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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Video of my recent book signing!


So after my book signing event at Teatro Restaurant at the Radlett Centre, in aid of Cancer ResearchUK, my friend and fellow author, Anne John-Ligali sent me a video, that she produced of the day and I am truly overwhelmed by the final production. Number one, I wasn't expecting it and number two it covers the essence of the day. Wrong Place Wrong Time is available via my publishers Austin Macauley at my website, or via Amazon
The link is below, and I hope you enjoy the show.

Thanks for watching!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The awesome power of LinkedIn as a social media marketing tool!

When my editor and agent Julie Tucker posted a photo on her Facebook page of the stacked copies of the first delivery of the revamped Amazon best-selling book, WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME it gave me an idea. A fairly recent convert to the incredible power of LinkedIn, I thought, let's put a challenge on Linkedln and ask my connections to guess how many books there are in the picture.
Well it’s now day 15 and while I was happy with the 52 comments and a few likes I received after a couple of days, I am now completely overwhelmed and thrilled to, as of today, had over 24,000 comments, over 3,500 likes and over 41,000 views, it has really blown me away! Even as I type this, people are still having a guess, and from all corners of the earth.

The vast majority of comments are simply a number guess but lots have people have taken the time to comment and muse over the question of the hidden books. I’ve even had comments such as:
"What a brilliant piece of marketing." "Sheer brilliance." "Genius book marketing." which is always nice to hear.
The latest image which is above, includes all the amazing numbers and talking about numbers, the person who was the first to comment with the correct answer has a signed copy of WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME winging its way to them. 
Oh yes, the number, the number that 1,000's and 1,000's of people have pondered over is ……. To be perfectly honest, I’m enjoying the LinkedIn love so much (and who wouldn’t) that I am reluctant to draw the suspense to a close so I’ve decided I will tweet the answer on Monday 24th October over at! And I’m offering you all a further opportunity to win another signed copy with my Twitter challenge, see below! 
WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME is a true story, my story, about when I was an estate agent in London and one night I find myself on the wrong side of the law. This leads to the loss of my driving licence, my job, my home and sends me spiralling into depression. I decide to visit Spain for a change of scenery and lifestyle but I get way more than I bargain for when before long, misfortune, circumstance and a degree of stupidity land me in more trouble than that from which I’d fled back home. One night in Marbella, after a few too many drinks and armed with more Dutch courage than common sense, I rescue two people from a burning hotel but in the process I’m falsely accused of arson and manslaughter and thrown in a Spanish jail. Aided' by a UK tabloid journalist whose sole purpose was merely to create shock headlines, my real life account of nail-biting events leading up to and following the fire have had readers leaving 5* reviews on Amazon in their hundreds.
As an author it is so important to get your book out there which I try to do on a daily basis, not just for my books but the other authors I promote on my various social media platforms. I use Twitter on a daily basis to promote and converse with my followers, which at the moment stand at over 35k. So why not follow me and I'll follow back,!
Talking of Twitter and as I have said, if you would like another chance to win a FREE signed copy of WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME, then copy and paste the following into a tweet
"@davepperlmutter #HowManyBooks #LinkedIn #WrongPlaceWrongTime #bookplugs #BookBoost #ASMSG #RRBC #BYNR #IARTG #BOOKS"
Every tweet I receive will be entered into a draw and my editor will randomly pick a winner on the 31st October.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the attention my little old post has received and thank you all for taking time to count the books.
Let’s get tweeting now and thanks for taking part!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Not A Bad Bit Of Book Marketing!

I have been overwhelmed with the response of a spot of book marketing I did on LinkedIn the other day. 

I posted an image, which is below, of a large number of copies of the same book, Wrong Place Wrong Time and invited people to guess the correct answer & the first correct one would receive a signed copy. 

Little did I know that the post would so far receive over 16.5k comments, over 2.5k likes and over 29k views!

Why not join in the fun?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Book signing of #WrongPlaceWrongTime!

Well what can I write about? What can't I write about? Before I start, I want to say a huge thank you to my publishers, AUSTIN MACAULEY, who provided the books and the posters, flyers and so much more, like making the dream from self-published to traditional! So thank you! Also very shortly, this book will be in book shops nationwide and fingers crossed around the globe!

There is so much to say about my first book signing event over the weekend. It was on Saturday, but I was still selling copies of WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME on Sunday, even today on a Monday and the kindle version has shot up the Amazon charts in the UK. 

