Sex and le/la Computer by Net Anon
LANCASHIRE LASS by Anna Jacobs (first chapter)
After the Funeral by PaulaHanasz (prospective first chapter)
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The Premier Jim Bacon has announced that the inaugural $40,000 Tasmania
Pacific Region Prize is to be awarded to New Zealand novelist Elizabeth
Knox for her novelThe Vintner's Luck.
The Tasmania Pacific Region Prize is a $40,000 prize for the best novel
written by a resident or citizen of Australia, New Zealand or Melanesia.
The judges for the inaugural Tasmania Pacific Region Prize are Ms Amanda
Lohrey, Prof Brian Matthews and Prof Albert Wendt. The judges noted that it
was extremely difficult to choose one novel from the six excellent novels
The Premier also announced that the winner of the State Library's People's
Choice award is Thea Astley for her novel Drylands.
Tasmanians had the opportunity to say which they thought was the best novel
by voting at branches of the State Library of Tasmania, voting via the
Library's website, and at participating bookshops.
The inaugural Tasmania Pacific Region Prize and the State Library's
People's Choice Award was announced by the Premier, Jim Bacon, at a
Presentation Event at 5pm on the 1 April, 2001 at T42, Elizabeth Street
Pier, Hobart. Prior to the announcement of the prizes at the Presentation
Event, the work of all the short-listed authors was celebrated in the
'Writers in Conversation' Event presented by Arts Tasmania.
The six novels short-listed were:
· Drylands by Thea Astley: Viking ? Penguin Books Australia
· Baby No-Eyes by Patricia Grace: Penguin Books NZ
· The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox: Victoria University Press
· Believers to the Bright Coast by Vincent O'Sullivan: Penguin Books NZ
· Benang by Kim Scott: Fremantle Arts Centre Press
· Love and Vertigo by Hsu-Ming Teo: Allen & Unwin
Contact: Mary Knights
Arts Tasmania 6233 7310
READ AN EXTRACT from LANCASHIRE LASS by Anna Jacobs,
which is due out in Australia in paperback in late March 2001 - her first Australian historical
saga. This is the story of a group of migrants who come from Lancashire in
1857 to settle in the Peel Region of Western Australia - some willingly,
some unwillingly - especially Liza Docherty, the 'lass' of the title.
(published by Hodder & Stoughton UK, ISBN 0 340 74827 3)
We invite you to read Chapter 1 of this complex tale, written by an author
who was a migrant to Australia herself and who believes (after reading many
19th century migrants' diaries) that the emotional impact of changing
countries, as well as the reasons for making such a big move, have not
changed all that much.
CHAPTER 1 of LANCASHIRE LASS
Dorothy Pringle stood in the doorway, smiling as she watched her cheerful
young maid working. The room was fragrant with polish and flowers, spring
sunlight was glinting through the windows and Liza, unaware that she was
being observed, was humming softly as she set the table, placing each plate
carefully and aligning the silverware round each setting.
When the knocker sounded, the girl looked up and jumped in shock. "Ooh, I
didn't know you were there, Mrs P."
The knocker sounded again, demanding attention not asking for it.
"Shall I answer the door, ma'am?"
"No, I'll do it. You finish in here."
Liza got on with her work. She loved making the table look nice, loved
everything about working here for such a kind mistress. She heard
conversation, the deep rumble of a man's voice, the soft tones of her
mistress, and paused, frowning. It sounded like - but it couldn't be, surely?
Mrs Pringle reappeared, looking puzzled. "It's your father."
When Con Docherty followed her into the room, not waiting to be invited,
Liza shot a worried glance sideways at her mistress. What was her father
doing here? And pushing into the parlour, too, with his dirty boots on. It
wasn't the last Friday of the month when he came to pick up her wages. Her
heart began to thump with anxiety. Perhaps there was trouble at home?
Con threw a surly look at the lady of the house, who barely came up to his
shoulder and yet always intimidated him. "I've come to take my daughter
away, I'm afraid, Mrs Pringle. She won't be able to work for you any more.
Her mother's ill, so she's needed at home." He turned to his daughter. "Go
and get your things together, girl!"
Liza looked doubtfully from one to the other, waiting for her mistress to
"You can come back when your mother is better," Dorothy said soothingly.
