Anyway, here are two chapters for you reading pleasure (I hope!) Enjoy.
A Novel by
One hundred feet above the ground. It's a good height. People don't notice me and I don't have to worry too much about wind. I learned that lesson the hard way. I only come out at night. I wear black. I only take off in places where I'm sure I can’t be seen. I've been spotted a couple of times, a woman in her apartment looking out the window, a man walking his dog, a drunk, but I was gone before they could look again and they’re not going to repeat that. The cops on the roof, I didn’t have a choice. The guy on the bridge though, yeah, he saw me, but it was the last thing he saw.
Right now I ache. My body is sore. It’s been punished this week. I should be dead. But this thing, whatever it is, is keeping my alive. At first it was flight. But then other things. I’m no superhero, you should know that first off. But my body has changed. I’ve changed.
It’s late Winter and I’m standing alone on a beach. Watching the waves crash against the shore gives me peace. Settle’s me. It’s a nice break from the mad race that thunders through my mind. At first I didn’t know where it came from. Government experiment? Aliens? Magic? Was I mad, locked up in a mental hospital, hallucinating? Each possibility was a mad as the very thing that was happening to me. Each just as plausible. I could fly. In this world. Where nothing magical ever happens. I could fly. But now I know, it doesn’t make it any less complicated. In fact, it makes it worse.
CHAPTE ONE - THE BEDROOM CEILING
- An assembly line on a factory floor. Sitting with my back to poisonous vat of molten solder. Circuit boards float above, being dipped in to secure electrodes. My job is to check them, and fix any misses. The machine doesn’t work right. So I have a lot of misses to fix, and a lot of fumes to breathe in while doing it.
My supervisor, Tony, has been working here for twenty years or more. He’s mid-forties, but looks mid-seventies. Grey hair, grey skin, yellow teeth and a rasping cough to complete the ensemble of a man wearing near-death like it was the height of fashion. He’s a nice guy all the same. His advice to me when I started – “Do whatever you can to get out of this place son,” the fact that he called me son made me like him instantly. Don’t know why. He seemed sincere I guess. I felt like we would be friends straight away. And we were.
I hate the job. The people. Narrow-minded. Closed off. Smokers. Drinkers. I have nothing in common with any of them. I make an effort. But it’s exhausting. It takes a certain kind of person to give twenty years of your life to a place like this, and be glad of it. I’m not that kind of person. Maybe I’m a snob. Maybe I’m the asshole. Good. So be it. An asshole I am. Better that then one these. Except Tony. Tony I like. I imagine he was once like me. Not all that long ago. But he didn’t get out. Looking at him I imagine that I’m looking into the future. If I don’t take his advice and do whatever I can to get out of this place… and I intend to. I just don’t know what the ‘Whatever’ is yet.
- Hung over. Went for a pint with Tony after work last night. Turned into ten pints and an all night conversation. The kind that flows. Rich. Warm. Makes you want to hug the bar and listen. Tony, talking about days passed. Lost loves. Missed chances. He looks at me and sees promise. Talent. Felt good to hear that. Never heard it from my own parents. This man, who calls me son, is full of complements and encouragement. I could listen to that all night. And I did. Paying for it today.
Hit the town for a browse.
I’m constipated all week and Saturday’s the big dump. There’s relief. But it stinks. I usually hit the local café for a greased up badger sandwich. Called so because of the black and grey hairs that find there from time to time. I assume, hope, they come from Terry the chef’s beard. I’d go somewhere else but Cheryl, the cute waitress, is happy to flirt with me as I wait for the fog to lift. Four cups of tea and a sideways glance. I’m ready for the world.
HMV. Browse DVDs. Buy some bargains. Classics. ‘Mr. Deeds Goes to Town’ for €3.99. Can’t go wrong. Impulse buy on a new release. Should have just rented it I tell myself as I hand over a crisp €20 note. What the hell else am I going to spend my money on? Bookshop. I buy a book I know I wont read. I think I buy books out of guilt. I should read more. I’ve been browsing for an hour. I can’t walk out empty handed. Add it to the bedside pile. As a further reminder of my laziness. Lack of discipline. Ever decreasing gap to the cretins I work with -
- “Books? What are you, gay? What would I be doin reading a book?! Sure that’s what the telly’s for!” “That’s right Paddy. You’re right. Books me arse.” I say and make an excuse to leave the table. “Left my phone in my locker. Need a piss. Going to buy some rope to hang myself.”
It’s mid-afternoon. Pub? Don’t think I can handle it. I get a text from Tony ‘How’s the head?’ ‘Rough’ I reply ‘Hair of the dog?!’…
Pub it is.
We laugh at each other. Groan and order two pints and a bag of nuts. It’s quiet. Only two other people in the pub. Football on the telly. We sit away from it. We’re not sports fans. We moan about TVs in pubs and agree it should be outlawed.
“Two aul fellas” I joke. Tony doesn’t laugh.
“I feel old, too old for my age,” he says.
“Today, I’m right there with you my friend.”
I raise my glass and we drink.