*

THE EXTRA      by d.f. lewis

He went to the town because he’d heard they were shooting a horror film there and they would no doubt require several extras for the crowd scenes.  He thought his bent nose would stand him in good stead.

The town lacked description. Although he knew that from all the guides, he was not ready for the churchless affair that presented itself. As he drove out of the November fogs into a crystal clear afternoon, what he noticed were the lines of  identical red brick maisonettes forming a geometrical grid that even a mathematician would find boring.  A social anthropologist might make an interesting study of what made the people tick who chose to live there but beyond that he with the bent nose could not hope to fathom.

The film crews were nowhere to be seen. No arc lights had been erected, no touchy lead actress putting on airs and graces, no fat man with cigar sitting in a deckchair and, above all, no crowds milling about ready to fire the castle where the horrors were lurking.

Bent Nose parked his car in what looked like the nearest to a town centre.  There was a free car park (how could it be other than free?) but he decided to raw up close to a parade of shops under some penthouse flats.  Dusk was drawing in as he sprung the seat-belt.  He was about to open the car door where when he noticed, joy oh joy, there was indeed a pub and yes, despite the early hour appeared to be open, for tops of heads appeared to be milling about where the saloon bar windows lost their cross-hatching.

But this was peculiar. Pubs are not allowed to open for at least another hour, he said to himself.

A man evidently worse for wear at that point staggered from the western-style doors and slash-walked down the street with an incontinent pint of beer in his hand.  Seeing Bent Nose’s car, the face drew closer to the window and squashed its features into a joke mask.

Damn, the car wouldn’t start! And the piss-artist was fumbling at the door-handle!

Good grief, the man was violently thumping his head along the length of the car, giving Bent Nose a feeling that if this was a horror film, he wanted to get out of it and fast!

He looked across to the pub and all the local tipplers must have been standing on tiptoes to see from the tops of the saloon-bar windows, their faces pressed hard against the glass. And they all had bent noses

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