Con cleared his throat. "I'm afraid we're going to need her at home from
now on, missus, so if you can pay me what she's due, we won't trouble you
Liza, who had paused at the doorway to listen, could not hold back a wail
of disappointment. She saw her father glare at her and clapped her hand
across her mouth. You didn't argue with Da, or go against his wishes if you
knew what was good for you, but the last thing she wanted, the very last,
was to leave here. She hated it at home.
Within half an hour she had her things packed and was walking towards the
town with her da carrying on his shoulder the wicker trunk she could
scarcely lift when it was full, but whose weight he hardly seemed to
notice. Liza was worried sick about her mam, but he'd told her to shut up
when she'd tried again to find out exactly what was wrong, so she walked
along in silence beside him, fretting.
Once they were over the rising piece of ground that separated the village
of Ashleigh from Pendleworth, the pretty lanes gave way to cobbled streets.
The town was dominated by the huge mill with its tall, smoking chimney and
by the two big houses, Pendleworth Hall and Rawley Manor, which lay to the
north-east and north-west, overlooking everything from a safe distance. The
Hall was the home of the Ludlams, who owned the mill - and a lot of other
things in the district as well. The Rawleys had lived at the Manor for
ever, but these days they did not bother much with the town, which had
doubled in size in the past twenty years.
Back at Ashleigh you couldn't see the mill or the big houses. The air
tasted sweeter out there and Liza loved the big shady trees round the
house. Here the air had a sooty taste to it and everything seemed darker,
with roofs of grey slate and square setts of grey stone paving the main
streets. Even the red bricks of the little terraced houses, built by the
Ludlams to house their workers, had been darkened to an indeterminate murky
brown by the smoke from the big mill chimney. Every month, when Da came for
her wages and brought her home for her Sunday off, Liza felt the narrow
streets closing round her like a vice. That hadn't worried her when she'd
known she'd be going back to the Pringles' in the evening, but she was
already dreading the thought of staying here.
She didn't try to speak again, just concentrated on keeping up with Da's
long strides. She only came up to his shoulder because she and her sister
took after their mam. Her two elder brothers took after Da and were burly
men already, but it was too soon to tell with Kieran, who had only just
At the lower end of Market Road they turned into Underby Street, where the
shop stood with its faded sign above the window, DOCHERTY, SECOND HAND
CLOTHING, and a grubby card in the door saying Best prices given. Liza's
steps faltered. She didn't want to live here again, not when she'd tasted
another sort of life, one where you had enough to eat every single day in a
house where things were kept lovely and clean - and where no one shouted at
you, let alone thumped you if you spoke out of turn.
As they walked through the shop with its piles of clothes and its sour
smell, she wrinkled her nose and tried not to breathe in. Passing into the
kitchen, she saw her sister standing in the scullery doorway, but Da
muttered, "Look sharp!" so she merely waved to Nancy and followed him
Through the open door of the front bedroom she saw Mam sleeping restlessly
but not looking as bad as Liza had feared, thank goodness. Da dumped the
trunk in the back bedroom and glanced towards the front room.
"It'll do her good to have you here looking after things. And it'll do me
good to have your help in the shop again. Get changed out of them fancy
clothes and come downstairs. I want some food an' you're a better cook than
"Yes, Da." But when Mam was on her feet again, surely they would let her go
back - if her place was still vacant. Liza crossed her fingers tightly.
Please, let no one else be found to take her place! The Pringles didn't pay
high wages, which was why they'd taken on a girl from Underby Street, so
maybe there was a chance.
Da had vanished into the shop by the time she went down. In the scullery
Nancy, who had only just turned twelve and was small with it, was washing
the dishes half-heartedly. "I'm that glad you're back. Da's been in a
terrible mood all week, an' Niall hit me this morning." She sniffed
dolefully and rubbed at a bruise on her cheek with one wet, reddened hand.
"Well, never mind that now. You get that washing up finished. Mam would
have a fit if she came down and saw this mess. We'll take her up a cup of
tea as soon as she wakes."
"I can't do everything," Nancy muttered, scowling.
"Of course you can't. I'll feed Da first, then we'll clean up together."
Only she had to go into the shop first to ask him for money to buy tea and
food, because there was hardly anything in the house, which put him in a
bad mood and made him shout at her. It was, Liza thought miserably, as if
nothing had changed in the two years she'd been living away. Just her. And
she'd changed a lot. This place didn't feel like home any more - and she
didn't feel like putting up with things, either.
