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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Out-takes XX

Some people have confidence from the word go. They are born into the world and have a quick squint at it between womb and cradle and think to themselves, Hey, I can handle this. No problem. It’s as if they’ve arrived here from a much worse place and they know they’ve landed on their feet. From that moment their confidence grows and grows. They’ve got parents who reinforce it with money and manners and when they get to school they’ve got teachers who bolster it with education and acute observations of place and social class.

Geordie wasn’t like that. He couldn’t remember that initial sighting of the world between womb and cradle but he suspected there had been no cradle waiting for him. Confidence in himself and his place in the scheme of things had always been a problem and never more so than now when he found himself alone in a foreign country and the guy he was supposed to meet wasn’t there. He looked around again, hoping to see Sam striding towards him out of the crowd. But there was no one there. He went back over their telephone conversation of the previous evening. Sam had said, Oslo, hadn’t he? Norway? He wasn’t supposed to be in some other place altogether, Poland or Austria or Sweden? Was there an Oslo in Sweden? Quite possibly, he thought, maybe there was more than one. Foreign countries like this, they didn’t have the same rules as us.

What to do? He could panic and wander off into the city, hope he bumped into someone he knew, threaten to have a nervous breakdown unless the world started acting right. He could find a policeman, ask him if he knew where Holly lived. But you didn’t know what the police were going to be like abroad. They might have guns. He suspected the first rule in a situation like this was to stay put and think rational. The most obvious reason for Sam not being there was that he was delayed. He wouldn’t have a car here, he’d be dependant on public transport. He’d probably missed his bus, or he’d got off at the wrong stop.

Could be that he’d gone on a bender, though if he was drinking he’d never have managed the phone call last night. What Geordie had read on the plane it wasn’t straight-forward buying alcohol in Norway, seemed like the State had a monopoly on it.

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