Rain and Bullets


So Much To Answer For- Part 6

Joey Joey Joey Says
Tommy is back in town

Sarah B Says
Fuck.
When?

Joey Joey Joey Says
Since this morning at least

Sarah B Says
He doesn’t know where I live

Joey Joey Joey Says
He shouldn’t have known where I live, but he found me.

Sarah B Says
Fuck

Joey Joey Joey Says
Police know he’s here. Talked to Kay Wood

Sarah B Says
Fuck fuck fuck

Sarah B Says
She’s the one you fancied

Joey Joey Joey Says
It was the uniform. Honest

Sarah B Says
😛
Bollocks

Joey Joey Joey Says
She kept me out of prison. That can be quite a turn on for a boy.

Sarah B Says
Will they catch him?

Joey Joey Joey Says
Hope so. I’d like my money back.

Sarah B Says
Not gonna happen

Joey Joey Joey Says
I know. I can dream

Sarah B Says
It’s been six months. Maybe more.
Why haven’t you been ion touch?

Joey Joey Joey Says
Not a lot to say

Sarah B Says
Rubbish. I read your blog. You’ve got lots to say.

Joey Joey Joey Says
:#

Joey Joey Joey Says
How’s things?

Sarah B Says
Steve wants me to marry him.

Joey Joey Joey Says
Cool
Have I met Steve?

Sarah B Says
Probably

Joey Joey Joey Says
What’s he l;oike?

Sarah B Says
Nothing like Tommy. If thats what you mean. He’s good. Reliable. I can trust him

Joey Joey Joey Says
Does he know about what happened?

Sarah B Says
No

Sarah B Says
I’m not going to tell him.

Joey Joey Joey Says
Should you tell him?

Sarah B Says
I’m not going to tell him.,

Joey Joey Joey Says
Okay

Sarah B Says
I’ve got to go. Steve will be here soon.

Joey Joey Joey Says
Okay. Do you still work in the same place?

Sarah B Says
Yes

Joey Joey Joey Says
That’s where he’ll try to find you. If he comes.

Sarah B Says
I’ll keep a lookout
Bye

Joey Joey Joey Says
Bye
Be careful

This message could not be delivered as the user Sarah is offline.

Part 7
Part 5
Part 1

NaNoWriMo Progress

NaNoWriMo progress stalled yesterday, as I kept finding other stuff to do :(. I’m going to try to catch up some today and do a load of writing over the weekend.

Notes Yes, this is an attempt to mimic an IM conversation. All typing errors etcetera are intended (well, they happened because I tried to type as fast as the characters and left any mistakes in).

Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




Fiction, ,


So Much To Answer For- Part 5

Joe was deep in dirty thoughts about blondes he might know, so he completely missed the unmarked car.

“Mister Wilkinson.”

He stopped, stared upwards for a moment, pleading for this day of reunions to end, then turned around. “Constable Wood.”

“Detective Constable now, actually.”

“Congratulations.” With practice he could have made the good wishes sound flatter.

“Your friend is back in Manchester.”

“My friend?”

“Tommy Hill. We’ve been hearing all sorts of rumours.”

“Oh, that friend. I really don’t want to know.”

“We’re contacting everyone who knew him. Call us if you see him.”

“He stole a lot of money from me. He’s not going to be getting in touch.” Why he lied he didn’t know. Some stupidly optimistic part of him thought he might get his money back if Hill stayed out of jail long enough. “Have you been waiting for me to turn up just to tell me that?”

“You update your website every day when you get back from your workshop. It’s consistently around six o’clock.”

“You read my blog?” Joe thought he spotted some red in the police officer’s cheeks.

“You’re a bit later than normal.”

“I may have a new client. Got a bit wrapped up in that.”

“Good for you. I’m glad you’re back on your feet after all the trouble Hill put you through. It would be a shame if he brought you down again.”

“No. I wouldn’t want that.”

“I’m serious Joe. You know how bad things were last time.” Some years earlier Kay Wood, then still a constable in uniform, had taken Joe’s side against detectives who would have Gitmo’d a confession out of him if they’d been allowed. Given his innocence she had probably saved their jobs, if not their careers, though it was unlikely they saw it that way. “Two of the guns he bought with your money have been used in shootings.”

