No you have not missed a couple of posts. I did write a novel in 2009 but I was cocky and got carried away with what should have been a teaching experience. I had finished with plenty of time to spare back in 2008, so I just assumed that 2009 would be a breeze.
It was horrible.
I had an idea of somehow using the Jet Set Radio style of skate gangs and setting them in Aberdeen. I took two main characters from Farenheight 451 and made them the two leads of my story and called the whole thing “Granite City Radio”.
Yeah ….I know!!!
Anyway it was awful and when I finished it, I just wanted to junk the whole thing. I am pretty sure I do not even have a saved copy anymore. The memory stick is long gone.
2010, I was very ill and should not have even attempted Nano….but like a masochist, I did. Managed about 20000+ words before I had to call it a day. Again I do not think I have any trace of this novel anywhere. I cannot even remember what it was called.
So that brings us to 2011 and The Secret Pigeon. The title came from a misread book title at my work (I think it was the Secret Nun or something). I liked the weirdness of it and thought I could form a story around the title. I did but not the one I wanted to. You see I wanted to write a comedy. I could not do it. What flowed through the fingertips was a story about Depression and coping with it. Life and Art intertwinted and I could only hang on until it was all finished. I remember very early on knowing what the last line would be.
“Grab your coat son, I’ve come to take you home.”
Solisbury Hill by Peter Gabriel if you are wondering where that line came from.
It is probably my favourite of my novels. I think over the whole story, it plays out pretty well. Man thinks he is experiencing something out of the ordinary. Doctors tell him that it is all in his mind. The ending is deliberately left vague to allow the reader to make their own mind up. Along the way the good Colonel McSwine makes an appearance (actually going back and reading the beginning, he appears a lot earlier than I remembered (sadly not in this excerpt). He was like that. In 2010 he had appeared as an old man in a graveyard and was going to play a pretty important part to the story if I had finished it.
Anyway…here is the opening of the Secret Pigeon. It is the first draft, so again, please excuse the spelling and grammer.
The Secret Pigeon
By Paul “Laird of Darkness” Reaney
“There is an urban myth that you may have heard, relating to a lay-by just north of Aberdeen. If you head out towards Dyce and stop at a certain lay-by just outside of Bucksburn. If the moon is in the right position and the time is just right” At this point he paused and took a sip of his herbal tea, slowly and methodically, letting it sit in his mouth for a few seconds to savour the taste properly. Then he swallowed and closed his eyes, letting the warmth spread through his body. Placing the cup down slowly, he opened his eyes, cleared his throat and continued.
“Well if all those things are correct, she may appear”
I didn’t ask.
It is better not to interrupt my father when he is in the middle of one of his stories. Oh sure, he expects it, wants you to even but I learned long ago that it is better to not interact when expected. It speeds the conversation up and as an added bonus, annoys the hell out of him.
“Legend tells us that she arrives in an articulated lorry cab, all smoke and lights. It pulls up to where you are, the door opens ever so slowly and an arm appears from within, beckoning you to grab it. Very few have ventured inside, at least how I hear it told anyway. Those who have, tell similar tales. The woman is a blonde, sometimes a brunette, occasionally a red head. On one occasion I heard she was bald. I’m not entirely sure about that account though. Old Jim is known for making things up. That and he has a fetish about bald women. Men too come to think about it. However it does explain the other part of the legend I have heard. That the woman who arrives for you is the woman of your dreams. So it may well be true that she will differ in appearance for each person. She takes your hand and tells you to sit down beside her. As you look out of the cabs windscreen, you see the way forward for you. Well one of the ways that you can go. One guy said that it was a group of roads leading each to different futures.”
Another sip, the same ritual. I smile weakly, knowing that at some point soon I will be forced into speaking, no matter how little, just so that he doesn’t repeat himself.
I hate visiting hours.
“She is some sort of angel, sent down from the heavens above to show you the way to go, to make the most of your brief time on this earth. Well you know me, I don’t believe in all that religious mumbo jumbo but even taking that aside and ignoring it, I do believe in some form of higher consciousness.”
I nod, that seems to be enough. He continues.
“So maybe there is some all powerful force out there in the vast reaches of space,” He gesticulates with his right hand, waving it vaguely at the ceiling, “And they are watching over us for a reason. Maybe we are supposed to not be sheep. Or that…oh what was it that David Ike called them?”
I think about staying quiet but I can see him struggling to recall the word from his memory.
“Sheeple” I offer.
“That’s the word. Ha, Sheeple. Perfect word to describe them. He isn’t so mad you know, well some of his stuff isn’t.”
His eyes are sparkling with life; this is how I remember him now, eyes full of excitement as he shares his stories with me. Hinting of a great world just around the corner and just within reach.
“So this has been stuck in my mind since last weekend. Take my advice son; never go to a garden party with friends who have been given a free pass from their other halves. Lethal, absolutely lethal. If some of them are single, they are even worse.”
Off the point, I decide to nudge him back on track.
“So dad, what has been stuck in your mind? This mysterious womanly angel?”
He looks me straight in the eyes and a smile plays at the corner of his mouth.
“Oh no son, that’s probably just an urban myth and nothing else. No what I have been thinking about is that there are things out there that we have no knowledge of. Mysterious happenings, places and people that we seem to have been cut off from. There is a reason that this happened. I need to know why and make my own mind up. That’s why I’m here to see you, well aside from actually visiting you obviously. I want you to know that I am going to find some answers and when I do and trust me I will, I am coming to take you with me. Father and son investigating the weird, the rum and the uncanny and expanding our minds together. Its what I wish my dad had done with me.”
He paused and sipped his tea, this time never taking his eyes off of mine.
“So what do you say Son? Are you with me?”
How could I refuse?
He left that day all happy and excited, promising to keep me updated on his progress.
I never saw him again.
That was more than ten years ago.