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My Millennium Family - Section One - Friday 1999

by cleaver_smith 

Posted: 02 November 2004
Word Count: 4451
Summary: Brian is a lonely man in London who claims a happiness in his existence, working in a postroom in the City and living in a bedsit in Balham. When he is sacked before the August bank holiday his life spirals out of control as he is forced to live with the aftermath of a night of drinking away his sorrows with a girl - Kat - in his local. He stumbles through a world that he fought so hard to isolate himself from.


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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.


<b>friday morning 1999</b>

Always a buzz in the city on a bank holiday, especially in August: less people, more space, empty pubs, folks more friendly, as if the City takes a break from itself. People smile, open doors and queue. A ceasefire. It interrupts the routine though, and Monday is the longest day. The City disappears on Sundays and bank holidays, like Brigadoon.
Brian continued his lazy trundle along the empty corridor. The wheels of his trolley twisting as the bright early morning summer sun attacked the strip lighting, infecting the ethereal calm.
Brian was whistling tunelessly as he heaved a crate of wine onto a lawyerís in-tray. It wobbled and sat, wobbled and tipped, then stopped to rest rakishly on the plastic. Brian shuffled on. The walls softened as dawn rose.
Brian stepped into a kitchen cubicle and served himself an orange juice from a dispenser. It was a quarter past seven. Outside the blank streets swelled as people spewed from underground sewers. Across the roof tops the Nat West tower stood Machiavellian and erect, close enough to touch; Canada Tower rose distant and aloof (corrupting Docklands), its tiny red beacon blinking through wispy clouds. St Paulís Cathedral stood steadfast.
Brian peered through the gaps in the skyline meerkatting his head from side to side, searching for the murky river blinking expectantly. He pressed his thumb to the glass to stifle a bead of sweat and stepped back into the shadows.
Brian stopped dead before turning a corner. A reception of heavy breathing lay beyond.
"So who was it?" A female voice.
"Canít say. Sworn to secrecy."
"You sure?"
"None other than Briony Walters.Ē
"Filthy bitch!"
A phone shrilled and Brian streaked into the open, gunning for the lifts. He pressed the button forcefully and the whirring caught him in a jump, his heart thumped and his back burned red. The secretaries ignored him. He skipped inside, turning triumphantly as the doors slid shut.
A steady trickle of workers had grown into a pin-striped stream flowing through the mahogany entrance hall. Brian ducked to his right, away from the abandoned security, and towards the incidental pair of hospital theatre doors in the corner of the hall. Brian addressed the post room doors.
A clinical cell lay beyond, a shell. A cellar filled with shells; each depicting a partner's property, each with a meaning and hierarchy. Black labels for the workers, red for the bosses. Blue for the misfits, the underlings, the worry makers.
Under the stairs, under the boardwalk: whimsical, wicked and musty; airless, soulless, drably dangerous. Painted white with a blackened strip of print smeared darker at hand height. Camomile ceilings with plastic fans, bright white lights, swing doors slapped shut to keep the underworld from the bright shiny building beyond; dusty floor, miserable air.
Home, Brian thought.
From seven oíclock in the morning until six oíclock every night of the week. In the corner sat a table where Brian leant back in a chair in his break and watched the army of shoes trooping noiselessly past the ceiling-height windows on the pavement outside or viewed his fellow postboys and girls whirr through the office like walking, talking magical spinning tops. They were breezy and brash, elegant and energetic. They had 1001 Arabian Nights of energy, so much of it. They ran and leapt and cursed and fought and hugged and conspired and kicked and screamed and laughed and kissed (a lot more in the summer) and breathed and blarneyed and blew and farted and cleaned and preened and ate and spat and picked their teeth and made a mess; and sputtered and coughed in the winter when the heating made the world a clammy, disease-ridden place; and they wept and got sacked and left for better jobs in the outside world; and every Monday they would return from their weekends and tell of frolicking and drinking and fights in pub car parks - or in nightclubs with bouncers named Billy or Stanley (or Grease) - but they would work hard when the bald man boss was around or his sidekick, the big violent failed fireman who did a lot of the fighting in the nightclubs, and they would talk about the people beyond the swing doors like they were real or alive or animated or capable of civility or humanity, even; and they lived like lions, like laughter, like straight lines.
And they were always clinging to each other, like lovers, pawing at each other like gorillas in the jungle. He was never touched in this way. In this tight shell, this tight little shell you would think he would be touched, like a lover, like a lion (petted like a llama would do); admired like a cheetah, become a chased-away monkey, pawed or gorilla-ed. You would think.

