I do sometimes imagine if I’m crazy. Really, I do. Laying awake in bed last night, I hear footsteps running past outside. Odd, I think. A quite residential street, half past midnight, a good mile to the nearest pubs and bars. What is someone doing running? A lot of people would leave it there. Did I? Oh no.
Immediately I thought “did those footsteps get louder and then quieter again, signifying that whoever it was has carried on running, or did they stop, just outside the house?” I panic. Thinking about it more, I’d swear they just stopped. We’re going to be burgled! Possibly murdered! (in my mind, all burglars also want to murder you.) Then, without any choice, a stream of hypothetical events starts playing out in my brain. The person breaks in, the front door smashes. I leap out of bed, throw my phone at Andrew and mouth to him to call the police and then barricade myself up against the door to the bedroom. If he tries to get in here, he’ll have to really push! Andrew calls the police – they’re on their way! But suddenly the burgular is pushing against the door – huffing and puffing and trying to break in! What do we do? I’m holding the door shut with all my might. Then, out of nowhere, the burgular has procured a petrol can, and he’s sloshing it about outside the door! He’s going to torch the place! But why! And how? I imagine how quickly the room would go up. It’s very quickly. Realising that my imagination thus far has led both myself and Andrew to a fiery death, I rewind and go back to the point before the petrol can. He’s still pushing and bashing against the door. We ram the bed and the cupboards up against it to barricade and the very sneakily open the other doors (that we’re using as a wall,) to get access to the living room. Through the living room we sneak, and then out into the back garden. What if there are frogs! What if there are prickles or thorns! I think to myself that I’d rather have a few cuts on my feet and be alive. We hide down the really small gap between the extension and the fence. Surely he won’t think to look down there! We hold our breaths. “Quietly!” I whisper to Andrew. A figure emerges from the living room. It’s him! He’s seen us! GAME OVER. I rewind again, and this time instead of running out the back we hide behind the sofas, and when he comes running through we jump at him. He’s got a gun, or is it a knife, I’m not sure. No, wait, it’s a gun. I use the nearby iron to knock him to is feet. The gun goes skidding across the floor and I pick it upm very tentatively, terrified that it might just go off of it’s own accord and I’ll get shot like Wilhelmina. I don’t like guns. I throw it out into the night and then me and Andrew sit on our captive burgular until the police arrive. “Well done boys,” the policeman says – although then I do start to wonder whether we’d be arrested ourselves for hurting the burgular – you know how potty the laws are at the moment.
See how barmy that is? Literally all of that just flowed through my mind, uncontrollably, once I’d heard those footsteps. It was seamless, I didn’t stop and think about what might happen next, it just happened.It can get a bit much at times, all that energy running about in your noggin. It’s great if you do want to be a novelist though, which thankfully I do. Still, it can be overwhelming.
And it’s not just last night, it’s always. Always thinking, always remembering, always not forgetting and always imagining. That’s how I view the world, all the time.
An endless stream of stories and never-weres.