During Nano, I’ve posted a few small extracts for the upcoming sequel to Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. I thought you might like one or two more. Titled ‘The Last Will Of Sven Andersen’ the book is set int he summer of 1981, five years on from Dead Flies. Harry Spittle our hapless hero is now training to be a solicitor in the West End of London. he’s living with his old Uni friend Gary Dobbs – ‘Dobbin’ – and his on-off girlfriend Penny has moved out (so it’s currently ‘off’) but may be about to move back in (so it may actually be ‘on’). No, Harry doesn’t know, either.
In this extract we meet two new characters. 1981 has punk rock at near its height before it tail-spun to its own demise and Gary has dragged Harry out for the night, as Harry is recalling the morning after.
I was ready for a quiet night, so I’d be fresh for action in the morning, but bloody Dobbin had other ideas. He had tickets to see a new punk/prog band called the Twats at a pub in Clapham. The lead singer was something else, he said. He whined so badly I said I’d go for a couple of drinks and leave him to it.
The place, The Drunken Monk, was rammed and the band were shite but the lead singer was, indeed, something else. For starters, she could barely find a note let alone hit it and the crowd became a touch boisterous as she maimed Richard Hell and the Voidoids punk classic ‘Love comes in Spurts’ even if her accompanying dance routine was both unique and quite likely to corrupt public morals. When she launched into a cover of X-Ray Spec’s ‘Oh Bondage Up Yours’ a riot was on the cards. To calm them down she announced ‘I’m gonna pierce the other nipple now’ and sure enough, up went the slashed T shirt, out came her boobs and in went a safety pin which, until a moment or two before had been in the bass guitarist’s nose.
Several people in front of us fainted, causing a distraction and somehow, we were sucked to the side of the stage where the band were making a retreat. Some bloke in an orange suede jacket and red framed specs was pulling at the singer. He was yelling something about septicaemia and clawing at her shirt but he was so bladdered he barely made sense. Some roadie punched him flat, someone punched the roadie and then we were out back, Dobbin, me, the singer, the lead guitarist and a man in a suit who kept asking if we had any drugs.
My ears were ringing and, frankly, I wanted my bed, but Dobbin was determined to make a move on the girl and her on him. Eventually we headed for our place, me setting a brisk pace and those two groping and pawing each other behind me and then running to catch up.
I left them to it and hit the sack only to be woken at three by a panicked Dobbin. “Her tits have exploded and she’s dead.”
He’d taken something – pupils like pin pricks and he wasn’t making sense. Anyway, he dragged me to his room – bloody hell had they been hard at it – everything strewn everywhere. But the girl was out cold on his bed. One of her breasts was red and swollen; it was pierced with a nail, the other, the one she had pierced on stage, had the safety pin. Whatever, she looked in a bad way. We called an ambulance and since Dobbin couldn’t be trusted to make sense I went with them to St Tommy’s.
“What’s her name?”
Dobbin struggled so I filled in the form. “On stage, she calls herself Vera Copula.”
The triage nurse looked amazed. “You’re joking?”
Dobbin shrugged. I said, “That’s what the flyer for her band said.”
He was swaying badly and kept asking for water. It was clear the nurse knew they’d both taken something. She looked at me. “And you are?”
“His flatmate. He picked her up at a concert where she was singing. She pierced herself on stage. The safety pin. The nail was done before the gig. I don’t know when.”
The nurse nodded. “It’s badly infected. I imagine the other will be the same. Still you’ve done her a favour, getting her here.” She smiled at me, despite the hour and the racket outside from Friday night drunks. “Good job someone stayed off the pills. Any idea what they took?”
“Nope. Gary doesn’t normally indulge so I guess she gave it to him. What’s going to happen?”
“Given her condition, I’d guess we will admit her and keep her under observation. Any idea who she really is? I mean that can’t be her real name, can it?”
“She’s probably a law student. It’s Latin for, erm, consummation of marriage.” I’m amazed I remembered.
“Are you a lawyer?”
“Training to be.”
“You know your stuff. Look…”
“Harry. Harry Spittle.”
Up went an eyebrow. I waited for the snigger that didn’t come. “My mum is a Spittle. Maybe we’re related.”
I must have been feeling reckless. “We should get together and compare family trees.”
She studied me for a moment. “I think I’d like that, Harry Spittle.” She grabbed my hand and in biro wrote a phone number and ‘Jackie’ on it. “Why don’t you take your friend home before one of the boys in blue find him? If you call this number,” she handed me a note, “in the morning you can find out how ‘Vera’ is doing.”
If you have any feedback, do let me know.