__________


"Get up. We need milk."
Coins pinged off Katís forehead.
"And fags."
"Got a big day. Doing or dying today. Big fuckiní day. What you doing?"
Kat raised her hand across her face and drew her knees up under the covers. Her nose smarted from a 50p.
"Mum."
"What? Ringing?"
"No, sheís down."
"How long?"
"Just the day."
"Hnn. Where you meeting her?"
"YMCA. Charlotte Street."
"Good."
Kat threw an ashtray towards the door but it faded like a comet, dying at Garyís feet.
"Oi, tetchy."
A slap and a tear ripped the bed sheets, leaving her exposed in her knickers. Gary flicked ash on the girl.
"Schoolboy error, youíll pay for that. Now get up. Iím in the shower."
Kat listened to the fading footsteps. Yellow lamplight cut through the unwashed windows to rest in a barren corner. The blood-red morning sun filled the room with pink unnatural light.
The shower cranked into life, whirring and knocking across the ceiling. She slipped on a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, a pair of white trainers.
"Schoolgirl error," she sighed.
Slipping downstairs, being careful not to creak, through a dark, smoke-stained living room. She stopped at a rusty white door, muffled tuneless singing behind it. Kat slowly turned the handle. Water dripped on the back of her neck and slipped under her T-shirt as she moved through the steam and stopped at the sink. She stretched out her hand searching for the cold water tap. There was the sound of water. And then a blood curdling scream. Gary lunged at her. She recoiled against the bathroom door. His hand withdrew in agony.
Kat bolted: out of the bathroom into the hall; down a second set of stairs, two at a time; hardly stopping to lift a jacket off the bottom bannister. She shot breathless into the street, swerving through commuters under Balham High Roadís railway bridge, not stopping until she reached the corner and Balham station lay within touching distance. Her chest rose and fell with each gulp of air. She stood waiting in the middle of the street ignoring a man and a woman tutting as they scraped past. It was unusually warm for such a poor August. The door to the flat remained closed and the exhilaration had her swaying. She stuck her fingers skywards, glorying in the roaring in her ears, the ratcheting in her breath, as traffic ebbed and flowed through Balham. Behind her a train clattered on the bridge. A group of teens lurking outside the corner convenience store stood watching her and nothing.
"What are you staring at, freaks," she spat.
The group shrivelled into their loose-fit basketball shirts as the little girl adjusted herself and strode off towards Balham Tube.

__________


Brian stared at the last of the teenage loiterers standing counting cars outside the newsagents in Balham High Road, hands in pockets, elbows stuck out, chins pointing upwards, before wrenching the curtains shut and returning to the breakfast bar.

<b>Dear Sue,
ďItís been a beautiful two weeks. The sun is a great fillip. We have been spending our days on the beach and in the bar and sometimes both at the same time. The rest is great, but I do miss you. See you soon.Ē
Jerry xxx</b>

Brian read the card before ripping off a piece of Blu-Tak and pressing it into the corner, disgorging the President of some godforsaken tourist trap as he did so. Then he drowned Sue in blue, obliterated the address and thumbed Jerry to death. It momentarily alleviated the pain. Goa and four of its finest views of identical stretches of white sand and impossible blue water now rested next to New Yorkís impregnable skyline, Parisís arrogance, Bermudaís colour, Brusselsí grey pisser.

<b>ďJust made a mint out of this Chinese guy, who took me up to Kowloon Island to celebrate. Bit swanky up there. Hope this is the sign of things to come. Cheers for the tip-off, I owe you one. Did you get my e-mail?Ē
Phil P, room 237, floor 4, Gresham House, Gresham Street, London, England.</b>

More twisted metal for the wall.

<i>ďCan I have a word with you, Brian?Ē</i>

Brian was sitting in front of the TV, it was still bright in his bedsit - even with the curtains drawn. Brian knew nothing of the world outside anymore, it felt to him as if he had never known anything about the world outside, and now he wished heíd never have to set foot out there again.