Back to the book signing. It was a bit of a family affair because the event took place at Teatro Restaurant at The Radlett Centre, which is run by my younger brother Robert who makes sure the front house is running smoothly and my sister Sue who creates delicious meals in the kitchen. 

It was also attended by close friends, fellow authors from near and far, together with three ladies from the Mill Hill Cancer Research shop and other locals who had seen the event advertised. My editor Julie Tucker and I are Cancer Campaigns Ambassadors for Cancer Research UK and had decided that some of the proceeds of the event would go to the charity. We were delighted to raise over £80 on the day and the amount is still increasing plus with a further charity book signing event arranged at the next-door library at the end of this month, which will also be in aid of CRUK.

Many bought multiple copies of the book and were delighted to have them signed by little old me. The assembled crowd enjoyed refreshments provided by Teatro and apparently sat in rapt silence as I read out, rather nervously I may add, the chapter  ‘Cups and Oranges’. For those of you not in attendance, at the end of this post is that chapter that I would like to share with you. 

Some of the readers of the first edition of the book had questions for not only myself, but also for my mum Annette, who has always been so supportive of me and all my siblings.
So overall my first book signing event went beyond my expectations. It was that good, I'm going to book many more. I'm sure you'll read about them.
Okay, have a cup of tea, settle down and I hope you enjoy this chapter!


