Every so often you, as an author, will have an absolute corker (a good thing in UK English) of an idea that you’ll rush to get down on paper/screen. You sleep. You dream…
During the next day’s edit you re-read it and you’ll think: “It’s not right this. Doesn’t work. I’m going to delete it.” So you do. If you’re like me though, you’ll keep it in a folder called, in my case, ‘Dead Ideas’. Here is one such piece about unintended consequences that won’t make it into the finished book.
A wonderful close-up magician and pickpocket we all called Sournoise Pétra or just Sournoise for short, told me about unintended consequences in bar in Paris one afternoon after a very long and tedious photoshoot where I modelled some exhausting summer-wear.
“It’s when you plan and double-check your plan and carry out your plan and everything goes exactly how you planned it… and it still goes wrong”. This was illustrated with a story about breaking into a very posh house in the 16th with a partner.
“We disabled the alarms, drugged the dog with a steak, it was okay just knocked out. We was stealthy like Special Operations Command. We was gentle like a mother holding a new born when we picked up the goods.We was good, we was on form, we was a well-oiled machine. We got away with some excellent swag, some lovely treasures. Fenced them with no trouble”.
“So what went wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing went wrong on the job. That’s the point of unintended consequences”, he lifted his eyes to the sky and went silent. I bought another round of drinks so I could hear the rest of the story.
“My partner, a good mate just not too bright, came slowly like a snail on a fork to a conclusion. He thought that splitting the take wasn’t as profitable as he’d like. So, having learnt all he could from me about the work, he went off on his own”.
“Oh, and he got to places before you could and nicked all the good stuff!”
He looked at me as if I was an idiot.
“No, no mate, he went to do over another posh house in the same posh bit of Passy-bloody-Auteuil, and he got caught because he forgot that sometimes there’s more than one fucking dog. Then, under some very soft questioning, he dropped me right in it”.
He knocked back the Ricard I’d bought him, “An unintended consequence that got me a stretch in Fresnes, that bloody hell-hole. Now, let me tell you what good stuff I got from that experience”, he said while eying up the bottle of Hennessy behind the bar.
Anyway, that was a long time ago.