Sweet Tooth: The Ballad of Kola Kubes

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December 19, 2011 by markstani

This is a short synopsis and sample from my would-be novel, which is seeking representation. Please contact me at mark at this website for more details.

Synopsis

‘Sweet Tooth: The Ballad of Kola Kubes’ is the story of a girl named Trisha Carless and her extraordinary rise from a down-and-out start in life to become Kola Kubes: the most notorious porn star on the planet.
Narrated in unflinchingly blunt fashion by her older half-brother Bobby, Trisha’s journey leads from the local woods, where the legend goes she sold her virginity for a bag of boiled sweets, to Las Vegas and the pinnacle of the adult movie world.
Trisha’s crash back to earth is every bit as dramatic, and as she turns back home for help she finds her ultimate fate bound by those who refuse to forgive her past.
Stretching the stereotype of the local girl made good to its most extreme, ‘Sweet Tooth’ seeks to challenge deep-seated prejudices in our celebrity-obsessed age.

Prologue

Hi, my name’s Kola Kubes, and I love screwing!

Yes, they are the words that opened ‘Sweet Tooth’ – and set me on the way to becoming just about the most famous adult movie star who ever lived – but they still hold true, now more than ever. Sometimes it shocks folks to hear me say it that way, but it’s the truth, take it or leave it. It’s been that way for as long as I remember. I know what you’re thinking – I must have had some kind of bad experience as a child, some excuse for making me say it that way. Well, no. I’ve nothing but loved sex from the day I started and the only one taking any kind of advantage ever since that first time has been me. The way I see it, loving sex is no different to loving football or fast cars, or eating in fancy restaurants. Whatever tickles your fancy. Well, sex tickles mine, and I’ve never been ashamed to admit it. I would spend my whole life having sex if I could. Sex is who I am. I eat and breathe and sleep it. It is sex that made me the global icon I am today. This is going to sound kind of selfish, but if I was told tomorrow there was a chance of world peace if I stopped having sex, well, I’d just slip into a flak jacket, and keep on coming!

Head up to Fryup today and there’s hardly a sign of Kola Kubes ever having been there. It’s a tossed handful of houses hunkered down on high moors like it’s hiding out from something. There’s no welcome sign, no Home of the Famous… They did try a sign once, screwed in wood at village limits. No-one knew who put it there, but its straight-line letters and general smartness spoke of someone who must have gave a shit. It said, Birthplace of Kola Kubes. It got daubed on first, thick black varnish paint that blocked out its letters, then it got hauled down and chucked in the beck. It was cleaned up and put back and the same thing happened. No-one gave enough of a shit to replace it second time round. It stayed in the beck, got lapped over till the letters faded out.
In the chip shop where she used to work, they kept an old fraying photo beneath the price board. The famous one, the one she gave the fryer named Charlie the first time she headed back to the place. She had puff-out blonde hair and a brand new pair of 36DDs. They strained out of a snow-white wedding dress with a fringe like frosted icing. The photo stayed up years, all yellowed up and pocked with chip oil. I guess they figured it was good for business. For a short time Charlie re-named the place Kola’s. He had it sign-wrote up in bright red, said he’d switch it to neon just as soon as he’d sold enough fish suppers. He stuck up more shots of her, introduced specials. You could get a Kola Krunch for fifty pence. It was a bag of chips with triple scraps, her favourite. You could get a Double D for the same price, two chip cones taped together then filled with chips and a nipple blob of Ketchup on each. He even tried deep-fried kola kubes. They glooped together and spoiled the fat. When Charlie started having a whole load of fun with his jumbo sausage, the locals let him know he wouldn’t be getting his neon sign any time soon. The name and the shots and the menu were the first things to go when Charlie was forced to sell up to new folk from down in town.