<i>ďI have my round to do. I donít want to be late, Mr Parkinson... Iím just going to sort it out now.Ē
ďThat wonít be necessary, Brian, just come in here will you. Someone else can sort that for you.Ē</i>

The TV was awake and craving attention. A newsreader, solemn and predictable, read the news from behind Brianís ear. Above the newsreaderís ear was the image of two innocent-looking young faces. Blonde bob and mousy hair pulled back in a pony tail, cheeks belittling pink noses. Firecracker smiles and twinkling eyes. They looked safe, he thought. A mother and a father cried into a camera, they looked confused and lonely.
ďTheyíre not so lonely, they have people,Ē he thought.
They have a mother and a father and friends and two missing daughters and a newsreader. And a TV camera makes loads. They donít know lonely.

<i>ďIndustrial espionage is a very serious matter...itís something we take very seriously here at Cragnett and Fiscal. We believe that you have acted in a way that constitutes gross misconduct.Ē</i>

A line of policeman, interspersed with little boys and girls in their Wellington boots with broken off sticks from trees, mothers and fathers holding hands, looking down at the muddy, grassy floor of a field walking in a straight line searching for something lost, or never there in the first place. A shirt, a shoe, a chance of happiness, maybe, an opportunity to be part of something.

<i>ďA lot of the material passing through our post room is exceptionally sensitive and would be very damaging to individuals and the company as a whole if it were to stray. That is why we treat any theft with the utmost seriousness. You are lucky that at this stage we are not considering bringing the police into this matter.Ē</i>

"Bugger," Brian swept a tear from his cheek, which had sizzled across his burning cheeks.

<i>"You may say that they were only postcards, but there is a principle here. We canít allow our staff to go around taking peopleís mail just because they fancy it. Itís all sensitive, Brian, whether itís a postcard or a multi-million pound contract.Ē</i>

He looked at his watch. Only eleven. The weight of the day pressed down on him as he stood up and began to pace up and down his tiny bedsit.
He could not stop the blood rising, through his bowels, along his alimentary canal, scourging his stomach and sending the muscles in his back twitching uncontrollably. He felt sick and light-headed.

<i>"We have considered our options and I'm afraid to tell you that we have decided that what you did does constitute gross misconduct. We have no other option available to us but to terminate your contract with immediate effect..."</i>

Pressure from above and lack of presence below did for Brian: sweeping his arms outwards, throwing a plastic bag stuffed full of uselessness from his locker at work to the floor, collapsing his legs like a harpsichord, sending him crashing to the floor.
The tears followed in streams.

A police car switched to sirens further up Balham High Road a little while later as Brian pushed the last of the sobs out through his puffy lips. The pigeons on his window sill fluttered away up into the blue, aloof sky and out above the rooftops of South London and beyond, splitting up and soaring, swooping and shitting on people below and buildings with unwelcoming spikes on their ledges or comfortable bridges flecked white and grey with pigeon shit and feathers all the same. Out and away as Brian wept and then slept.

__________


"You taking the piss, Turk?"
"Itís what you wanted. Cards."
"This is shoddy merchandise. No good. Compris?"
"You say £35 for the cards. I have 30 cards. Call it an even £1000 for cash."
"TEN cards and TEN cheque books," Gary repeated, slapping the envelope against a cabinet and then leaning on it. Abs shunted from his left foot to his right. A group of old men sat around a pine table staring and sipping at coffee.
"Ten books, ten cards. You thick, or what? What am I supposed to do without books? Use them to open doors? We have keys for that in this country."
Gary threw his hands up, the lip of his jacket rising baring his hairy midriff.
"I got these yesterday." Abs looked calm, serene.
"Then theyíre all cancelled by now. Useless."
"No theyíre not."
"Címon. Do you think I was born yesterday?" Gary ignored Abs clipped English. "First time I use one of these Iíll be clocked before I can blink."
"Theyíre not from the tube, mate, theyíre from the ticket office," Abs didnít blink.
"What are you on about? What ticket office?" Gary stared back at an old man whose gaze was constant and ceaseless.
"My man at Kingís Cross reads cards with a reader. Then we duplicate."
"So these arenít real?"
"Duplicates."
Abs pulled the envelope out of Garyís hand and held a card up to the light.
"Not so youíd notice."
"How do they work?"
"Just like normal cards, except nobody knows you have it," he placed the card reverently back into the envelope and handed it back.
"Not banks, not police, not even the owner."
"O-kay." Gary dubiously held one up to the light.
"This is big business, mate, itís modern. Not like your cheque books and matching cards."
Abs touched the envelope in Gary hands.
"Thirty cards will last you a week. Nobody uses cheque books no more. Cause of shysters like you."
"Well, I still didnít come here for this. Iíll give you £500 for this, and if they work weíll do business again."
"Címon, theyíre easy, man. One week and youíll have half of New Bond Street in your lock up."
Abs roughly pawed at the bottom of his nose with a plump, scarred finger.
"This is the Millennium, mate. Have a party."
"You donít need a cheque book at all?" Gary shook his head a little certainly.
"Nah. Itís all Switch now. You could even give one to the missus when she goes shopping, eh? Even birds can handle Ďem," Abs grinned.
"Iím single." Gary grunted at the little Kosovan.
"Look, you can have Ďem for £900, thatís a ton off for better gear."
"750."
"850."
"Done."
Abs slapped Gary on the elbow. Gary produced another envelope without moving a limb and handed it to Abs, depositing the cards in his pocket. Abs counted without flickering.
"Letís have a drink. You had slivovitz before?" Abs opened a cupboard by Garyís head and reached down two shot glasses.
"Whassat then?"
"Itís like your gin, only stronger."

