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BOOK ONE

Tripping the Night Fantastic … FREE AUDIOBOOK!!! (Normally worth loads of money).

And there’s another one below if you keep scrolling. I’m such a generous dude. Holy moly.

FREE Tripping Audiobook Cover

Rude, charming, funny and offensive. Tripping the Night Fantastic is a dark comedy about a writer, Charlie Deavon, who attempts to solve a murder that he is accused of while under the influence of a new hallucinogenic drug called Merlin. Struggling with reality and suspecting he might be a character in a novel, Charlie trips and hallucinates his way to the solution of this unique and uproariously funny murder mystery.

To get the audiobook for free simply click on this link –

https://www.freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=1228

Tripping Audiobook Cover

Just one click of the button and you can have one or both of my novels delivered straight to your Audible library. No sign up, no accounts, just a free book (that normally costs quite a bit of money).

Once the codes are gone they are gone though. As me and the narrator still get paid when you get the book for free Audible, quite sensibly I suppose, put a limit on how many we can give away.

BOOK TWO

The Accidental Scoundrel

FREE Accidental Scoundrel Audiobook CoverA group of elderly and bored aristocrats have taken to stealing rare and priceless items to pass the time. A young man named Richard gets swept up in their world when he gets engaged to the daughter of the dangerously unpredictable Lord Rochdale. Although Richard is not particularly comfortable with theft, or much of the roguish behaviour that goes with it, he must prove to Rochdale that he has scoundrel potential in order to marry his daughter and, more importantly, stay alive.

Accidental Scoundrel Audiobook CoverWith the help of a disgruntled horse and a genius street urchin Richard haphazardly stumbles his way through Rochdale’s trials and not only survives but gains the respect (although he’s not entirely sure how) of Lord Rochdale and his elite group of scoundrels. Now all he has to do is steal a priceless bottle of whiskey.

“Do we have a new Wodehouse?” (Robert Wingfield, The INCA Project)

“Anyone disappointed that Hugh Laurie’s second novel never turned up will be glad they picked up The Accidental Scoundrel and gave it a damn good reading.” – Jem Roberts, author of the upcoming official Fry and Laurie biography, Soupy Twists!

Same as above, different link – https://www.freeaudiobookcodes.com/book_details.php?BOOK_ID=1229

A Bit About Audiobooks, Some News, And A New Cover!

I love audiobooks. I love them. There are so many books I wouldn’t have read if it wasn’t for all those strange audiobook producers who sit endlessly in front of a microphone reading. War and Peace was over 60 hours of audio. Some poor bastard had to read the whole thing. But thank god they did. Because of them (and especially the late Frank Muller, who was a legend among audiobook fans until his untimely passing due to a motorcycle accident). Great Expectations, Moby Dick, all of those really big ones we always hope to one day read, I have read because, like a child, I had them read to me.

It’s frowned upon, or at least it was, the listening to of an audiobook. But the impression of these things is changing thanks to Audible. But still a bit of, “Well, you didn’t really read it did you?” goes on. It doesn’t matter by what method the words get into your head, it only matters that they do. I read with my eyes too, my bookcase is overflowing, sometimes I also read with my ears, that’s all. Blind people read with their fingers. You’re not going to accuse them of being lazy are you? I knew a guy who read with his elbows, but he was probably functioning on a different plain of sanity altogether.

Audio is my favourite medium for entertainment. I love podcasts, I love music, and I love audiobooks. It is for this reason that I am as excited as a very excitable person doing a very exciting thing (god I’m great at synonyms. It must be the writer in me…) to announce that Tripping the Night Fantastic, my first novel (and a very strange one at that) has just completed the recording process!

The files have been sent to ACX for review and soon the book will be available to all through Audible and Amazon. When the big day comes I will write another blog post with links and a cheeky little trick that means you can get the book for free and I and the producer/voice-artist (Alan Gron) will still get paid.

More soon! Hip hip hurrah!

What do you think of the cover for the audiobook?

Tripping Audible Cover.png

Tripping the Night Fantastic – Chapter 8

Jane quietly unlocked the front door to her house and peered in. The house seemed to be empty. She went in. She tiptoed over to the kitchen, trying to prevent her feet from making a sound, and lightly opened the door a crack. She looked through and panned across the room. It was empty. She let out a silent breath and started creeping slowly up the stairs.

Upstairs was clear. Nobody was in.

Jane pulled a large suitcase from the top shelf in her wardrobe and threw it on the bed. When it hit the bed the lid conveniently sprang open, as if this were a carefully choreographed movie scene, and a pile of clothes landed in it. Jane opened another drawer and grabbed a pile of assorted underwear and threw them in to the suitcase. She went into the en-suite bathroom and grabbed some basic toiletries. She stuffed them into her suitcase and then looked around the room with her hand on her chin wondering what else she would need. Of course! She thought, bending down and pulling a shoe box from under the bed; her duel-speed, multi function, Pleasureflex 3000! She tossed it into her suitcase and then looked at it for a while, she checked her watch, wondered when Simon might be back, started to smile, thought against it, and finally took her eyes off of the immensely pleasurable toy and grabbed a few last bits and pieces to pack for her stay at her mothers. Finally she packed the book she was currently reading, which happened to be one of Charlie Deavon’s early books, ‘The Elegance of Idiocy’, and zipped up the suitcase.

The bedside phone started to ring.

Jane stared at it and waited for it to go to answer phone. Eventually it did.

‘Simon, are you there? Please pick up. It’s Casey Jury, the Casting Director. I’m calling from the studio. We’ve got people here waiting to audition. I’ve been trying to get hold of you all morning. I’ve been told I can’t start until Charlie is on set. Please call me ASAP. I’ll soon have no choice but to start without you…’

Jane’s conscience got the better of her. I say that, what actually happened is that she remembered Amelia was going to be there to audition. She picked up the phone.

‘Casey?’ she said, ‘It’s Jane, Simon’s wife.’

‘Jane, thank god, where is he? I can’t drag this out much longer.’

‘I’m not sure where he is, he should be there. Listen, I can come as his representative, so you can at least start the process.’

‘I’m not sure, I have been told to specifically wait for Charlie to be on set.’

‘It’s ok, Charlie was here for dinner last night, I know he won’t mind so long as we don’t make a decision without him. The auditions are being filmed aren’t they?’

‘Yes, actually, they are.’

‘Ok, then we can do the auditions and then let Charlie and Simon view them when they become available.’

‘Ok, that will have to do, how soon can you be here?’

‘I’m on my way.’

Jane hung up the phone and picked up her suitcase. She trundled down the stairs and practically leapt out of the front door. She threw the suitcase into the boot and sped off toward the studio.

 

In Keep’s bar Charlie was standing on the stage writing on the back wall with a piece of chalk. To Charlie those carefully chalked words were the opening chapter of the greatest book he’d ever written. To the casual onlooker they were just a random jumble of misspelled words.

Keep was behind the bar making evolutionary leaps in the science of drink mixing. The drink he held in his hand now was glowing purple. He drank it and grinned. He searched frantically for a piece of paper and a pen to write down the recipe to this incredible new drink but, alas, could find neither pen nor paper.

Simon was sitting on the edge of the stage staring at a knot in a floorboard. A tuneful music began to swim up from the floorboard and Simon raised his eyebrows at it. Charlie stopped writing and Keep looked around him-self confusedly. What was that music? All three men converged around the music that, having investigated, turned out to be coming from Simon’s trousers. The music stopped. The men looked startled. They stood there in silence waiting for the music to start again. It did. The men smiled and started removing Simon’s trousers. As they did something fell out of his pocket and clunked to the floor. The men looked at it.

‘It’s a phone,’ said Keep, eventually.

A very slight, but very helpful, reality fell over the men for a moment and they were able to think clearly again.

Simon grabbed the phone. The music stopped. On the screen were the words, “16 missed calls. 3 new messages”.

Simon pressed a button and accessed his messages. The first message began to play. It was the voice of a thirty year old male.

‘Simon, it’s Casey Jury, the Casting Director, we’re hoping to start auditions in half an hour. Let reception know when you’re here and I’ll come and meet you.’

The message stopped and another one started.

‘Simon, Casey again, I’ve been trying to get hold of you, the auditions were supposed to start an hour ago, please phone me.’

A feeling of dread greeted Simon with callous un-care for his emotional state.

‘The auditions!’ said Simon.

A third message started. Simon put the phone on loud speaker.

‘Me again, I’ve spoken to your wife and she’s agreed to come down as your representative. I’m sorry, I know we were supposed to wait for Charlie but we can’t wait forever. If you do eventually get here we’re in studio 2. Hope everything’s ok.’

The message ended.

‘Isn’t Amelia auditioning today?’ said Charlie.

Simon raised his eyebrows in realization and then discarded the look for another. He frowned and narrowed his eyes.

‘That bitch!’ he said, in a strangely calm voice.

‘To the auditions!’ shouted Charlie, raising his finger to the sky.

