Woken by the phone. Why the f*$@ did I choose the loudest ring tone? 8:30 says the clock, illuminated by sunshine streaming through the broken grey blind. Groan loudly and open blurry eyes: a tall, thin man in a crumpled blue t-shirt with angular Scandinavian features and spiky blonde hair glares back at me from the mirror opposite the bed, the legacy of some unsuccessful sexual experimentation.
Fumble for the handset, wedged between a book and yesterday’s jeans on the floor: Newton and the Three Laws of Motion by Nicholas Croce. The phone will not take no for an answer. Resist the urge to hurl it into the London morning. Press the green button and grunt.
“Karl-Erik?” The voice is timid, female. “I need to see you.”
“Erin, why the f@@@ are you calling me now? Haven’t you done enough damage already?”
“We’ve got to meet. I need to talk to you. I think I’m being followed. You’ve got to see reason.”
Instantly a deep Swedish gloom envelopes me. My father emerges from the mists, rocking gently in his favourite chair, nodding sagely, the ubiquitous pipe in his mouth, and stroking his beard like a blonde Abraham Lincoln.
“Yes,” he muses, “you must use your powers of logic and reason. You’ll never achieve anything sustainable through impulsive behaviour.” I am suffused with a powerful urge to strangle the old bastard. Again. No, no, I wish to God I’d done it right the first time. But now, he’s enjoying his veracity of his logical constructs in Stockholm and I’m languishing in impulsive self-pity in London. He truly could rationalise his way out of a paper bag.
Remember Newton’s third law: For every action, an equal and opposite reaction. Why, dammit? Why does everything have to provoke an impact? Why must there be consequences? Why can’t I commit an act of random violence without provoking some officious revenge?
Ah, but it was almost worse for the bugger to be sympathetic and not report me to the police. I want him to react like a father! Yell at me, beat some sense into me, make me remorseful. Just don’t try to understand me.
Wait a second. What was it about chaos theory and reactions? Chaos theory – something to do with underlying order beneath apparent random disorder. Wings of a butterfly cause a hurricane, that sort of thing. Must look it up. Later.
“Karl-Erik, are you there?”
“Karl. Just call me Karl, you f&%$wit!” There is pleading in my voice. She’s getting under my skin. Shudder at the thought. “Where are you, anyway?”
“I’m 5 minutes walk from your house. I need you. Please open the door.”
“What?” Slam down the phone in desperation. What to do?
Quick. Escape! The gym. Grab shorts from the floor and pull them on. Trainers, f*^£ the laces. Door.