Day 1

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Day 1

‘Be at Bristol Train Station, 9am, sharp. Wait for a blue car.’ Having re-read the note for the thousandth time, John folded it carefully and put it back into his pocket.

Checking his watch, he breathed a sigh of relief as he alighted onto the platform. The driver had been true to his announcement and the new diesel powered train had delivered them safely and on time to the station.

“Ten minutes spare,” he muttered to himself and then looked back at the elegant chrome lines of the new locomotive. Great Western trains had promised the future and they had delivered, the new Aedles class engines were fast, sleek and futuristic, the epitome of 30s style.  

Lifting his walking cane and checking his appearance in a nearby café window, he moved to the street side of the elegant brick station building and waited for the hands of the clock to finish their languid circle to 9am.  

His mind drifted as he leant against the wall in a sheltered spot out of the rain. Watching the traffic, the hustle and bustle of the Bristol city centre subsumed him in a welter of noise and excitement. Opposite the station, a young woman finished dressing the shop window with the latest in male fashion, and he was pleased to note that his attire was not dissimilar to the two figures who stood in conversational hiatus in front of an American style highway scene. He tilted his trilby to a slightly more rakish angle and then drew in an anticipatory breath as a smart looking blue sports car turned into the waiting zone in front of the station and pulled up next to him.

He bent down to look in under the soft top, the light rain producing a gentle counterpoint to his own hammering heart.

“John Deere?” a male voice enquired.

“Yes, sir.”

“In you get then.”

John settled himself in the passenger seat, and as he shut the car door, it smoothly pulled away, picking up speed quickly despite the rain slicking the cobbles.

“Good morning,” said the man driving. “I’m going to be your guide for the day, and your interviewer. Any questions, ask ‘em and I’ll do my best to answer but we haven’t got a huge amount of time. My name is unimportant but you can call me Dredge, everybody else does.”

“Er… John,” said John.

“I’ll tell you what, let me drop what I know on you and you can fill in anything you consider important once I’ve finished. You are John Anthony Deere, 6ft 4ins tall.  You have a degree in Physics from Oxford, Doctorate in Mathematics from Edinburgh and a keen interest in butterflies.”

“Er… yes.”

“Don’t interrupt old son, I’m in full flow here. Also, you represented Oxford in rowing, blew up your geography teacher’s car after a disagreement in class but never got caught, had a brief affair with your sister’s friend Anna, once pee’d through the letter box of the Royal Bank of Scotland after having one too many beers as a student, and can comfortably swim a mile even at sea. Parents dead, no siblings, no current girlfriend, can drive, likes to dress fashionably, considering working in a laboratory testing magnetic fields but saw the advert in the paper for a scientist required for a government agency and decided to apply. How’s that?”

“I think you have most things covered,” said John looking slightly startled. “You missed off the fact that I play the lute and once abseiled off Big Ben though.”

He looked over at his companion who was staring fiercely through the window at the traffic as he zipped along the road.

“Fair enough, no need to show off though, I can’t remember everything old son. Right, we’ll be there in a moment, here we go.”

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