THE HOUND AND THE HOOD –
A transgressive novel about two extreme teenaged siblings who take power into their own hands in a dystopian Ireland.
It’s called ‘The Hound and the Hood’, and it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Image by Joan Maskerra – www.maskerra.com
Steven, 16 –
“Hospitals are better. They know.
The smells tell you everything about a place. Hospitals know what they’re doing.
The smell is like when you cut your knee and Dad has to sting you by putting the orange stuff on it, before you get a plaster. It’s nasty in a good way. The first time you sniff it, you turn your head away, but then you want another sniff. It’s like extra clean. Too clean. Like swimming pool clean. Thick mucus of clean. Filmy clean.
My feet are squeaking the floor, because it has the filmy clean. It sparkles up my blackness back to me. Reminding me. Inside there is a smile.
There is one room for the fakers. The fluey people and the ones who complain all the time. They wait around holding some arm or head or whatever and wait and complain and finally when they get through to see a Doctor they go straight home. Waste.
There is a totally separate room for the people who are a little bit sicky. The ones who have big cuts or breaks in their bones or can’t stand up straight.
There is another room for the proper sickies. The ones with things you can get off them like a virus or a disease or an infection. These ones have to be kept very separate so they don’t infect the others. You see?
The last room is for all the people who are already dead, basically.
The ones that call you Christopher when your name is Anthony or think that they are twenty when they are obviously old and with overlaps. There are the ones that can’t even make it to the bathroom before they shit all over the place. There are the ones that just lie there and wait for the nurses to do everything. They don’t eat, they don’t speak, just always sleeping with the machines doing all their lazy work. What a waste of energy.
The hospital knows that it is important to have the different rooms. (Keep the goods from the bads.) The hospital knows that they need the filmy clean on everything. Keep things pure and wash off the scum.”
Lauren, 12 –
“Mam is looking at me again like I’m the fucking microwave and I haven’t heated her fucking cupcake yet so I say something like no Mam, you don’t have to worry I promised I’d be home by ten and beside Steven is going to see his retard fucking hospital friend anyway or something.
She’s frowning like “I don’t know…” but Jesus, this game of charades would kill a dumb person at this stage so I’m thinking about celebrating in style after my two successes and getting a quick buzz on at the Spot. I know there’ll be a crowd there after that Maloney fucker has his shitty farmer party and all the pawns will scurry back towards any source of entertainment. I provide entertainment.
My Mam’s still talking; oohing and aahing about bedtime and I’m already sick of it so I say “But Mam, I have all my homework done and I’ll be back by ten, I promise.” Then I give her the eyes again and a really childish “please?”
She’s saying yes or something and I’m thinking about my outfit. That nice new halter? Maybe the knee-lengths? Or the new mini-skirt, if I really want to impress. I’m walking up the stairs and past my Mam’s advice to be careful out there and strangers and dangerous and blah fucking blah.
I get ready —
– Quick blunt
– Everything off
– Black 36C push-up bra
– Hair straightened
– Black mini-skirt
– Black thigh-high stockings
– White shirt, top three buttons open
– Eyedrops again
– Pearl necklace
– Thick-spider Mascara
– Green eyeshadow
– From the stash to my purse, the gear
– Black heels
– Lips glossed bubblegum pink
– A stick of gum, unopened, in my shirt pocket
I’m finished. I’m a fucking glamour model.
Thinking of the boys’ faces as they see me in my skirt, I enter the bathroom.
I check myself out in the mirror. Fucking sexy. I turn to the side and check out my body, side profile.
Slick black against my skin, I’m like a little Catwoman but sexy and not needing the fucking mask because my make up makes me look like a fucking diva. I run my hands down my body and there’s no flab, no excess, no muffin tops, no nothing, not even excess fabric. I’m skin-tight in all meanings of the term. I shake my head at myself in the mirror and smile because this shit is just too easy.
Those boys are going to go fucking mad for me tonight.
I bend over the toilet and stick my finger down my throat.
Read the opening chapter of The Hound and The Hood.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF ANDREW LEMMING –
A novel about a mad-hatter turned mogul’s life, from beginning to end.
It’s called ‘The Life and Death of Andrew Lemming’.
“Everything was golden until the door swung open and you were stolen from me.
The dread was immense and immediate. I had no choice but to mutter yeah when we were asked if we were here for the pub crawl. The eyes in the room lit up. Dogs and steak come to mind. I knew I had a long night ahead of me.
The complimentary shot that accompanied each bar stop was lined up. One each, for me and her. This gave me a moment to regroup. To refocus. A moment with her. Make it count. Eye contact. Clink glasses. Eye contact.
I remember what we had spoken of previously that evening –
To clink glasses with someone and not make eye contact is to wish seven years’ bad sex upon yourself. No such ill-fate. I met those eyes bravely.
I said ‘Prost’, she said ‘Cheers’, I said ‘Salut’, she said ‘Sláinte’.
We had our little moment. Then we joined the lions.
They went for my throat first. I was the obstacle.
Nice to meet me, where am I from? Really, what part? Ah, I knew a fella from somewhere else, do you know him? Oh, what a shame. Us? Oh, we’re lowly squaddies from the UK. I’m from Newcastle, me. Neville, it is, Neville. Nice to meet you, Andrew. Aye, we’re all UK Army, some from Scotland, you’ll hear the accent.
It took them about seventeen seconds to bypass me.
And this lady over here, what’s her name? Oh, lovely, and she’s from…?
Ah, very nice.
And then Neville turns to me. He asks the question.
“Is she your girlfriend then?” I breathe in. I look over at her and she’s speaking to some whip of a Portuguese guy. Not looking.
I say, low and quick, so that, say, a non-native English speaker mightn’t hear or comprehend.
I say, “Not yet.””
Read the opening chapter of The Life and Death of Andrew Lemming.
Short Stories –
I wrote the short story ‘Sleep’ in January, 2012, as an experimental, stream-of-consciousness look at insomnia.
“I’m in bed and a purple octopus is hugging me as a marble and as these images are manifesting I thought how cool a story it would make.”
Read Sleep in full.
I wrote the short story Pritchard is a God about a bodybuilder in a March 2011.
“Pritchard is a God.
He is also his own disciple. He worships.
He bows down to Himself. He sacrifices. Again and again. Feeling that need to lift and lift. To please the god that He is. The God.
He offers the gifts, and accepts them. Offers, accepts. Again. Again.
He is a happy God, being worshipped so.”
Pritchard is a God won the Short Story of the Month award for April 2011 at A Book’s Mind.
It came third overall for the year.
Read Pritchard is a God in full.
Children’s Stories –
I have written and am further developing children’s stories.
These include projects about love in the sky, a fish on an adventure, and Anne Frank.
I am seeking illustrators to assist in bringing my children’s stories to life.
Contact me about any of these projects at firstname.lastname@example.org.