 

Jane had already arrived at the auditions and was currently shaking hands with Casey Jury.

‘Jane, how long has it been?’ said Casey.

‘Well, let’s see, I think the last time I saw you was on the set of Walking Backwards, Charlie’s first short story adaptation.’

‘Oh, yes, that was back before Charlie started hating everyone! Actually, prepare to be corrected; the last time we met was at your wedding!’

‘Blimey! Yes it must have been!’

‘So how long has it been?’

‘Six years this August.’

‘Well, I hope you and Simon are still going strong.’

‘We have our moments,’ she said, with a worried smile.

‘We better get on,’ said Casey.

‘What’s that on you collar?’ said Jane, lifting his collar for a better look.

‘Oh, nothing, just ketchup,’ said Casey.

‘Really? Pink ketchup?’ said Jane, with raised eyebrows.

Casey smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

‘Some things never change do they? So who have you promised the part to?’

‘I haven’t promised anything, assumption can bring a casting director great pleasures.’

‘I don’t want to know,’ said Jane, and they took their seats in the casting area.

They sat together on those cool director’s chairs, that are so unnecessarily uncomfortable, and an eager young person brought them coffee.

Auditions are normally held in the nearest available room but as the set was already near completion they decided to hold them in the studio; very exciting for the budding young actor.

The main male part had already been cast and it was indeed the floppy haired Owen Wilson. Today’s auditions were for the female lead and a few supporting parts.

Just off set were an entire gaggle of more-or-less unknown actors. They read their scripts and shuffled feet nervously. Some of them sat with their heads in their hands trying to recite the scripts from memory and then checking to see if they had made any mistakes. One girl was reading parts of the script aloud. A middle-aged woman gestured and moved her lips silently, holding the script at arm’s-length like a 16th century stage actor presenting Shakespeare to a ramshackle crowd.

Amelia stood near the back of the gaggle being cute and confident. She wore a long black skirt and high heels and a practically unbuttoned blouse. Her hair was tied back and her dark eyes bore holes through her rectangular secretary style spectacles. She filled the corner of the room she stood with an electric feeling of promiscuous ease.

Jane spotted her and smiled.

‘Melody Abigail!’ shouted Casey, calling for the first girl to audition.

Melody was blonde, attractive, and had the air of someone with no soul. She probably did have a soul, but I suspect it was busy having a seizure in a flashing gutless world of reality TV and overly produced music by people who looked a lot like her. She was wearing pink lipstick.

Jane raised an eyebrow at Casey and he shrugged with a guilty smile.

She was attractive but charmless. She scored low.

Another human was brought to the stand.

‘Donna Bronte!’ shouted Casey.

Donna had a fair appearance and a very nice demeanour. She wasn’t right for the part of a closet serial killer but she was honest and intelligent. She doesn’t know it yet but she will be given a small part with two lines. She will be overjoyed.

‘Margaret Bertram!’ shouted Casey.

Jane recommended to Margaret that she changed her name if she wanted to be taken seriously as an actor and Margaret scorned her for such a suggestion. Good on you Margaret. Margaret was the lady we encountered earlier with the Shakespearian manner. Her performance was immensely enjoyed by all but she was clearly not suitable for the part. She was thanked kindly and sent on her way.

This went on alphabetically until it was finally Amelia’s turn to impress. And impress she did. She had memorized the part and understood its subtleties perfectly.

The scene in question isn’t actually in the film; it was developed to find out if the actress was able to flip between being an innocent and naïve receptionist to a determined and intelligent serial killer with believable ease. There is dialog but it is unimportant and is only really there to check the girl can remember lines and doesn’t have a ridiculous and crippling accent.

The scene starts with the lead female sitting behind a desk, a man enters and the girl greets him pleasantly, the man exits, the girl then removes her glasses and takes on the air of a serial killer. The man comes back in and she again resumes the ‘naïve girl’ persona. The man begins to leave again and the ‘serial killer persona’ re-emerges, she slips a knife out of a drawer and follows the man out of the room with intent to kill.

Amelia played it perfectly; she sat behind the staged desk with all the attractive pull of a wood mouse. The man enters the scene and Amelia smiled politely without a hint of invitation; she appears to be bland, just your basic everyday receptionist. The man exits the scene and her true colours come out.

It was the way she removed her glasses and stood from the desk. Her body toyed with the set as if even furniture was not immune to her sensuous allure. It was as if her sexuality had a volume control and she was able to turn it off or turn it right up without apparently changing anything. She went from a dormant wood mouse to a predator of lust with a flick of a switch. Casey and Jane were blown away.

The rest of the auditions went by with little interest, as far as Casey was concerned the part had now been filled. Sitting through the rest of the auditions was nothing more than a courtesy.

 

Outside the studio a beat-up Jaguar XJ-S came to a lugging stop in a cloud of black smoke.

Charlie, Keep, and Simon got out of the car.

The effects of the drug had worn off now. This is another good thing about the new drug, because it’s based on cocaine its effects only last about twenty minutes. The effects of the alcohol they had consumed before they left The Basement however were still quite apparent. The men were drunk. There was no doubt about it. And the first piece of evidence to support this wild claim came courtesy of Keep.

A doorman, who by chance resembled a door, stood in front of the studio door. Keep greeted the man by urinating on his shoes.

The man responded by kicking him repeatedly with his wet shoe.

Charlie and Simon snuck past and left them to it.

‘You know, we could have just told him who we are, we are supposed to be here,’ said Simon, as they ducked behind a table covered with food, coffee, and soft drinks.

‘Keep would probably have peed on him anyway to be honest. Why are we hiding?’

‘So Jane doesn’t see us.’

‘Oh, of course. Why?’

‘In case she’s doing something with Amelia.’

‘Good point, she probably is. What with all these people around, and most of them knowing she’s married to you, and it being totally appropriate for all these people to see the woman doing the casting getting steamy with one of the actors auditioning for the part, and that she’s sober, and you’re paranoid and slightly retarded, and with all the cameras in here, seems like the perfect place for a quickie.’

‘Piss off. I can’t see her. We need to move to get a better view,’ said Simon, looking around, ‘there!’

Simon ran in a crouch over to the false front of the set and ducked behind it. His face appeared in one of the windows. Charlie stood up and took a coffee and a biscuit from the table. He walked over to the window that displayed Simon’s face.

‘I can see you,’ he said.

‘Get behind here you idiot! You’re going to get seen!’

‘Alright!’

A moment later Charlie was standing behind Simon.

‘There she is!’ said Simon, in a whisper.

‘Oh yeah,’ said Charlie, and began to wave.

‘Get down!’ said Simon, grabbing the bottom of Charlie’s jacket, ‘She’s going to see us!’

Charlie begrudgingly sat on the floor and ate his biscuit.

A head appeared on the other side of the window scaring the crap out of Simon causing him to flail and nearly fall over. It was Keep.

‘What’s happening?’ he said.

‘Hi Keep,’ said Charlie, waving his biscuit.

‘A biscuit, where’d you get that?’ said Keep.

‘Buffet table, over there.’

Charlie pointed his biscuit in the direction of the table.

‘Keep, fuck off, you’re going to draw attention to us!’ said Simon.

‘Alright I’m going, do you want any biscuits?’

‘Are you planning on coming back here?’

‘Probably.’

‘Make sure no one sees you. Sneak over and hide behind here with us!’

‘Ok.’

‘Now go away!’

‘Biscuit?’

‘Yes, thank you,’ said Simon.

Jane looked over as Keep was heading away from them. Simon ducked down.

‘Shit, I think she saw me,’ he said.

‘Hold on,’ said Charlie, getting up.

‘What are you doing?!’

‘Seeing if she saw you. Nope, we’re safe. She’s talking to a sexy brunette.’

Simon scrambled to his feet and peered out of the window.

‘Amelia!’

 

Jane and Amelia were standing next to an unused camera rig.

‘I got the part!’ said Amelia.

‘I know, congratulations.’

Without hesitation the girls embraced with the easy spontaneity of a natural disaster. All was professional in the mind of Jane up until that point. Unfortunately new lust is impossible to control and as soon as their breasts connected in what was meant to be a warm celebratory hug, all of the feeling from the night before came flooding back. The warmth of Amelia’s body and how limber Amelia made Jane feel, the smell of her hair, her sure confidence, her ease. Jane couldn’t help herself. She kissed her.

 

Simon’s eyes couldn’t open wide enough.

‘Do you see that!’ he said.

Keep was back. He had a coffee in one hand, a biscuit in his mouth, and his camera phone open in front of him recording the scene.

‘I missed the beginning but I think things are heating up.’

Simon snatched the phone from Keep and closed it shut. Without a word he threw the phone to the ground and removed himself from the hiding place.

‘Uh oh,’ said Keep.

Charlie was leaning on the false windowsill.

‘Here we go, turn your camera back on.’

Keep had already picked it back up, flipped it open and pressed record. Charlie sipped his coffee and Keep handed him a biscuit. Simon was storming away from them toward Jane and Amelia.