The sound of jangling keys stirred me from my sleep and I opened my eyes to see the eight plastic cups lined against the concrete wall. I stared at the orange peel, now shriveled and dehydrated, and couldn’t help but wonder if I looked the same. I certainly felt it. Don’t they ever clean this shithole? I thought, pulling myself from the floor.
A burly guard with a nasty, toothless grin unlocked my cell door and took the familiar metal tray from his trolley, his short sleeved shirt exposing his thick, tattooed arms. A dragon traced its way from wrist to elbow on his left arm whilst a snake did the same on his right. I watched the brown and black scales of the snake move and twitch as he placed our food and drink on the floor before locking the door. We were his last call, and as he strode past the other prisoners he gave them all the same toothless stare.
The walls echoed as he slammed the heavy door behind him and turned the key. It had been four or five days but I still couldn’t get used to that sound. I stood up and gingerly walked over to get my share, somewhat surprised that there was only one orange and one plastic cup. My first thought was that I’d have a fight on my hands and I looked around for my cellmate, preparing myself. But he was gone. Whether he’d been freed, moved or taken to court didn’t interest me in the slightest, I really didn’t give a shit and was glad to have the place to myself. I wondered when they’d taken him though, and tried to recall the previous few hours. Most of it was a blur; endless hours of nothingness interspersed with shouting and sleep.
I felt disorientated and weak as I made my way back to the corner of what was now my cell. My stomach was in a constant state of unrest, a combination of hunger and nervous anticipation about what the day would hold. Over and over, my head pounded with Carmela’s words: “manslaughter and arson.” Feeling sick I sat down, crossed my legs and peeled off the orange skin. Very slowly, one by one, I separated the segments. The longer I took eating the orange the further I was away from meeting the judge at the court house. “Manslaughter and arson.” The words circled around my head.
The orange was sour and I spat most of it out along with the pips, firing them into the cups. The water was a welcoming taste though - even warm, it drowned out the bitterness in my mouth. I finished it in three gulps and placed the cup alongside the others. Nine plastic cups. Apart from Carmella, I hadn’t spoken to anyone in days, so the only communication I’d had was with myself. At times I’d even spoken to the cups, and as stupid as it sounds now, I had a name for each one. Each day there were another two cups; each day two new members of a growing family.
My eyes were heavy and tired from another sleepless night of tossing and turning on the damp, concrete floor. I wiped some sticky sleep away from my eyes and rubbed it onto my jeans. I hadn’t changed them since I’d left the hostel which seemed like a lifetime ago and even though Rosa had washed them for me, they now smelt of smoke, piss and shit, as did my shirt. I was in desperate need of a shower.
I looked around at the other prisoners who were unusually quiet. Some stood with their arms hanging out between the cell bars, smoking and staring at each other, whilst others had their heads down, staring at the floor. I had no doubt that they were all wondering when they would ever be getting out of there, as was I. Looking around I tried to take it all in: vulnerable men, incarcerated for whatever reason, not having a clue about what the next day would bring. Just looking at them, I felt sorry for them. I thought of my family: my mum, dad, brothers and sister. What the hell would they think if they knew? Did they know? Had anyone told them? I felt my stomach fall and did all that I could to contain it.
Sometime later, the clanking of keys and the turning of the lock made me look up and I stared across the cell as the basement door opened. The same, toothless guard appeared. Passing the other cells, he marched towards me, occasionally lashing out at the arms of the prisoners with his baton, still smiling that ugly grin of his as he did so. What a bastard. The prisoners he hit yelled out in pain, but they still spat back at him, most times managing to connect with the side of his face and the back of his neck. It looked like a sick and twisted game; one I didn’t understand at first. But it was obvious they were asserting the last bit of freedom they had left, the one thing the guards couldn’t take away.