__________


The underground spat Kat out in Goodge Street mingled in with advertising executives dressed in combats and overpriced T-shirts, designer sunglasses and a mesmerising array of hats. As her eyes adjusted to the bright light of the enveloping morning they studied a group of foreign students who were freeing themselves from the packed pavement to make a break for it across Tottenham Court Road. Dressed in the international colours of dark greens and browns and rich yellows they looked natural and exotic, humping their heavy rucksacks and walking studiously through the traffic to Bloomsbury.
Kat took the first turning into Charlotte Street, tensing as the YMCA loomed large. Muscles in her legs and arms, shoulders and neck, tightened as the grey brick building approached. She wiped a bead of sweat from her brow with the collar of her jacket. She looked up and saw the top of the Post Office tower, the restaurant blinking in the morning sunlight. The top appeared to revolve again, then it stopped - a trick of the light: a wobble that caught Londoners yearning for glamour, for something different.
"College," the daydream mislaid her, made her stumble. She slumped into the reception area, which was dark despite the fluorescent light hanging over her like a warning.
"Could you tell me if a Bridget Mahon is staying here, please," she asked.
"Awright Kat, luv." A harsh voice boomed across the reception area from behind her, where a man stood up from a mangy sofa.

"Whatís he doing here?"
Kat was sandwiched into a tiny room shaped like a corridor. Bridget was standing by a sickly double bed, while Kat stood before her fiddling with a corner of her jacket. The sound of Dave pissing carried through into the bedroom from the open bathroom door.
"Dunno why youíre so upset," Dave shouted through his piss. "You no pleased to see me?"
"Shut up Dave."
"Kat! Please. Heís keeping me company."
Kat looked away as Dave walked back into the room, still fiddling with his fly. Bridget looked up at Kat. They paused.
"Why donít you go down the road while we have a chat,Ē she slipped him a £20 note from her purse.
"Iíll no be long," he pointed a finger at Kat. "Promise."
"Bugger off, Dave."
Kat stared at Dave across her mother. Dave yelped, jumping up and flicking his hand as a cigarette burt a hold in his finger. He flicked it away instinctively and it tapered across the dusty room dying in an open suitcase in a dark corner. Daveís little legs leapfrogged the bed, scattering Kat and her mum as the little man darted into the corner, breathing in sharply as his burnt finger smarted against cloth and plastic, before resurfacing from the suitcase with a purr - red faced, fag butt dead, held by the tail between thumb and forefinger. He flicked it, kicked the case, returned to a stooping surly gait, and rubbed his index finger.
Kat and her mum stood silent. Wordless, Dave picked up a jacket from the bed and left.
"Why, mum?" Kat pointed after Dave, sliding to the floor at her motherís feet. Bridget sat on the bed, stroking her daughterís hair, resting a hand lightly, hopefully on Katís shoulder.
"Dunno. Because."
The pair sat in silence as Katís mum tentatively reminded herself of her daughter: what she was now, what she had been to her when the light shone brighter in both their eyes. Katie's hair still felt golden to the touch, Katy baby's skin a babbling brook to the fingers. So innocent, such lonely strands in her motherís wrinkled fingers.
"Why donít you come home, love. I miss you."
Kat leaned back against the side of the bed and stiffened, her knees rose to her chin. She saw the skin around her motherís knees drooping slightly, her legs blotchy and mis-shaped without winter tights.
"Because you live with a mindless drunk," Kat sighed softly. "And youíre still a junkie."
"Iím not doing the gear any more, love, I promise."
"Then why," Kat rose and turned, loosing her hair, her voice darkening like a cloud, grabbing her motherís arm, turning it over, "are there pin holes in your arm?"
"Itís not as bad as it was," her mum shrunk back on the bed. "Iíve cut down. Theyíre very old, from a while ago.
"Daveís seeing a shrink," she added hopefully.
"Just dump him mum, and Iíll think about it."
Kat stood over her mother, looking at her. Bridget gazed floorwards.
"Why am I scoring for you?" Kat reached inside her jacket and produced a brown packet of powder. She waved it in front of her motherís face accusingly and pinched it open with her thumb and forefinger.