The next day Da went through her trunk and took her good working clothes to
sell in his shop.
When she begged him not to, Liza got a clout round the ear. It was then she
realised he really wasn't going to let her return to the Pringles. She wept
into the pillow that night and when Nancy turned to cuddle her, whispered,
"I'm not stopping here! Whatever he does, I'm not stopping!" Once her mam
was better she'd find a way to escape, then go somewhere so far away Da
would never find her again.
When he nipped out for a wet of ale, Liza went into the shop, took some of
her clothes from among the better stuff and hid them under the piles of old
things that were going for rags, hoping he wouldn't notice.
For the next two weeks she hardly had a minute to think, because there was
not only Mam to look after, but her elder brothers, Niall and Dermott, too.
They expected her to jump to attention and serve their needs the minute
they came home from the mill. As always they took the biggest share of the
food except for Da, and that didn't leave much for the younger children.
Once again Liza knew what it was to go hungry and began to feel bitterly
resentful of her brothers' greedy, bullying ways. The younger members of
the Docherty family did not starve, but they did not get enough to eat,
either, and she had sharp words with Niall more than once, for he was far
nastier than Dermott and always had been. When he hit her one day, she
picked up the frying pan and threatened to retaliate if he touched her again.
Luckily, Dermott began laughing.
"What's so funny?" Niall growled.
"The size of it - threatening you?" And Dermott was off again.
Niall started to grin. "You're going to beat me up, are you, our Liza? You
and whose army?" He picked her up and tossed her in the air a couple of
times, laughing as she shrieked in panic.
The two men were still chuckling as they walked out.
She watched them go, hands on hips. Well, she'd meant what she said. She
wasn't going to put up with their rough treatment any more.
When Andrew Pringle came home from one of his long rambles round the
countryside, Dorothy greeted him with, "Liza's father's taken her away to
help out at home. Her mother's ill, it seems. I'll have to get another
maid. Just when I'd got the girl nicely trained, too."
He pursed his lips and looked at her sideways.
She knew then that he was up to something and her heart skipped with
anxiety. That look never boded well.
"Don't bother to look for another maid, my dear. We'd have had to give Liza
notice soon anyway."
"Give her notice - but why?" Had he lost more of their money in one of his
silly schemes? Surely not? No, he was beaming at her like a village idiot,
not avoiding her eyes and mumbling out a confession of his losses as he had
so many times before.
He put an arm round her shoulders. "I've got some good news for you, my dear."
Heart sinking, she walked with him into the small parlour, asking, "What is
it?" before they'd even sat down, so anxious was she. His idea of good news
and hers often differed markedly.
"I've decided that we're never going to do well here in Pendleworth. There
simply aren't enough opportunities in an industrial district for a man like
Dorothy felt her apprehension increase and weigh down like a lead weight in
her belly. "Just say it straight out, Andrew," she begged.
After another of his assessing glances, he took a deep breath and said
quickly, "Well - I've decided to emigrate to Australia."
For a moment she couldn't believe she'd heard correctly and could only
blink at him as she considered the words in her mind. But whichever way she
tried it, they meant the same. "Emigrate to Australia!" she said faintly.
"But - but why should you go there?"
He was avoiding her eyes completely now. "We're all going there, Dorothy.
In fact - well, I've already booked our passages."
"What?" The room spun round her for a minute, then settled down. She wanted
to scream at him, but what good had getting angry ever done? In his own
quiet way, he was as immovable as the Pennine Hills. "I don't understand.
Why should we want to go to Australia? It's a place for convicts, not
gentlefolk." And they were gentlefolk, however poor they'd become. That
thought always consoled her.
"That's Sydney you're thinking about. Western Australia has far fewer
convicts than the rest and only got some because they asked for them.
People mostly go out there as free settlers."
"Well, I still don't want to go."
"You must allow me to be the judge of that, my dear. I am, after all, the
head of the family, and I sincerely believe we'll be able to make a better
life for ourselves in the Antipodes. Things are going from bad to worse in
England and people tell me there are great opportunities in the colonies if
you're willing to work hard - which I hope I am."
When Andrew gave her a radiant smile, like a small boy who'd brought her a
present, her heart sank still further, for he only got that look in his
eyes when he was well into one of his schemes. She should have guessed he
was up to something because he'd been in a good mood lately. But he always
cheered up as spring approached and he could spend more time outdoors in
his beloved garden, so she had thought nothing of it. "Well, you can just
go there on your own. Find out what it's like and if it looks promising,
Kitty and I will follow you later."
