DALSTON NOIR #5 The Following

hipster 1
Egon pondering the meanness of life

Read here Episode #1 | Episode #2 | Episode #3 | Episode #4

Walking up Kingsland High Road, Egon savoured the invigorating effects of his flat white. Hackney used to be one of London’s poorest areas, filled with immigrants and dwellings in need of repair. Now, looking at house and rent prices, this was hard to believe. Mingling with the multi-cultural crowd, Egon feels like a man of the world, glad to have moved away from his village in Shropshire where monoculture and monothinking had taken over even the more advanced human beings.

Passing by Ridley Road Market, he was heartened to see the freshly plucked chicken hanging from the stalls as they had when he first moved here twelve years ago. Cockney stall-keepers were competing with Turkish, Afghan and Serbian sellers for customers. The sidewalk burst with people obviously not working 9-5, if at all. Hipster bars and coffee shops had opened on every corner, the place had changed after all.

A bible basher whose booming voice didn’t need neither amp nor microphone was going on about the Sins of Mankind and how we all have to pay come Judgement Day. He’d obviously found his purpose in life and wanted to make sure everyone else found it too. Egon suspected righteous anger management issues lurking behind his agitated voice, but at least he’d found an outlet and wasn’t looking for a real job.

As he walked up the road and the voice faded away, Egon had to agree, there were many things wrong with mankind and happily digging its own grave was one of them. It was only a matter of time until the collective consciousness hit the fan. Until then he had decided to live his life as fully and dignified as possible. Not an easy undertaking, it took daily effort and positive thinking, which often didn’t last till noon. But Egon was determined to give this one life his best shot.

His meandering thoughts always had their way with him but he had to keep focused and not deviate from his concocted plan. Further up the road, the market crowd dispersed and Egon took a deep breath. His eyes fastened on a fashionista redhead strutting past him.
Turning his head he spotted the same guy who’d been sitting at the next table at Costa. Egon had no memory for names but faces were different. Was that guy in the black bomber jacket with a nose that was too long and eyes that sat a little too close following him?
His muscles tensed but then he remembered an online personality test, which had concluded that he was prone to paranoia and cyclical thinking. It might as well that bomber jacket guy was heading in the same direction.

Glancing inconspicuously about, Egon entered Dalston Police Station, which was wedged between Victorian houses and rather modern and welcoming with its big glass front.  A young police officer with sweat-stained armpits was trying hard to keep a friendly smile between his lips as he handed out forms for stolen cameras, mobile phones and assault.

When it was Egon’s turn, he leaned in and said as casual as possible, ‘There was an accident on Kingsland Road yesterday. I’m a friend of the deceased and was wondering whether I could have a look at the file?’
The sweaty police officer ceased his smile-making efforts and gave him a stare, ‘Yeah, this one, it was an accident, hit and run. It’s closed.’
‘Sure, but do you mind me having a look at the file?’
The policeman took a deep breath and pushed a form across. ‘Here, fill out this one.’

Egon duly filled in the requested information and handed it back to the officer, who looked at it longer than necessary, let out a sigh and pointed to the first room on the right. When entering the crowded room, Egon felt self-conscious among the other justice-seeking citizens who clearly had been waiting for hours and might wait for ever.
Eventually, a policewoman put her head through the door, ‘Mr. Schmuck.’

It was the stern policewoman from the crime scene and for a moment Egon thought she’d recognised him, but instead she handed him a thin folder. ‘We are really busy and don’t appreciate friends of the deceased asking to look at files. A waste of our valuable time.’
Egon responded with a meaningful shrug and she left, but not without giving him first a once-over.
Leafing through the scarce information, he took a closer look at the eye-witness statements. One witness described how the dog in question had left Hair Emporium, a shop selling hair essentials, wigs and extensions, leaving behind a trail of blood as it tried making its way across the road.
There it was! An already wounded Gilda had tried to escape but didn’t make it very far. Why had the police not followed this lead?

When Egon left the police station, the sun was setting and a chill was in the air. Hiding his hands in the pockets of his coat he walked faster, this time unable to shake off the disturbing feeling that he was being followed.

53 thoughts on “DALSTON NOIR #5 The Following

  1. Great story…dynamic narrative. Dalston, part of my past fabric of life,. Loved the probing investigative character presenting at the police st, and his paranoia, or not. .