When he reached my cell door he fumbled for the key on his belt. I was surprised he could find any keys at all; he was grossly overweight with an enormous stomach that hung down over his blue uniformed trousers. When he located the right one and opened the door, he pointed at me with two fingers and he told me to get up.
“Jesus… here goes,” I muttered to myself. As I stood, he approached me, grinning as he did so and wiping salvia from his face. He tossed two white laces onto the floor and I knelt down and picked them up. Taking both ends of each lace, I carefully measured them and pushed them through each eyelet of my trainers one at a time - first my left and then my right. He shouted at me to hurry up and with fright I glanced up at him. With the baton in one hand, he was hitting the palm of his other, his grin diminished to an evil stare. I hurriedly finished tying them and stood up. We were nose to nose. His breath was rancid.
It occurred to me that the last time I’d cleaned my teeth was at Rosa’s apartment, days earlier. Cupping my hand over my mouth, I blew into it and inhaled. It was just as bad as that of my jailer, but at least I had an excuse. Thoughts of Rosa whirred around in my mind. Why didn’t I just go back to you? Why the hell did I go back into the hotel?
Suddenly, the guard took hold of both my arms, turned me around and shoved me into the wall. With all thoughts of Rosa lost, the side of my face rebounded off the concrete and I felt warm blood trickle from my lip as the plastic cups splayed across the floor. Grabbing hold of my wrists, he pulled them together around my back and handcuffed me.
“Why do you have to be so rough?” I questioned, but he just laughed, his heavy breath sliding down the back of my neck.
He marched me out of the cell, slamming the door behind us. We strode past the other prisoners who whistled and clapped, trying to reach out and grab me by my shirt. He opened the door and we made our way along the corridor, past the room where I’d met Carmela, up three flights of stairs and along the narrow hallway with the arched ceiling. I felt uncomfortable and claustrophobic again, even more so knowing where we were heading. The windows, now to my right, were letting in the early morning light. The sun was out and I hadn’t seen natural light for days. He gripped my arm as we walked to the end of the corridor, his tattooed snake staring at me as I looked down and counted the tiles out loud again - thirty six, exactly the same number of steps and tiles as before.
The guard fumbled for the key and I wondered again how he ever managed to see over his stomach, but in one attempt he found it and unlocked the door. When the bright morning sun hit my eyes, I instantly turned away and looked down, unable to cover my eyes because of the handcuffs. The sensation of the heat was incredible and for a moment I was transported, a beautiful vision of Rosa and I lying on the beach playing out in my mind. But it was short-lived.
A blue police van screeched to a halt in front of us and the driver jumped out and unlocked the two back doors. The guard yanked me onto the pavement and then onto the road.
There was a caged door between the door and the back of the van. He opened it and I felt the full force of his hands on my back as he pushed me inside. I managed to steady myself and slumped down onto an empty seat to my left. There were four other male prisoners in the back of the van, all staring at me, and when they started to shout at me I was relieved that they were handcuffed too.
I couldn’t understand why there was so much hatred towards me. Was it because I was English? Had they heard about my charges? Shifting my body, I turned my back to ignore them as the driver turned the key in the ignition, and as the engine came to life and we made our way to the court, I stared out of the window watching the world rush by, terrified of what lay ahead.

I hope you enjoyed the chapter and if you want to read more, click here! Wrong Place Wrong Time

Thursday, October 6, 2016


Enter to win a signed copy of the new paperback version of the re-edited and revised best selling book, WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME that has over 400 x 4/5* reviews on Amazon!

This book, thanks to my publishers Austin Macauley will be in major book shops very shortly!

Good luck,


Saturday, October 1, 2016


Over 300 5* reviews for WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME on Amazon and below are some of them! And then the first chapter!

‘I hadn’t expected the author’s style of writing and extremely vivid descriptions to bring me right into the story.’

WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME is an absolutely captivating story from beginning to end.’

‘I warn you, start reading WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME and you will not want to stop.’