 

Passion had blinded them to their surroundings. Things were getting heated. You know that feeling you get when you step off of an air conditioned plane into a hot country? A similar thing had happened to Simon when he entered the girl’s personal space. They were kissing wildly. Buttons had come undone and cleavage was showing, Amelia’s bare tanned shoulder lifting from her open blouse, her skirt rising by itself, Jane’s hair ruffling in the caress of Amelia’s hand. An audience had gathered. Keep and Charlie had gotten closer for a better shot. A cameraman had a similar idea and was receiving directorial tips from the director. Things seemed out of hand. They were about to get worse.

Simon’s character, his normal placidness, his naïve ability to forgive, had been forgotten. Temper full, and logic gone, he charged at them and pushed. They fell hard to the sound of a collective gasp. Jane hit her head on the camera rig and Amelia fell to her back, stunned, mouth open. Unperturbed Simon grabbed for Amelia. It’s curious isn’t it, logic would have you attack Jane for the betrayal, but instead its temptation the angry mind is against.

‘Simon! Stop it!’ Jane shouted.

It doesn’t take long for decency to trump voyeurism and before Simon was even close to throttling her he had been wrestled to the ground by at least six men.

Amelia isn’t a fool. She knows when it’s time to remove herself from an awkward situation; when it becomes awkward. Everyone was so busy asking Jane if she was ok and giving Simon equal doses of condemnation and pity that she was able to disappear with only the ever vigilant Charlie noticing. Charlie saw her heading to the exit and nodded for Keep’s benefit in her direction. Both men snuck backwards out of the crowd and went after her.

 

Amelia had made it out of the studio and was casually pressing a fast walk to the main exit at the end of the car park.

‘Amelia!’ shouted Charlie.

She turned to see who had shouted. She saw it was Charlie and sighed dramatically. She didn’t protest or try to run away. What would be the point? She waited for Charlie and Keep to catch up.

‘Hurry up!’ she said.

They did and they caught up.

‘This is Keep,’ said a slightly breathless Charlie.

‘Hi Keep.’

‘Hi.’

‘Need a lift?’ asked Charlie.

‘Yes, and a drink!’

Charlie smiled and pressed a button on his car keys and his battered old car clicked open, indicators flashing, right beside them. This kind of casual luck is woven into Charlie’s DNA and one no longer questions these lazy coincidences. They got into the car. A short drive later and Charlie’s beat up relic will be parked outside Keep’s bar. By the time we get back to them they will all be tipsy again and Amelia will be back to her normal sexually charged and flirty self. They will have consumed an impressive volume of alcohol, gotten bored of the bar and moved downstairs to Keeps lab.

 

Tripping the Night Fantastic is available now on Amazon

Tripping the Night Fantastic – Chapter 7

Hangovers can be held responsible for many forgotten things, for example; the location of your car, the whereabouts of your phone, and sometimes; the location of your eyebrows, and even, on very rare occasions; your own location. Charlie wondered this now. He didn’t recognize the ceiling. This isn’t normally something he would notice, and for the life of him he couldn’t remember what his own ceiling looked like, but this definitely wasn’t it. He decided to sit up to get a better idea of his surroundings. The messages from his brain to his body normally get around quite quickly. Not today. Today his brain was so dehydrated that every thought had to pack extra precautions and hike around his body like an old rambler through mud. Long gone were the days when electric thoughts could swim freely through a youthful, well watered, nervous system. Eventually his body responded to his wishes and he lurched out of bed. His head spun, the room joined it.

Keep had fallen asleep on the stairs. It’s amazing how comfortable stairs are when you’re drunk. But when you wake up you feel like your bones have seized together and you spend the next month walking around like a severe motorway pile up. Keep squirmed onto his back and half slid down the stairs. He groaned with pain but managed to stand up and walk to the fridge. He stretched and straightened his back. He grabbed a bottle of orange juice from the fridge and began replacing all that had been lost in his brutally battered and poorly treated system. He drank the whole thing and threw the empty carton into the sink. Miraculously he was already thinking relatively well and didn’t feel at all sick.

He peered over the breakfast bar. Simon was still asleep. A little oasis of spit had formed on the floor against his cheek. Keep was only slightly disappointed to discover that he hadn’t pissed himself. He thought about waking him up but decided to leave that to Charlie.

Charlie appeared, as if by magic, at the bottom of the stairs. A thunder cloud crackled above his head. Keep smiled.

‘Good morning!’ he said.

Charlie scowled.

‘Breakfast?’ asked Keep, ‘I can cook us all something, if you like?’

Charlie didn’t respond. He managed himself into the kitchen and looked at it. It was a kitchen alright, that much he knew, but how to make it work?

‘Coffee,’ he said.

The kettle had just finished boiling so Keep happily made them both coffees.

‘Simon?’ enquired Charlie.

‘He’s still on the floor. Do you want to wake him up?’

Charlie grunted and walked out of the house.

‘Where are you going?’ said Keep.

Charlie slammed the door. Keep opened it and went outside after him.

Charlie was standing half way down the drive in his t-shirt and boxer shorts.

‘Where the fuck am I?’ he said.

‘Simon’s house,’ said Keep.

‘Where does Simon live?’

‘At home.’

Charlie turned around and went back in to the house. Keep followed. Charlie went over to Simon and woke him up by shouting loudly and shaking him. Simon’s eyes sprang open and a look of primal fear grabbed his face.

‘What!? What do you want!?’ he shouted.

‘Where do you live?!’ shouted Charlie.

Simon looked around in a panic, ‘here!’ he responded.

‘Charlie,’ said Keep, ‘everything ok?’

Charlie stood up and stared at Keep. He started to approach him menacingly.
Simon gathered himself into a more or less vertical standing position and put a hand on Charlie’s shoulder.

‘Sit down,’ said Simon. His body felt like a volcano and his voice was ashen and brittle.
Charlie grappled with the idea for a moment but sensibly obeyed and sat down on one of the kitchen chairs. Simon opened a drawer and took out a pack of cigarettes. He took one out and put it in Charlie’s mouth. He lit it. Charlie sucked on the fag obediently and a fog cleared in his mind. Simon was clearly used to dealing with Charlie in this frame of mind and Keep nodded in appreciation at Simon’s wherewithal.

Simon sat down in the chair next to Charlie.

‘I don’t think I’ve been this hungover before,’ said Simon.

Charlie finished his cigarette and let it drop out of his mouth on to the table.

‘Mmh.’

Keep pulled out a chair and joined them.

‘I feel like a derelict building. Oh god, how do you fix this?!’ said Simon, holding his heads in his hands. I say heads, plural, he felt like he had more than one. He tried to keep them up with his two hands.

‘You just wait it out,’ said Charlie, ‘or drink.’

Simon looked at the bottle of whisky on the table and considered it for a moment.

‘No, Jane would kill me.’

Keep and Charlie looked at each other and then Charlie lowered his eyes. Having realized Simon hadn’t remembered yet he thought he would do what all good friends would do and asked for a lift home before he does.

‘Can I have your car?’ asked Charlie.

‘No, you can’t have it, why would I give you my car?’ asked Simon, through the immense pain that came with the construction of each word. Thinking and conveying said thoughts into speech, in this state of mind, is a bit like trying to piss after having your cock glued shut.

‘Take me home,’ said Charlie.

‘Simon?’ said Keep to Simon.

Simon looked up in response. Charlie glared at Keep.

‘Do you remember anything from last night?’

Simon frowned for a second and then thought back. As soon as he did so everything from the night before blossomed like a metaphorical flower of horrible memories and he sagged in his chair and started, once again, to sob.

‘Good work, retard,’ said Charlie getting up, ‘you deal with him, I’m going home.’

Simon looked up at Keep through teary eyes.

‘How come you’re so damn chipper? Don’t you feel like shit? I feel like shit.’

Keep rummaged through his jacket pocket and pulled out a bag of pure white powder.

‘God’s personal stash,’ said Keep with a smile, ‘the Wizard’s Dandruff. Want some?’

Simon was angry and upset and yes, he did want some cocaine!

‘Yes,’ he said.

Drugs; Charlie was not a fan. Charlie was a man of alcohol, and, as a wise man once said “alcohol is not a drug, it’s a drink”. Keep was to drugs what Einstein was to classical physics. He even had a lab. The lab, as all good labs should be, was in the basement of his home; The Basement, which is why The Basement was not, if you follow. The Basement is Keep’s bar; it is on the first floor. The lab, which doesn’t only cater to drugs but also fulfils Keep’s curious scientific mind, is located in the basement. His apartment is on the ground floor. Keep’s other scientific interests include, zoology, chemistry, physics, quantum mechanics, neurobiology, ecology, and anatomy. He also has a love of words, his favourite word being; Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, which is the word given to the phobia of long words.

‘Whoa, Simon, are you sure about this?’ asked the ever thoughtful Charlie.

‘Yes, I’m sure.’