    A sub narrative encapsulating nostalgia in the loss of culture/way of life replaced via competitive forces, initially exotic ones. The escalation of rent and house prices hints at the phasing out of the current hipper than hip, and trendier than thou culture with a less trendy but highly wealthy newer advance who’ll afford the new rents and costs of a home.
    p.s thank you for visiting my post. And loved your story. It was thoroughly engaging, to the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I feel already so sorry for that dog that I prefer to think about her like a kind of a hero, making the ultimate sacrifice… too painful to think she had been stabbed out of pure viciousness… this week I saw a video of an abused dog who’s never been petted and I am still welling up…Oh, yes, the rough builder…so putting the lovely dog in the middle of the story and build the rest around it is so unusual and interesting at the same time…so no intention for my part to interfere in the storyline!…and regarding the “perishable” pic (I posted one this morning that lasted…15 seconds…) They are completely random, nothing conscious, the brands just happened to be there…although yesterday I took some “Subway” pics…

    Have a great day too! On days like this Plenty of lights and shadows are in the way…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really love the way you describe London life. the references to the “monoculture and monothinkin” and the “bible basher” (Only God knows how much I loathe them) are great, putting into wonderful words feelings that have been running through my mind for a long time and never found the right way to express them (in English…) And when it comes to the part of being prone to “cyclical thinking”…oh, well…I never forget a face either…(sadly)…and I have beard…Oh no! Maybe I am a hypster after all! …LOL…Great read in all…! Uhm…I always had the feeling the dog got stabbed trying to protect someone..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew you were a secret hipster all along, the beard and copious amounts of Costa coffee are giving you away 🙂 I also recognise myself in the ‘cyclical thinking’ part, ha!
      I like the idea of Gilda getting stabbed because she tried to protect someone, will think about this…
      have a glorious April-in-London-Day!
      p.s. I like very much how you’ve been photographing big brand logos in apocalyptic settings.


  4. Wie viele Fortsetzungen wird es denn noch geben?
    Absolutely cool guy, your Hero Ego(n) Schmuck!

    I had to smile a lot, when reading the text about the power of positive thinking that only lasts up to about noon, egonian style,
    which reminds me of some years in my past *hehe*

    Enjoy your day,
    lots of greetings from Lu

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Lu, very much appreciated 🙂
      I think there will be ten, unless of course there are pressing reasons to keep his investigation going or resurrect him for Series 2 😉
      Also like your wording skills, Hero Ego and Egonian style (*smile*) and might have to collect all the witty bits people have come up with in response in a Dalston Noir pocket dictionary 🙂
      Have a fun Sunday, I’m off to read the Confessions of Finbar (*curious*) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Egon hat so einen eigensinnig, eigenwilligen Charme – das gefällt mir sehr. Ich neige dazu, ihn ein bisschen zu unterschätzen und dann, ohne dass es einen echten, nachvollziehbaren Grund gibt, halte ich für möglich, dass ich ganz falsch damit liege …

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Du hast die Frage ohne Fragezeichen gelassen, was sie zu einer zwinkernden Feststellung macht 😉
        Ich glaube im wahren Leben kommt es auf die Zivilcourage an, für die es tagtäglich kleine (und grössere) Gelegenheiten gibt und aus Zivilisten ganz schnell kleine (und grössere) Helden machen kann 🙂
        Und da fallen mir gleich Otto Quangel und seine herzzerreissenden vergeblichen Versuche ein, sein Rückgrat aufrecht zu erhalten…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great breakfast read. I felt like I was at an outdoor table at costa watching Egon’s world go by. I think Egon may be in for a hairy ride 😉

    As an aside- I lived in the UK some years back and quickly arrived at the conclusion that costa coffee was the best (back in the day when i was a smoker and would down long blacks (Americano’s) and enjoy the novelty of smoking inside a cafe which had long been outlawed in Australia, and before my beloved flat white caught on outside of Aus). Anyway- I found it strange that a chain coffee shop would be better than an independent cafe- with the rise of the hipster- is Costa still best? Was I too risk averse to venture beyond Costa after a few dissapointing greasy spoon coffees?