“You always have to go and spoil things don’t you.

“He was here this morning, saying he could get my money back if I’d just hold something for him while a deal went down.”

“You didn’t believe him?”

“I didn’t believe him last time. That’s why he had to steal the money from me.”

“He didn’t say what he had planned?”

“No. But I’m sure that now you’re a detective you’ll catch him this time.”

“Was that sarcasm or an attempt at a chat up line.”

“I think it was a chat up line.”

They both looked at their shoes, up and down the street, slightly to one side of the other. “Do you want to get a drink some time?” Joe asked eventually, “I mean, if you’re not…..”

“I’m not seeing anyone, no. But no, I can’t go for a drink with you, not whilst you’re part of an investigation.”

“After?” Joe tried his best cheeky grin.

“No. I don’t think so.”

“Oh well. Had to ask.”

“If he gets in touch, call me.” Wood produced a card from an inside pocket. “Get a gallery show. I’ll come and see it.”

Joe examined the card as she walked away.

This had been a very interesting day.

Part 6
Part 4
Part 1

NaNoWriMo Progress

Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




Fiction, ,


So Much To Answer For- Part 4

“Do you know a Rachel Evans?”

“Can’t say as I…. Why?”

“Wants to buy my stuff for On The Wall.”

“Who?”

“Art shop. Mind if I google them?”

“Go ahead. Laptop’s in the living room.”

“Ooh, you got the wireless sorted.”

Pete entered the living room with a Bodum of green tea and two mugs. “You know you haven’t mentioned Tommy Hill yet. I was expecting full on ranting from you. How hot is this woman?”

“It’s not about the hotness. It’s that I’m sure I should recognise her.” Joe scrolled down search results and clicked one almost at random. “She’s very hot. And very little of it’s painted on.”

“You going to shop him?”

“Don’t know. Considering how the Police treated me last time I don’t think they deserve any help.”

“You might get your money back.”

“Doubt it. They’re a bunch of arseholes. Well, most of them are.”

“I noticed you asked for Woods.”

“It was the uniform. And the keeping me out of prison. Otherwise, just a bit too uptight for me.”

“And you have your art bimbo to fantasise about now.”

“Just because she’s blonde doesn’t mean she’s….”

“Hugh Evans.”

“What?”

“Hugh Evans. Didn’t you share a house with him back in the second year?”

“You know I’m crap with names.” Joe was deep in thought. “Yeah, I think I remember him. Whatever happened to him?”

“Haven’t a clue. Didn’t he have a kid sister?”

“Of course he did. Cute kid, bit of a tomboy. We used to take her climbing trees in Platt Fields and try to sneak her into the students’ union. She visited a lot, I think their parents were divorcing.”

“You think it could be her?”

“Could be. But she’d only be….” Joe stared at the ceiling as he did the mental arithmetic. “God, that was fifteen? Fourteen, fifteen years ago. She was twelve, thirteen. That makes her…. Yeah, that makes her about the age of this Rachel I met today.”

“But is it the same person?”

Joe shivered. “Gah! I hope not. I used to boost that kid up trees. It has to be wrong to have dirty thoughts about someone you used to treat as a kid.”

“Tell you what. You get me a picture of her and I’ll have the dirty thoughts for you.”

“Fuck off.”

Part 5
Part 3
Part 1

NaNoWriMo Progress

Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




Fiction, ,


So Much To Answer For- Part 3

Pete had a garage that he didn’t use, so Joe had adopted it as a workshop. The rent was one piece of art a year, on the off chance. Some years earlier Pete had spent three months on Joe’s floor, paying only for food and beer. He liked to refer to the returned favour as the Tao of Property.

Joe’s physical paintings were much simpler than his digital ones. Away from the safety net of layers and the Step Backward command he found himself considering where every bit of colour should be laid down. He was using acrylics because he didn’t yet have the patience for oils.

The latest piece was a simple street scene, but the perspective lines twisted slightly, just enough to make the viewer uncomfortable. At street level the business names matched those from his neighbourhood, a little cheat to enhance saleability. He was tidying up the lettering on the newsagent when he realised he was being watched.