"I'm afraid I can't do that. You see, you'd have nowhere to live if you
stayed here. Anyway, a wife's place is with her husband and a daughter
should live with her parents till she marries, especially an only child
like our dear Kitty."
For a moment Dorothy could hardly breathe, then the words came out twice as
loudly as usual. "What do you mean, we'd have nowhere to live? We have this
"Not any longer. I've sold it to Mr Ludlam. We're going to need the money
to buy a piece of land in Australia, you see. A farm. My forebears were
farmers and now I'm going to be one too. That's why things haven't gone
well for me before. I've been going against my nature."
Dorothy had difficulty putting words together and they came out in short,
angry bursts. "But - but what if it all - what if it goes wrong?" Most of
his schemes did fail, but there had always been the house to fall back on -
that and her small annuity. This time they would have absolutely nothing
left except the fifty pounds she received every year, the legacy of an old
aunt, which had been intended for pin money not household expenses. He
always took it away from her immediately, anyway.
Andrew waved her objections aside. "I won't let it go wrong. Now, I really
must start clearing out my shed and you will have to start on the house
because we're sailing next month. We can only take essential items with us
- and no furniture. It's quite providential that Liza has left, really, but
Maggie will be coming with us, of course. She's been with us for fifteen
years and I'm sure she won't leave us in the lurch, so I've booked her a
Dorothy sat motionless for a long time after he'd left, feeling stiff and
shocked. This was worse than anything he had done before, far worse. She
decided to say nothing to Kitty yet, dreading her daughter's reaction, but
went to confide in Maggie, who stared at her in horror and burst into tears.
"Mrs P, he never!"
Dorothy could only nod unhappily. "You will come with us, won't you, Maggie?"
"How can I? I have Mam to think of - and my sisters. How can I?"
That evening, after their daughter had gone to bed, Dorothy tried once
more. "Andrew, I've been thinking. It'd make so much more sense for you to
go out to Australia first and - and investigate the situation. Kitty and I
can go and stay with my sister. You know how Nora dotes on the girl. She'll
have us for sure." And would make them pay for it in small services and
regularly expressed gratitude, but it'd be worth it.
He glared at her. "Certainly not! You're my wife and you're coming with me.
So is our daughter. Have you told her about it yet?"
"Then I'll tell her myself in the morning."
The news made Kitty throw a tantrum and she continued to weep at regular
intervals till her eyes were puffy and her nose red. Dorothy argued,
scolded and cajoled, trying every way she could think of to make her
husband see reason, especially as Maggie was definitely not coming with
them. But nothing they did or said could move him from his decision.
It wasn't often she wept, but she did now, and just as bitterly as
But although their tears drove Andrew from the house into the garden he
loved and cared for himself, they did not make him change his mind.
When Liza's mother was well enough to come down and sit on the rocking
chair in the kitchen, things improved a little in Underby Street. Mary
Docherty was as gentle and ineffective as ever, but Con would not let
anyone except himself bully his wife, so she was able to protect the
younger children a bit from her two eldest sons and share out the food more
One evening a few days afterwards Da came into the back room, beaming
broadly, and beckoned to Liza. "Come into the shop a minute, will ye, girl?
I've some good news for you."
She brightened and followed him, hoping he'd got her place back. He hadn't
found the clothes she'd hidden, and she was sure Mrs P. would understand if
she didn't have all her old things.
"Come over here to the light." He grabbed her and ran his hand down her
body in a way that made her yelp in protest and try to pull away. "Stand
still, will ye!" he roared, feeling the swell of her breasts in a
dispassionate way, pinching the flesh of her upper arms, then turning her
round first one way, then the other. After the initial shock she didn't
dare protest, because Con Docherty was very much master in his own house,
and even Niall and Dermott did not dare defy him.
As he pushed her away, he pursed his lips, put his head on one side and
asked, "How old are ye now?"
He nodded. "Thought so. You're a woman growed, that's for sure."
What had got into him tonight? When had he ever cared about her? It was
sons who mattered to him, not daughters.
"Teddy Marshall's wife has been dead these two months now. 'Tis hard for a
man on his own. He needs a woman to look after things for him." He smiled
knowingly as he added, "And of course, to warm his bed."
Liza stared at him in horror, guessing what was coming next.
