Well, I did the first exercise, I know it’s not much but it’s done. I have committed to the job at hand. The question went something like…
Now write another couple of paragraphs from the perspective of either a Burglar, an old acquaintance you haven’t seen for ages or a child.
So here’s my answer, I am fully aware thatbI didn't follow the brief but as I'm not actually on a course I feel I can allow myself some lattitude. Please feel free to comment or to write your own entry. I will read and comment on everything.
Exercise one - The room.
A castle cold hall and sweeping stone steps lead to the door. I pull it open and drag out some of the swallowing darkness from within. The rectangle of black set in a hospital white wall has a softness to it, if I shut my eyes I could find it by negative sonar. Here in the hall sounds rattle around the hard walls but inside they're embraced. Once spoken, words leave no trace but in mind of those who hear them. I advance into the dark and it engulfs me. Some absurd design means that, from this side of the auditorium the lights cannot be switched on, one must make one’s way down the rake to just in front of the stage. I take a tentative step forwards and as my eyes begin to adjust I can pick out points of light from surfaces reflecting the weak light of the open door. They guide me down the gentle slope.
As I advance along the cushioned carpet, all sound absorbed, a percussive bang accompanies total darkness. Two of my senses now have nothing to work with and imagination fills the gaps. The brush of something against my leg or a shadow moving between rows of seats impossibly darker than lightless theatre in which I stand. It is as if the absence of light and sound has filled the hall with some other stuff. My sense of the closeness of things is overwhelming, the space is thick around me. Steeling myself I push through it with tentative steps. I freeze at a light clatter from ahead, it is almost nothing, no louder than a few paperclips knocked from a table. My eyes and ears redouble their efforts but there is no further input. I reason that backstage is so full of props that the door slamming must have breached some tipping point and set something to fall some twenty or so seconds later. Resuming my stuttering walk, I arrive at the stage, the toe of my shoe hitting the steps at its side. I switch on the lights and a sea of rippling red velour becomes illuminated, I'm alone, of course, nonetheless I breathe out my relief and head up the stage steps to get my props together. The thrill of being here alone is always worth an early start.
In the United Kingdom, there are few places to get hold of a pistol, either workable or decommissioned. Off the top of his head James could think of just five. There was the army, police, gun clubs, film and theatre sets. He had little interest in robbing the first three and of the last two film sets were tricky because they often had their own 'Film star' security. That left a theatre and this one was in the middle of a period wartime production with guns in half the scenes.
He'd enjoyed going to the play, that wasn't something he'd expected. The story wove around a girl and three guys, each of whom were on the front line and each returning on leave at different times. Inevitably the war ends and they all come home at the same time. It turned out that just when she thought it was all going to kick off they revealed that they were brothers with a penchant for sharing.
Relieved to be at the door of the auditorium, the bright and airy hall having mockingly echoed his every step, he opened up to complete darkness. 'Thank god' he stepped in pulling the door closed behind him.
A pencil light helped him down to the stage and he climbed up at the side. The darkness was his friend here, no one did legitimate work in complete darkness. In fact, no one should be here for over an hour although that was still cutting it fine. It shouldn't matter, according the stage hand he'd chatted to there were no dressing rooms to speak of, most of the changes were done just behind the set. A quick in and out job, find two pistols to recommission and they’d be set up for the Chelsea job. Having picked his way past the set and through the front door of 'her' house, he surveyed the space. Christ, it was total chaos back here. How does anyone work like this? The first pistol was easy to find, gun belt lazily slung over a chair back. He briefly considered taking the belt too but he couldn’t see a use for it. Finding the second had proven more difficult, he was sure that each of the brothers had a different gun. One would appear on stage only moments after the other, passing one gun around would be ridiculous. He spied a small, patch of brown leather as he passed the torch beam over piles of clothes on the floor and investigated. That was it, second gun secured he immediately headed for the exit.
The door of the auditorium opened, James froze, ‘who the…?’ the question stalled in his mind as he searched for a way out, he realised that he’d shoved his hand over the torch beam and switched it off now. The only way he knew for sure was back past the figure. Looking out of a ‘set window’ and up the aisle he saw a square of white against the black wall where a figure appeared. It advanced down the aisle and after a few paces he noticed the white square dwindling until it vanished with a loud bang.
James's hand reflexively moved to the hammer stowed in his jacket pocket. He'd needed it to get into service door at the side of the theatre. The notoriously poor security at theatres was thankfully true to form. His eyes were now fully adjusted to the dark and he could just make out a man’s figure stumbling away from the back of the room. He must be going for the lights, James had to move, turning he clipped a clothes rack setting a couple of hangers rattling 'damn it'. He concealed himself in the wings and saw that the figure must have frozen but was just now getting moving again. The man was still moving towards the stage, reasonable then to assume he hadn’t been alerted. The lights came on and James blinked several times to adjust to the glare. The man he now recognised as one of the 'brothers', came up the stairs. Hammer in hand James waited for the actor to pass in front of him.