The Hall (a tongue in cheek novel)
A dynamic story made up of excerpts from budding authors. Try your skills at writing and add your own chapter at the bottom of this page.
|“Did you hear it?”
The first ring of the ringtone was what woke Dryson Andrews. It took the second and third rings for him to realise that it was his mobile phone he could hear, and the fourth to find it on the arm of the chair in which he had fallen asleep. It was almost through the fifth and final ring before he could swipe it and get it to his ear.”What?” he barked in the most authoritative bark he could muster on the three quarters of a bottle of scotch he had consumed before he had fallen asleep.
“The explosion! Didn’t it wake you? All of Ratabel must’ve heard it.”
By now Dryson had realised the voice on the other end of the phone belonged to his hyperactive personal assistant, Octavius Salvatore.
“The hall! It’s blown up. Gone! I’m outside my house now. I can see the …”
Dryson found his mayoral voice, “I’ll see to it,” and shut off the phone. He stood for a moment in the gloom of his living room wishing he could leap like those people in the Toyota ad, but his feet wouldn’t leave the floor. Even his arms seemed reluctant to reach above the top of his head. He glanced at the whisky bottle standing in front of the table lamp and then looked for the glass. He’d knocked it over when he’d stood up. No need to worry about spills on the carpet. It had been empty. He turned on the overhead light so he could see his watch face. 3.15! Another night asleep in his chair. No time to rustle up the bed for the cleaning lady’s benefit. He had to get down to the hall.
He was halfway to the front door when he caught sight of himself in the hall mirror. Not a good look. He rushed to the bathroom and turned on the cold tap splashing his face and hair with water. Then some deep breaths. It couldn’t smell of whisky. He grabbed his toothbrush and coated it with paste. While he brushed he noticed his shirt. Rumpled, it had that slept in look. He needed to change. What should a mayor awoken out of his bed at 3.15am wear, he asked himself as peered into his wardrobe? Smart casual, he decided, cords and a check shirt, a cardigan with a jacket over the top. He told himself to hurry as he slipped his feet into loafers.
He was reaching for his keys when he was overcome by a moment of panic. Would he still be over the limit? What time was it when he poured his last glass? He couldn’t remember. He tried to think about what he had been watching on television but he couldn’t remember that either. Should he ring Octavius to come and get him? Could he stand the humiliation? Or give that weedy creep something to hold over him if he ever tried to fire him? He picked up the keys and went to the car. Surely the police would have more to do than man their booze buses now. Nevertheless he drove carefully, watchful lest a cop car should appear.
As he turned out of leafy Bradman Estate, where the sky was hardly visible through the canopy of oaks, on to the Border Street he was shocked by the depth of the red glow in the sky. He wound down the window. Even at this distance from the hall he could smell smoke. There was also a surprising number of cars on the road but like him they were not going far.At the intersection of Border and Waugh Street there was a police car with lights flashing blocking the road. A detour sign had been erected and an officer with a torch was waving the motorists into Waugh Street. Bryson ignored the signal to turn left and kept going until he was beside the policeman with the torch.
“No vehicles beyond this point,” the man said flashing his torch into Bryson’s face.
“But I’m the mayor. I need…”
“You need to obey instructions like everybody else. If you are wanting to leave Ratabel at this time you will need to take the detour via Waugh, Warner and Watson Streets. Otherwise I suggest you turn around and go back to your home.”For one brazen moment Bryson thought about demanding the man’s name and threatening him with an adverse report to the Police Superintendent if he didn’t let him through. Then he remembered the whisky….
To be continued……
All comments and suggestions welcome.