Most of the long-stay statics we grew up in are gone. With them went the little museum our so-called step-dad set up with its home-pirated videos and ripped-out glamour shots, Kola’s early A-cup bras slung dangly from the curtain rail. There’s a couple of statics still perched there, insides gutted and roofs peeled back like sardine can lids. The rest is weedy concrete squares and breezeblocks. The reception hut and the flat above are boarded up, the kiddie pool drained and smashed with glass. The tourists have long gone, headed over to Sun World, newer and nearer town.
Scratch hard enough, you might still find her. Last I heard, the stock room at the back of the news shop was still piled high with iron-on Sweet Tooth tee-shirts. They won’t put them on display, but they’ll flog them off at a fiver a time to the trickle of folks who still come along asking. There’s a couple of trees carved with her name on in the car park woods. Out at the truck stop, a bunch of truckers built a sort-of shrine. There’s a small wood cross with a nailed-on hardcore nude shot fading out through a sandwich bag. Marker-penned over the middle is Kola: Truck On. They leave single fags and Pernod minis. Some like to reckon she brings protection. Saint Kola, that’s a good one. Round the back of the café above the bins it’s scrawled KOLA 74-08 RIP. It’s kind of touching. Kola would have liked it that way. Say what you like about what those truckers wanted and generally got from her, but they treated her just about better than anyone else in her mad short life.
As far as Fryup goes, that’s about it, save the gloom of guilt I reckon still hugs the place over how it treated her. There aren’t too many folk left there from those times, but you can tell those that are by the way they dig their eyes in the ground when I come on by. I’m not saying my sister was any kind of angel. But the fact is while most kids her age slumped out of school straight down the village green steps and more or less set themselves for life the moment they clicked up their first can of Super Strength, my sister got off her arse and went and did what she did, and to my mind the so-called God-fearing folk of Fryup ought to be rightly proud of that.
I started this book soon after we tossed her ashes. It’s my way of trying to set things straight. You could hack down half of Fryup forest with all the shit that spouted up in her life and especially after her death. Folk would say one thing then sell different stories for cash. The new-built porches and fancy cars round the place paint up those who didn’t manage to keep their gobs shut. Kola always said she fancied on penning her story but it was only after she died I found a sheaf-load of start-up notes in her suitcase. I reckon she’d have been proud to see them wrote up this way, specially as it’s likely the closest to the truth you’re ever likely to get. It might not come over as any kind of classic, but for sure it’s none of that ghost-wrote bullshit they spew out on the shelves these days, stuff that sugar-coats folk thick enough it could smear up a murderer to make out he’d done no wrong. Well, Kola – Trisha – she did plenty wrong and it’s took less than four or five short pages to make that clear. With that in mind, this book might not be best for those sensitive disposition-type folk who find themselves getting easily worked up over things. There sure as hell won’t be a book-signing session in the Fryup village hall any time soon. But it is what it is. Like my sister would have said, it’s pretty much the truth, and we don’t give too much of a shit if you take it or leave it.

