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Plot ideas

Last week I was writing a scene in my new novel, yet to be titled, about DI Grays visit to a Probation Service.  As I had never been in one before and for the importance of authenticity, I thought I would go and visit the service in Nelson New Zealand. I was nicely dressed, in my hand a notebook and pen. I rang the bell at the front door and explained that I was a writer and may I please come in and get a sense of the room. I wanted to see what posters were on the walls and generally be able to describe the room.  I promised I would only take a couple of minutes. There was no one waiting so I thought this would not be a problem. I mean, this space is as confidential I would have thought as a hospital waiting room. A very officious woman picked up the phone…

I could see her through the glass doors and spoke to me like I was scum and that “we don’t do this sort of thing.” in a totally condescending voice and hung up while I was answering her. I rang again, thinking maybe I had explained my purpose incorrectly. But she refused to answer and ignored me.  I was furious. Not because I was denied entry, it was the way she spoke to me, dismissed me like a piece of shit out of hand. I then wondered how an ex-prisoner must feel entering such a space and such an atmosphere. I felt like offending myself… It was awful and I cringe whenever I recall the incident.  As a consequence, two things have happened.

My scene with DI Gray is going to be written very differently with an obstructive office and offensive staff. I also realised that if there is a word in the English lexicon that describes a woman with a little power, who acts like Hitler and makes people feel like dirt…I don’t know it but I would like to find it.  I am also determined to make a complaint and get inside that office..because it is not a confidential space any more than a court gallery is.  Watch this space.

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