The Stranger

Episode 1

A strangerI never should have opened the door. That's the thought I always have now. But what's done is done and there's no going back. Or is there? That whole afternoon was a case of going back. Raking over old memories, unearthing the past. Call it what you will.

So here we are, with little else to fill my days but looking back, wishing I'd done things differently. Or, more pertinently, wishing I'd not done anything at all.

Mondays have never been good for me. How about you? Have you felt that dread sometime around Sunday afternoon that the whole week is about to start again, just when you thought you'd held it off for a couple of days? I get that quite a lot now, but just recently the thought of a Monday has taken on a whole new meaning, a whole new fear and terror.

When you look at me from where you are, do you see someone bad, someone misguided, someone inconsequential? I used to be quite happy fitting the bill of the latter description, but now I feel the eyes drilling into the back of my head wherever I go. I see the second glance from everyone I meet. Bus drivers lean out of their little cockpit and watch me tread carefully down the aisle. Shopkeepers watch me on their wall-mounted mirrors and police cars track my every move.

A little while ago I was walking from the shop round the corner carrying a paper, not reading it, just carrying it. I was only just out of the shop when someone, tapping into their mobile phone, collided with me. After mumbled apologies from both of us (although mine were much more profuse than his), I proceeded on my way and lo and behold, I was clattered by two men jabbering away to each other and gesticulating wildly. They nearly knocked me into the road.

That hasn't happened to me for a long time now. When I walk down the street, even dead fixed texters manage to look up just in time and veer away from me. I've tried bumping into people, but they're too aware of me now. I've even turned my back on occasion and pretended to be looking for someone or something, not noticing the group of lads coming towards me, but they invariably part around me before merging on the other side and continuing on their way. It's not that I'm trying to cause trouble or get hurt, but I'd like to blend in again, go unnoticed, be just another blip on society's radar.

So, you may be wondering, just how am I so famous round these parts? Why do people cheerily glance up from their papers as I pass? Why do cars toot their horn and wave gaily at me? Why do barmen give me a knowing smile and complete strangers offer to buy me drinks?

I think you may have got the wrong end of the stick. I'm not famous. I'm infamous, notorious if you like. I'm a bad penny, a menace, a ne'er do well. Mothers grab their children from my path, doors close as I pass, the elderly refuse help crossing the road and I daresay lepers would cross the street to avoid me.

And this has all come about because I made one mistake, committed one misdemeanour and thought I'd got away with it. No, rephrase that, made sure I'd got away with it. Until now. Until he appeared at my door on that afternoon that is ingrained in my memory and will not budge no matter what I do to try and remove it.

The Stranger

man at door

questions on vocabulary


The Stranger

busy street

questions on the text



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