"So I telled him he could wed you. I could see he fancied you when he came
into the shop last week. It'll be better for you than going off to work for
that uppity Pringle woman. You'll have your own house and Teddy's a good
provider. He's comin' over to see you in a few minutes. We'll fix it all up
then." He stared at her again, then added abruptly, "You'd better do
something with your hair, though, instead of scraping it back in a bun like
an old woman. There's some ribbons in the bottom drawer. Use one of them."
His eyes softened. "You've a fine head of hair on you. You're black Irish,
like your mother's side of the family. Good lookers, the Brennans." He made
a fist and stared down at it admiringly, "Though the Dochertys are built
Liza didn't move for a moment - couldn't! - and when she found her voice
again, it came out nearer to a squeak. "But Da, Mr Marshall's old!"
He scowled. "He's no more than thirty-five. Younger than me. A man's in his
prime at thirty-five, let me tell you, young lady. It's women as fade after
thirty. Look at your mother. She once had rosy cheeks an' bright blue eyes
just like yours." He gazed into the distance for a moment, then added more
softly, "And Mary was prettier than you'll ever be - you're too
sharp-featured, you are - though you wouldn't think it to look at her now."
Liza sought desperately for some way to change his mind. "But, Da, I don't
want to marry anyone yet." Especially not Mr Marshall. He was another
large, heavy-handed man, very like her father only uglier. Mrs Marshall had
died in childbed recently and the latest baby with her, but he had three
sons and young as they were, they were already shaping up to be bullies.
Liza's little brother Kieran was absolutely terrified of them. She
shuddered at the memory of how Mr Marshall had caught her in a corner and
rubbed himself against her last time he came into the shop. It had made her
feel sick and she'd expected her father to protest, but he hadn't. Now she
understood what that had all been about. It was the real reason she'd been
brought home from Mrs Pringle's. No doubt Mr Marshall was slipping her
father some money to hurry things up. Well, she wasn't going to agree to
it. Oh, no!
Her father nudged her. "'Tis the best chance you're ever likely to get.
You'll be set for life. Young men don't have money like the older ones do."
"I won't do it."
He scowled at her. "Don't be stupid, girl! Have a bit of sense for once!"
There was the sound of clogs on the road outside and the little brass
doorbell on its wobbly curled spring tinkled wildly. Con turned round
smiling. "There you are, lad. I was just tellin' my lass that you're to wed
Teddy Marshall nodded. "Good." But his eyes were on Liza, raking up and
down her body.
She stared back at him in horror. He had thinning brown hair and a lumpy
nose, and always smelled sour, as if he washed even less than her father
did. He had beaten his other wife, given her many a bruise, broken her arm
once - everyone knew that.
"I'm sorry, but I don't want to get wed," she said as firmly as she could
manage, because inside she was shivering with fear at the thought of
Both men ignored her.
"I'll go and see the priest tomorrow morning, then, shall I?" Teddy said
over her head.
"Aye. Sooner it's done the better. Our Nancy's twelve. She can take over
helpin' me in the shop an' my Mary will just have to pull herself together."
"But Da - "
Con turned to his daughter. "We'll have no more silliness from you, my
girl. You'll do as I tell you or you'll be feeling the back of me hand, so
She shook her head. "I'm sorry, but I don't want to marry anyone." She
nodded to the other man and tried to soften her refusal. "Thanks all the
same, Mr Marshall."
Da came over and clouted her, then pushed her towards his friend. "Stay
here and talk to Teddy. He'll soon change your mind. I have to see your mam
about something." He was gone before she could protest.
Mr Marshall moved swiftly to grab her. Liza shrieked and tried to pull away
but he ignored that and began to fumble with her body, his fingers tweaking
her nipples. She wriggled and tried to kick him but he was so much bigger
than she was that she felt like a toy in the hands of a clumsy child.
"I won't do it!" she panted, glaring up at him. "No one can make me say
yes in church. Let go of me!"
"You will do it," Marshall said. "And we can so make you." Again his
fingers nipped and tweaked, and she couldn't help crying out in pain.
When he started to lift her skirt, however, there was a cough behind them
and her father said, "That's enough, lad. A bit of a feel's one thing, but
you don't get anything else afore you're wed. She's a good girl, my Liza
is, an' she's staying untouched till Father Michael has married you."