‘Have you done drugs before?’

‘No, but there’s a first time for everything, isn’t there?’

‘Yes, but…’

‘Come on Charlie, he’s a big boy,’ said Keep.

Charlie decided to stay a bit longer. He had no interest in doing drugs but was very interested in watching Simon do it. This would be a day of Kodak moments for Charlie. He opened a fresh cold beer from the fridge and smiled at it. The beer smiled back in its own, cold, crisp, refreshing, soul curing, hangover killing, delicious, sparkling, and fantastical way. Charlie supped his hangover into oblivion. His mind was clearer now. His eyes sparkled with delight and he watched Simon lower a ten pound note, which had been installed into his left nasal passage, onto a pure white line of that evil moreish dust.
Simon inhaled. Particles of magical powder rushed up through the note and settled on the back of his nasal passage where they began to infuse with the tissue causing the synthetic compound, known to science as C17 H21 NO4, to affect his brain in a curious way. The reuptake of dopamine in his brain became impossible and so dopamine flooded his system. The dopamine played havoc with his emotions, his ability to experience pleasure and pain, and his ability to control movement. His pupils dilated, his heart quickened, and a feeling like a buzz saw swimming in a sea of sugar ran through his body at the speed of light. Something new in the drug caused Simon to hallucinate.
Simon’s head flew back.

‘YAAAARRRRRRR!!!’ he shouted in one long breath.

‘Is that normal?’ asked Charlie.

‘Wait for it,’ said Keep.

As if by force a smile scraped its way across Simon’s face. His eyes widened and his pupils marched across his whites and turned them into black holes. The result was quite spectacular.

Simon saw an angel. It was sitting on Charlie’s head watching Simon with mild interest.

‘Hello,’ said Simon.

‘Hello,’ said Charlie.

The angel fluttered off Charlie’s head and landed on the table in front of Simon. Simon stared at it.

‘Can you see me?’ asked the tiny angel.

‘Yes, I can see you,’ said Simon.

‘Who?’ asked Charlie.

‘I’m going to feed you,’ said the attractive bird-like angel.

‘Ok,’ said Simon.

Charlie tried to share a miffed expression with Keep but Keep was laughing with silent hysterics.

The angel leapt from where it stood and dived into Simon’s mouth. Within seconds it had swum down Simon’s throat and into his stomach.

‘AAAAAAAHHHH!’ Screamed Simon, clutching his throat.
He fell backwards off his chair and started wrestling with himself on the floor. Keep burst out with uncontrollable laughter. Charlie wanted to join in, in fact a childish grin had already adorned his face, but he wanted to hold back until he knew Simon wasn’t going to die.

‘Keep, you twat, what did you give him?’

Keep tried to calm down and wiped a tear from his cheek.

‘Oh dear,’ he said, ‘this is fucking funny.’

‘What did you give him?’

Simon was still writhing around on the floor.

‘Err, not sure, I discovered it two days ago by accident. It’s really quite a remarkable drug.’

‘Is he going to die?’

‘Probably not. It doesn’t seem to be lethal. I don’t think it is.’

‘Doesn’t seem to be?’

‘None of the rabbits have died.’

Charlie likes puzzles; he turned his frown into one now and showed it to Keep.

‘One of the sheep did though. But then he was an unusual sheep.’

‘What are you talking about?’ said Charlie.

‘It would be easier to show you,’ said Keep, ‘can you help me get him to his feet.’

 

Keep opened the door to his lab and the musty smell of science ran at them and escaped out of the building. The very air of a lab, or at least Keep’s lab, has a life of its own. It’s been subjected to gases, explosions (both expected and unexpected), smells, delusions, and stagnancy. It has been hot, cold, confused and surprised. This lab has been used to its full potential, and just recently it had been rewarding Keep for his efforts. A table in the middle of the lab had the usual array of chemistry paraphernalia; test tubes, Bunsen burners, beakers, froth, elaborate framework, tubes, corks, teapot etc. A curved low oak door concealed a room full of various kinds of live stock in various states of mind. Glass cabinets were pregnant with carefully labelled bottles. A bookshelf in one corner played hypothetical chicken with physics as it held, beyond all likelihood, twice as many books as it was capable of.

Keep put his jacket on a hook and invited Charlie in.

Simon was still on his way down the stairs, he was trying to figure out how the wallpaper was playing such beautiful music, and how the pattern of the wallpaper was able to leave the walls and hug him. The music was actually his phone, it had been patiently collecting missed calls and frantic answer phone messages from an anxious casting director for about half an hour now. He decided he didn’t mind how it was happening and hugged the wonderful wallpaper back with all the love he could give. Charlie grabbed him by the arm and dragged him into the lab. Simon hugged him. Charlie pushed him off and he landed on the floor.

Keep took a large corked bottle out of one of the cupboards and filled two beakers.

‘Are you going to show me an experiment?’ asked Charlie.

‘No, it’s whisky,’ said Keep, handing one to Charlie.

Charlie accepted it.

‘Is it safe to drink?’

‘Yes, it’s just whisky, I promise.’

Charlie looked around and tried to figure out what was going on.

‘Are you… What’s, err… I don’t understand,’ said Charlie.

‘I dabble with science.’

‘I think dabble is an understatement. What’s in here?’

Charlie opened a door.

‘Don’t open that!’ shouted Keep.

‘A fucking horse!’ shouted Charlie.

‘Close it!’ Keep ran over and slammed the door, ‘you do not want that thing loose on the public.’

‘Why? It’s just a horse. It’s a horse. There’s a horse in here? Why do you have a horse?’ said a clear minded Charlie.

‘Just don’t open or touch anything.’

Simon stood up and ran upstairs.

‘Can you get him,’ said Keep, ‘I’m going to quickly sort something out in here, there’s something interesting I want to show you.’

Charlie shrugged.

‘This better be good,’ he said, and went off after Simon.

Keep opened the small oak door at the back of the room and led out a fairly mellow sheep. The sheep’s eyes sparkled. Using a soft vibrating device Keep extracted a healthy portion of semen and then put the sheep back. The sheep had a wonderful life. It dabbled with drugs, had lots of sex with soft vibrating machines, slept a lot, life was perfect. All the sex and drugs made it feel warm and fuzzy. The sheep let itself tumble over in its pile of hay and went to sleep.

Keep heated the semen in a beaker until it was dry and then ground it into a white powder. He then opened a container marked with the words ‘pure cocaine’ and mixed it with the dry bovid love juice.

Charlie came down the stairs with Simon in tow.

‘Right,’ said Keep, removing his safety glasses, ‘this is a fresh batch of what I gave to Simon, it is 100% natural and organic. It cannot kill you, and will not give you a come-down.’

‘Why are you telling me this? I don’t do drugs.’

‘It also gives you full control over your hallucinations.’

‘That’s interesting. How come Simon doesn’t seem to have any control over his?’

‘He doesn’t know he can control them.’

Those words found their way into Simon’s magical world and settled on a purple beach somewhere in the back of his mind. Simon went to the beach and stared at the giant 3D words and smiled. They read ‘YOU ARE GOD’. Simon turned around and found himself in Keep’s lab. He looked at Charlie, and with barely a thought, turned him into a giant baby.
Charlie was looking at Simon. He was a bit worried about the way Simon was looking at him.

‘Baby want a bottle?’ said Simon.

‘No,’ said Charlie.

‘I think he’s just figured it out,’ said Keep.

Simon turned Keep into an Asian plumber, for reasons even I’m unsure of, and fell to the floor laughing. He remained there for some time.

‘At least he’s happy,’ said Charlie.

‘If people found out that a drug existed that gave you the ability to control your hallucinations, your fantasies, and not have a comedown, then it could make me very wealthy indeed!’ said Keep.

‘The whole world would go insane and everyone would die,’ said Mr. Optimistic, otherwise known as Charlie; the somewhat unlikely voice of reason.

‘I want you to try it,’ said Keep.

‘I gathered. But why?’

‘Why not?’

‘You present a good argument,’ said Charlie, ‘Ok, but only a bit.’
Keep cut half a line of the mystical new drug on the lab table and handed Charlie a rolled up bank note.

Charlie inhaled. The drug rampaged through his system and set Charlie’s mind alight.

‘I have an idea for a book!’ Charlie shouted, and ran upstairs.

Keep quickly gathered the new batch in a pot and stuffed it in his pocket. He grabbed Simon by the collar.

‘Come with me!’ he said, and both men ran up stairs after Charlie.

 

Tripping the Night Fantastic is available now on Amazon.

Tripping the Night Fantastic – Chapter 6

Jane was looking at herself in her bathroom mirror. She had a towel wrapped around her freshly showered body and her wet hair caressed her bare shoulders. She wiped her hand over the steamed glass of the mirror and picked up her glass of wine. She felt nervous. How ridiculous, she thought to herself, nervous at my age. She finished her wine and put the glass down. Right, she thought, you can do this.