Both doors were open, for light and ventilation, and the afternoon sun was so low it lit up the back wall. Joe glanced up and spotted the shadow, but it was a moment before he made the connection.

She was tall, blonde, turned out all neat and business like. Not, historically, his type, but that didn’t stop her being gorgeous. “Joe Wilkinson?”

“That’s me.” He struggled to remember where the brush went, eventually finding the water jar and making busy cleaning it. The silence stretched out a little too long. “I… Would you like some tea or coffee?”

“No thanks. That’s okay.” She walked over, hands behind her back, checking out the work in progress and a few unfinished masterpieces. And Joe. The brush was as clean as it would get, but he dunked it in the water again and stropped the liquid off with an old T-shirt. “I’m Rachel Evans. I’m a buyer for On The Wall. Perhaps you’ve heard of us?”

“Extraordinary art at ordinary prices? I’d heard you were opening a shop in Manchester.”

“It opens on King Street in a couple of months.”

“I don’t think footballers like ordinary prices. They feel ripped off if they don’t pay at least twice what something is worth.”

“We’ll mark things up for them. Including your work, if you’d like.”

“Well, I….” Joe tried to remember things he’d read about On The Wall. Whether they had a good reputation with clients, just how ordinary their prices were, that kind of thing. But the buyer was standing a little closer than required and still had her hands clasped, pulling her shoulders back and pushing her chest forward. He enjoyed the view a little too long, wondering how much of the shape was engineered, how much natural attributes. “Well. Yes. Of course I’d be interested.”

Rachel smiled, “That’s great. We don’t expect exclusivity, but we would like an original every month or so and first refusal on anything else. And a few prints for our online store. I saw your website.”

“Really?”

“Oh yes. I saw one of your pieces in Norton’s deli. They’ve got WiFi.”

“Really? I don’t have the technology, so I don’t really pay attention.”

“They told me where to find you.”

“I’ll never buy hummus from anywhere else again.”

Rachel was swinging her shoulders back and forth, twisting her upper body. The coquettish gesture was completely at odds with the professional appearance. “That’s great. We have a deal.”

“Okay. So, er, what do we do now? I’d shake on it, but….” Joe held up a paint smeared hand.

The buyer produced a business card and pen, wrote a number on the back of the card. “Call me tomorrow, after two. We can arrange a meeting to sort out the paperwork.” Her hands went straight back to being clasped behind her back.

“That’s great.” Joe checked out the card and then the number and very carefully put it into his wallet.

“I’ll see you tomorrow then.” With a smile Rachel turned and walked away. When she crossed the threshold of the garage her hands relaxed from their clasped position and she started swinging them a little exaggeratedly. It was only when she got into her Smart car and drove off that Joe began to think she’d looked familiar.

Part 4
Part 2
Part 1

NaNoWriMo Progress

Notes This is a first draft, open to expansion and editing, so please point out any spelling or continuity errors or bits that don’t make sense.

Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.





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So Much To Answer For- Part 2

Tommy Hill walked back into Manchester on the back of a thunderstorm.

Joe had been stretching his tail- compositing another image for sale as prints and mousemats- but had stepped out to get some textures. After the downpour, with the clouds still overhead, everything was desaturated and grainy. He was snatching images of wet tarmac and brickwork with phonecam and digital camera, not knowing or caring when he’d use them.

Cropping an image of his reflection in a puddle, ready to Flickr it, Joe turned into his street. He looked up, stopped and stepped back around the corner. Even facing away the figure at his front door was obviously Hill. Something about the body language.

Joe looked around for a weapon. The justifiable desire to beat his former friend subsided rapidly, but the chill of anger remained. He glanced around the corner, got a profile view that confirmed his suspicions.

Rain began to fall again. There was a big black cloud heading their way. Joe headed off to get some lunch.

The cafe had been a butchers when Joe had last lived in the area. As his income had slowly risen he had become something of a regular. The girl who made the sandwiches, whose name he still hadn’t learnt, bantered with him as she customised his sandwich. By now he was certain it was all show, but he flirted back dutifully. He sat under one of his own pictures and watched the rain.