Chapter 1

Kola Kubes – sister, stripper, porn star, most-wanted fugitive, all that shit – slid out on a caravan floor on October 29, 1974 as plain old Trisha Carless, in a place you’d never know of if it hadn’t been for her. She was grown by a mother too ginned up to hardly notice, and any one of a bunch of possible dads none of who gave two shits right up to the day the cash started rolling in. The day she was born, the sky blacked over and the rain wouldn’t let up for two whole weeks. The beck spewed its banks and flushed the guts out of the shut-up gift shops. It cut the electrics and closed the church through three whole Sundays. Sometimes it seemed like God held a beef ever since. There were plenty of folk squinted down in that old pram of hers and reckoned the face blazing up was going to be nothing but trouble.
I was barely two years old, and had just spent my birthday propped on the couch in front of the fuzzy old portable. There’s a picture of me plastered up in peanut butter, looking deep at my mum’s fat baby belly like I’m not sure I want whatever’s inside to pop out. Mum’s got a gin bottle laid over, and glazed-up eyes. They say soon after, I watched on helpless while mum slid slow down on the lino and frowned at the blood pooling up between her legs. When they banged down that door on account of my roaring, mum was damn near close to strangling the poor thing that had fished out of her inners, and might have done had the gin not drowned her strength so much. So I guess it’s thanks to the gin that the world got to know of Kola Kubes and all the crap that came with her. Without her, it’s a fair bet me and mum would still be shacked up that old static of ours, none the wiser. Mum would maybe have a new man and I’d be down on the village green steps with the rest of them, supping up my days on the Super Strength. Maybe some other kid would have taken Trisha’s place selling herself off for cash, though for lesser acclaim.
They were in the hospital a good few weeks and for a time it was touch and go, what with Trisha coming out flimsy as an ear of barley and dumping straight on the mucky lino like that. There were lots of folk whispering it was unlikely mum would ever get to see the kid again, or me also come to that, once the social got wind of the birthing situation. Mum shrugged off her soreness and stomped straight out of the place the day they unhooked Trisha from the machines. She headed straight out in the downpour and stuck her thumb out on the Fryup road. First round the bend was old Blunt Marley’s slaughter van. I reckon there’s enough folk plenty cleverer than me could fashion some joke about Kola Kubes starting out life snugged deep in the stench of pig shit.
The way Blunt Marley used to tell it, he took one look at our mum and the yowling bairn she had shoved half up her drenched out nightie and took to thinking it was no time for small talk. He steered his van through the downpour and set about fashioning another roll-up as he did so in order to distract him from asking questions. When he reached the top of high street he pulled up and gruffed at mum: ‘it’s flooded out.’ Mum flashed him a look that left Blunt Marley figuring it was his own fault the Lord had chose to open the heavens, and slammed the van door so hard the old bones in the back almost shook back to living.
What with mum shouldering off into the wet like that, Blunt Marley must have come to reckoning there was slim or no chance of seeing the bairn alive again, let alone peering down from billboards or spouting out profanities on daytime TV. Matter of fact Blunt Marley would go on to live to a ripe old age, and though his cataracted eyes were by then well past being for seeing it, it was Kola who crashed in with his hundredth birthday cake and his telegram from the Queen, gobbing off to the TV crew that followed her about the whole heap of thanks she owed Blunt for showing up and saving her life the way he did. She planted a smacker on old Blunt’s shrunken forehead and likely lingered just long enough to catch a bedpan whiff.
Mum ignored the muck-water lapping up at her swollen inners and waded the rest of the way back to the statics. Since a couple of years back, when they’d hung a condemned sign over our grandpa’s tumbledown old pile while his body was just about still warm, mum had been took pity on by the folk named the Bullocks who owned the site. There were plenty willing to make the Bullocks out as good people, specially those who saw them down in the Kwik Save car park most Sabbath mornings, where Artie Bullock would rock back and forth on his heels like a flyweight boxer, punching out fire and brimstone stories of imminent doom. It didn’t stop talk of Artie Bullock’s true intentions when he let mum have the leaky-roof van at the back in exchange for the cleaning, and rumours had it of a whole lot more. The Bullocks had moved to Fryup after a Christmas night farm blaze that accounted for their couple of kiddies and a so-called home help. There were some said they had it coming, stacking up all them gas bottles for the end of the world. The Bullocks had built up the vans and started reeling in the holiday folk just as soon as the harvests started failing. It didn’t take old Artie Bullock long to start striding round with a look that said the Lord was on his side, and he’d given him the gold round his wrists to prove it. The old boys bent up on their sticks and shook their heads at how Artie’s gift of the gab had hooked their broke-up old fields for damn near petty cash, and gone and planted big profit straight back in them. There was talk Artie Bullock had a woman in town with curves smooth as a sports car bonnet. What is sure enough is that his pinched-up missus Eleanor wasn’t enough to stop him dealing out his divine interventions to others when he got the half-chance. Mum was a bit of a looker in those days before the gin took hold, so it was hardly surprising she landed that van and her cleaning job just as soon as she did.
Mum was the first long-stay tenant on site. Part of the deal was she stayed out late as she could, left the field over to the none-the-wiser holiday folk. She soon came to not caring whose bed she ended up in each night, just so long as she was warm and there was some kind of hot breakfast waiting on the other side of it. I was farmed out round various folk while mum was in the hospital having Trisha, and none could fathom what was the bigger miracle, the pair of them making it through those flood waters alive, or the authorities allowing mum was still in a fit enough state to bring up the both of us. Maybe it was no coincidence Artie Bullock had most of those authority folk wrapped round his fat little finger, just so long as he could come to mum as much as he liked for his payments in kind. I’ve never been one for all that omen bullshit, but I can’t helping wondering if the start she had in life gave Trisha some of her strength for what she’d do to follow. Whatever, mum plucked me back off which ever folk were unfortunate enough to have a hold of me on the night she brought Trisha back from the hospital, and told them she’d do just fine in that leaky back van of hers. I guess with Artie Bullock and the gin bottle giving her all the insulation she needed, she had good reason for reckoning she was right.