Amelia lay under Jane’s duvet and stared at the ceiling. The room was slowly spinning around her and her body tingled with nerves. The duvet felt heavy against her naked body. The mixture of alcohol and sexual anxiety caused her to practically buzz with anticipation. She heard Jane come out of the bathroom but didn’t look. The weight of the duvet lifted and she felt the cool air rush in. She felt the mattress move as Jane climbed into bed. The softness of Jane’s smooth, clean skin brushed against Amelia’s and two coy and loving bodies became entangled.

 

Keep entered Jane’s phone number into his phone and was about to dial when Simon came stumbling back from the toilet.

‘Right then!’ said Simon, ‘Are we going to do this or what?!’

‘Yes, let’s go,’ said Keep, hiding the phone.

Charlie picked up the full bottle of whisky and stuffed it in his inside jacket pocket.

‘Keep, you grab the other bottle and we’ll sneak it out without the bouncer seeing.’

‘You fucking idiot, I own the pub!’

Charlie laughed, ‘Fucking hell, I, fine sir, am completely, and irrevocably, drunk!’

‘But you can still say irvacu… ira voc ab. Err… you can still say… irre… voca… bly. Ha!’ said Simon.

Keep laughed.

‘Ok,’ said Charlie, ‘this is the plan.’

Charlie stood in front of Keep and Simon while Keep and Simon tried to stand still in front of Charlie.

‘We go to Simon’s house and see if Jane is fucking Sarah.’

‘Amelia,’ said Simon, raising his hand.

‘Oh yes, Amelia, and then… err, that’s it really. We’ll take it from there!’

Charlie turned on his heel and marched down the stairs and out of the pub. Simon and Keep followed suit.

The doorman grabbed Charlie by the collar as he marched past.

‘Ere!’ shouted the doorman, ‘Next time you come ere don’t think I’m gonna’ let you in so easy, you can join the back of the queue like the rest…’

Keep tapped the doorman on the shoulder.

‘Like the rest of what?’ asked Keep patiently.

‘Err… I was just sayin,’ began the doorman.

‘Yes?’ said Keep.

‘Err… that he needn’t queue when he next comes by. Err… he can just come straight in. What with him bein personal friends of yours and such.’

‘Good. We’ll be back shortly, make sure nothing goes wrong while I’m gone,’ said Keep.

‘Yes sir, of course.’

‘Oh, to be friends with the king,’ said Charlie, as he removed the doorman’s hands from his collar.

‘You know, I’m a bit nervous about all this,’ said Simon.

Charlie put his arm around Simon’s shoulders and eyed Keep to stay back a bit so he could phone Jane.

‘Don’t worry,’ said Charlie, ‘Everything will be fine.’

Keep hung back and dialled the number again. The phone started to ring.

 

The squeals of delight that were coming from under Jane’s duvet were enough alone to cause an entire school of teenage boys to suddenly die of spontaneous sexual combustion. To see them moving together like they were would cause your groin to turn inside out and the back of your head to explode. The duvet rolled over their hot and pulsing bodies, lips and legs locked together and hands stroked and caressed.

On the floor next to the bed, deep in the vast depths of Jane’s handbag, a mobile phone quietly vibrated with no hope of being heard.

 

Keep hung up the phone and shrugged at Charlie.

Shit, thought Charlie.

Charlie stopped under a street light and urinated against the lamp post. Simon staggered onward with a new sense of righteous determination. Keep held his phone, swaying out in front of him, and navigated his finger to the call button. He pressed it and put the phone to his ear. He hiccupped. The phone rang out again. Keep joined Charlie at the lamppost and started urinating against it too.

‘She won’t answer her phone.’

Charlie looked at him blankly, ‘Who?’

‘Simon’s missus.’

‘Oh, shit,’ said Charlie, with a blank drunken look on his face. He thought for a moment and said, ‘Try again.’

‘I tried t-wice.’

Charlie frowned, ‘t-wice?’

‘I’ve got hiccups. I tried twice… hic.’

Charlie zipped up his fly and looked around.

‘Where’s Simon?’

Keep turned, taking his stream of urine with him, and looked around for Simon.

‘I don’t know’ he said.

Charlie spotted him scaling a drainpipe up the side of his house.

‘What the fuck are you doing!?’ Charlie shouted, as quietly as he could.

Charlie and Keep ran up to the house and stood looking up at Simon. Simon put a finger to his lips and pointed up to his bedroom window. Keep stared up at him with his hands on his hips.

‘Why aren’t we using the front door?’ said Keep, in a shouted whisper.

Simon reached the window and peered in. It was too dark to see anything.

Charlie turned to Keep.

‘Keep… put your cock away,’ he said.

Keep looked down but didn’t seem surprised that his manhood was sharing the moment with them. He tucked it away. Charlie continued.

‘We have to stop this,’ he said.

‘I have an idea!’ said Keep.

He picked up a stone and threw it at the window. It missed and hit Simon on the head.

‘Shit, sorry!’ said Keep.

‘What the fuck are you doing?’ said Simon.

‘I don’t know,’ shouted Keep.

‘Shh!’ said Simon.

‘What can you see?’ asked Charlie.

Simon peered through again.

‘Nothing, it’s too dark.’

‘Come down, we’ll use the front door,’ said Charlie.

Simon agreed and made his way back down the drain pipe.

‘What were you thinking?’ said Charlie, when Simon got down.

‘I thought she would hear us coming through the front door,’ he said.

‘Is there another way in?’

‘We could go through the French doors round the back and come in through the kitchen!’

 

The duvet was half off the bed and Jane and Amelia were still kissing passionately. They stopped with a few more kisses and Jane rolled on to her back.

‘We need more wine,’ she said, looking at her empty glass on the bedside table.

‘I’ll get a fresh bottle,’ said Amelia getting up.

Her glass was still half full. She picked it up and downed it. Then Amelia picked up Jane’s dressing gown and began to slip into it.

‘Go naked,’ said Jane daringly.

Amelia smiled and let the dressing gown fall to the floor. She walked provocatively to the door and turned when she got there. She brushed her body against the door frame and raised her leg and swung her head back letting her hair touch the small of her back. She swung her body sideways out of the room and peered back in. She blew a kiss and winked. She giggled and skipped off downstairs to the kitchen.

Jane smiled and pulled the duvet up to her chin. Her body was still tingling. The Alcohol in her system added to the warm and cosy feeling that rushed around her body.

 

Simon opened the French door and let Charlie and Keep in. Charlie went straight to the fridge and took out a bottle of beer. He popped the lid off with his lighter and had a swig. Simon went over to the door and looked into the lounge. The TV was on but the room was empty. Keep was leaning over the breakfast bar picking at the cold leftovers from dinner.

‘So, what do I do now?’ asked Simon, ‘Just go upstairs and catch them at it?’

Charlie thought for a moment.

‘What are you going to do if they are up to something?’ he asked.

‘Join in,’ said Keep.

Charlie and Simon ignored him.

‘I don’t know,’ said Simon.

The light suddenly turned on and a drunk and naked Amelia skipped in. She stopped in shock and covered as much of her modesty as she could with her arms.

‘What are you doing here!?’ she said.

Keep put the piece of chicken he was eating down.

‘We’re here to rescue you,’ he said.

Charlie looked at Keep in bafflement and then back at Amelia. Nobody said anything.

Simon ran upstairs.

‘Rescue you?’ said Charlie to Keep.

Keep shrugged, ‘First thing that came to my head.’

 

Amelia was already outside and running down the street with a pillow she had grabbed from the couch covering her lower modesty. Her breasts would have to face the weather and hope for the best. Charlie ran out of the house after her.

‘Wait!’ he shouted.

She turned but carried on walking backwards at a considerable pace.

‘I’m not getting involved,’ she said.

‘You kind of already are.’

She stopped and walked up to Charlie, ‘I’m sorry that I slept with Jane, but this really is nothing to do with me! It was her idea!’

‘I don’t care, it’s not really my problem either. But you are making me quite horny.’

She smiled.

 

Keep was still in the kitchen absently eating bits of chicken and cold potatoes. He popped open a bottle of beer and made himself comfortable. He could hear Simon and Jane shouting at each other upstairs but it didn’t really worry him. He had food and beer and he was contemplating lighting a cigarette. He had seen a drunk naked girl, he had drunk whisky and smoked cigs, and now he was fed; perfection. He leaned back on one of the wooden chairs in the kitchen and blew a smoke ring. A door slammed upstairs and Jane came running down and out of the front door in her dressing gown. She grabbed the car keys from the small table by the front door on the way out.

‘JANE!’ shouted Simon, running down the stairs after her, ‘Please! We can figure this out! I’m sorry!’

‘Why are you apologizing?’ asked Keep.

Simon fell to his knees and sobbed.

‘I don’t know,’ he said, and then let himself fall onto his side where he would cry quietly for a few emotional minutes before spreading out onto his back to shout at the ceiling for a while.

The sound of Jane’s car leaving the drive brought with it a less tense air. Keep burped and picked up another potato.

