I have a confession to make: I didn’t find the camp fire like that. Anyone who tells you a photograph is the truth is a damned liar, and probably a photographer, which amounts to the same thing. The firework tubes (if that is indeed what they are) and the bathmat were indeed on the scene, but after struggling to find a good angle on them, I ended up moving the bathmat. Tampering with the scene, if you will. Yes I touched it with my bare hands. Yes, I washed them after.
I’m not even entirely sure it’s definitely a bathmat – it could just as easily be from a carpet warehouse sample catalogue, but after wrestling with it for a while (the idea, not the carpet), I couldn’t think of a good enough story about a disgruntled carpet salesman settling fire to his sample book. Not one that believably factored in the firework tubes anyway, though I guess you could reconstruct those as something else – toilet roll tubes or something. I await your versions of this story in the comments.
Gregor was initially going to accidentally drink pee at the party, a story inspired by an unfortunate friend of mine who just thought the Jack Daniel’s was ‘a bit salty’. I wanted Gregor to feel the full brunt of the shame, though (the pee-drinking prank would’ve shifted some of the blame onto the pranksters), plus having that clammy stain on his crotch for the journey home was a much more visceral image in my mind. I also liked Liam’s line about the comfort blanket – sometimes you make up a truly awful character and they take over, speaking their own dialogue far better than you could ever write it.
Oh, and in case you thought Gregor maybe deserved a better ending than that… I did too. It just didn’t work out that way. He’ll probably go on to be a Nice Guy on Reddit and wear a fedora. So it goes.
Remember, I’d love to have #TheObjects submissions from you guys as well – send me a pic of any interesting objects you come across (to firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll see what I can do.