Thursday 21 June 2012

from Campbell's Visitor

My heels echoed. The guard was in an office at the other end of the corridor. He was reclining in a swivel chair, his hands clasped behind his head as he looked at a television. The screen was divided into segments showing vistas of the car park. He stretched forwards and moved a lever. I watched my car grow larger in the top left hand corner.
‘So you’re Campbell’s visitor?’ he said. ‘We don’t get many of them.’
‘No,’ I said.
He leaned on the armrest. ‘What?’ he said. ‘You’re not Campbell’s visitor?’
‘No, I am,’ I said. ‘I mean…’
He pushed his feet off the floor and glided across the room. He came to a halt next to a small table. The telephone sitting on it was antique. He lifted the handset and tapped the cradle.
I heard the faint tinkle of bells in the corridor.
‘Munro,’ he said. ‘Come here and see this.’ He stood up. ‘Munro will look after you.’
Footsteps. Heavy, Tick – Tock. Rhythmic. Munro was in no hurry. I could imagine his footwear. Highly polished army boots.
I wasn’t wrong.
‘Munro,’ said the guard. ‘This is Campbell’s visitor.’
Munro stared at me. He was about thirty with a shaved head; he didn’t like the look of me. I was right about the boots, but I would never have predicted the blue boiler suit. He had a thick leather belt round his waist. A set of keys and a truncheon were hanging from it.
‘Clothes maketh the man,’ I said.
‘I thought that was manners,’ said the guard.
‘Has he signed the book?’ said Munro.
‘Good point,’ said the guard. He opened a drawer and raked around. He eventually pulled out a ledger. ‘That military training of yours will be the saviour of us all.’
‘Have you got a pen?’ I said.
His hand disappeared into the drawer. ‘There should be…’ he said. ‘Here you are.’
I made my mark on the paper, at the top of a clean page. There was nothing written on it, nothing at all, not even the date.
Munro was away. Tick – Tock.
‘Aye,’ said the guard. ‘You’d better go.’

No comments:

Post a Comment