"Itís not scoring."
"You not need this?"
"Yes," the packet was in Bridget's hands now. "For my debts. Itíll sort me Ė and then no more. Promise."
Bridget looked up at her daughter and pushed the smack into her purse.
"Then Iím done. Promise."
Kat stood up and crossed to the window.
"Gary thinks Iím a junkie, you know?"
"You didnít go through him, did you?"
"No, I went to a mate. He just suspects. Iíve got that to look forward to when I get home."
"You can always come back to Scotland with me, luv."
"And for the next few weeks, I bet." Kat ignored her.
Down on the street the pavements were quiet. Only cycle couriers and businessmen in ones and twos passed. Bridgetís hand strayed to her bag again, her fingers checking the seal of the plastic bag, rubbing it like a genie's lamp, watching Katís back, the delicate bones of her spine showing through the white T-shirt. Kat turned and looked down on her mother. She saw bruises under her ear, straggly hair. The skin under her nose was ruddy and her cheeks sullen and bloodshot; her eyes drawn, disused windows with cobwebs in the corners. Cheap mascara hid very little.
"No. I canít," she looked at her watch and down at her motherís expectant face. "Iím late."
Kat leant down and kissed the top of Bridgetís head: it tasted salty, smelt smoky, felt coarse like a wall.
"Take care."
Bridget said nothing, just stared at the floor again, her arm hanging out of her purse, her eyes drawn to the end of her fingers, feeling and seeing it. Kat lifted her shoulders and swept from the hostel room, walked away along the corridor and out onto the street. She didnít stop when she heard Daveís voice echo through the foyer again, it was all she could do to stop when the courier almost knocked her down crossing the street. When the ticket barrier failed she so wanted to respond kindly to the man in the bright blue uniform who allowed her through the gate, but no. When the first and second and third tubes arrived on the platform she failed to board. When she finally blinked, she found herself standing in the doorway of an empty tube carriage clinging to a metal bar, being buffeted on the approach to Waterloo Station. The world became a violent, tempestuous storm until, presently the tears breached her lashes and flowed freely down her cheeks, coming to rest in a sodden patch Ė the shape of Scotland - at the collar of her T-shirt.

__________


Traffic swelled across the old crossroads of Tottenham Court Road and Shaftesbury Avenue, people clattered past Gary as he stood in a phone box, listening to the echo of history on the pavements and the dialling tone in his ear.

"Hello, is that Immigration?"

St Giles's - the old area around Tottenham Court Road - made its name in history as a home to thieves and killers, prostitutes, the sick, the disparate and the desperately lonely - who fed off each other in the greatest swill of disease and death known to mankind.

"Well thereís this family of Arabs stinking up the place in Harrow, you know what I mean?" Gary exhaled smoke, shooting a mist through the phonebox, making his upper body invisible to the world outside.

Priests stood at the gates of the ghetto, extolling the virtues of life everlasting. The Crown and the capital's administrators left it to unscrupulous landlords to suck the blood out of the festering stones and the life out of the walking dead within.

"Theyíre peddling shit out of their kitchen..."

The rest of London stood at the gates of St Giles and watched intrigued, rubber-necking at its squalor as they slipped past on the road to Holborn, and a safer, sedater passage of time, listening to the rhythmic motion of their carriage lest they catch the wail of Death himself. Concentrating on their horses shit, rather than the stench of disease that carried out through the putrid air and threatened to strike them down once more with devastating plague.

"No, you know, I wonít leave my name. I donít want to get involved..."

Thousands lined each side of the street - the damned on St Giles side and the delivered on the West End side - to watch the condemned being carted from the Tower to the gallows in Marble Arch.
Jeers battered St Giles from the fearful and saintly condemning the final chariot. But St Giles offered one last drink, a last meal to the walking dead - and felt no fear for their brother in life's struggle along London's unholy mile.