‘The twists and turns in WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME will leave you breathless.’

WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME sinks its claws into you & doesn’t let go until the very last word.’

‘I know it’s a cliche thing to say, but genuinely could not put WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME down!’

‘Sooner someone in the film industry makes David an offer, the sooner we can all be enjoying WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME at the cinema.’

‘David’s writing style draws you right in until the point you forget what is around you.’

‘So go on, walk the streets of Marbella with Mr Perlmutter, I promise, you won’t be disappointed.’

‘Really have to read David P Perlmutter’s account yourself to get the gist of what happened.’

‘One of the books that, for me anyway, will stay with me for some time.’

‘His tale is a roller coaster ride and you don’t want to get off until the end.’

‘So tense, waiting to find what happened, that I could barely keep reading.’

‘Felt David’s desperation and discomfort seeping from the pages.’

‘Sat there reading reviews & thinking, ‘Hmm is WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME for me? The answer is YES!’

‘More than sure WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME will be first book that I have ever read twice!’


One minute later, maybe even less, was all it took for my life to be turned completely upside down.

The result was positive.

A few hours earlier I’d been at work sitting behind my cluttered wooden desk at the estate agents I worked for in London, blissfully unaware of how my pretty ordinary day would come to such a catastrophic end.

For the majority of the day I’d been liaising with various clients, but more specifically trying to clinch a sale on a substantial property in the West End. The potential buyer, an arrogant prick with more money than sense, was being particularly difficult, demanding that various items be left in the house before he’d commit to buy. So when the phone rang for the umpteenth time that day and he requested that the hallway mirror be a part of the sale, I almost felt like buying him one myself, just to get the deal in the bag. On reflection, it had been a week of stupid, unnecessary negotiations and I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. I called the seller, a middle aged, soon to be divorcee, and told her the news.
“He wants the hallway mirror"
“Oh, does he now?”
“Yes he does.” I followed with the same irony. “And if he gets the mirror it’s a done deal, Mrs Evans.”
I shifted in my chair and threw some letters into my out tray. I could hear her on the end of the phone taking a long on from her cigarette. I could almost smell the smoke weaving its way down the line as she pondered the proposition. A part of me knew she was enjoying this; enjoying the control. There were moments throughout the week when I actually thought she had no intention of selling at all and was just relishing the attention I was giving her. I’d seen it all before and couldn’t help but wonder what kind of a wanker she’d been married to.
“It’s just a mirror,” I told her, opening the drawer and removing her file from its slot.
“But a rather nice one, don’t you think?” I could hear her inhale another shot of her cigarette and I clenched my fist, willing it to be over.
“I guess it depends who’s looking into it.” I flipped through the paperwork, found the prick’s phone number and keyed it into the phone. “I think a mirror is only as beautiful as its beholder.”
She chuckled, but said nothing.
“He has another appointment with us tomorrow, a similar property just around the corner from you actually and slightly cheaper too.” I tapped my fingers on the desk, knowing I’d just told a fib. Justin, my colleague was nearly out the door as he tossed his coat over his shoulder. “Mrs Evans,” I said, rolling my eyes at him, “I really need to give him your decision now. If you lose him it could take ages before you…..…”
“Ok, ok,” she interrupted. “He can have the bloody mirror.”
"Finally!" I said, hanging up the phone. "I didn't think she was gonna crack!"
"Well done, mate, "Justin said, striding over to my desk with his hand in the air. I high-fived him with a grin firmly fixed on my face.
"Worked out the commission yet?" he said, heading back to the door. Then he laughed. "That was a bloody stupid question, wasn't it? Come on, how much?"
"Five grand, give or take a few quid." Before I left the office I called Roger, my boss, to tell him the news. Justin waved goodbye and left me to lock up.
"Well done, David," he said. "Great work! Now get the hell out of there and get yourself a pint. You deserve it."
"I'm half way there already," I responded, picking up my jacket.
"Well enjoy it." But don't go getting yourself hammered; you've got two more to settle tomorrow."
“Don’t worry boss, just a couple and then I’ll be heading home for an early night.”

If only I had kept my word!

