Ged Gillmore grew up in the Midlands of England before moving to London where he completed degrees in languages and literature at the University of London. After graduating, Ged worked in France, Germany and Italy before returning to London for eighteen years where he gained experience in a variety of roles including the police force, the film industry and banking. Fancying a change to sunnier climes, Ged made the leap to Sydney in early 2004. These days he spends his time between Australia, Ireland and the UK. For the last few years Ged has been a regular online contributor to the Good Men Project, where he likes to challenge gender stereotypes with wit and panache. Ged has also studied at the Australian Writers’ Centre and the Writers’ Studio, both based in Sydney.
As well as writing crime fiction, Ged has also had two middle-grade books published, Cats On The Run and its sequel Cats Undercover. Visit Ged’s website here and buy his book here. Have a read of the antics that occurred when he left his laptop on the bus!
Last month I had just got off the 440 bus and was walking along Liverpool Street when, for once, I stopped my favourite pedestrian pastime: communicating with readers on Instagram. Immediately I felt a horrible lurch. You know: that gut-churning realisation you’re not carrying something you were carrying when you got onto the bus? To make matters worse, that ‘something’ was my laptop. And to make them worse still, it was my laptop with the only copy of my new crime novel on it.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking what kind of idiot has only one soft copy of a book it’s taken him two and half years to write? The answer is: the same kind of idiot who leaves his laptop on the bus. And, trust me, the story of why there was only copy is less interesting than the story of what happened next.
I like to think that I’m good in a crisis. It’s not true, but I like to think it anyway. In fact, I’m a complete panicker and invariably need someone sensible to tell me what to do. Alone on a pre rush hour Wednesday, I was suddenly swearing and sweating and running at the same time.
The bus driver I harangued when I got to the closest 440 stop was less than impressed.
‘No, I’m not radioing to another bus,’ she told me gruffly. ‘Even if I could, I’m not allowed to. Get a taxi. Chase the original bus.’
Now that, you see, that was what I needed: someone sensible telling me what to do.
The atmosphere inside the first free taxi I found was strangely soothing. Michael Buble was just finishing a song. Then Smooth FM’s ‘More Music Breakfast Show’ jingled oozed out of the speakers before Carly Simon started singing.
‘I help you of course,’ said the driver calmly after I’d garbled out my story. ‘But I no know 440 route. Where the bus go to?’
Before I could tell him that I had no idea, the lights changed and we started driving west. I tried tickling my phone into giving me the required information.
‘You hurry,’ said the driver. ‘Rush hour is starting and we maybe going wrong way. Right here or straight on?’
‘Er… Straight on?’
And so we drove into the mire of Parramatta Road, the traffic clogging and bringing us to a standstill. When, at last, my phone told me what I needed to know, I held up the screen so the driver could peer at the tiny map.
‘Rozelle,’ he said knowingly. ‘Mm. Your bus must be on way back now. He must have reached last stop and turned around. Is that him there?’
A 440 was approaching in the opposite lane.
But I remembered the driver of my original bus had been bald. The driver of the bus coming towards us had hair.
‘No!’ I drowned out Carly Simon, telling me how vain I am. ‘That’s not him!’
‘No,’ said the driver sagely. ‘No, he not be here yet. Let me see map again.’ He produced a dainty pair of readers and balanced them on his nose. Ahead of us, the traffic started moving. Behind us, horns started honking. The driver ignored them all. ‘No. He must be stuck in traffic on Norton Street somewhere. We find him.’
Five slow minutes later, our lane of traffic turned onto Norton Street and I remember thinking that I had never cared so little about the numbers ratcheting up on the taxi meter.
Then Carly Simon faded out and Louis Armstrong took her place, like it really was a wonderful world and I hadn’t left my blood, sweat and tears on the bleeding bus. Next thing I knew, the taxi driver was pulling up to the kerb. ‘That, I think, is the latest place your 440 could be.’
He was pointing at a bus stop across the road.
‘Come with me,’ I wanted to beg him. ‘I need someone sensible to tell me what to do.’
Instead I paid the fare, climbed out and gave profuse thanks to him, Michael, Carly and Louis for soothing me about being such an idiot. Across the road, a 440 was arriving. Even from this distance I could the smoothness of its driver’s head.
This, of course, is the part where I get run over in my determination to stop that bus. But there are advantages to being a plot-driven writer. I could see that twist coming. So I forced a deep breath, looked both ways and slowly and carefully (ish) crossed the road. The taxi drove away.
[bctt tweet=”I-left-my-laptop-on-your-bus!’ I yelled, before the 440’s doors were fully open.” username=”MoniqueMulligan”]
The bald driver gave me a strange look. Then he reached down, pulled up my precious machine and handed it over. ‘You’ve no idea the amount of paperwork you’ve saved me,’ he said with a smile. ‘I’m really grateful, mate.’
He was grateful? I was beside myself.
His name, by the way, is Marwin, and he’s is coming to the launch of Base Nature on 29th March (2018) at Berkelouw Books in Paddington. You can come too if you want.
And I have, of course, asked Smooth FM to help me find the driver of the taxi so I can invite him.