This is the third part of a six part serial, you can read the previous part here.
The Man I Want To Be – Part 3
Suggested listening: Eels – The Look You Give That Guy
“Hey ain’t that Goldilocks?” said Hector No Holds.
“Lizzie” I answered, watching the girl crossing the road further along, highlighted by the street lights. I’d met Lizzie a couple of times, once at a party and then I’d bumped into her again at the cinema. She was nice. She listened to things I said, smiling and asking more questions. It didn’t seem like the usual, polite boredom but almost as if she was genuinely enjoying what I had to say. She had this really cute thing where she winced a little as she smiled as if it was painful to do, somehow making the whole event seem even more rewarding. I should have asked if she wanted to go out for dinner or something, the second time at least, but as usual I’d bottled it. Hadn’t seen her since.
“Do you think she lives round here?” asked Hector. She turned and waved at a house across the road, at one of the windows a light had come on and a woman waved back. No, just visiting a friend. Pity, if we’d been local to each other then there might have been a better chance of crossing paths again. Just as she pulled her raincoat up around her collar I caught the flash of a gold name badge and a uniform. A blouse with a tartan waistcoat. The HLBoS Bank. Maybe she worked at the branch on the High Street?
It would have been easy to have blamed Hector for my visit to that very branch the following day but it had been all my own idea. Despite having banked exclusively online for the past five years or so I suddenly felt the urge to go open a new account with HLBoS. Maybe they might have better rates. Maybe Lizzie would serve me and we might get chatting. Who knew.
So in the morning I’d gotten up, showered and dressed before scouring my various drawers and piles for what I thought would probably be the necessary paperwork for opening a bank account. Then I’d popped down the road, stopped at the news agents but didn’t buy anything, nipped into the charity shop but didn’t buy anything and then headed into the bank.
Inside it was busy, Saturday morning of course. I scanned the three counters but couldn’t see Lizzie anywhere. Maybe she was on her break. Maybe she didn’t even work a Saturday! Behind me a middle-aged woman coughed inpolitely to inform me that I was holding her up. Flustered I joined the second queue. Service was slow, very slow. And every minute spent standing there I felt like more of a moron – I was going to open a brand new bank account because a girl I’d met one and half times might have been working that day. What an idiot. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t even know what sort of an account I was going to open. What were the different types again? Current – was that one? Liquid? Fixed interest saver? The folded electricity bill in my hand was getting moist in my sweating grip.
Time to go I decided. Giving my wrist a quick glance I tutted to myself before politely excusing myself from the queue. I was almost certain at least two people had turned to wonder what I was doing, their eyes boring into the back of me. And then I saw the sign for the Toilets. That would do – I could go hide in there for a few minutes and then when I came out, if Lizzie had miraculously appeared I would rejoin her queue. If not I would get the hell out of Dodge.
The Gents was small. A urinal, a sink and a cubicle with a door that looked as if it was about to fall off. I got inside the cubicle and sat with the seat down for awhile, listening to soothing sound of the pipes dripping and the inconsistent click of the extractor fan.
Then from outside I heard the door open then close. Someone else had come in. How long had I been sitting there?! Should I drop my trousers in case this other visitor happened to look under the doorway? Or would that look even more strange? And what if he wanted to use the cubicle and was going to just wait there? I was an idiot. No, wait – the sound of zipper and then definite twinkling. I held my breath and waited till the twinkler had finished his business, washed up and left. Definitely time to go now. I went to unlock the cubicle and then froze. From outside, out in the main bank there had come a deafening bang. Was that a gun? Was that what a gun sounded like?
Part 4 is available here.
Title image courtesy ace_0f_magic