The three words I was given today caused me to think quite a bit before starting to write. They were Level, Anchor and Fresh. Anchor was the one that caused most difficulty since I was naturally thinking of boats and ships until I considered its use as a verb.
The following might be an extract from a much longer story or novel, but I think it stands alone as a piece of writing.
Elliot Gardner turned the 4 x4 sharply into the car park and only just avoided crashing into the concrete walls as he drove up the ramp, checking each level as he went to see if there was anywhere he could stop and make his escape. Giardini’s henchmen were close behind though, the black sedan matching the speed of the 4 x 4 effortlessly.
The second level which led directly into the shopping mall, and was therefore the most popular for shoppers too lazy to possess any inclination to use a staircase, was crowded with all manner of vehicles. Gardner swung the car into the first available space and killed the engine just as the sedan emerged onto the level. He ducked between the rows of cars, putting as much distance between himself and the 4 x 4 as possible. The sedan had slowed to a crawl then stopped as it drew level with his car. Two men got out of the rear seats and set off in opposite directions, scanning the rows of cars, looking for any sign of Gardner. Each then covered the stairwell at either end of the parking level, while the car continued to cruise slowly on a circuit.
Elliot Gardner, private detective, at that moment was wishing he had chosen a different career path all those years ago. Although he had been in a few perilous situations in the past, he now felt he was getting far too old to be caught up in any more. He had been told to stick to simple cases of divorce. A few photos or video, damning enough to give the injured party the proof they needed and everyone was happy. And with the modern technology of today it was easy money. The only drawback is when your current client happens to be the disgruntled wife of a drugs baron. A drugs baron who, because of his amorous indiscretions, is being sued for divorce and half his wealth and who is entirely unhappy with the snoop who has taken compromising and revealing photos. If it was a simple case of handing over the photos, make no mistake Elliot Gardner would have gladly done so: gift wrapped. He would be the first to admit that he was not a man of substance.
He weighed up his options. Even if he could sprint, which he could not, there was no possible route out. The only way from the car park was either over the edge of the multi-storey wall, but being on the second floor did not make that an option. Cars were coming and going and he knew that would be the only way out: inside another car. However, ask the wrong person and their reaction would give him away immediately. He would have to stowaway, and the only way to stowaway would be inside an open carrier. Fortunately there were two parked up a short distance away. He would be able to get inside either, but which one would be leaving first? The decision was made for him when he looked in the first one which had a large tarpaulin spread in the back. He climbed in quickly, covered himself with the tarpaulin and was able to anchor himself against the side by hanging onto one of the cross struts. Then it was a case of waiting and hoping the owner was not on an extended shopping excursion.
It seemed like an age that he was under the tarpaulin but was more like ten minutes, and the relief when he felt the car descending and exiting the car park was immense. He threw the tarpaulin back and took great gulps of fresh air. However, he had no idea where he was going now – in more ways than one!