Trisha started teething that very first week. It gushed her cheeks dynamite-red and sent out screams like fire splinters. Mum clamped Trisha on her tit to shut her up, and even the gin couldn’t stop her wincing at just how much she came to get gnawed at. It was no surprise mum had picked up some sort of affliction from wading through all that flood muck, and she started swinging from fever to freezes faster than a fairground dipper. She’d spew grease-sick on the lino and leave it to fester till next morning and sometimes longer. She’d lie on the couch half out of it with the gin and the pain, while me and Trisha got shacked up in our shared bedroom, bawling our eyes dry.
For a fair time it was pretty much just the three of us in that static of ours, though as soon as mum’s inners got healed the blokes would start tramping round again, regular as feeding time. Sometimes mum would hand me a bottle and a few bags of foam gum sweets and when Trisha started roaring out next to me I’d monkey-feed her through her cot bars. Other times I’d stuff my fingers in my ears to block out the wall thuds. The thuds would work the plaster free and it would puff down over Trisha’s cot. One time mum came round still halfway out of her head and the bloke long gone, and mistook the plaster puffs in Trisha’s hair for fairy dust. She reeled up her jeans and went right out in just a saggy old bra top telling all who’d listen she’d given birth to the chosen one. What with the church still closed up due to flooding, and the rumoured father’s predilection for Kwik Save car parks over pulpits, mum didn’t have to shout too loud to find omen-folk willing to give her theory the time of day.
By this time my own old man had long gone and I wouldn’t know him to this day if he stepped back in town and announcd himself and such. I don’t reckon mum even knows his identity either, and given that makes a pair of us who don’t give two shits, the chances of ever being faced with the truth are just about slim and none. When she was pregnant with me, rumours went round I’d probably pop out looking like that pervy old codhead off the fish fingers packets. It was folks’ way of taunting her for getting knocked up when the fleet was in. They said when mum was down the harbour the fisherlads could be sure to catch more crabs than they ever did at sea. Another was mum had enough sea-salt squirted up her inners the bairn was pretty much bound to be inoculated from rickets for life. Mum didn’t give a shit about her reputation, which was just as well. By the time I’d popped out my dad had long gone back on the high seas. I don’t care either way but I reckon he’s likely dead now, otherwise he’d have been sniffing round like the rest of them when there was a chance of some of that excess cash.

Those who still say Kola Kubes heaped nothing but shame on Fryup obviously aren’t ones for looking up the local history books. Fact is, soon as my sister started taking her clothes off for cash she was following in a fine local tradition. Much as the prim-and-propers might not like being reminded of it, there was a time not so long back the place was proud of courting girls like her. It pulled them up out of town faster than the fleet hooked in haddocks. When mine and Trisha’s grandpa was still alive, Fryup was raking it in and there weren’t enough folk round to share it. They had to bus boys up through summer to help with the harvest.
There were three pubs strung out along high street and in each the bar was three-deep with square-chest farm boys and the girls who’d been easily convinced to chase up after them. The more who heard the stories of get-rich-quick places on the high moors, the more headed up out of town to discover it for themselves. Grandpa called them the Gold Rush days and the girls got shiny names to match – Big Cynthia, Betty The Legs, No-Slo Mo. The boys slept sardined in barns and stayed happy just so long as they had a different girl to squeeze in next to them each night, and there were still good enough fortunes to be made from the fields. Soon, they’d stuck up their own animal feeds mill so they could sift off the profits there and then instead of sending the raw crop away. They had a whole fleet of wagons chugging the lanes, hauling the Fryup harvest to all parts of the country. Sundays, they shrugged on their best and packed the pews in the All Saints church to give thanks for their riches. They’d screw their eyes tight closed and make vows of clean living they’d likely break even before they got back to their barns. They bawled out songs of sweat and toil and everlasting love.
Course, the place soon spilled over with greedy folk taking too much advantage of the good times. They ploughed and scattered and pushed out more crops but never reckoned on the rich moor soil being spread so thin. Soon the ground sighed its last and plucked itself clean of profit. By the time grandpa had snared one of those good-time girls into squeezing him out a daughter, the place was about busted. The feeds mill was shut down and already rusting up. The workers and whores trickled back down to town, figured the sea was a better bet. There were just the locals left and the place went into a mighty slump till the Bullocks rolled up spouting salvation. The old farm boys like grandpa who were just about bankrupt were quick to turn over their stubbled-up land in exchange for a pile of quick cash. The Bullocks had the brains to use the rise in seaside holidays to get the place back on its feet. They swept out the old barns and lured in families with tinted-up brochure shots of blue seas and purple moors. While the Bullocks grew richer the old boys took to spending their precious pennies in the Sailors, the only one of the three pubs that was still pulling pints, too stuck-up stubborn to admit they’d backed the wrong business.

Since she got rich and famous, there were more folk came forward claiming to be Trisha’s old man than she had silicone inches.
There was a fisherlad called Cammy who sent in offers of paternity tests till the day she died. He went to the papers spouting bullshit about not wanting a thing of what Trisha had to offer, just the chance to hear her call him dad. Like me, Trisha always used to figure on her real dad being six-foot under somewhere, and if he wasn’t she’d sure as hell help get him there for leaving mum in the lurch like that.
Dates don’t mean shit when you’re bedding as many blokes as mum was at the time, but to me the most likely bets were a pair who never reckoned on it. Artie Bullock was guilty of a whole load of dark dealings in the name of improving his cash flow, but hooking himself to Trisha’s home-made fortune was never one of them. The way things turned out you’d get odds-on it was Artie, but the other likely father was a lad named Snake. He worked porting the catch off the boats, lugging the ice crates into market. No-one knew him by any other name. Some folk said he was named for the pair of freak fangs he had on him, which I guess could have accounted for Trisha’s skew-iff mouth in the early days. There were always others who smirked out other explanations. They recalled how Snake hung around just enough enough see mum’s belly go big, then he upped and left for good. No-one ever heard from Snake again though there’s a fair few since who’ve claimed to be him. After Trisha got famous some paper bought up mum for a magazine piece and she claimed it was the Snake guy. They dolled her up as best they could and filled her mouth with fancy words. She said,

