Black hat, Fedora, low over his eyes and shadowing his face, its twin peaks framed by the window behind. His attire smacks of an unhealthy Zorro obsession. Coat, trousers, shoes, all are black. A gold watch glints from under a sleeve. His scarf is red, as if to make a point. I may be a suspicious-looking old man all in black but I have a red scarf. Eat that.
Slouching against the bar, ambivalence in a greatcoat, long grey ponytail dangling down his back. He scowls diabolically, glancing about as if he is plotting revenge. Or perhaps he is a man on the run. Killer? Murderer? Charlatan? Jewellery thief? A man whose crimes are catching up with him. I see it all now...
Known in the underworld as ‘Black Hat’, he learned his trade early. As a toddler he stole biscuits from his mother's shopping trolley. In his teens he pinched fags from the newsagent while preparing his paper round. Bullied at school for his unusually thin face, geeky glasses and irritating habit of twiddling his thumbs, rotating them round each other in some sort of bizarre cycling dance, undetected thieving gave him a sense of self-worth and achievement. It transformed him from a nervous tick into a confident prick. Eventually he kicked the thumb twiddling habit.
But it was his gran who led him down the criminal path, a prolific pick-pocket who practised her trade into her late eighties. A tiny woman, smaller than a mouse. It would have to be an abnormally large mouse. A product of a NASA-sponsored "mouse-enlargement" experiment perhaps.
"Listen," the old raisin had said, knitted beanie precarious on her head, her piercing little eyes twinkling with craftiness, "the older you get the less they'll suspect. Who would suspect a sweet old lady like me? Like my Rolex? Here, it's yours. Silence is golden. I've knitted you a scarf, don't want you to catch a cold sweetheart. Sorry about the colour, I only had red left. Fancy some onion soup? Pilfered the onions from Jim next door. Hah! He's always coming over, miffed about losing vegetables."
It all escalated from there. Petty shoplifting at first. Deodorant, hand-cream, gift cards, scented candles. Then on to electronic goods, flogging record players on the black-market. Revelling in small-scale success he moved on to robbing banks, jewellery stores and antique candlesticks from stately homes. He got in with the wrong crowd, formed a gang and with his gran's guidance, soon became one of the most respected criminal minds in North Yorkshire. With fame and success came paranoia and stress. The Fedora was pulled lower and lower and it was convenient too, hiding a giant mole on his forehead that had unhappily been exposed by his receding hairline.
And here he is, slouching at the bar, filled with fear and the knowledge that his past is catching up with him.
Or maybe he's just an innocent old chap fed up with the weather. I'll let you call it.