“I fucking hate Thursday mornings.”
Philip looked up from his phone in the back seat of the cab. “What’s that?” They had come twelve miles from his house and these were the first words the taxi driver had uttered. He knew it was too good to be true, having a driver take him all the way to the office without any attempts at inane banter. And now, with less than half a mile to go, this fella has to open his cakehole.
“I said I hate Thursday mornings.”
Against his better judgement, Philip heard himself taking the bait. “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”
“The Walking Dead.”
“Lost interest after Season 2, mate.”
“Not the TV show,” said the driver. “The bleedin’ junkies. Look at the state of them.”
Okay, so maybe they employed a bit of creative license here and there (and by “they”, I mean Craig Mazin, the writer of CHERNOBYL) to tell a more focused story and drive a narrative that would keep us riveted. It worked, didn’t it? I took a while to get around to it, but in the end I binged the five episodes of this epic mini series. It has, of course, spurned me on to learn more of the actual, factual events of what happened in the early hours of that April morning outside Pripyat in 1986.
The writing in this show was amazing. Some seem to think it an amazing feat that the writer behind The Hangover should have somehow gone on to wield the pen for this one, but great writers are nothing if not adaptable and are constantly evolving and improving. By the by, I thought The Hangover was a great movie and a brilliantly original idea. I didn’t bother with the sequels, which tried to work to the same template and were shite allegedly, but that’s not the point. Apart from great one-liners and writing so tight from Mazin it could have come from the Sorkin Masterclass on dialogue, there were a couple of instances of a particular narrative device being employed to tackle scenes and events unfolding where exposition was necessary.
“About the only place you’re going to find a smile in this world,” said Paul. “On the giant, decapitated head of a fucking fairground clown.” He slumped back onto the pile of rubble behind and let out a groan of relief. They’d been walking for days. “Lot I have to break down and explain for you in that sentence, Erin. You were too young at the time to cop what was going on.”
The dark sky rumbled and the clouds overhead opened on cue, dumping down another torrent of rain, the water taking only seconds to begin pouring in through the shattered roof of the arcade.
“Fun. Humour. Comedy. That was the first to go. People, well for the most part anyhow, got afraid to laugh at anyone else’s expense. And the best jokes are always at the expense of someone. You’d supress the laugh until you looked around first and checked the coast was clear for anyone who could have been offended, make sure you weren’t sitting near anyone fat, skinny, wearing glasses, or clothes intended for the opposite sex to the one they were born with, before you let rip. At the very least, you waited until a couple of other people were laughing first. Heaven forbid anyone should be offended.
I went to school with a guy called Peter Parker, I shit you not, and another poor unfortunate named James James. You don’t need to be Stephen King to dream up the hellish playground experiences those short straw bastards endured. There was some kid grew up around the corner from me with Nigerian parents. They called her Comfort. Her sister, her name was Princess. Christ on a bike. Did these people not think, anticipate even for a second the road ahead for their offspring and the ticking time bomb monikers they were saddling them with?