He was a sad sight, the haunted looking man wearily carrying a suitcase. It was as though he didn’t notice others on his lonely forced march – seemingly going nowhere.
I’d seen him some times before around our area of the Fylde; always well-dressed and clearly cared for, but displaying no pleasure in his apparently aimless perambulations.
This middle-aged chap seemed another of those unfortunate people receiving ‘care in the community’ or perhaps from relatives; daily absorbed in his own tortuous ritual, driven by his pains or self-imposed worries.
‘Not quite all there!’ as they used to say, or, ‘One sandwich short of a picnic’. But in reality it wasn’t funny. Neither was he a danger to anyone else, only to his own well-being – like those other distressed souls adrift or at the coast’s new Harbour Hospital for mental sufferers. There, but for the grace of God . . .
Typical scribe that I am, I didn’t offer to help or cheer him, but his unknown story intrigued me and inspired my latest novel.
It’s the fifth thriller/romance in my Fylde-based ‘Sam Stone investigates’ series, just published on Kindle and in paperbacks sponsored by the Arts Council. ‘The Mystery of Mister Blues’ also features scenes from Paris night-life.
The Sam Stone stories, like my other novels or humorous memoir, aim to be entertaining but also, most importantly, uplifting. I hope in that way to spread some joy and, in this case, perhaps make up a little for this disturbed man’s suffering.
His plight made me grateful for my own good health and happiness, here on our wonderful Lancashire coast. This unsung hero, who really does tramp its byways, may never know of my fictional tribute to him but others will and, hopefully, find it uplifting too . . .
So thanks, then, from us to him, poor man.
* For Roy’s books visit royedmonds-blackpool.com, Kindle or stores like Waterstones.