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Here is an extract from novel, Upslide – Coming soon and authored by yours truly.

Vince Tanaja, Friday July 20th 1999, 7pm, The JM Club, West London.

Losing it… At the gym situated in the corner shower cubicle from a bank of six, Vince stood head down with the water spiking against his neck. Vince had just finished a five kilometre run on a treadmill, followed by a soak in a Jacuzzi and a swift trip to the adjacent sweltering sauna. Minutes earlier Vince had been talking to Inder for 10minutes, finely balanced on the edge of the Jacuzzi whilst attempting to dissolve his sorrows. An interesting thing about Inder was that he never spoke about what he did with anyone at the gym. This seems to be a non-issue for members. Secretly they all suspected that he probably owned many businesses, especially as every other month he always claimed to have flown to different parts of the world. The good thing was Inder was he never boastful about his trips, simply passing humble comment about his life.

Today had been a long day and Vince wondered why he only had time for a single and small samosa during lunch? He starred down at his feet and then realised that it was starting to darken and wondered whether someone had started to dim the changing room lights. Grey turned to darkness but it was gradual, very gradual. As it got darker his eyes widened to grasp at the remaining light. Was he going blind? Vince looked down and felt his knees give, as if someone had touched the funny bone across the back of his knee. Then gravity betrayed him, happy to push and hold him down. Before losing consciousness Vince stretched out his hands in panic. For a split second he saw the grey imagery of his last few hours: Driving down the motorway, parking his car in a parking lot clustered with blocks that looked like soft furnishing, walking into a reception area that consisted of matt grey coloured tiles absorbing light from a glass atrium that sprung fifty feet into the air, taking the lift to the fifth floor, walking towards a corner office barricaded with office dividers and finally opening the door only to be greeted with a round face contoured with …. Too late Vince was out cold…

After what seemed to be ten seconds of sleep Vince opened his eyes. All he could see was a void of black. With no light to provide any object to reference or formulate a shape. His immediate thought was that he was now blind. Within a tenth of a second this thought was reassuringly banished. Black turned to grey but still with no images for a required focus. Rims of dark shadows appeared followed closely with clusters of white blinking stars bordering on the edge of his current view.

Grey globes emerged eventually transformed into what looked like black and white moving negatives. Three unknown faces materialised. It was as if he had been transported into a world of film negatives. As the images became brighter, he wondered if the same was happening to his cheeks. The only exception was that all the images revealed shared a common expression of panic and concern. Every face was then heard to launch random statements and instructions into the air. “Somebody get some water”. “Call the gym supervisor”, “Mate, are you alright” and “Do you want me to call ambulance?” – reverberated around Vince’s head. He felt a damp tissue placed upon his head. Wow! That feels good, he heard himself thinking, not sure if he was thinking aloud.

Moments earlier he had been in free-fall. Although he had tried desperately to land on his hands, instead he landed on his knees, resulting in a gash on his left knee, that now looked remarkably like he had been scratched by three parallel claws, revealing pulled away skin and a threatening bleed under a window of reluctant resident blood cells, peeping from behind the skin.

Reality was returning. Three of the changing room observers helped Vince to his feet. The resident cleaner of the gym changing room quickly dragged over a bare white plastic lounger and Vince was laid out for a quick assessment. Vince began to feel its plastic strips protruding into his back. With his legs heavy the good news for the moment was that he could feel them being re-charged.

Vince also felt a sense of wondering about his state and vanity. Fortunately he was still wearing his boxer shorts.

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