Within that same Drama group responsible for Crumbs In The Butter, there emerged another devised piece that required me to delve even further into my personal thoughts and experiences, possibly more so than ever before. At the beginning of the project, we were all tasked with describing some particularly unpleasant nightmares for potential use as stimuli. For the others, said nightmares were what you’d expect as far as I can recall – tales of darkness and claustrophobia. Unfortunately, I was unable to match those, for what I put forth could almost be laughable were it not totally true and, to my much younger self, totally terrifying.
I’m told that when I was a toddler, an estate agent whose exact name I can’t remember went bust, and that when this appeared in the news Mum and Dad jokingly taunted me by saying they could save him from total financial ruin by selling me to him. They saw it as nothing more than a joke, but little did they know that it seemed like a very real prospect to my tiny self, and as a result endless nightmares featuring an estate agent hell-bent on sealing my doom (with ET as an accomplice) would plague me for many years afterwards. I’d say that they only stopped when I was almost ten. Not only did I find it incredibly silly that I was having genuinely scary visions of an estate agent in the first place, but I was also a little bit miffed that they were only just going away by the start of middle school.
Eight years on from then, however, my experiences of fear in a suit and tie would be coming back to life – this time on the smooth floor of the Drama Studio. What we came up with revolved around the estate agent carrying out a tour of a house for sale to a potential and ultimately ill-fated owner. As the two main characters visited each room there would be an apparently inanimate object watching them from afar, and this gradually lead to a conclusion where the estate agent revealed that there would be no escape from the house as the objects towered over the victim – thereby sealing their doom too. My description probably makes it sound simpler than it actually was, but you can probably blame that on my failure to take down all the notes we were supposed to in lessons! Nevertheless, at the time it proved itself to be another piece of work within that group to be proud of, as well as one that once again proved what a joy it was to be part of that class. As a child the mere mention of an estate agent, or even of the word “bust”, was capable of sending a shiver down my spine. By the age of 17, though, it had become an artistic muse, and a pretty good one at that. I’m still yet to write any kind of horror story with ET in a starring role though!
This week, the estate agent made a second comeback – in my head, just where he always used to be. It’s not in a scaremongering capacity, because he’s doing his best to help clear my scriptwriter’s block (like writer’s block, just more scripty). When I put him up against all the other ideas I’ve had in the past – and don’t worry, he’ll be a fictionalised estate agent as opposed to the real one – he’s rare in that I have more confidence in him in my head than I might do when he’s down on paper. He was a part of my life for a very long time, so when it came to using him as the basis for an idea he was almost fully formed. For that reason, I’m going to bide my time with him. After all, depending on how much longer I’m jobless for, I could need another worthwhile project to occupy myself with.