The Laughing Man
Someone’s watching me. I see him across the street. He stands there, leaning against a lamppost like he’s waiting for someone. But why’d he wait for someone there? It’s a dead end. Just a wall and a lamppost. He’s watching me. I’m damn’ sure of it. My flat’s on the first floor so I can see him easy. Just turn my lights down and peek behind the curtains and I can get a good look at him without him knowing I’m even there. I can’t see him much though. He wears a hat with a brim. And the wall where he stands is half way down the street.
The phone rang earlier on. I let the answer machine pick it up. I listened but there was nothing but the sound of the cassette tape going round. I’m used to that by now. But then I realised it wasn’t nothing. There was some music playing, very quiet, in the background. Or anyway it would have been in the background if there had been anything in the foreground, which there wasn’t. It was classical music of some sort - opera, I think. And then I heard a man laughing. Not right up against the phone, but somewhere in the same room. After that, everything went quiet for a bit, except for the music which was still playing. And then someone put the phone down. And that was that.
I went to look out the window to see if the man was standing by the lamppost. But he wasn’t. The street was dead.