"...from Kosovo, I think, wherever that is..."

Yet fear was no epidemic. Why? How could that be? Every soul was infected: to be in St Giles was to be dead. St Giles: Patron saint of sick and the poor; lepers and outcasts. The patron saint of death's door. And yet no fear filled its piss-spewed streets, only the sound of noble aloof.

"You going to do something about it?"

Dead men have little to fear.

"Ok."

Gary replaced the receiver, stepped out of the phone box and dodged his way through the throng on Tottenham Court Road. He looked up to the grotty-looking Tottenham pub, the last drink for many a lost soul, and down to the gleaming Virgin Megastore on the West End side of the road. Smiling to himself he examined the sky, and searched his pockets for a cigarette. Small chance of rain, he thought.
Lighting up he slipped effortlessly into the throng, marching with his toes pointing towards the traffic and the shops simultaneously, to Charing Cross Road, where he headed south to Covent Garden and onwards and upwards.
"It's a grand day to be a Londoner," Gary whistled.
And London winked back briefly from above before the small chance of rain grew inevitably closer.






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Comments by other Members



Nell at 19:17 on 03 November 2004  Report this post
Hi cleaver_smith, welcome to Fiction 11. This is a long section, and there's a lot to take in here, but the writing is ambitious and the plot intriguing, and it drew me in. This has the feel of having been written by someone who knows the city well; the atmosphere throughout is authentic, the characters well-drawn. The creative use of language evoked sharp images, although there were one or places where I felt that perhaps you'd chosen the wrong word, or that it didn't work in the right way, or there were too many adjectives - examples later. There were also places where I wasn't sure what was going on - for example with the '...bloodcurdling scream...' and also whatever it was that Brian was doing to the postcards. The section that seems to slip back and forth in time was also confusing for a moment, but it's early in the novel yet and no doubt that will become clearer as the story progresses. More specific notes below.

I felt that there were too many instances of 'Brian' in the first section; as he's the only character at this point perhaps you could replace a few with 'he'.

Loved ...meerkatting his head from side...

I wondered who or what was 'blinking expectantly' - perhaps a comma after 'river'.

Loved the section beginning They ran and leapt and cursed and... but I did feel that the whole sentence was way too long - it doesn't end until ...straight lines...maybe break it up a bit.

Loved The group shrivelled...

I was somehow shocked at ...the little girl... as I imagined her as at least twelve. That little may be intentional, but it made me think she was about seven.

I'm not sure that disgorging is the right word in the following - perhaps 'dislodging'?
'Brian read the card before ripping off a piece of Blu-Tak and pressing it into the corner, disgorging the President of some godforsaken tourist trap as he did so.'

I noticed repetition in the following but then I'm a beast for it. "That won't be neccessary Brian, just come in here will you. Someone else can sort that for you." Maybe drop the last 'for you', and a question mark needed after 'will you'.

A line of policeman... (policemen)

"Bugger," Brian swept a tear from his cheek, which had sizzled across his burning cheeks. Maybe a full stop after "Bugger" and change the second instance of 'cheeks' to 'face'? See what you think.

I don't think you need 'at work' after 'his locker' it seems superfluous, and ...collapsing his legs like a harsichord... seemed a very odd simile IMO.

'...the lip of his jacket...' also seemed too odd to me.

Gary ignored Abs clipped English... (Abs')


In the sentences below full stops would be better than commas after the speech IMO. Likewise after "College".

"They're not from the tube mate, they're from the ticket ofice," Abs didn't blink.

"Just like normal cards, excep nobody knows you have it," he placed....


...as a cigarette burt a hole...(burnt)

mis-shaped (misshaped)

I wasn't sure about ...only the sound of noble aloof...

Perhaps you could put the flashback parts set in St. Giles in italics? I noticed that you'd used pointed brackets for formatting - only square ones work on WW.

I did enjoy this; not only is the writing confident and brave, but there's a sense that the journey will be an exciting and original one. You may find that a smaller upload will generate more comments though, as a long section takes time to read and comment on.

Nell.



Xena at 18:06 on 07 April 2005  Report this post
I admire your creative use of verbs and adjectives. It's not a novel, it's poetry. I've never noticed the Nat West tower is Machiavellian. I shall look at it again from my hills. Traffic 'swells' and TV 'craves for attention'... I think it's great!


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