Thursday, 28 March 2013

Excerpts from 'BIG MAN & Other Stories'

The First Day:

    ‘You have to make tough decisions in life, but you should never lose sight of what your ultimate goal is.’  He was looking at me now, and I realised what a friendly face he had.   

    ‘Why are so many people content to plod through life?  I did it for a while, I must admit, but I realised it wasn’t for me.’


Do We Leave Him Here? (or 'Dead Weight'):

‘Do we leave him here?’ asked Jerry. 

    I laughed loudly.  Big Gary had been slumped on the table for almost an hour now, passed out.

    ‘Leave him here?  How would you like that if it was you?’ answered Pete.

    ‘Yea but…’

    ‘Leave him here…’ Pete muttered laughing wryly and shaking his head.


    ‘We’re in a foreign country!’ I snapped angrily, ‘Do you think he wants to be woken up at six o’clock tomorrow morning by some Turkish trucker?’

    ‘Yea…or robbed,’ added Pete


    ‘Okay okay, I get the picture.’ Jerry scraped his chair in noisily.


An Affair:

    She was mesmerised now; she couldn’t have told you how long she stood watching him, but she couldn’t take her eyes away – loving the way he moved; his cool, casual air.  She imagined the way he smelled, the way he looked and remembered the way she’d went nearly breathless the first time he had held her in his arms.


Big Man:

    A tear rolled down Toby’s right cheek and he hurriedly wiped it away with the back of his hand, then looked round nervously to see if the old man had noticed.  He turned and walked back by Toby at that moment so he quickly wiped his face and eyes with both hands this time, determined to get all signs of the tear out of sight.  The headmaster was sitting down again.

    ‘You’d better hope…’

    Toby looked at him briefly before looking down again to where he had been looking before.

    ‘You’d better hope, that Brian is okay…comes back as normal, otherwise…well, I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.’

    Toby’s eyes almost ran again, but he was determined not to cry in front of old Morris.

    ‘Get yourself along to your next lesson Toby.’

    Toby looked up, able to hold Sir’s gaze this time.  When he got up to leave he couldn’t feel his legs properly, they felt like jelly and he couldn’t feel them fully as he walked.

    ‘And Toby?’

    The boy turned round and saw Sir again; he looked bigger and more imposing to him somehow, seemed to be almost staring into him.

    ‘These are your friends.’


One More Hand:

I’m mentally exhausted…had it up to here with Vegas and Blackjack and chasing money and trying to think of what to do, what to bet.  It seems like in this god forsaken place everything is against you…not only have you got the odds against you, but you’ve got clueless players coming in and out of the game, you’ve got dealers who can’t wait to pull the next card, not giving you any time to concentrate…you’ve got all the noise distracting you – not allowing you to focus…you’ve got the sheer, overpowering size of this place…’


Best Man:

    I remember the first five minutes being pleasant enough, but as the drinks started to flow, Debbie seemed to be griping about everything and answering Tony back rudely whenever he dared to speak.  I recall at one point early in the meal staring out across the Strip and realising that the view was different from what it had been when I’d first sat down.  I tried to concentrate my mind – thinking perhaps that I might be losing it completely – but as I stared across the table and out through the windows, I realised that the restaurant was ever so slowly revolving!

        ‘Yea we’re movin’’ said a middle-aged American man on the next table to us, sat with his family, ‘isn’t it neat?’

    As if my head wasn’t battered enough already.


The Real Mrs. Docherty:

    ‘Do you want to take a walk for a while Mrs. Docherty?  You can always come back, and we’ll tell you immediately if there’s any change.’

    Marie looks up to the nurse then, wide-eyed, as if aware of her for the first time.

    ‘Yes…yes…okay,’ she looks back to her husband on the bed, her hand still clasped in his – loosely now – but she can’t let go somehow, as if letting go of his hand was to let go of everything they had.

    ‘In a moment nurse…I’ll just stay here…’ she finishes speaking in mid-sentence, then the nurse rubs the top of her back gently.

    ‘Okay,’ the nurse says softly, ‘but take a break soon, it will do you good.’

    The nurse leaves the room and Marie suddenly feels more alone than she’s ever felt in her whole life.  She struggles to get a tissue from her bag, as she breaks out into sudden, full sobs of pain and misery.


A Girl Called Fran:

As the biggest of the rubbery-looking creatures made a sudden lurch in the direction of the small bunch ahead of Nick, there was a shriek and then a blonde girl flung her arms in the air and ran away, high stepping in the sand.  He looked at the girl closely as the others laughed and edged back too; with her quite tall height and slimmish figure she ought to have been quite athletic, but she seemed clumsy and ungainly as she got a further twenty metres away from the Sea Lions before daring to look round.  She wore a white bobble hat with fluffy pom-poms hanging down at the side, which had been swinging about frenetically as she ran.  She was flushing all over her face as she quickly adjusted her jeans, a big joyous smile on her face.

    ‘Oh don’t pick on me!’ she shouted, as the guide laughed at her, along with the others.  She was laughing too, albeit still red and embarrassed and Nick realised that he hadn’t taken his eyes away from her during the whole incident.


Another Late One:

My name is Cockney, except that’s not my real name.  In fact, sometimes I forget my real name, and so do my friends.  I’m also not a Cockney.

    I’m a real easygoing guy, I mean, excessively so; I seem to have a problem saying no to anything.  I let any number of people stay at my house anytime and everybody borrows things from me, some of which I actually get back. 
Thanks for reading!
Read 'The First Day' or purchase the whole book for just £1.53 @
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