 

A short while later Charlie and Amelia appeared at the door. Amelia no longer looked like the pure love goddess Keep had seen her as. Now she looked like she had been manhandled into a bush, which in fact, she had. Charlie looked as nonchalant as ever.

Simon had joined Keep in the kitchen and had tasked a bottle of scotch with the job of wiping his memory.

Amelia went upstairs to get dressed.

 

‘How did it go?’ asked Charlie, sitting down.

‘What?’ asked Keep.

‘The invasion of Poland in 1939.’

Keep frowned.

‘Jane and Simon you fucking idiot,’ said Charlie.

‘Oh, that. Not good,’ said Keep.

Simon downed the last bit of whisky in his glass and started sobbing.

‘He’s making that noise again,’ said Keep.

‘Has he drunk that whole bottle on his own?’

‘Yep.’

Simon leaned forward and picked up the empty bottle. He tried to pour another glass with no avail. He brought the bottle close to him and peered into it with one eye closed. His vision was actively working against him, as it does when you’re drunker than a balloon artist at a child’s party, so he brought the bottle to his lips instead. As he tilted his head back to take a swig he forgot to tell his body to stay put. Lacking this important information his body tilted back with him and Simon and chair soon met the ground. Charlie leaned over the breakfast bar to see if Simon had survived his little adventure floor-wards. Simon had managed to become horizontal while remaining seated; a remarkable feat. He was fast asleep.  Charlie leaned back again.

‘Beer?’

Keep nodded and got two bottles out of the fridge.

 

Tripping the Night Fantastic is available now on Amazon.

Tripping the Night Fantastic – Chapter 5

‘Charlie! Wait up.’

Charlie turned around, ‘Run!’

‘Fucking hell Charlie what’s the rush?’

‘What’s the rush? Give me a winning argument for being slow.’

‘Because… Just hold on!’

Charlie stopped to let Simon catch up.

‘Thank you. Where’s the Basement then? Shall we get a taxi?’

‘What’s the rush?’

‘That’s what I just said!’

‘Yes, but I wasn’t actually rushing or even moving particularly fast. I was just slightly ahead of you. You’re the one inflicting me with verbs.’

‘Ok.’

‘Safe answer. Actually I don’t really want to go to the Basement. Not right away anyway.’

Charlie looked at Simon in a way Simon didn’t recognize, at least not on Charlie. He seemed Sober. He seemed like he was about to be serious.

‘I need to visit someone, and I can’t do it on my own.’

‘Who do you need to visit at this hour?’

‘My daughter.’

‘You have a daughter?!’

Charlie’s expression saddened, ‘I need you to come with me. Please. I really need to see her.’

‘Ok, let’s go and see her.’

Charlie looked over the road, ‘She’s not far from here.’

Simon looked over. They were standing opposite a cemetery.

‘Charlie, please tell me now if this is one of your jokes.’

Charlie crossed the road and climbed over the main gate to the cemetery. Simon stood for a moment wondering if this was one of his jokes and if it was it was a sick one. Simon crossed the road and followed Charlie into the cemetery.

‘Charlie, where are you?’

‘Over here.’

Simon weaved through the graves until he found Charlie standing in front of a small heart shaped gravestone. Someone had left a yellow rose in front of Claire’s grave.

‘There she is,’ said Charlie.

‘Claire Deavon,’ Simon looked at the gravestone next to it, ‘Samantha Deavon.’

‘She’s my wife. This grave was reserved for me. I never thought she would be filling it for me.’

Simon opened his mouth but couldn’t find any words.

‘Samantha died in childbirth. She never even got to meet her.’

Charlie took a cantina of whisky out of his jacket pocket and took a sip. He passed it to Simon and both of them sat down against the opposite graves. They sat there silently for a while. Charlie lit a cigarette and looked at the Cantina in his hands.

‘I’m a cunt. You know that?’

Simon didn’t answer.

A tear began to form in Charlie’s eye.

‘It’s all here, all my problems, in this fucking cantina!’

Charlie stood up and threw the cantina as far as he could. He sat back down again.

‘It doesn’t hurt as much as it used to,’ Charlie took the picture of Claire from his inside jacket pocket and looked at it, ‘she was seven when she died. It would have been her 18th birthday today.’

‘I don’t know what to say,’ said Simon.

‘I was giving her a lift to her friend’s house. I’d had one glass of wine. Just one! But it was enough to lapse my concentration for a split second. And now look at me. What have I learnt?!’

Charlie stubbed his cigarette out in the grass and lit another one. He put the picture back in his pocket.

‘We weren’t even in the car a whole minute before it happened. We got in the car, we were both in a playful mood, you just don’t expect anything to happen, and I pulled out of the drive without looking. And that was it. Our friendship was no more. It was my fault but the guy who drove into us was drunk. He was sent to prison for twelve months for driving while intoxicated but hung himself before his sentence was up. Claire died on my lap in the car. I wasn’t even scratched. I hate alcohol for everything that has come of it yet I consume it like it’s all that matters! What the hell is wrong with me!?’

‘If you want to quit I can sign you up to a group.’

‘No, that won’t work. I just need to stop.’

Charlie stood up and walked over to the grave stone. He took a diamond ring out of his pocket and placed it out of site in a gap between the grave stone and the soil.

‘Happy Birthday Princess.’

Charlie took a step back and looked at the two gravestones standing quietly together.

‘And besides, I’ve got nothing to lose now have I. Come on, let’s go and lighten the mood a bit.’

 

The doorman at The Basement noticed Charlie and Simon walking toward him and immediately stood in front of the door.

‘He seems to recognize you,’ said Simon, as they approached the bar.

‘We’ve had our differences,’ said Charlie.

‘Charlie Deavon, how nice of you to pop back for a visit,’ said the heavy looking bouncer.

‘Stand aside kind sir! I’m here to visit the king!’

‘I just want you to know, before I let you in, that I don’t like you and I think you should have been barred!’

‘Bizarrely, I tend to agree. Alas, your landlord does not.’

Charlie pushed past the doorman and headed up the stairs, Simon hesitantly followed.

‘I’m warning you!’ the doorman shouted after them, ‘any fires this time and I’m not letting you back in!’

‘Fires?’ enquired Simon.

‘I may have set fire to the place last time I was here.’

‘Any particular reason?’

‘Describe our current motion,’ said Charlie.

Simon thought for a moment.

‘We’re walking upstairs?’

‘Correct, and what is the name of this pub?’

‘The Basement.’

‘Thus we have good reason for fire.’

‘I’m not sure I follow,’ said Simon.

They arrived at the bar.

‘Such a callous use of irony puts me in a state of serious disrupt. And so I set fire to the bar.’

‘And you didn’t get barred?’

‘No, luckily my friend Keep here agreed with me.’

‘Charlie,’ said Keep, ‘what can I get you?’

‘Two of the usual,’ said Charlie.

‘You usually have a bottle of whisky.’

‘Right, two please.’

Keep went out back to get the bottles of whisky and Simon and Charlie went to the back of the bar to sit at a table.

Keep arrived with the booze and sat down. The Black Keys filled the room with whisky soaked rock music.

‘I think I’ll join you,’ said Keep, ‘You know, since you set fire to the bar last week we’ve been packed. This is now officially the place to be.’

‘Great, let’s start another fire and lock the doors this time so we can kill them all for being populous chasing cunts.’

‘We could, but then I really would have to bar you.’

Charlie smiled, ‘Did you keep the name change?’

‘Yes, thanks for that,’ he said sarcastically, ‘people seem to like it.’

Keep could see that Simon wanted some involvement in the conversation and so involved him.

‘After the fire last week we had to evacuate the pub so Charlie and I decided to have ourselves a little lock-in.’

‘Oh dear,’ said Simon, imagining Charlie in a fire burnt bar with all the free alcohol he could consume.

‘Charlie can be quite persuasive at times,’ continued Keep.

Charlie nodded in agreement.

‘He had been calling me Bar Keep all night even after countless attempts to teach him my real name. After we had consumed enough alcohol to fuel a small plane he had convinced me that changing my name to Keep would be a really good idea.’

‘And I stick by it,’ said Charlie.

‘And so, he went online and changed my name by deed poll.’

‘The pleasure was all mine.’

‘I hadn’t actually remembered any of this until my official papers arrived in the post a few days ago.’

‘Oh god what have I got myself into? Please promise me that I’ll wake up with my own name tomorrow,’ said Simon.

‘I promise I won’t change it but I can’t promise that you’ll remember it.’

‘That’s fine. So, do I call you Keep? Or… what is your real name?’

‘You can call me Keep, everybody else is.’

‘Ok, so how come you didn’t mind when Charlie set fire to the place?’

‘He helped!’ said Charlie, ‘I can’t take sole blame for this!’

‘I was having a bad day and Charlie came along like a catalyst. He has a way of explaining things that makes you think venting in such an extreme way is normal. Or at least justified.’

Keep poured a second round of drinks and Simon began to feel tipsy.

