Saturday, 16 February 2008

Extract from The State of Me (Ch 6)

1984

My grandad was eating marshmallows and watching the racing. I was jealous of him with no worries, focused on his horse. How are you keeping, dear? he asked. He swivelled round and offered me a sweet. I sank my teeth into the vile pinkness. He cleared his throat and I could hear the hem hem travelling up through his gullet. (When you make that hem hem noise, do you ever think it's not you, but another voice in your head? These are the things you think about when you've got a lot of time.)

I asked my grandad what his horse was called.

He didn't answer.

He's deaf, said Brian. It's called Swizzle Stick.

They should name horses after illnesses, I said. It'd give ill people a chance to be sporty.

No one was really listening.

You could put your money on Viral Meningitis or Parkinson's Disease.

That's a terrible thing to say, said my mother from behind her crossword, but she was laughing.

15 comments:

cusp said...

My father always reckoned that Rubella and Diphtheria always sounded so pretty and could have been lovely girl's names if only they weren't such ghastly illnesses.

How about Herpes for a boy ?

petal47 said...

You're tormenting me! My husband calls reading a book before you're ready to start it 'just looking at the words'.

nmj said...

hey cusp, rubella i can almost hear as a girl's name, but i draw the line at diptheria...

hey petal47, but torment in a good way, i hope! i love your husband's expression.

Merkin said...

Rubella Beckham?
Diptheria Willis?
Everything is possible when we have Moon Unit Zappa as a model.

nmj said...

The name Moon Unit has never really irked me, but that is cos I used to be a huge Zappa fan.

Böbø said...

I'd put good money on Erectile Disfunction to win by a sniff neck over Femine Bladder Weakness with Piles bringing up the rear ... well you started the general tastelessness!

nmj said...

dearest bobo, you are truly lowering the tone on this sunny sunday ... 'gulf war syndrome' makes an appearance later...

fluttertongue said...

I'm sure there is a Veruca in one of Roald Dahl's book. And Candida is almost the name of a famous play.

Malaria sounds like it could be some mix of Melanie and Maria.

nmj said...

hey flutter, candide in fact makes an appearance in my book, it is one of my favourite french novels... it's so cheeky...

zhisou said...

"The State of Me" is in my Amazon basket, but I had to put it in "Save For Later" or they wouldn´t have delivered the other things until yours got published.

I´l let you know when it arrives so you can sign it.

nmj said...

Thanks, Mr Z, am glad you have saved me for later.

Clare said...

Ooh, this has made me very eager for your book to be published! And I love the idea of illnessly-named horses. Go, hyperemesis! Or then again... hmmm, yes, actually I think I would be cheering my horse to lose. "Fall over, hyperemesis! Catch your leg in a ditch!"

nmj said...

Hey Clare, Yes, we would definitely want Hyperemesis to be injured!

Dysthymiac said...

I'm laughing too - it's a brilliant concept - I like Infarction ... and yes, what Cusp says above too.

nmj said...

hey dysth, i just saw that film for the first time the other day, it was on tv, i loved it.