    I’m beginning to have a soft spot for Mr Schmuck 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It made me happy to hear you used to live in the kingdom and are falling slowly but surely for Mr. Schmuck’s rare charm 😉
      thank you for your lovely feedback and for bringing the flat white over the pond!
      you are right, a good coffee was hard to come by, it was either chains, a strong Turkish one or hopping over the channel and grabbing one in Calais. Of course, now a hipster with serious facial hair would rather die than being seen sipping his brew in a chain, Egon is the honorable exception to the rule 😉
      If you ever make that trip again, I’ll take you to my favourite spot on Broadway Market, French of course 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I tried to resist falling for his good looks and waited to see if there was substance under all that facial hair. Ah, so times have changed. I think coffee culture has been ling established in Australia funnily enough- my UK life was 2005 – 2008. I’d live to hangout at your favourite spot! I am not all that familiar with London – only visited a few times as I lived in Manchester, then Brighton and finally Canterbury. Have you written this series in the one sitting or do you do one week at a time? It takes some creative stamina to keep a series going- good job! Btw this comment is so much easier to write in the comfort of my spot on the terrace overlooking the sea with a coffee and a pain au chocolat 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      2. wow, you already started the job, well done!! needless to say I’m very jealous of your spot and the croissant. I think I might head over to yours instead 🙂
        I like your approach to romance, it took me a while to figure this one out.
        I’m writing one a week without knowing what comes next, traipsing in the dark like Egon. If I’d known how hard it is I might not have started 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Ha! Love your last line- so true! It’s good to have a certain degree of naivety (sorry, closest word I could come up with to express what I mean) going into an otherwise ‘daunting’ task. Take it one week at a time! My number 10 in my travel through the tumbleweed will be followed by a next installment for that post (not yet written). Have a lovely weekend, it was nice chatting xx

        Liked by 3 people

      4. oops- this comment slipped through the cracks! thanks- the weekend was lovely. Being the first sunday of the month today was the artist’s market AND farmer’s market in our area so a lovely day out listening to music, having coffee, running into friends, and of course- buying a whole lot of great food. Have a lovely week 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Your questions are living proof of an investigative and curious mind which leads to an inquisitive and logical modus operandi which Egon can only aspire to and may well put into practice one day. Until then, future keeps her cards close to her ample bosom, unless of course she has a Costa up her sleeve 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My current favorite quote for yesterday:
    It was only a matter of time until the collective consciousness hit the fan.
    Great quotes and ideas for new books. An I will definitely start reading dr shiwago, one of my favorite movies I watched countless times. But never read he book!!!😱😱

    Liked by 4 people

    1. He he, Miss M, thank you 🙂
      yes, will have to read Dr. Zhivago again as well, House of the Spirits I loved as book and film. Actually all of the South American magic realism has a special place in my heart.
      have a lovely weekend dear!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Have you Any recommendations for southamerican books? I’d ppreciate it.

        Somehow have trouble commenting… Just disappears once I click post, not my smoothest binary week 🙂

        Have a nice weekend too! Mimi!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. wenn’s doch bloss mal richtig klicken würde 😉
        meine absoluten Lieblinge sind:
        G. G. Marquez – Love in the Times of the Cholera und L. Esquivel – Like Water For Chocolate
        sind auch nicht zu lang aber werden noch lange nachhallen, von Like Water For Chocolate gibt’s auch einen wunderbaren Film.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh wie cool, da fange ich mit for chocolate an, “love in the times of cholera” hatte ich schon so oft in der Hand, irgendwie macht mich immer gleich der Titel so traurig und wehmütig, so dass ich es immer wieder zurückgelegt hab… Aber dann werde ich jetzt mal damit anfangen, nach dem Dr und der Isabel. Freue mich auf das nächste Kapitel.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Hab den Film (lwfc) zum Glück gar nicht erst angesehen, weil ich das Buch vorher lesen wollte. Cortazar und Marquez kommen mit auf meine Liste, danke Finbarsgift!

        Hatte doch leider kein Glück, in der Bücherei, gabs weder pasternak, noch ältere Allende oder Esquivel… Ich war so entschlossen, nicht online zu bestellen. Irgendwie verwirrend.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ich glaube Finbar meint Doktor Schiwago, Like Water For Chocolate macht dem Buch alle Ehre und setzt sogar noch eins oben drauf. Ich versuch auch nicht online zu bestellen, aber mach Ausnahmen 😉


      3. Aus heutiger Sicht ist dieser Film gar nicht mehr ansehbar, denn innerhalb kürzester Zeit verschmiert der heraustriefende Kitsch-schmalz Bildschirm oder Leinwand, was natürlich auch an der Filmmusik liegt, die es gottlob im Buch nicht gibt…

        Cien Anos de Soledad ist ein so umwerfend komisches Buch, voller unfassbarer Fabulierkunst, dass ich beim Lesen immer schier Lacheritis bekomme, die bis zur wochenlangen Erschöpfung führen kann…

        Der Cortazar spielt im Pariser Bohème Milieu und hat viel mit Jazz zu tun…

        Liebe Morgengrüße vom Lu

        Liked by 1 person

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