In the manner of a low-budget ‘B’ movie his life faded into existence once more. The only element missing from this first reel of a new day was the list of credits and he reckoned he could do without them. For who, in their right mind, would willingly accept responsibility for the mismatched chain of events likely to constitute yet another day in the life of Trevor Newell?
“Trevor, are you getting up?”
His eyes snapped open focusing, as they did every morning, on the two-dimensional, Technicolor image of Alan Ladd in the role of the gunfighter, Shane, that was pinned to the wall at the end of his bed.
“Call me Shane,” he mumbled to himself.
“Trevor,” his mother persisted. “Do you hear me?”
He sat up on the bed, his eyes fixed on the image of the buckskin-clad pistolero with the concho decorated gunbelt and pearl-handled Colt’s Peacemaker.
“Trevor.” She was outside his door now. “Trevor!”
The image faded as reality reasserted itself.
“Yes, mum. I’m coming.”
“About time.” The voice began to recede. “Why I have to shout myself hoarse every morning I don’t know.” The words faded for a moment as she descended the narrow staircase, but reached him once more as she turned at the bottom and raised her voice. “And don’t be long. Your breakfast’s getting cold.”
So what? His breakfast was always getting cold. Hot or cold, it made little difference - he didn’t want it. He hated eating breakfast. His stomach protested every morning as he consigned the plate of eggs and bacon to it for disposal, but there was nothing he could do to avoid it. His mother believed that eating breakfast was an essential part of life. As necessary to a state of well-being as breathing, white cotton singlets or regular doses of laxatives - and there the matter ended.
Breakfast came under the wide-ranging heading of things that were ‘good for you’. A long list of requirements which, while not carved on tablets of stone, were regarded in the Newell household with as much reverence as anything Moses had offered to the world.
Trevor knew from experience that he had ten minutes of grace. As long as he appeared at the kitchen table within that period he would not be accosted again. It was enough. While he ran the water in the small washbasin in the corner of his bedroom, he switched on his Super 8 mm projector, running the reel of Goldfinger from the point at which he had left it the night before.
Sean Connery as James Bond had made his abortive run in the ill-fated, gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5 and was strapped to a table awaiting torture. The gross figure of Auric Goldfinger stood to one side, his manner casual, almost indifferent.
Trevor lathered his face and began to scrape away the previous day’s meagre growth of stubble as the familiar scene unfolded on the small projection screen before him. No matter that he had watched this eight year old movie countless times before. The very familiarity of the scene, the characters and the memorised dialogue was what bought him back time and again.
His ablutions completed, he began to dress himself, his eyes never straying from the flickering images. He paused halfway through knotting his tie as, yet again, the remorseless laser beam inched towards Bond’s groin and Goldfinger turned away from his captive, having dismissed him from his mind.
BOND: ‘Thank you for the demonstration, Goldfinger. You can switch it off now.’
GOLDFINGER: ‘Choose your next witticism carefully, Mr Bond. It may be your last.’
BOND (desperately): ‘Do you expect me to talk?’
GOLDFINGER: ‘No, Mr Bond I expect you to die!’
“Shit!” Startled out of his concentration on the world of 007, Trevor hastily completed the knot in his tie. “I’m coming, mum.”
Downstairs the kitchen door slammed and he winced. He had overdone it again. Now he would have to face the inevitable repercussions. He switched off the machine and replaced the reel in the rack with the scores of others that constituted his extensive movie collection. A collection containing the best products of the cinema industry from the previous thirty years and forming the framework of a universe more real to him than the one into which he had emerged some seventeen years earlier.
But there was no more time. The all-too-real world around him required his attention. For the moment at least. He had prepared his briefcase the night before and, with this in his right hand, he hurried downstairs.
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