Two or three days ago, I woke up at about 5 o’clock in the morning with the idea of a novel which was basically four or five real-life stories cobbled together into a narrative.
I thought about getting up and writing down the ideas but, instead, turned over on the floor and went back to sleep.
I was sleeping on the floor because I buggered my back about four weeks ago.
This morning, again at around 5 o’clock, I woke up with the same opening idea in my mind, minus the other stories.
I thought I had better write it down this time, so I did.
I doubt if I will add to it because I’m useless without a deadline.
I don’t need a person from Porlock and I ain’t no Coleridge.
I don’t fancy the opium.
Especially as I had a blood test yesterday and that nurse sure needs more practice in how to stick a needle in someone’s arm.
So there was this Irishman, a Dalek and four Scotsmen.
The Irishman was called Michael Julian Andrew Hardwick Bantam Smith. He was married with a younger wife, five children and a parakeet called Charlie.
He – Michael, not the parakeet – had been pushing the Dalek round the Scene Dock, a circular covered roadway that ran round the outside of the studios at BBC Television Centre in West London. He was clutching his stomach and standing half bent over, about to fall, because he had just been shot in the stomach.
The Dalek was a prop. Writer Terry Nation had described it, roughly, as a pepper pot with a sink plunger sticking out the front. BBC designer Raymond Cusick had refined the look and the Daleks became iconic villains in the Doctor Who TV series which, at that time, was fading in popularity. It would later be revived. Unlike Michael the Irishman.
One of the four Scotsman was called Jimmy the Joker. That was not his real name. The four Scotsmen had just robbed the cash office at BBC Television Centre. This was back in the day when people got paid weekly in cash. Jimmy the Joker had just shot Michael the Irishman by mistake.
Out of the corner of his left eye, he had seen a Dalek suddenly appear into the Scene Dock through one of the open studio doors and some inexplicable reflex action had made his brain fire the Walther PPK hand gun at the human being beside it. It’s a Dalek! was all his brain had thought. Jimmy carried a Walther PPK because that was the gun James Bond used in the books and movies.
Michael the Irishman would die in an ambulance on the way to hospital twelve minutes later. His last words would be whispered urgently but inaudibly. When he was dead, the elder ambulance man would look at the younger ambulance man, shrug and start filling in a form.
Three of the Scotsmen running in Television Centre – including Jimmy the Joker – were dressed as policemen. Two were carrying large canvas mail bags filled with banknotes. Jimmy was carrying a gun. The fourth was dressed in ‘civvies’, carrying a lightweight video camera, apparently filming the other two. All four men wore clown masks.
They ran out of the scene dock and through the car park at the front of the building. People just looked at them with mild interest, thinking it was part of some new TV show.
The uniformed security men at the front gate looked a little bemused, thought the same thing and stood aside to let the three policemen wearing clown masks – one carrying a gun – and the clown-masked man with the camera out into Wood Lane, the main road which ran past the studios. That was when the trouble really started.