It wasn’t as heavy as the thunderstorm, but would soak Hill if there was any justice. There was no-one else in the house, so he couldn’t play the poor bedraggled long lost friend for anyone. When the clouds cleared and his sandwich was finished, Joe headed back.

Disappointingly, Hill wasn’t soaked through. But he was damp enough to be uncomfortable, and that was a good start. Joe got to within two houses before being spotted. “What are you doing here?” He had decided to keep Hill on the defensive.

“Dude. I am so glad to see you. I’ve got a way to get you your money back.”

Just for the briefest of moments Joe was optimistic that this might be true. Then he remembered all the other such promises, both before and after Hills flight from the law, and how little had come of them. “You’ve got it with you?”

“Well….. No, not on me. But I’m into something big. A guaranteed payout.”

“And what do you need from me?”

“It’s a sure thing. Because of what I owe you I wanted to give you the chance to be in on it.”

“So I’d need some front money, because the guy you’re dealing with, he trusts you but he’s not so sure about me. Is that it?”

“No, man. You’d just need to hold some collateral while the deal goes down. Be a guarantor, like.”

“Really. At least this time it’s not me you’re trying to steal money from. What are you planning, they come to get the shit from me and you’ve switched bags and done a bunk? Is that it?”

“No. No way dude. This is legit.”

“As legit as crime ever gets. The only reason I’m not in prison is because I didn’t trust you last time. And then you still managed to steal all my money. Now, walk away, because I have phone numbers for a couple of Police who’d love to have words with you.” Joe walked past Hill to the front door and turned his back on his former friend. It didn’t work. Hill stood there, confusion sliding into anger.

“Don’t you want your fucking money?”

“I don’t want any part of one of your schemes.” Joe fished his mobile out and worked his way through the contacts list. “The money you stole from me. You return it, you don’t try to scam me out of any more or make me a patsy. Hello. Is Constable Wood there? No, that’s okay, I can wait.”

Hill couldn’t hide the fear of being caught. After consideration he walked away.

“Constable Wood definitely isn’t here.” Pete announced. “What the hell was that about?”

“You’ll never guess who’s back in town.” Joe had watched Hill until he’d left the street. Now he closed the door and brought Pete up to speed.

Part 3
Part 1

NaNoWriMo Progress

Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




Fiction, ,


So Much To Answer For- Part 1

“I need a beer.”

Pete reached back and hooked the fridge door open without looking around. “I thought you might.” What had been bare earlier tinkled now. “Or I have spirits.”

“Whisky makes me maudlin. Vodka makes me vomit. I can’t stand Southern Comfort. And brandy….” Joe selected a bottle of Snecklifter. “Actually, I’ve never drunk enough brandy to form an opinion.”

“Was it him?” Pete laid the knife down and looked around from the messily filleted chicken this time.

Joe was paying undue attention to the bottle cap. Happy it was clean he drew out his keys and levered it off with the bottle opener that nestled amongst them. “It was him.”

“Good riddance.”

Pete didn’t see the expression that flashed across Joe’s face, like someone had whacked him in the ribs. He took a drink of the beer. “He had his throat slashed. Not a way to go, even for a prick like him.”

The fillets went into bags for freezing. The carcass went into a pan for stock. Joe took his beer through to the living room.

Joe was two thirds of the way through the bottle when a thought struck him. “They must have his fingerprints on file. Maybe even DNA. They didn’t need me to ID him.”

“But they dragged you in anyway.” Pete bore more beer. “And they knew where to find you.”

“Some bastard on the force really hates me. Thanks.

“They probably checked my place than came hunting. How does it feel to be an accomplice?”

“Peachy.”

Notes

National Novel Writing Month starts today. This is not my NaNoWriMo entry, rather something I scribbled down whilst working on the helpdesk a few weeks ago. It’s being serialised in honour of the event. After this I’m going to put up some of Post & Publish, including new chapters written recently, and then whatever I get done this month. Hopefully I’ll have enough material for daily updates for the rest of the year and maybe beyond.

Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




Fiction, ,