I’m sharing here an extract from my next Radwinter novel, provisionally called ‘Undertow. Thomas Radwinter had discovered he has a double – a trouble-making, often drunk, irritating double. Thomas has no idea who he is and has never actually met him, but has suffered the consequences of his “twin’s” bad behaviour. In this episode, Thomas is just wandering along, minding his own business, when…
I was feeling quite merry as I headed back towards my car, feeling quite virtuous in fact, and wondering whether I should reward myself with a quick half in the Orange Tree or the Black Bonny. In fact I was probably smiling and feeling quite pleased with myself when I was aware of a young woman marching towards me with the sort of expression which indicated she knew me.
I was just thinking I had no idea who she was, but maybe she was a parent of one of the children’s friends, or someone I’d seen in a pub somewhere, or the wife/partner/sister of a client. I was preparing to say hello and trying to work out who she was without actually asking when she sort of grabbed me by the cheeks and kissed me! Yes, kissed me! Full on, right on the mouth and with some passion.
I thrust her from me with some sort of exclamation of alarm and horror, I might have even cried ‘unhand me!’ but it’s all a terrible blur now, a memory I don’t want to revisit, and it was almost erased by a mighty slap I received across my face.
“What the hell are you doing?” I shouted with a roar of embarrassed indignation, my face stinging.
From nowhere there came a man in a black suit, and would you believe it an actual bowler hat, and he thrust an umbrella between us. Another woman, tall and blond with short hair jumped in, standing with her back to me facing the slapper – not being rude, but she had just slapped me.
“Stop this disgraceful carry on!” shouted umbrella man, full of indignation.
“This woman attacked me!” I replied equally indignant, because he seemed to be suggesting I was not an innocent person attacked in the street, but part of the disgraceful carry on. “I’ve never seen her before in all my life and she just hit me!”
“Hang about, you’re not him, are you?” the slapper said, peering between umbrella man and the tall blond woman.
“I don’t know who you are, madam, I’ve never seen you before and I’m going to call the police!” I was absolutely steaming, and my face hurt – and I had been repulsively kissed.
The tall blond woman turned round, “I am the police,” she said, and it was Kins! Kins the policewoman I’d met the other day, and Kins in civvies!
“Sorry mate, I thought you was him! Bloody double! You got a twin brother or something?” and with that she turned about and almost ran away. Kins asked if she should give chase, but no, this was yet one more incident when my blasted double was giving me grief.
“Are you alright, Thomas?” Kins asked and umbrella man calmed down and enquired if I was alright and if I wanted to make a complaint he would act as witness. I thanked him and was about to say no, but then asked if maybe he could give me his contact details, and I gave him my card. “And do you want to make a complaint?” Kins asked.
This would mean me going to the police station and filling in loads of forms, and what could the police do? My annoying double wasn’t involved with this and we didn’t know who the woman was, so no. I thanked Kins, and thanked umbrella man again, and when Kins said perhaps I needed a coffee and could she buy me one, I suggested instead of going to a café go to the Orange Tree which was just nearby and which did sell coffee as well as fine beer.
I shook umbrella man’s hand and he trotted off, and still feeling indignant and annoyed and sore about the chops, but now resigned, I walked with Kins across the car park to the pub.
“This is not a joke, Thomas,” said Kins, rather severely and sounding a little like my wife.
“I know it isn’t, I’m bloody well fed up with this Herbert. Can you see if you can find out anything about him, he must have been spoken to by your colleagues at some point. It seems virtually everyone I know has come up against him in one way or another,”