Half an hour later, I was at The Horse and Crown for a well-earned pint. It was a small place, but substantially cheaper and more welcoming than its sister pub on the main road, which always attracted the tourists.
I was half way through my pint when Michael slapped me firmly on the back.
“Good to see you mate!” he said, slinging his jacket over the bar stool.
Mike was a good friend and a former work colleague. We’d met several years ago when London was new to us both, when we were desperately trying to carve out our careers amongst the hardened property executives in the capital. Our grit and determination had paid off though; Mike was now a business development executive with a top London firm and after three promotions I was in a very comfortable place within the same firm at which we had initially met.
Mike rolled up his shirt sleeves, loosened his tie and took a swig of his drink.
"So, how's life in the fast lane, mate?"
"Can’t complain," I answered. "Closed on a great deal earlier. It took all bloody week - cute owner, prick of a buyer - but just under 5k in my pocket."
"Nice one. Tonight's on you then buddy!"
"Well, I haven’t got it yet," I took a sip of my drink and continued. "I've been running around like a blue-arse fly too. I've got two girls off sick so I've been covering for them as well."
"Something like that."
Mike shook his head.
"Man, you're so soft. Didn't I tell you not to hire women?" He said pushing back the mop of blonde hair from his forehead.
I laughed.
“I wouldn’t say a bad word against them. They keep the office ticking over, trust me.”
“Trust you? You’re a Jewish estate agent.” I rolled my eyes before him.
Michael the atheist laughed, then had a mouthful of his bitter. He had grown up in Northampton where he’d been privately educated and come to London just after graduating. He was a bit of a snob really, but a loveable one. He supported the local football team, The Cobblers, but he was more of a rugby man and his physique was testament to the fact. Just over six-foot-tall, broad shoulders and a neck to match.
The banter continued throughout the evening and as it had been a good few months since we’d last got together, we lost all track of time as we spent quite a while in the bar chatting about work and life in general. Forgetting what I’d said earlier to Roger about just a couple of drinks and an early night, it must have been after our third or fourth pint that we decided to head off to a local Indian.
We ordered our meal. I had my usual chicken korma, Mike ordered a hot chilli madras and a bottle of house red and then we both proceeded to converse with a couple of girls sitting at the adjoining table. They were sisters as it turned out - Mandy and Jane - and during the course of the meal the conversation became rather flirtatious. At one point Mandy reached over and cheekily helped herself to a piece of my naan bread, and it wasn’t long before they joined us at our table. The sisters, in their mid-twenties, were like chalk and cheese. Jane the older of the two by a couple of years, was wearing a pin striped skirt suit and had her hair twisted up in a loose bun. She looked every part the PR executive she was. Mandy, on the other hand - a girl running the family horse stabling business in the West Country - was casually dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, with her long hair cascading messily over her shoulders. It was a thrown together look but it worked, and of the two, she was the one I focused my attention on. I liked her; I liked her arrogance and her ‘couldn’t give a shit’ attitude.
The girls ate their meal, and half of ours, and when the bill had been paid it was mutually agreed that we’d head to a bar for a late night drink. The girls had their own car and had chosen a venue unfamiliar to me. But I didn’t want to leave my car, despite the amount I’d had to drink, so I stupidly but without question decided to follow them in my car.
Everything was fine for the first ten minutes or so of the journey; we were nose to tail with them for pretty much most of the way, but after Mike rolled a joint and the affects had begun to take their toll, we somehow managed to lose them in the heavy, night-time traffic. We tried to find them, but it was impossible, it seemed like the whole of London was on the road at the same time and eventually after a ten minutes or so we admitted defeat. So with no desire to end the evening, Mike rolled another joint, I cranked up the music and we drove around the streets of West London without a care in the world.
It must have been about half an hour later when for some reason, which to this day is still a mystery, I turned into a council estate in Hammersmith. Feeling pretty invincible by then, I stupidly decided to use the car park as a Formula One racing track. Mike was far too stoned to even acknowledge where we were or what the hell I was doing; he was slumped in the passenger seat, eyes glued together, with an almighty grin on his face. George Michael was belting out from the stereo, the windows were down and a cool, city night-time breeze was keeping me alert.
I’d been driving around the car park for quite a while when I noticed a man on a bicycle riding close by talking into a radio which was attached to his jacket. Before I could put two and two together, and to be honest I would have probably made five that night, two police cars with sirens and flashing lights were heading towards me. I immediately put my foot on the brakes, with my heart beating louder than the tune blaring out from the BMW dashboard. I turned to Mike, he didn’t stir one little bit, he was far too stoned. It didn’t take a genius to work out that a local resident had obviously called them, not too happy about the sound of the roaring engine echoing around the enclosed estate and the ear piercing noise of the wheel spins I’d submitted them to. I quickly lifted the handbrake, switched off the music and held my breath as three coppers got out of their cars and walked towards me, their silhouettes increasing in size with every step they took beneath the glow from the street lights. As I poked my head out of the window, one of them asked me to get out of the car, in fact he opened the door for me. I obeyed and as he directed me to the rear of my car, I glanced back at Mike. Even with the noise of the sirens and all the commotion, he was still utterly oblivious, out for the count!
The policeman asked for my name, to see my driving license and then questioned what I was doing driving in a reckless manner in a residential area after midnight with a very real possibility of endangering someone.
What could I say? I was stoned. I was drunk. I’d wanted some fun however this was turning out to be anything but. He obviously smelt alcohol on my breath because he asked if I’d been drinking.
“Just the two,” I replied a little too urgently. But from the expression that formed on his face he knew I wasn’t telling the truth. He’d seen and heard it all before.
With that, he produced a breathalyser and told me to blow into the tube. It was with no small measure of hesitation – knowing full well that I was way over the limit and anticipating the potential consequences – that I did as was requested and took a deep breath. After twenty seconds or so I withdrew and waited for the results with my raging heart hammering against my ribcage. Sweating profusely and sobering up fast – very fast - I was already regretting the night, wishing I was at home, tucked up in bed, anticipating my alarm to go off at 6.30 to get ready for another day in the office. But no, I wasn’t in bed asleep. I wasn’t having a dream. I was having a nightmare. A true life nightmare.
I had no one to blame but myself, hands up, it was all my stupid fault. I could have seriously hurt someone, never mind myself or Mike. I felt like a complete lowlife, any respect I may have had for myself vanished. Scared doesn’t come close to how I felt at that moment, terrified, anxious, beyond nervous.... I’d never been arrested before and I knew, I just knew that this very moment would be the first.

