Digger had Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) but as it was undiagnosed it was a major factor in friction with those around him. To his colleagues he was aloof, arrogant and aggressive. He looked on them as fools to be used for his own ends. The other staff had to put up with Digger’s behaviour as he had the ear of the editor, Matilda Bean. Bean had come from the World of Spoof, under the shadow of phone tapping. Talk was that her connections with MI5 had stopped police prosecutions. She had taken to Digger. No one really knew why.
Digger looked out of his office window, dreaming of his weekend. He had spent it alone but if anyone asked he’d tell them he had been with friends at a club or a party – no one believed him, no one could stick him. In the street below he noticed the shop panes. He loved to walk along the street admiring himself in them. He was gorgeous, after all. Sometimes that was his favourite part of the day. He would look at his smile, his suit and even the way he walked. He liked to swagger, with his hands in his pockets.
His self-admiring fantasy was interrupted. He frowned; Willy Dark had just waddled across the street below. Digger hated Dark and the feeling was mutual. Digger sometimes fantasised about hurting Dark. He had never forgiven him for that Christmas party. Digger was putting his show on for the boys and Matilda. Dark thought he was pathetic and told Digger he was, “as false and moronic as one of his stories.” Digger went in to meltdown, screaming at Dark that he was nothing but “republican scum”, and asking how he had got a job as a journalist when he, “started off, firing rockets at police.” Bean had to intervene and warned Digger he was playing with fire. Dark was just biding his time. He knew the opportunity would arise. Then Digger would be ‘gassed’ as the parlance went among the hard-nosed, white-knuckle hacks in the hard city. There hadn’t been much contact between the daily and weekend staff since the incident. Daily reporters claimed the weekenders were paid too much for too little and that the stories were mostly lies.
Digger looked at his desk. He smiled to himself, he often did that. There in front of him was a picture of his hero, Digger Barnes. The sight of Barnes in the Red Devil strip filled him with warmth. He had given himself the applet Digger, after his hero, although he liked Maradona too. The others called him Cat Wessel, a compound of observations of those who had the misfortune to work round him.
Digger felt a bead of sweat trickle down his back, it slowed at each vertebrae, then swiftly on as it passed them, repeating the cycle until it reach his waistband. He could feel the last draws of coke starting to die in his system. He looked around and wondered if those busy at their desks knew. No, he reassured himself, he was too smart for them. He felt a shiver, and shook his emaciated body. I need a fix, he thought. He could go to the toilet and into the cubicle but was always worried about who might come in. Also the toilets were like something that would not be out of place in a shebeen, the stale smell of urine and gunge on the floor put most off from using them, preferring to go to the nearest bar instead. It wasn’t the first time he’d grovelled in a men’s cubicle but he tried not to think about it.
He rubbed his nose, he was always doing that. He told people he had hay fever and that he was always getting colds. He thought it worked but it didn’t. The whispers had travelled to most news rooms in the city. He had started to sweat more profusely and wriggled in his seat, the lace of his Red Devil knickers catching his groin, more than he usually liked.
He thought of Saturday night, how he’d acted out a scene from his favourite film, American Psycho, he had danced in the living room of his apartment. He wore a clear plastic mac over red ladies underwear, a little red devil on the panties. He played Queen’s I’m Going Slightly Mad. He danced and posed as he mimed another Queen song, I Want To Break Free. He would often imagine beating Dark with a golf club. He could picture the blood splatters spraying furniture, walls and his plastic mac. He was in heaven. The crimson excited him. He did not know why that was. Was it because it was the colour of danger or his dream team – the devils? He just did not know, but he loved it. He looked out the window of his apartment across Belfast Lough, the blood running down the glass, obscuring the lights on the Gold Coast of North Down, where Digger longed to be.
“Digger, I’ve got some lead.” Digger raised his eyes from the desk to see Woodlouse standing there with a grin.
“One day I’ll get to take my club to him.” Digger said to Himself.
“Look, a major coke dealer.” continued Woodlouse.
“What da hell did I tell you, I’m the one picks the stories, not you, alright?” barked Digger.
“Alright” said Woodlouse in agreement. He despised Digger but kept quiet and just did what he was told, he even let Digger put his name on stories he had written just to keep the peace.
Digger needed a story for the weekend, what could he do? The paramilitary tittle-tattle had dried up this week. He could always make something up – he thought to take a couple of his steady supply of syringes to a play park, for a re-run of his old ‘Heroin-Scare-In-Play-Park-Scandal-Saga. He thought, while Woodlouse stood over him. The radio played in the background. Below the hum of the office the local news informed its listeners that a forty year old murder case was to reopen.
“Right, you get to the library, I want all the copies of the papers at that time and when you’re back, start writing it up like we’re helping the police. Alright? Yeah and don’t forget, Woodlouse, my name goes on the copy.” ordered Digger.
Woodlouse left, thinking thank goodness I get to write it, the last time Digger wrote a story I had to rewrite it three times.
Digger pushed back his chair with his knitting needle legs and raised them on to the desk, raising his hands to behind his head in smugness. The Sunday Liar would have its story after all.
Tune in next: Digger will go head to head with his arch rival, Dirty Dick of the Sunday Waffle.