‘How do you guys drink so much? I already feel drunk. And how come you seem sober? You were smashed when you got to my house!’

‘Functioning alcoholic,’ said Keep, pointing at Charlie.

‘I’ll take that. Functioning alcoholic, makes me feel… “functional”. Like a useful drunk,’ said Charlie.

‘Oh god, I’m going to regret this night aren’t I?’ said Simon.

‘Good! Drink up, you’re going to need it,’ said Charlie.

‘For what?’

‘We, Simon, are going home in an hour and you are going to want to be drunk.’

‘In an hour? We’ve only just got here.’

‘We’re only going back to yours for a bit and then we’ll come straight back and really hit the drink!’

‘Why are you going back?’ asked Keep.

Charlie looked at Simon.

‘Why are we out tonight?’ he asked.

‘So we can have a few beers. And because Jane wanted a girlie night in.’

‘Even though she invited me round so we can all get together.’

‘Like I said, she’s been acting strange recently.’

‘You didn’t notice a kind of, serious sexual tension between Amelia and Jane?’

‘Well, I kind of did. A little bit. I guess.’

Keep picked up his glass.

‘Sounds like your wife is urging for some deep, and pure, tongue induced, thigh watering, chest pounding, toe-curling orgasms from the gleaming lesbian fire that is the taboo of same sex passion.’

‘Very poetic,’ said Simon.

‘When we get back we are probably going to find Jane and Amelia in the steamy throes of hardcore lesbianism.’

Simon stood up, ‘Right, we have to go back now and stop them!’

Simon headed for the exit but Charlie got up and grabbed him.

‘No, it’s all very well stopping anything from happening but then you’ll never be sure and it will play on your mind until you become a paranoid, wife beating, estate agent!’

‘Estate agent?’

‘Oh yes, estate agent, because you’ll get fired from being a literary agent because you were caught masturbating in the stationery cupboard!’

‘That doesn’t make sense!’

Charlie grabbed him by the collar! ‘None of this makes sense! That’s why we have to wait!’

‘Really?’

‘Yes. You have to trust me. If we get back and they are watching a chic flick and doing each other’s hair then you can stop worrying about her acting strange. That is a good thing.’

‘Yes, I suppose it is. But what if they are doing something?’

‘I’ll have my camera phone ready,’ said Keep.

‘It’s up to you what happens. And that is why we are going for a drink afterwards. It will give you both some time to think.’

‘Yeah, I guess that makes sense.’

‘Excellent, let’s get shit faced!’ said Charlie.

 

One bottle of whisky later and Simon’s bladder was begging for mercy. It was time to gather his senses and set off in search for the men’s room.

‘If I’m not back in five minutes,’ said Simon getting up, ‘I’ve probably pissed myself.’

Simon waddled off and Charlie took his notepad and pen out of his pocket. He tore out a page and wrote down a number.

‘This is Jane’s mobile number,’ he said to Keep, ‘I need you to phone it without Simon knowing so you can give Jane the heads up.’

‘What? Why?’

‘If all goes well this could end up being good for both of them,’ said Charlie.

‘And how exactly is us helping her cheat be good in any way?’

‘We’re not helping her cheat. We want her to feel like she’s been caught out without actually being caught. Put the fear of god in her!’

‘Or the fear of Charlie.’

‘The reason being, she’ll know that we know but also that we don’t want Simon to know and hopefully it will snap her out of this little midlife crisis and feel guilty enough to focus on Simon again.’

‘That was hard to follow. I must be drunker than I thought. So, I tell her we know but don’t want Simon to know because it will crush him?’ said Keep, trying to concentrate.

‘Yes.’

‘And that will hopefully force her to reflect on what she’s doing with the kind of hindsight you might get from actually being caught.’

‘Yes! That’s amazing!’ said Charlie.

‘It was your idea.’

‘I know, but the way you said it makes it sound better than I thought. I guess I must be a genius!’

‘I guess you must be.’

‘And Simon going back to find her watching TV with Amelia, instead of fucking her, will hopefully stop Simon from being such a paranoid retard! It’s win-win!’

‘I didn’t know you had it in you to help another person,’ said Keep with a slur.

‘I am an enigma!’ said Charlie.

Tripping the Night Fantastic – Chapter 1

A monster, of indescribable horror – ravaged by booze and lack of sleep – sat at his laptop. Charlie Deavon; an unholy disgrace, stained shirt, stained boxer shorts, wild hair, harassed unshaved face, a dying cigarette hanging from his mouth, and on his desk beside his laptop, the potion that keeps his appearance so ruggedly shambolic; a half dry bottle of scotch.

The room was dark and his tired nicotine-aged face was lit up from the light of the monitor. He took a final drag from his cigarette and dropped it in a half empty glass of whisky where it turned grey and died with its two dead cigarette companions.

The cursor blinked. Only six words were on the screen:

Amelia Heart, is going to die.

 More words try to find their way to Charlie’s fingers but fail miraculously. Not because he has writer’s block, he is just a lazy drunk with no appreciation for deadlines; a common ailment for many writers.

He turned his head and stared impassively at his bed in the other room. He looked back at the monitor for a moment, made a sound like ‘mph’ and then closed the lid. He managed to slump from his study to his bedroom and land on his bed with less effort than is possible to describe.

His bed was a stained mattress on a carpet-less floor. The wallpaper was old and nicotine stained. The ceiling lights didn’t have light shades and the curtain was an old damp towel slowly getting heavier with mould.

The digital clock on the floor blinked slowly. He turned his head and looked at it, unsure if his eyes were tired, hung-over, still drunk or simply still closed. He could just about make out the time; 6:30am. He stared at the ceiling.

3 hours later the alarm went off. Not a nice tune or the radio, just a beeping drone. A few dramatic moments later and the towel landed heavily on the lawn outside followed by a shower of glass. Inside the towel the alarm clock beeped lamely on. A neighbour shouted the word ‘cunt’ in Charlie’s direction. Charlie stood naked in the smashed window. He showed his neighbour his middle finger and then headed into the kitchen.

The kitchen occupies the same space as his lounge. The fridge consists of one rasher of bacon, three cans of beer, four empty cans of beer and a courgette. In the cupboard are one can of beans, a full packet of pasta, a packet of custard creams (half empty), some tea bags, a jar of coffee, and a pile of newspapers. In the toaster is a failed experiment; it turns out that it is not quicker to cook an omelette in a toaster. In-fact it takes longer and is far more dangerous.

After several minutes of staring at the courgette, and wondering where it came from, he slammed the fridge door and stared blankly over at the laptop for a minute. He opened the cupboard again, stared for a while, and then came to a decision and grabbed the closest things to his hand. Tea with a spoon of coffee and a packet of biscuits would be today’s breakfast.  He sat on his couch and wondered once again why he doesn’t own a TV. He leaned back to reach for the half-full bottle of scotch on his desk, nearly knocking it over, and poured some into his coffee/tea. He made a sound ‘urghmph’ and had a sip of his brew.

A phone started ringing. A slight dread fell over Charlie’s brain. This ringing sound meant he would have to impart some brain activity, some physical movement, and finally speech. Three things he had absolutely no interest in doing. He looked left and then right and then down. He dug it from under him and looked at it. He answered it and put it to his ear.

‘Charlie?’

‘Eurh.’

‘Charlie! It’s Simon, what are you doing today?’

‘Mmpth.’

Charlie stared at his tea/coffee/scotch and wondered if he’d rather talk to that instead.

‘When can I come over and see a few pages?’ said Simon.

‘No.’

‘Ok. I’m coming over. I’ll bring Starbucks and some food.’

‘Fuck off Simon.’

Click.

 

 

Ring Ring.

‘Charlie, I’m in Subway, what sandwich do you want?’

‘Don’t come to my house.’

‘I’m having a Foot-long Meatball Sub, I’ll choose something for you shall I?’

‘I’m not letting you in when you get here.’

‘I need to see you.’

‘Fine. I’m coming to your office. If I get there before you I’m going to dismantle your desk.’

‘Charl…’

Click.

 

 

Simon put his phone back in his pocket, gave the girl behind the counter £10, and grabbed the sandwiches. He checked his genuine Rolex watch and ran outside and across the road to his car.

 

 

Charlie left his apartment and stumbled haphazardly into the bright offensive sunlight outside. He shielded his eyes from the day’s carelessly cheery mood and got in to his car.

Charlie’s car is a 1993 V12 Jaguar XJ-S. Its dark blue paint is faded from years in the sun, the passenger door is a faded race-car green colour from where it was replaced but never re-painted, the rear bumper is held on by wire ties, the air conditioning doesn’t work and only the driver side window goes down without requiring a mechanic to get it back up again. But the CD player works and the engine starts with the kind of rumbling purr that makes your heart fill your lungs.

