Written by Alexander Aspinall on Monday the 26th of July 2010
It wasn't the man with the uneven stride that caught his
eye, or even the giant woman with the stream of screaming children snaking out
behind. It was the quiet man with the forlorn face and the dejected demeanour
that had captured George's attention.
Of a smallish-medium build, he wasn't particularly
attractive, and not a beast. He wore a grey overcoat, grey trousers and black
shoes. And his briefcase was as conventional as the tightly furled umbrella
tucked neatly under his left arm.
He was in
possession of a small square face, which bore no striking characteristic. Two
beady brown eyes peeped out from beneath squarely positioned eyebrows. His nose
was averagely proportioned and his lips were neither thin nor particularly
full. His ears weren't too large, his neck wasn't fat, and a perfectly
appropriate pallor could be seen upon his smooth cheeks.
The only real suggestion of personality present on his
façade was the wiry moustache that burst forth angrily from his upper lip, as
if the hairs were trying to escape some unseen terror lurking beneath the skin.
So ordinary was the man, so anonymous, that if he were to be
swept away by the wind no one would be any the wiser. His landlord would
question whether anyone ever lived in that fl at, his boss would advertise for
a replacement without looking into the whys and wherefores; even his friends
and family would move on without too much effort.
Skulking sullenly up the street, he was almost invisible.
Yet, his existence excited in George an overwhelming sense of suspicion. The
more he watched the greater grew George's conviction: the man was midway
through some malevolent mission, up to no good, and definitely not to be taken at
the deceptive value of his unprepossessing face.
But it was the face, that forgettable nothing of a face. The
closer you looked, the more calculating those vacant eyes became. And there was
something artificial about the symmetry. Why that moustache? And why did he
need to grip the briefcase with a severity that saw his knuckles turn white?
George shadowed his man, quietly tracing the path from the
library to the old railway line. Alone on the wooden bridge, they filed slowly
down the rickety ramp leading to the platform. And stood waiting, suspended in
It's true, what they say.