‘Five grand!’ I said. ‘Five grand!’ It was as if repeating it would make sense of the incomprehensible. ‘Your magazine will pay me one thousand for publishing details of my strange phenomenon but five thousand if they don’t? There’s some weird bollocks going on here, but more likely you’re just talking it!’
‘Could I trouble you for a glass of water, mate?’ he replied totally ignoring my perplexed reaction. ‘I’ve been traipsing around Maidstone for the last half hour in this heat for nothing, searching for a rear indicator bulb to kill time before meeting you.’
I was about to offer directions to the motor spares shop about a mile away but his cheeky grin signposted to me that he had no intention of paying for the blinking thing.
‘Yes, but you stay there,’ I instructed, pointing steadfastly at the doorstep.
‘You’re treating me like a thief,’ he called after me as I went upstairs in search of the H20.
‘Preferable to treating you to more of my possessions,’ I fired back. However, I was aware I shouldn’t be too scathing in my discourse as I was reliant upon the demon on my doorstep for the payout for my phenomenon. A minute or so later I returned from the upstairs bathroom with the glass. Kai took it, provided a cursory nod of appreciation that managed to set his fringe loose again and took a sip, though hardly enough to justify his apparent direction need for it.
‘What’s that?’ I said in reaction to a noise emanating from the lounge and I quickly headed there to investigate, twigging simultaneously that the request for water was probably a distraction tactic to obtain my phenomenon on the cheap by getting an accomplice of Diamonde’s into my house to search for it.
‘I didn’t hear a bean, matey,’ Kai replied as he followed me as unrequested back-up.
‘Look,’ I gasped, ‘the clock, the clock on the mantelpiece has moved!’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Of course I’m bloody sure. It’s always been central there,’ I explained replacing it on the spot it had always occupied previously. ‘It’s never been to the right here.’
‘But, you do know it’s displaying the wrong time, pal?’
‘What’s that to do with anything? It’s the fact it’s moved of its own accord that’s the salient point here. The fact the battery has worn out has sod all to do with it. Unless, of course, all clocks when their batteries run low start making their way to Timbuktu in a fit of pique!’
‘If it was headed to Timbuktu,’ Kai answered in all earnestness, ‘it would’ve moved towards the left, though?’
‘It will move again, very shortly,’ I warned him, ‘and make contact with your bloody head!’ Although there were no other signs that a possible partner in crime of Kai’s had been in my home in search of my strange phenomenon, I looked at him knowingly. I wanted him to be aware that I wasn’t quite the mug he dealt with in times past.
‘You seem alarmed, matey,’ my undesirable guest announced placing his hand upon my shoulder. ‘You’ve had a day of weird occurrences. How about you get your laughing gear around this beer,’ he said producing a can from the supermarket bag he grasped,’ and I will gladly explain things?’
On an early afternoon filled with strange phenomena the strangest phenomenon of all had just manifested: Kai Diamonde had bought me something!
IN PART 3: VOYAGES INTO HISTORY WITHOUT LIFEBOATS