Teddy let go of Liza, breathing deeply and adjusting his trousers. "Well,
let's get it done quick, then."
"Come away to the pub with ye and we'll discuss the details. A sup or two
of ale an' you'll last out a bit longer."
The two men laughed and went out together, but Marshall turned at the door
to stare across at the white-faced, trembling girl. "I'm looking forward
very much to makin' a woman of you, Liza Docherty."
She shook her head, holding herself upright until they'd left, then she
drew in a long, sobbing breath. Mr Marshall's clogs make a loud clopping
noise as he walked away, her father's shoes sounding like a faint echo
beside them. He always made a lot of noise, Mr Marshall did. And his sons
used their iron-tipped clogs to terrorise other kids. They'd be hell on a
young step-mother, those three would.
She couldn't seem to move again until the sound of the men's footsteps had
died right away down the bottom of the street and only then did her mother
slip into the shop to join her. "He told you, did he, love?"
Liza smeared away the tears. "You knew what he was planning, Mam. You knew!"
Mary's voice sounded weary. "He only told me this morning."
"Why didn't you warn me?"
"What good would that have done?"
"It'd maybe have given me time to think of something. I tell you flat, Mam:
I won't marry Mr Marshall."
Mary looked at her daughter. "Your da will make you." Her voice was
toneless, as if she didn't care about that or anything else.
Liza stared at her. Married to Mr Marshall, she'd soon look like this. His
other wife had done. Beaten. Hopeless. At that moment, she determined that
she'd do anything, even run away from home, if necessary, to escape such a
"Liza, love - "
"I won't marry him," she said again, then shouted, "I won't. I won't!" But
the piles of old clothes muffled the words so that they faded to nothing
and her mother had already shuffled away into the back room. "I won't,
though," Liza whispered, then sniffed away the tears that were still
threatening before following her mam.
Anna Jacobs: 12/00 SEASONS OF LOVE, 2/01 OUR POLLY (hbk) & LANCASHIRE LASS
Sherry-Anne Jacobs, A PROPER MATCH, regency romance
http://www.annajacobs.com (writing mainly as Anna Jacobs)
I thought it might be useful to give you a list of my Anna Jacobs books to
put with the extract - and also, could you please mention my web site
http://www.annajacobs.com and the fact that I have an email announcements
list for Anna Jacobs readers at
http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/AnnaJacobs which people can join to
receive the latest book news first.
ANNA JACOBS' historical sagas (published by Hodder & Stoughton UK)
The Gibson Family Saga (1820-65)
1. Salem Street
2. High Street
3. Ridge Hill
4. Hallam Square
5. Spinners Lake
Jessie - tale of the early railways 1840
Our Lizzie - tale of home front in WWI
Like No Other - tale of the moors and Lancashire weavers in 1750
Lancashire Lass - Australia/Lancashire tale in 1857
Our Polly - 1920s tale of a woman's struggle to keep her handicapped son
Lancashire Legacy - Australian/Lancashire tale in 1876, sequel to L/Lass
Down Weavers Lane - tale of Lancashire in 1830
Published by Severn House UK, historical romances
Seasons of Love - England, France and Italy in 1840s
A Forbidden Embrace (coming September 2001) - regency romance set in 1817
Published by Avid Press (http://www.avidpress.com) in both paperback and
A Proper Match, written as Sherry-Anne Jacobs - reissue of first novel,
formerly titled Persons of Rank
FROM A BEST SELLING AUTHOR, CLIMBING THE CHARTS, TO A NEW WRITER SEEKING FEEDACK--
After the Funeral
by Paula Hanasz
My name is Paula Hanasz, i am a young Sydney writer who has just
completed a 'novella' of about 16 000 words. I am now looking for
somewhere to publish it or get feedback.
It is called 'After the Funeral' (yes, i know now there's a book
under that title by Agatha Christie, so i'm open to suggestions).
It is written in a 'circular narrative' where there is no
beginning or end, and you could start reading virtually at any
point. I like this technique because it allows me to play with
the concept of time and brings a certain touching poignancy to the
characters and their story, which i hope comes across.
Essaentially the plot is this: Mark fakes his own death to escape
his debts, but faking one's death is a very costly enterprise so
Mark fakes his own death to escape his debts, but faking one's
death is a very costly enterprise so...so you get the idea. It is
set in a week, each chapter being a day. It's also quite humorous,
and the characters are comical rather than tragic. However, there is
an underlying serious tone.
