny looking back at old stuff, isn't it? I suppose your writing grows as you grow or whatever. This book, though, is probably my favourite of all the unfinished stuff clogging up the hard drive. However, I never saw the point of writing a sequel to a book that isn't up for sale. What's that you say? Self publish The Spy With Eczema? Maybe I will. Maybe, I will.
Sausage Roll Finger - Chapter 1
Jeffrey Humpdine was no average security guard. Sat on his fat arse eating a cheese sandwich in front of a CCTV monitor, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was. At four am in a factory on your own, life can be quiet. However, Jeffrey wasn’t the sort of man to catch a few hours sleep or read the paper; he was committed to his job and the people he served.
Years of watching the CCTV monitor had toned his vision. He no longer saw the pictures on the screen. Instead, he saw the irregularities. Someone in sector G had left his coat on a peg, the cleaner had forgotten to empty a bin in the canteen.
Jeffrey checked his watch then stood up.
“Time for the four o’clock walk then,” he said, in between mouthfuls of cheesy bread. Grabbing his high-vis jacket, he left the office, a ring of keys jangling at his belt as he took each stride.
Outside in the factory was row upon row of bright stainless-steel machinery all inter-connected by conveyor belts. Each of the machines deserted. Walking up to the first machine he paused, reading the label for the fiftieth time.
ACME Sausage Roll Piping Machine Model 18923B.
“So then, ACME piping machine, what time you reckon today?” Jeffrey asked it with a curiously Americanised accent.
Receiving no reply, he pulled his left sleeve back, pressed the side button three times on his digital watch to reveal the stopwatch, which for some reason was named a chronograph, and adopted a runners standing position.
“Five, four, three,” he counted, “two, one, go.” He pressed the start button on the watch and started slowly walking.
Making a car-like acceleration noise, Jeffrey held out his left hand, grabbing at an imaginary gear stick. When the revs reached a peak, he pulled his hand back quickly, the revs in his voice dropping noticeably.
“Brrrrrrrm,” he said, his pace increasing as second gear accelerated him down the corridor. Changing up again to third, a flawless change, his speed was akin to that of a fast trot. Ahead of him, the plastic double doors led through to the Rolling room.
The bottom of his coat flapped curiously against his keys as he took his hand off the gear stick to push the door open, barely slowing his pace on the way through.
Giving a final, “Brrrrrm,” he changed up to fourth. The engine was now noticeably quieter as he sprint-walked down the straight, known in the trade as Pastry Paddock. Repositioning himself to the left of the track, he began his deceleration ahead of the sharp right hand bend leading into the cutting room. Changing down to third, then second, he squealed round the bend, taking the racing line, his right hand oversteering, feet skidding, as he glided to the left after the bend. He, again, began accelerating through the gears and onwards toward the cutting room exit.
Maybe if Jeffrey hadn’t been playing silly twats motor racing he would have seen the small metal casing beneath the cutting machine. Maybe, if he’d slowed or changed down to second, he might have seen the wires hanging out of the casing. Maybe, if he’d been actually doing his job instead of fannying around, he would have noticed the digital read out on the front of the box, counting down the seconds with only five seconds left.
However, he missed the signs.
In the last four seconds of his life, Jeffrey accelerated back to third then slowed, changing down at a inch perfect spot for a tight right hand corner, before re-accelerating down the home straight.
There are probably worse ways to die.
It even had a cover done by Bradley Wind.