November 20, 2011 by markstani
The latest excerpt from my novel, The Dukes of Fryup:
It was so hot the ends of the streets were all wavy. It’s called a mirage. The hotter it is the better the mirages get. You can get mirages of almost anything. There was a cartoon once where Daffy Duck was in the middle of the desert, really hot and thirsty. An ice cream van drove up and Daffy Duck ordered a massive ice cream, but just when he was about to lick it it vanished. The hottest place in the world is Dallol, Ethiopia. In Dallol, Ethiopia, you can probably get mirages of anything. You can probably get mirages of May Ventress’s boobs and not even have to pay a fiver for them.
Dazzler’s dad was setting off to work. He was wearing green overalls that looked a bit like a Ghostbusters suit, except he didn’t zap ghosts, he made animal food. The mill was going to close.
Fat Gavin’s dad: the long and the short of it is that it’s simply unsustainable in the current economic climate.
Fat Gavin’s dad worked at the mill too, but in a different bit where he had to wear a shirt and tie. You could tell Dazzler’s dad thought it was Fat Gavin’s dad’s fault that the mill was closing. Sometimes if Fat Gavin went round to call for Dazzler and Dazzler’s dad answered the door he said, ‘eh up, it’s little Lord Fauntleroy’.
Fat Gavin’s dad: it’s high time we faced up to a few cold hard truths.
Wayne’s dad used to work as the mill as well, then one day he put his Ghostbusters suit on as usual and went out and never came back. Nobody knew where he was for a week. We thought maybe he’d fallen in the mincer when no-one was looking, or even spontaneously combusted. Spontaneous combustion is when you suddenly catch on fire for no reason and die, and all that’s left is a pile of ash. Except Wayne’s dad didn’t fall in the mixer or spontaneously combust. He moved out to live with someone called Debbie. Wayne’s dad said Wayne could go and live with him if he wanted, but only at weekends. Debbie used to work at the mill as well.
Dazzler’s mum: fancy them getting caught in the stock cupboard like that, in flagrante.
Dazzler: I thought they were in the mill.
Dazzler’s mum: it’s a figure of speech.
They were going to move the mill lock, stock and barrel to Doncaster. It meant the village wouldn’t stink any more. Also, sometimes the mill spilled colours into the beck by accident. It went green or blue and all the trout would die or just sit there in a trance. If they got like that you could reach in and tickle them and catch them without even a fishing rod, except when you cooked them they tasted of something like washing up liquid.
Dazzler’s dad used to drive a massive truck taking animal food all over the place. He even went to places like France and Germany. His truck had a flag in and his name written out on a number plate. He had a calendar of nude women he hid under the passenger seat each time he got home. It wasn’t as good as pornos, but it was still good. Sometimes he parked the truck up our street, like if he was driving out on his way to France or Germany and remembered he had to pick his packed lunch up. Sometimes he did it on purpose just to make Mr Jenkinson mad. His truck always blocked a bit of Mr Jenkinson’s drive and Mr Jenkinson would always come out shouting.
Mr Jenkinson: what the hell do you think you’re playing at, bringing a truck of that size down a road like this.
Once Mr Jenkinson wanted to get his car out to get to work. Dazzler’s dad pretended his truck wouldn’t start for ages so Mr Jenkinson was late. Dazzler’s dad kept winking at us while he was revving his engine.
Dazzler’s dad: it won’t be long now, I’m sure there’s some doors you can be knocking on in the meantime.
(He meant because the Jenkinsons are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jehovah’s Witnesses go round knocking on doors and giving out leaflets. Once they came round when we were watching the rugby at Dazzler’s house.
Jehovah’s Witnesses: isn’t it sad that there is so much anger in the world these days.
Dazzler’s dad: bugger off out of it.)
Sometimes he let us have a ride in it. It had a really loud horn. Sometimes if we were going past an old fogey we’d wait till we got really close then lean in and press the horn and try to make the old fogey jump and drop their shopping. If he went to France or Germany he brought chocolate back for us.
Except now that the mill was moving to Doncaster, Dazzler’s dad didn’t have the truck any more. Now he just worked in the last bit of the factory. Dazzler’s dad said the whole bloody place was going down the pan.