Below is an extract from the 'Thursday' chapter where the main
character, Mark, has just borrowed money and his best friend, Barry,
is...well, read on:
He receded down the street, his mind already going as fast as the
new car would. He barely spared a thought for Bazza who at that
time, poor thing, was frantically searching for his hairpiece in Mrs
Pumpernickel's prized petunias.
He had been diligently researching all afternoon modeling agencies
to hire mourners for Mark's memorial. He even insisted on checking
out the goods himself. Yet as systematic and thorough as he was,
so were his rejecters.
"No thank you!" the managers would shriek in a staccato as if he
had insulted them.
Perplexed and dejected Bazza walked back to his car, getting lost
in the winding streets (the rows of renovated terrace houses all
looked the same to him) and he could just sense a parking ticket
flapping happily between his windscreen and wiper as if it was
he most harmless thing in the world.
Suddenly, a little wind picked up. It tussled Barry's hair and he
smiled proudly - he had hair!
A breeze blew again and tickled his scalp and kept on tickling
kept on tickling a bit too much.
"Hang on" thought Barry stopping mid-stride with the effort
"something's not right" he was, after all, an astute fellow.
He felt the back of his head and felt the sticky toupee glue.
The hairpiece was coming unstuck.
"My hairpiece is coming unstuck!" Barry shrieked as if expecting
someone to care.
Suddenly another gust of wind hit at the hair and tore it right
Barry pirouetted (quite elegantly for a man of his age and
stature) in an attempt to catch it.In the process his hands got
stuck to the top of his head and he ran or stumbled a few
steps like a hostage to the terrorist wind.
Meanwhile, the toupee was having a much better time, wafting happily
through the air, out of reach of greedy hands and greasy heads.
Having eventually had enough air, it landed,
like a very hairy butterfly, in Mrs Pumpernickel's prized petunias.
Barry wished he could just call
toupee, toupee " out to it like a cat and it would come bouncing
back and curl up nicely on his head. But instead he had to sneak
into the little garden, trampling all over the pretty plants and
search for his lost hair while the flower petals screamed in
He was not aware Mrs Pumpernickel was watching from her lair.
"Oi- you!" she shrilled, squinting beady little eyes at Barry.
"Iíve, ahh, Iíve lost my hair "
"Well, I can see that! But what the hell are you doing in my
petunias, you lout?"
"Looking for it!"
"Your hair?! You fool! Your haaaaaiiirr?!" she screeched.
"Yes, you see-"
"I see you massacring my beautiful flowers - my children! Get out -
out, out, out, out, out!"
"But - but it cost me-"
"OUT! Out before I call the cops, you dole-bludging, dope-smoking,
sex-crazed, migrant lover you! Get out!"
Bazza obeyed, geriatrics scared him like nothing else. It was
something about how close they were to death, maybe it was
He jogged to the corner, then rested for twice as long as his
run. He was about to walk off more sullenly than before when he
spotted, right in front of him, Top Quality Modelling Agency.Right
where Harding's House of Whores used to be, he noted and walked in
There he got lucky, not like some used to, but booked a few
good-looking girls for Sunday. And he didn't get a parking fine
So Bazza was able to happily drive off into the sunset (the
clouds were clearing), his mind busy forming lists of lists he'd
have to make.
I hope you liked that. If you would be interested in reading more
i can email the file or post a hard copy.
Thank you for your time, i understand you must be busy.
Sex and le/la Computer
by Net Anon
A language instructor was explaining to her class that in French, nouns,
unlike their English counterparts, are grammatically designated as
masculine or feminine.
House," in French, is feminine - "la maison."
Pencil," in French, is masculine "le crayon."
One puzzled student asked, "What gender is 'computer'?"
The teacher did not know, and the word wasn't in her French dictionary.
So for fun she split the class into two groups appropriately enough, by
gender and asked them to decide whether "computer" should be a masculine
or feminine noun. Both groups were required to give four reasons for
The men's group decided that computers should definitely be of the
feminine gender ("la computer"), because:
1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is
incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for
possible later retrireview; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending
half your paycheck on accessories for it.
The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine
("le computer"), because:
1. In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but they are still clueless;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they
ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you'd waited a
little longer, you could have gotten a better model.
(JUST FOR THE RECORD, MY FRENCH CONNECTION TELLS ME THAT IT IS DEFINITELY
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