have you been?” Asks the desk sergeant at my local police station.
haven’t been anywhere. [Gesture at myself] I’m not missing. I would have
Sergeant: [Unamused] Yes. But there was the added concern regarding your
I rub my
right eye with the heel of my hand.
Me: [Wearily] It’s
not a ‘medical condition’…
Anyway, thanks for coming in – you understand we have to take these things
seriously. We can close the report now we’ve seen you in person.
I’m having a job interview held in the sort of absurdly
high-class hotel that's dark and mood-lit even in the middle of a sunny day. The sort that take five minutes for your eyes to adjust whilst unfeasibly attractive
members of staff clad head-to-toe in black appear at your elbow from nowhere
like the shop-keeper in Mister Ben whenever a
small frown crosses your brow and enquire in hushed tones if they can ‘do
anything for you’, adding only to your disorientation.
lifestyle-magazine Overlook Hotel from the Shining, and all the staff are
immensely glamorous versions of the sinister bartender. I am rattled,
not helped by my mobile phone ringing in the middle of it all.
sorry, I’ll just get rid of this.
The call is
from my landlord, which is odd. I turn the phone off.
interviewer continues to talk to me. Phrases such as ‘press releases’, ‘social
media’ and ‘front-end experience’ are thrown at me. I nod in a knowledgeable
manner. I have no idea what is happening.
mobile phone rings, because I am the sort of imbecile who walks into a job
interview carrying two mobile phones and doesn’t think to turn even one of them
(I have two
phones because a ‘playa’ needs to ‘keep his shit separate’. By which I mean I
can’t figure out how to get the number out of the new one and so have been
unable to inform anyone of my new details and have to keep the old one with me.)
[Killing the call and putting the phone on ‘silent’] God, I’m really sorry
Mmm. So tell me – why are you thinking of leaving your current position?
some ‘unable to feel I can fulfill my true potential’ nonsense, assuming that
‘threw a massive tantrum in the middle of the afternoon and stormed out without
giving any notice a couple of days ago actually’ would not go in my favour.
the hotel in the sunlight lighting a cigarette, observing with some amusement a football-shirt
clad gentleman so inebriated he seems in danger of falling into the nearby
river. Said gentleman begins to loudly and repeatedly question my sexual
orientation, prompted no doubt by the fact I am wearing a well-cut suit and not
I grin and
give him the ‘thumbs-up’ and walk away, checking my mobile phones.
Police are at our house looking for you as you have been reported missing!
youngest brother. “Bit odd.” I think to myself.
police are about to break into your house, you’re on the missing persons list.
Going to kick your front door in, not even joking.
sister. “Actually, this is very odd.” I think to myself. I begin to wonder what
my landlord wanted.
to make some phone calls. Amusingly, the network is down. I inwardly applaud O2
and it’s ongoing reliability, whilst thinking that I’m quite fond of my front
door the way it is and that time is of the essence. There is not a public phone
in sight. I’m not convinced they even exist anymore.
minutes later and I’m in a bar I used to frequent. The barmaid and I ‘sort of
know’ each other.
Me: Can I
use your phone?
[Dead-eyed] It’s not for customers.
in a great mood. I look at her. She looks at me back.
[Runs a hand through her hair] *sigh* What’s it for?
Someone’s reported me to the police as a missing person. They’re about to break
my front door down unless they can get hold of me. Now.
Yeah, go on then.
minutes later and I’ve spoken to everyone concerned. The police inform me that
my recently-ex employer had lodged the report. Despite being fully aware that
I’d expressed no intention of setting foot on their premises again until they’d
rectified their inability to pay me accurately and in a timely manner. The
logic of the actions of my ex-employers continue to escape me. I promise the police
I’ll attend the station the next morning to confirm my physical existence.
[Handing the cordless phone back to the barmaid] Thanks.
hours later, slightly hungover, I ring the bell at the desk of my local police
Community Support Officer: Morning! What can I do for you?
Me: I’m the
world’s least missing ‘missing person’.
Anyway. I said – I’ve forgotten the officer’s name – I’d come in person and
demonstrate my, you know, non-missingness. Is that a word?
JUST GET THE SERGEANT!
I got the