Car 6

Mr James Whitthead

Outward appearance

Plump, bullish man in a white shirt and smart, patterned black-and-white suit. Crumpled in a heap, fast asleep. Starts to snore.

Inside information

Meet the contented man: the Branch Manager of the Kennington Building Society. Considers himself a kindly, hands-on manager. Recently had to let someone go. Carol (what a terrible name for a man!) really wasn't suited to finance. He kept doodling on documents. James protected Carol until he found a job in the Health Advice Centre in the Cut.

James looks older than his 35 years, which has so far been a help in his career. Still plays midfield in the branch football team. Everything in his life, from his wife to his two beautiful young children, is as he would wish... except for his expresso coffee machine.

What he is doing or thinking

Making the same noises as the coffee machine that haunts him. Snort, gurgle, steam. He inherited from it Carol. It was a beautiful present, gleaming and metallic. Maybe a little lime-caked inside.

It went proudly into Jim's office, dribbling out small, cold cups tasting slightly of de-scaler. Then the Building Society Interest Group visited. James proudly turned on the macine.

It produced steam in a mounting, volcanic rush, but no coffee. It began to whistle. His important guests stirred uneasily. To his horror, James heard the thing begin to creak. He pulled it out at the plug just before it exploded.

James snorts loudly and stops. He blinks and wakes up.

Surely Carol wouldn't have given it to him deliberately?

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