This morning when I left the house for the gym, the streets were as dismal as ever. It was 6am and the streets were empty. Even though it was still dark outside, the sky was slowly turning from black to grey and it felt peaceful, even if everything looked miserable.
There were no people about. No cars. No cats. Not even a bird chirping from the trees. Just me, the wind and the rain at the bus stop. This bus stop may be a second away from my house, but it’s also an unpredictable one. Some days a bus comes straight away, sometimes two or three, and at others times when I need to get somewhere quickly, these ‘one every five minutes’ buses often make me wait 20-30 minutes.
But today obviously I wasn’t in a rush to get to the gym so I was quite content on listening to music on my phone (I really wanted to get to at least the fifth chapter in my Alan Partridge book but alas there wasn’t enough light – plus I didn’t want to get it wet in the rain).
While waiting for the bus, and annoyingly flicking through song after song I felt that I wasn’t alone.
I peeked around the side of my hood, to the left and saw an empty street. I turned slowly to the right and thought I saw something move. Not knowing why, I walked towards the edge of the bus stop to have a close look at what was scaring me. If this was on TV I’d be shouting at the screen, calling the character stupid for opening that door when they hear someone or something scary outside it. But a force outside this world was moving my legs for me. Moving me towards someone’s front garden where I could hear a small whistling sound behind their wheelie bin.
With the wind behind it, the bin had thrown itself towards me, covering me in what looked like leftovers from what the owner had had for dinner last night. Thankfully it was just food wrappers from a fast-food chicken chain, one that I’d strangely never heard of, Los Pollos Hermanos. But then again, I don’t eat chicken so I guess it’s not that strange that I don’t know every single fried chicken shop here.
Chuckling to myself that a wheelie bin had just attacked me, I picked myself and the bin up and propped it back into place. I picked up a couple of the wrappers that had fallen onto me and put them back in the bin, when I suddenly noticed from the corner of my eye, two heads. Two bald heads.
At the bus stop on the other side of the road, two bald men stood. In pretty dapper suits might I say. And were they brothers? Or cousins at least? They looked pretty similar. Oh and Mexican, I think.
I didn’t want to stare, in case they thought I was judging them for being bald, or Mexican, so I pulled my hood back up and went back to the music on my phone. I snuck a quick look at them through the reflection of the bus stop window, and they were just standing there. Not moving, not even batting an eyelid, not even standing under the shelter of the bus stop.
Fair enough, I guess they wanted their heads cooled by the rain? Then suddenly, their bus came. That wasn’t fair enough.
I’m guessing they got on the bus because when it left, they weren’t there anymore. I didn’t think any more on it as I was distracted by the arrival of my bus. I got on, sat down and flicked through songs.
On the route to Croydon we pass the local hospital and the bus stopped there to let people on. I looked out in the rain and noticed a middle-aged woman sitting at the bus stop smoking. Two things angered me in that moment. One, you’re not allowed to smoke at a bus stop, and two, you’re pregnant! Stupid lady. The only good thing about that moment was realising I didn’t have to cram on the train this morning with my daily commuters, the annoying girl with the big-ass hair who always tries to get to the station before me to nick my spot, the guy who I’m not quite sure if I fancy or not wearing the huge headphones and the father who shakes his head at his daughter every day as she jumps into puddles.
The gym was tough but ok. The travel into work was crammed but I enjoyed my banana and the two pages I read about the life of Alan Partridge.
Something was different when I stepped into the office, something was new, but old and the same time.
I put my stuff down on the desk and went to make a coffee, when I got back I noticed someone had put their stuff on the desk next to me. The desk that had been empty for the last couple of months now has a taker. Another woop please as I have someone else to talk to.
He walked over and while introducing himself he lifted the bag from off the desk and put it underneath. It looked pretty heavy as he whinced when he picked it up. He seemed a genuinely nice guy, in his late 50’s, he too was bald, married and reminded me of someone. I can’t think who though. He set his desk with notepads, his two phones and some stationery.
As I debated with my other colleagues about who makes the better cup of coffee, the new guy politely butted in and told us how to in fact make the perfect cup of coffee. Astounded, we looked at him and he explained that he used to be a chemistry teacher.
That’s who it is – Malcolm in the Middle’s father! That’s who he reminds me of. I forget the actor’s name but the similarities between him and new guy were uncanny.
Chuckling to myself for the second time that day, I crawled under the desk to plug my charger into the extension. Stretching to the plug, I glanced at the newbie’s bag and saw a pound note. In fact I saw lots. His bag seemed to be full of money.
Aware that I was under the desk for longer than I should be, I crawled back out, avoiding his eye contact and walked as normally but as quickly as I could to the toilet, so as not to attract attention, from him at least.
I texted my friend to come to the toilet so I could tell her what I just saw but remembered she was on holiday as I pressed the send button. There wasn’t anything else I could do so I just went back into the office.
I embarrassingly walked straight into an announcement my MD was making to the office and quickly shuffled to my desk. He was telling everyone about a new joint venture partnership with a company he’s known for a while. Another man was standing next to my MD, shaking his hand as everyone started clapping.
As I turned to my computer, I heard him introduce the man to the team as Gustavo Fring, before they went into the MD’s office with his assistants.
There were two of them. Bald, and in good suits. Simultaneously, they turned their heads and looked at me.
I’ve really got to stop watching Breaking Bad before bed.
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