After a pause, which seemed like a lifetime, I was told to put my hands out before me. I was handcuffed, arrested, informed of my rights and pushed into the back seat of the police car. It all happened in a flash and I was in a daze. The drive to the station was spent sandwiched between two policemen in the back of the car and from what I can recall I did nothing more than stare into my lap for the entire journey, looking at the metal rings around my wrists. Upon arrival at the station they took my belongings, fingerprinted me and then led me into a cold clinical white-bricked windowless cell. I had no idea what they’d done with Mike, but to be honest, at that point he was the furthest thing from my mind.


When the cell door slammed behind me it made me jump. Then I froze for a few seconds as I heard the key in the lock turn on me, closing me in. I took the few steps to the grubby bed against the wall and slumped down, holding my thumping head in my hands with my mind racing back and forth over the evening’s events. I’d been so stupid. So fucking stupid. Unable to settle, I stood up and anxiously paced the floor desperately wishing I could turn back the clock. It seemed ironic that the cell was about the same size as the box room in the property I’d been negotiating on that afternoon. I thought of Mandy and Jane and how the hell I’d managed to lose them. I’d taken my eyes off their car for ten seconds, probably less than that, and as a result I was in a police cell. I was scared, scared of what may lay ahead, scared about my future and scared that I'd just thrown my life right down the fucking drain.
Nervous exhaustion finally got the better of me and I lay motionless on the stained blue mattress, eyes closed, curled up on my side with my arms folded tightly against my chest as I relived the moments that had brought me to where I was now. The blanket they’d left did little to warm me, but within minutes, and with the effects of the alcohol subsiding, I drifted off to sleep. For a few hours or so, I escaped.
I guess it must have been early morning when the cell door opened. I jerked up and for a few seconds was completely unaware of my surroundings. But when the policeman handed me a cup of coffee with his face expressionless, I knew exactly where I was.
“Shit,” I muttered, after taking a gulp.
“No, its fine,” Wondering where the sugar was. But sugar was the least of my worries.
Normally by this time I’d have been on my way to the office and even though I detested the hour long drive in the morning rush hour traffic, I’d have given anything to be behind the wheel of my car right then. No amount of hoping was going to make that happen.
I was taken to the front desk of the station.
“Sobered up now have we? reality sinking in?”
I nodded. I didn’t need reminding.
“You’ll receive a letter in the post advising you of the date of your court case.” The policeman informed me as he emptied my belongings on the desk. “And we’ll send you details about how to collect your car.”
I nodded again embarrassingly, knowing that I wouldn’t be the one collecting my car, my company car that would almost certainly no longer be mine. Unable to force one word from my mouth, I gathered up my things and left the station with my head down and my tail firmly between my legs.
Outside a sobering cold wind wrapped itself around me as I hurried down the High Street to Hammersmith underground station. I weaved my way through the hordes of commuters fighting their way to work and then it dawned on me, I wasn’t one of them. I was on my way home after spending a night in a police cell having been arrested for drink-driving. I bought my ticket at the kiosk and boarded the train. I looked up and down the carriage and just wished I was one of my fellow commuters, going to work with only the day ahead to worry about. I became paranoid, wondering if they saw through me, but thankfully I was still wearing the suit from yesterday, so I tried to blend in as much as possible. It struck me that I hadn’t ridden on public transport for over two years and I certainly didn’t want to start now, but with a driving ban imminent, my soon to be encounters with the train would not be so brief. The thirty-minute journey seemed endless and I couldn’t wait to get out of there, so when we pulled into Finsbury Park station and I finally got off, it was with huge relief that I made the short ten-minute walk to my apartment.
As soon as I’d closed the door, I locked it and headed straight for the bathroom to turn on the shower. I stripped off my clothes, threw them on the floor and stepped under the water. I’d felt dirty all morning and it was so good to feel the crap being washed away from my body. My breath stank of stale smoke and alcohol and I grabbed my toothbrush to clean my teeth, scrubbing away the filth from the enamel. As the steam filled the shower cubicle, I closed my eyes, lifted my face to the water and stayed there until a little of the tension left me.
Wiping away the steam from the mirror above the sink, I was horrified. I looked rough. My hair, in desperate need of a cut, was a mess. I pulled my fringe away from my eyes, trying to ignore the widow’s peak blatantly staring back at me. I was only twenty-seven years old and already starting to recede. My dad was bald but I’d always thought I’d have years before I’d have to start worrying about that. Perhaps this was the start of it? My sister always said she loved my hair; it was black, straight and shiny, and as long as hers. She said I was handsome, that I reminded her of Micheal Praed, the actor who played Robin Hood in the popular eighties TV series. Others told me that too, but looking at the face staring back at me, they couldn’t have been more wrong.
“Fuck,” I shouted. And then “fuck” again. It suddenly hit me. I glared at myself in the mirror, into my eyes despising myself. I shouted, “You fucking wanker,” and continued to do so as I gripped the taps before me, squeezing them tighter with each yell.
Once dressed and considerably calmer, as calm as one can be in the situation I’d gotten myself in to, I knew I had a few people to speak to, but my first call had to be to my parents. I nervously dialled their number wondering who would pick up the phone. It was Mum.
Somehow I managed to relay the story to her and felt so guilty when she started to cry. She told me how stupid I’d been and when the tears subsided she said that I had to phone my boss immediately to explain what had happened. He was the second number on my list.
“Pray that you’ve still got a job, darling,” were her parting words.
I made another strong, black coffee, took a deep breath, and dialled my manager's direct line.
“Good morning, Roger speaking, can I help you?”
“Morning Roger, it’s David. I need to see you today. It’s urgent, I’m afraid. And…” I hesitated “’s rather sensitive.”
“No problem!” he said, and then paused. “You’re not resigning are you?” He laughed; completely unaware of what was about to come his way.
“No,” I told him. “Is three ok?”
“Sure, David, I’ll look forward to seeing you then.”
I hung up the phone.
By half past three I’d lost my job. I was surprised it had taken that long.
