Roy liked to look the part. Blue shirt, pink tie, yellow braces, green corduroy suit and brown brogues. Even, on occasions, with the right shirt, those springy metal hold up thingymajigs you wear round your biceps. It was, he felt, what was expected. Sara said he looked like Gordon Gecko gone to seed. Funny, he was sure, but he couldn’t quite call to mind, not immediately, who this Gecko chap was. The name was familiar, perhaps one of the blokes from the Guardian days? No matter, it would come to him on his way to the university he was certain. That was how these things had started to work.
Securing a Windsor knot and snapping that elastic reassuringly against his shoulders and causing a small wince of pain, Roy addressed himself in the wardrobe mirror. ‘They call us ‘hackademics’ us journos who turn to teaching.’ He enjoyed the gravelly authority in his voice, regretted that he couldn’t pass off the clever word as coinage from his very own mint. Once upon a time, he sighed, but no longer. Lay claim to anything that wasn’t your property these days and some pathetic interfering pedantic little sod will have it Googled and the lie exposed on Facebook before it has properly left your lips. Fucking internet, Roy muttered for what he knew would not be the last time that day, the scourge of the scribbling classes.
Satisfying how the briefcase sat on top of the little wheelie overnight bag thing, he thought, as he climbed into the cab to take him to the station. Probably folly to stay in town tonight, probably condemning myself to a lonely one in front of the TV and mini bar, but you never know. It was the first time he’d stayed over on a Monday for over two years, since the last time he had fallen, normally catching the train back from Victoria after a boozy lunch with some old croney, but today he felt an almost forgotten spark. The thrum of possibility beat in the old veins. He paid the cabbie through the partition, launched himself, creaking, from the seat and looked up at the station with fifteen minutes to spare. Time to buy the papers from that nice old boy outside.
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