Trisha’s father was a guy named Snake. I never got his real name. He was a looker and he knew it. He was tall and slim with jet-black hair. I won’t lie – he had a certain prowess in the trouser department. He wore a cowboy hat her never took off, not even when we made love. It was the best sex I ever had. He was a one-night stand, give or take. He disappeared long before Trisha was born. I would have liked for Trisha to have grown up knowing her father, but it wasn’t to be. She’s got his eyes. I don’t know where he is now. I suspect he might be dead.

Snake was hunted down and each time Trisha got in the news for something knew, it was a sure bet one of the tabloids would carry some exclusive claiming to have found him. They’d blur up shots of an old guy working the docks or tending allotments. They’d run their mouths off just as soon as they smelled the money, pluck stories clean from the air. Course, there was any number of blokes who could reel off facts about the insides of our caravan, but as proof of plugging mum with what turned out to be Trisha, none of their words ever counted for shit. Mum always said there was only one sure-fire way of figuring if they were telling the truth, and if she took a look at what every so-called Snake had to offer, she’d be back to her bad old ways sooner than she knew it.

This isn’t meant as no kind of sob story, but there’s no doubting Trisha didn’t have a whole lot going for her in the early days. Chances were she’d end up at best like most of those lasses of Fryup whose folks hadn’t had the time or inclination to fill their heads with fancy plots for getting out of the place. The furthest most ever got was the hitch into town on weekend nights in the hope of catching a fleet boy’s eye. Those fleet boys might have stunk up the bed sheets if they ever got that far, but their days hauling haddocks gave them heaps of ready cash, and muscles to match. Trouble was they held their time on dry land fairly precious, and the furthest things generally got by way of romance was a quick sprawl on the lobster pots under the pier. Even those who made it that far ran the risk of facing up to the townie girls who didn’t take too kind to the bunch of inbred farm sluts heading down off the moors and hooking up their boys. Many a Fryup girl would end the night limping the five miles home with a black eye a broken heel, let alone the lobster pot stains the locals called crab scabs on account of their needing a whole box of Daz Automatic to shift. Even so, by the time Trisha was born, there were enough prize catches that Fryup could call on a whole crew of mini-sailors, and by the looks of some of the bellies on show it wouldn’t take long before there was another good ship-full ready for harbouring.
What part Trisha’s start in life had in turning into who she was is up to one of those mind-doctors to figure out, and there’s a whole load who’ve tried. The way I recall it, we’d live on hardly much more than those foam sweets for a while, then other times mum would come in flush with enough bags of groceries to last us a couple of weeks. Each time she’d hug us up close and reckon things were going to turn out a whole lot different, starting now. Maybe she’d met a new bloke or got sober long enough to stock up on food. Mum was always giving up the booze for good and getting her life back in order, though the give-ups barely lasted longer than the time it took to head down the Kwik-Save and stock back up on Super Strength. One time mum worked herself sober enough to head to church two Sundays in a row, though a rumour went round she’d got herself so skint she was only after a gob-full of communion wine and a fist of coppers off the collection plate. Times like that, we’d slouch on the couch with the foam sweets. It was the closest we ever got to playing happy families.

I had learned to look after myself even before I could walk. I knew how to dress myself and how to haul myself up on the kitchen top and scout the empty cupboards for scras of food. The folk in the van one down from us had a dog called Toby. He was one of those big shaggy things that came up above my waist. Each feeding time, they would pile a tin-full of minced meat in a bowl for him, and a stack of savoury biscuits. To a hungry thing like me it looked like silver service, and luckily Toby was only too happy to share! I have always had that effect on animals. I often think if I had not become the word’s most famous adult movie star I would have been a vet, or a worker in an animal rescue centre. There are times even now when I am still tempted to do just that. They say a dog is man’s best friend and Toby was the first real friend I had. He was also the only one who never betrayed me. Our dinner-sharing stopped when Toby’s owners caught us sharing out of his bowl. The looks on their faces! They were typical of folk back then who would look down on us on account of our clothing or the way we talked. Still, I suppose I’ve got a lot to thank them for. Without Toby, I don’t know if I’d be where I am today.

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