The pub was comfortingly full of the kind of low-lifes you'd expect in a pub in any place that deigned to call itself a city. The fact that the bulk of the lowlifes looked up grumpily from their pints to smile at him as he walked through the door was somewhat disconcerting, but they quickly looked back down at their pints, lost in their low-life sort of gloom once again. Which was good, because he was going to shoot the first person that smiled at him for an extended period of time, no matter how lame the gun looked.
When he got to the bar he sat down on one of the free stools and ordered a pint to celebrate the fact that he hadn't shot anyone on the way to the bar and he ordered a glass of whiskey for the fact that he still had no idea where he was, and a shot of tequila because he'd stuck the cigarette behind his ear when he left his hotel room subconsciously and it had fallen out on to a less sticky part of the bar and another shot of tequila when he heard the strains of Abba being piped in from somewhere behind the bar. He accounted for the barman's apparent displeasure with the synthesiser-ified and devocalised rendition of "Fernando". Well, that, possibly coupled with having unfortunately been born with no nose which had been replaced at some point by an extremely poorly moulded false nose.
Why they hadn't done away with synthesisers at this point in history he'd never been able to figure out, he thought as he downed one of the shots of tequila and tried to remember whether that one was for the cigarette or whether that was what the one still remaining on the bar was for. Yet it still held on, and synthesiser programmers, as they called people who could still use the things and retain the bulk of their sanity, earned a hefty salary, hefty enough to tempt more than some people to at least consider it for a brief moment or two. The prospect of listening to synthesised music for a living, together with having to move to Denmark (who had taken over from Germany as the synthesising hotspot) to follow any sort of lucrative synthesiser-based fortune was too much for most of those people, and it just served to keep the discipline sufficiently worth it for those who decided to give it a go. The only field that really did better for initial recruitment interest these days was his field: international spying. Of course, after the fantasies of gorgeous international women and cocktails and daring rescues were dispelled by the various recruitment agents for the various agencies the interest sort of died down, despite the huge salary offers and prospect of getting some nice sunglasses for free.
If you made it past that first week of being vetted by the recruitment agents, and you'd often push to two or three different agencies at a time, you'd be invited to your first party before going into training to become a spy, during the course of which (the party), you discovered they'd been lying to you. You generally figured that out when you walked into the foyer of the place at which they were holding the party and no less than three women wearing black dresses that defined the word 'slinky' hit each agent (four men, to the prospective women agents, which he had thought was slightly unfair, though that thought hung around for approximately two seconds as his three women carried him off into the main party room) and proceeded to receive the coolest looking mobile device you'd ever seen in your life.
Which he was thinking about when the barman's nose reappeared by the two empty shot glasses and an empty bowl that presumably held peanuts earlier and shuffled the empties off down the length of the bar. It appeared to stop when one of the patrons addressed it, and it pulsed a little bit in response, then gave what he imagined would be a shrug, if you were attempting to shrug and found that you didn't have any shoulders and only consisted of a nose, and shuffled all the empties it had been collecting down the bar into a stainless steel tray at the end of the bar that took everything away and through a wall behind the bar.
The best place to start accomplishing his job (he hated referring to it as his 'mission', even when talking to himself, because Tom Cruise just ruined the whole concept of a mission for himself with his last few films in almost exactly the same style as he'd been doing years and years ago) was just this sort of place. He moved his remaining glasses back from the path the nose had gone through and took a sip of the pint. Even if this sort of place wasn't in the place he'd been sent to finish his job.
He just planned on shooting the first person that either looked suitable or looked like they might be carrying some interesting information, then get out of town again.
The serial you currently see before you has been coasting on for the past couple weeks and looks to be resolved sometime in our lifetime.
So I'm still in London.
And considerably more popular on the King's Road than the Head Editor, I'll have you know, being accosted by seven separate groups of people, five of whom were especially interested in accosting me. Bringing them down to the Waterstone's was a bit of a disappointment, as the plan had been to sign a few copies of Curious, a novel for them and send them home to tell stories to their grandkids about this day some day, but, after looking in the Crime, Sci-Fi, Fiction, Computer, Philosophy, and Film section, we either came to the conclusion that Waterstone's had sold all of the copies of Curious they'd been given, or were never given it at all. So the stories they'll be telling their grandkids will be considerably less exciting than they might have been. To try and make the stories a little more interesting I attempted to juggle, but, as I'd never tried juggling before in my life it probably looked a lot more like I was just tossing books up in the air, occasionally getting hit with them as they came back down (as they do). And I did wind up having to buy one little girl and her mum a sandwich to get her to stop crying because I'd grazed her with a book. Ah well.
I would also like to thank all of the people that wrote in over the course of the week either just saying hi, offering me bribes to print various things, and generally being pleasant to me. Thanks.
Keep your hands to yourself, now.