Spider took some time to decide the shape was inanimate. While he was thinking about it, a thick mist descended on the quarry, coating everything in glistening damp. He shrugged and shrugged again, sniffing at the air. Swaying, he cocked an ear to the rustle and creak of the trees.
On a path above him, Quinnell farted and laughed.
Putting the flashlight down for a moment, Spider patted the pockets of his canary yellow jumpsuit, eventually locating what he was after – a small wrap of paper. This he unpicked and held to his nose. He snorted hungrily.
Because, because, because there were shaky, angular shadows to be cast, work boots that needed crunching unevenly over the loose chippings, and oaths to be spoken.
A little further along the track, he wiped the aviator shades from his face and folded them into a top pocket. “Your move,” he shouted less than confidently, and rubbed the torch over his brow. There was no reply; Spider loathed silence. To his friends in the clubs he would say, “The thing about silence is it’s difficult to interpret, and near worthless as a commodity.”
He followed the curve of the path and approached the dark shape of the Rover. Because he wanted the answer to a question: who was responsible for running his beautiful claret-coloured 1966 Ford Mustang off the road?
Near enough to read the number plate he shouted in surprise. The car was as still and dark as a freshly dug grave. Spider stepped away smartly and played the torch beam over the immediate area. Including through the windscreen into the car’s cabin, which was empty. “Shit,” he said.
The track was about ten foot wide. A couple of feet to the right there was a steep drop to the next escarpment, to the left a vertical climb to more trees. Beyond the Rover, the track narrowed to little more than a footpath, hemmed in on either side by straggly-looking undergrowth. From there the path disappeared into the murk created by a stand of bushy evergreens. This seemed to be the only option as Quinnell’s hiding place. “I’m not going in there,” Spider mumbled. Wind and the drizzle slicked his black hair to his face.
There was a movement in the evergreens – a slight swaying caused by the wind. Faraway a dog snarled, and as an afterthought added a weak warning bark. Otherwise the quarry was quiet. Spider waited. When he was sure he could not hear anything human in origin, he turned on his heels and ran.
All the way back to his car, where he tugged at the door, tossed the baseball bat onto the passenger seat, and jumped into the driver’s seat. The seat was in the wrong position – it had been ratcheted forward. And there was something else different about the car: the smell. The air had become heavy and sweet. Adjusting the rear-view mirror he became aware of the shape of a man sitting on the back seat. “Fuh – ” said Spider. The man on the back seat’s fingers closed around Spider’s throat, and squeezing hard, cut off the final consonant.
“Hello Mickey,” said the man.
Industry is the sixth track on King Crimson’s 1984 album, Three of a Perfect Pair. It’s an instrumental piece. The album’s the third and final by the 80s version of the band. You can listen to a live version of the track here.
Just outside The Plough, a pub on Museum Street, I ran into Jimmy Clancy. He is an art collector. He was very interested in portraits and agreed to me taking a few shots of him. This was the first; I took it the moment he agreed. It’s my favourite. Thanks very much, Jimmy! Hope you like your picture.