I handed the car keys to Roger telling him that the car was in a compound in Camden. I then gave back the office keys and was told to clear my desk before close of business that day. As Roger had pointed out in the contract he’d earlier retrieved from my file, any employee who loses their driving licence under the influence of alcohol whilst in a company car, would automatically, and with immediate effect be dismissed from their position. I was gutted to learn that I’d only receive one month’s salary and that all the commission due to me – including the recent five grand I’d worked so hard for – was not going to be forthcoming.
Roger thanked me for my services over the past few years, shook my hand and wished me luck for the future.
"Oh, and David?" he said, as I was halfway out the door.
"Yes?" I turned around to face him.
"You're a fucking idiot."
I closed the door behind me knowing full well he was right. I walked down the stairs and out of the office onto the busy London streets. That’s the last time I’ll leave that building I thought to myself as I negotiated my way through the masses of people and headed down to the underground. I paid for a ticket and boarded the train with the words “You’re a fucking idiot” ringing in my ears.
That evening, I visited my parents. They were more upset than angry; they could see how I was feeling and didn’t have to tell me what an idiot I’d been. I phoned Mike that evening too, and told him what had happened. He was sorry, very sorry, but what more could he say? I told him I’d catch up with him soon and finished the call. I really wasn’t in the mood for talking.
My first ever court appearance followed within a matter of days. I felt like such a lowlife standing in the dock. I went to face the music alone; I didn’t want any of my family in attendance. I didn’t want any of them to see me as a criminal, waiting for my conviction. I got myself into this mess and I, alone wanted to deal with it. As I waited for the judge to deliver my punishment, I thought about what I thrown away. I’d had it all: an excellent career and a salary to match with a smart BMW and a luxury apartment. But I’d lost everything in one stupid, reckless night which had resulted in a twelve month driving ban and a hefty fine.
Not being able to afford the payments on my apartment, my parents suggested that I move back in with them. Although I was more than appreciative of their support, depression quickly set in when it hit me that I’d kissed goodbye to my salary, my home and the lifestyle I’d loved. I think it was depression, I’d never suffered from depression before, but I was at the lowest ebb of my life. I spent months staring at a TV screen, watching the same shows, the same familiar faces with the same voices. It became a routine and my days were now dictated by what programme I watched and at what time. It wasn’t long before I was feeling extremely sorry for myself, depression had definitely taken root to the point that I refused to go out because of the shame I’d bought onto my family. I became a complete recluse, a couch potato and hated myself for it.
I needed to get away, I needed some breathing space and to re-evaluate my life, to get my life back into some sort of perspective, so with nothing better to do, I decided to take some time out. I booked a one-way ticket to Spain with the last of the dwindling savings that I’d managed to hold on to. I planned to spend the summer there to clear my head and to try and regain my almost shattered confidence. To me it seemed like a good idea at the time.
The night before I left, my family arranged a small party for me. Actually, it was more of a get together considering that losing my job, home and driving license wasn’t really a cause to get the party poppers out.
We were a very close and very large family. Mum and Dad had produced six children in eleven years, ironic considering my dad was an only child. Gary, the eldest, was already married. I will always remember him sending me to bed at 9.30pm most nights even though I was thirteen years old. My sister Sue revelled in being the only female amongst us. Stuart came next in the pecking order and may have been the third child but he was always the first on the pitch when we played football. My twin brother John and I were like chalk and cheese. He was arty and extremely clever, whereas I was sporty and now, it seemed, not so clever. The baby of the family was Bobby, a year younger than John and I, also in the same business as me. At least the same business as I used to be in. Not anymore.
The champagne flowed that night. Okay, it wasn’t champagne but sparkling wine, and it was a lovely evening, albeit rather emotional. Just before midnight the family started to say their goodbyes as each headed for home. Bobby, gave me a hug at the door.
"David,” he said with his eyes focused on mine, “Look after yourself."
“Of course I will, I just need to get away, clear my head.” I replied.
"I know, but just be careful."
I smiled.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”
There were hugs all around from John, Stuart and Gary. They all wished me good luck and told me to stay in touch. Then there followed a huge hug from Susan. For as long as I can remember I’ve always called her Pink, but to this day I have no idea why.
"Please David, take care." she said, squeezing my arm affectionately.
"Don't worry Pink, I will, I promise.”
"Good, because you’ve put Mum and Dad through enough already."
"Yeah, I know, and I feel so ashamed but don’t worry. I love you."
She leaned into my face and kissed me, then headed down the path after her brothers.
I thanked Mum and Dad for the get together and headed to the spare room where I’d been sleeping for the past few months. My empty suitcase was on the bed beckoning to be filled, and just as I was about to start packing there was a faint knock on the door. I turned round to see my Mum standing there.
It couldn’t have been easy bringing up six children, but Mum had always been there for us all. She was warm, kind hearted and did all she could to take care of us. You’d have thought that with the demands of having such a large family to look after, her physical appearance may have taken a back seat. But far from it; she was always immaculately dressed and she looked lovely that night.
“Do you need any help, darling?”
I shook my head.
“No don’t worry Mum, I can do it. But thanks.”
She smiled, nodding her head, and closed the door quietly behind her.
I finished packing and got into bed. Lying there, with my arms behind my head looking at the white painted ceiling which I had become so accustomed to, I was excited about getting out of London and my miserable day to day existence. I thought of the sun, the sea and the adventure in front of me, and before I knew it, Mum was knocking on the door the following morning with a cup of coffee, one sugar, and a few slices of toast. Every morning without fail she had breakfast ready for me, even though I always told her not to bother as I could obviously do it myself. She wouldn’t have dreamed of letting me do it though, and twenty-one years on, that still brings a smile to my face.

If you want to read more of WRONG PLACE WRONG TIME, go here!