Charlie sat in the driver’s seat. This is one of the only times during Charlie’s normally miserable day when his smile is actually genuine. Even the dry heavy feeling of a hangover takes a back seat while pure juvenile pleasure takes over for a while. This is Charlie’s perfect car.  The engine misfired causing the exhaust to vomit black smoke and the car turned a corner and drove off towards Simon’s office.

 

 

Simon parked in the underground car park of his office. He slammed the door of his brand new white Audi A4 and made for the fifth floor as fast as he could. His secretary was sitting at her desk looking slightly violated. Simon sent a questioning glance her way which was returned with a worried look towards his office door, which was slightly ajar. Simon relaxed and prepared for the worst.

He edged the door open and looked inside. Everything seemed in order. He looked to his right. Charlie was sitting on one of the comfortable chairs against the wall in his office with a smile on his face. Simon looked suspiciously at him and sat down behind his desk.

Charlie had his right foot resting on his left knee in the most nonchalant way imaginable. His boot-cut jeans were torn around the heel of his scuffed brown shoes. Three buttons remained un-fastened on his shirt, the sleeves were half rolled up in a way that suggests the wearer couldn’t care less if they were up or down and, although his shirt isn’t tucked in, you could just make out a brown leather belt being held tight by a pretty average and uneventful belt buckle. Simon looked suspiciously around the room. Charlie spoke.

‘I pissed in your plant.’

Simon looked over at the plant and then back at Charlie.

‘I got you a turkey Sub,’ he said, handing it to him.

‘What do you have in yours?’

‘Meatball.’

‘Give me yours.’

‘No.’

Charlie stared at him.

Simon gave in.

‘We can split it,’ said Simon.

Simon gave Charlie half of his Sub and took half of Charlie’s. Simon took a bite out of his and decided now was the best time to talk.

‘Mm, So, mmph, how many err, pages have you done?’

‘You’re the reason I hate people,’ said Charlie.

Simon swallowed.

‘I don’t mind if you haven’t written very much, I just need to see what you have written.’

‘If you carry on being nice to me I swear to god I’m going to kill you.’

‘Charlie, I’ve arranged an interview with GMTV for next week, they want to talk about the film deal and re-release of your first book and they’re really eager to hear what your plans are for your next book. And there will be some fans there so take a pen so you can sign things.’

‘I’m serious. I will throw you through the fucking window. I know there’s a bastard in there somewhere!’

‘Come on, Charlie, stop being a twat.’

‘Oh! Simon! That’s more like it! Come on, touch me.’

Charlie lifted his shirt and twiddled his nipple with a finger.

‘No. Are you finished?’

Charlie folded his arms.

‘I haven’t written anything,’ he said.

‘I know.’

‘How?’

‘You’re always like this when you can’t write.’

‘I can write. It’s just the lack of plot that’s the problem. And the lack of characters. Just the lack of book in general is the problem. What’s the rush anyway?’

‘If you’re off the shelf for too long people will forget about you.’

‘Good.’

Charlie opened a bottle of scotch from Simon’s alcohol cabinet and poured two glasses.

‘Are you finished for the day?’ he asked.

‘No, Charlie, it’s 10am.’

‘We’re going to the pub for a business meeting about drunks,’ Charlie smiled ridiculously at his own infantile sense of humour.

‘Charlie.’

‘Stop being a fucking cunt and drink with me! I’m shit bored and hanging out with you here is making me more bored so if we have to spend time together you have to be pissed! That’s the rule from now on. Ok?’

‘No.’

Charlie put a glass of scotch down in front of Simon and downed his own.

‘Charlie, I have a lot of work to do.’

Charlie put on his best Simon impression, which sounds more like Bugsy Malone than Simon, and shouted.

‘Receptionist, hold my calls! I’m going to be away from my office for the rest of the day!’

Charlie, feeling pretty proud of himself, looked smugly at Simon. Simon looked wilfully back.

Amanda poked her head into the office.

‘Do you want me to hold your calls?’

Simon threw what was left of his sandwich in the bin and brushed bits of sandwich off his shirt.

‘Yes, hold my calls, thank you.’

‘HA!’ exclaimed Charlie, feeling victorious.

Amanda left the office without looking at Charlie.

Simon picked up a schedule from his desk and walked over to Charlie.

‘I’m giving you a schedule, there are only two things on it, GMTV and casting auditions for the film, I need you to remember them.’

‘You’re not coming to the pub are you?’

‘I’ll pick you up on Tuesday morning at 6am for GMTV, please try to be awake.’

‘I make no promises.’

 

Charlie left the office and wandered around the building for a couple of hours trying to find something interesting to do or disrupt but no one took much notice of him. A receptionist gave him a funny look when the elevator opened to reveal Charlie’s rear mooning at her. A security guard told him he wasn’t allowed to beg on the premises, and an old writer friend stopped him to congratulate him on the success of his last novel to which Charlie replied, ‘Go fuck your book’. Finally he went home to immerse himself in his favourite, if only, past time; drinking.

The Book Trailer

Book trailers. I hear that’s the new thing. “Make a book trailer,” they say, “People will watch it and then you’ll be famous. Everyone will buy your book because they saw a video of it. It’s all about getting the word out.”

There used to be a time when all a writer had to be able to do is write. That was it. Nothing more was really expected of them. Now your abilities at marketing and promotion outweigh the necessity to write a good book. You must be a writer, an advertiser, a director, and a blog forum socialite. You must be shallow. I’m not very good at self-promotion. I made an advert though. You can watch it in a sec, it’s just below these words. Before you do though, let me apologise for the lack of effort I put in to making the advert. You see, my daughter was making a video for her YouTube channel and when she was done she left the camera out. So I thought, hey, I know, I’ll make a trailer! So I pressed record, sat down, and went for it. There was no real thought or idea behind what I was going to do. But now it is done. Tripping the Night Fantastic has its very own commercial. Yay.

You Read, I’ll get Started on the Dishes.

Free comedyIt is time to attack my flat with an aggressive attitude towards tidiness. I must drag myself away from the page and clean this mess. Thinking straight in this environment of disrepair is near impossible. How do things get so out of control?

There are bowls of finished pasta strewn about. Cups of consumed coffee litter every surface. Guitars are left against walls. The bookshelf is a calamity un-alphabetised incomprehension. There are no clean spoons.

The novel has trapped me in its world of creation so much so that my world has crumbled around me. It is time to take off the blinkers and focus on reality. This could take days to sort out.

So while I am busy cleaning I have a gift for you all. I have made Tripping the Night Fantastic free for the weekend. So while I am knee deep in shit, why don’t you immerse yourself in the weird and humorous world of Charlie Deavon and his hallucinogenic and drunken foray into mystery and murder.

Entertaining the Devil

It’s midnight. The record player is stuck in a loop. Muddy Waters is singing, “I’ve got my mojo work- I’ve got my mojo work- I’ve got my mojo work-“. My head nods in front of the monitor of my laptop. I pick up my whisky glass and twirl it. The ice clatters around the Grouse and water. I look up at the monitor. Late drunkenness brings on the writer’s madness. An old and dangerous fictional character is trying to break free. He wants to live again. Tripping the Night Fantastic is begging for a sequel.

I reach for my packet and remove a cigarette. I am about to head outside and smoke to clear my hazy mind but I’m caught by something on the screen.

Charlie Deavon is staring at me through the monitor. I can see his face in remarkable detail; every hair and every crease and line. He isn’t scowling but the thought is there.

He leans closer and head-butts the screen. My laptop rocks forward and I stop it with my hand. I put my cigarette down and open a word file.

The curser blinks for a moment. I have a sip of whisky. ‘So, what do you want to do, Charlie?’

He smiles, and from that moment I can no longer control his actions.

 

That is how the second book in the Tripping series came into this world. That was its birth. A moment of madness caught in a whisky haze and captured forever in a blog. It will be called Tripping the Urban Guerrilla. It will write itself in a way, just as the last one did. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, just as the last one was not. In the telling of its unusual tale it will capture that feeling of not being sure of your own reality. The kind of book that leaves you with the urge to have a drink and a cigarette. To be less in control of your inhibitions, and to enjoy it. A lesson for actively making your life worse, while simultaneously bringing a satisfying sense of mischief to it.

It won’t be my second book, that one has already been written. A stately manor based comedy called A Scoundrel for Love. But that won’t be released independently until it has been turned down by at least 5 agents. I’ve never sent a book to an agent before so maybe it will be picked up. Who knows?

The Tripping series will always be independent. They are too experimental (not in a hard to read kind of way, there is just a freedom to where the story goes and how it is told that might not suit a traditional publisher). As a writer I think you need the freedom with at least one project to write something that is completely unaffected. Something a bit unhinged. Something you will laugh at personally. A self-indulgent kind of writing. Somewhere to dump all your lunacy so when you come to write the good stuff it is easier to handle.

When I am bored, or in need of a fix of insanity, I turn to Charlie (not a pun) and entertain myself for a while.

The first trip:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tripping-Night-Fantastic-Charlie-Deavon/dp/1481210815/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390225013&sr=8-1&keywords=tripping+the+night+fantastic