21 Years Excerpt

Added on 04 November 2010

Having a distracted week, Writing Hat remaining firmly in the Drawer of Un-inspiration. Unspiration? Nevertheless, have quite taken to writing the daily ten second novel and wish that one could make a living from such an enterprise. Consequently, and with frighteningly quick effect, writing a book with chapters and something in the region of 90,000 words suddenly seems like an enormous effort.

Would be nice to be able to sell the film rights to a 10 second novel. That would be the perfect job. I reckon today's work of short genius - The box had remained sealed for nearly 2000 years, but at last the awesome power of the Holy Scissors of Antioch was about to be unleashed - pretty much sells itself as a movie. Brendan Fraser as the archaeologist, Ralph Fiennes as the evil hirsutologist, and Tom Wilkinson as mild-mannered barber Barney Thomson, upon whom it falls to save the world from an eternity of Evil.

[The screen option to this work of untitled barbetorial mayhem is now available from The Rod Hall Agency.]

Meanwhile things are progressing in a satisfactory manner towards publication of the groundbreaking 21 Years On The back of Dixie Klondyke's Spanish Guitar. (When questioned closely on what ground it broke, Long Midnight Publishing's Head of Marketing, Elvis 'Tom' Shackleton, remained tight-lipped.]

Quite different in tone from the Barney Thomson series, 21 Years is mostly told as a first person narrative from the point of view of a slovenly detective sergeant, a man in search of alcohol and sex. As an illustration, a quick excerpt, as our hero, Detective Sergeant Dallas Lumberyard, is unexpectedly proposition by his Chief Superintendent.

Try not to choke on my vodka when she walks over to our table and sits down. Smile at her, but seem to have lost contact with most other forms of communication. Smell her perfume, breathe it in, try not to imagine her naked. She’s wearing a fuck off blue trouser suit and, as usual after fourteen hours in the office, looks as if she just got dressed five minutes ago.

‘It’s a cold night,’ she says, rubbing hands. Her own, not mine.

I look at her and nod. Feel like I’ve got a hand on my throat and on my bowels. Classic feelings of intimidation.

‘What happened with the assault? Brothers, was it?’

‘Aye.’ Try to talk normally. ‘We’ve got one at the station, and the other’s in hospital.’

‘Over a woman?’ she says.

I nod. It’s easier than having to open my mouth. She smiles at this and shakes her head.

‘You men are all alike.’ Wait for the literary quote, but Stevenson mustn’t have written anything about men only thinking with their dicks.

Taylor returns with the drinks and nearly drops his pint. Makes a quick recovery. Give the guy his due. He’s suspicious of her, but she doesn’t turn him into a quivering blob of jelly, the way she does me.

‘Hello, Jack. Been here long?’ she says. Bitch. Must know exactly how long he’s been here. Now me, that would have me in a tangle of deceit and idiocy, trying to explain why I’d spent so long in the pub. But so what if Bloonsbury had given us this big Jock Stein speech? It was the end of the day and if we had nothing else immediate and wanted to sit in the boozer, we could. But I would still be trying to justify myself. Jack’s too cool for that; or past caring.

‘About five hours,’ he says. ‘Can I get you a drink?’

She nods. ‘Whisky, neat, thanks.’

He turns back to the bar. She taps her fingers on the table. Long fingers, and I imagine them all over my body. Swallow, and try to think of something else.

‘What are you doing for Christmas?’ she says.


21 Years On The Back of Dixie Klondyke's Spanish Guitar: for all your Christmas present, serial killer novel needs.