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Coming soon in digital...
Coming soon in digital... Folk'd
Coming soon in digital... Completely Folk'd
Coming soon in digital... Folk'd Up Beyond All Recognition
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Folk'd

Below you will find the opening chapter to Folk'd…I'm always keen to have feedback on my writing, so if you have any comments - be nice people - do drop me a line!!

 

The Birth

The darkness was almost complete.

Light sources filtered through from above, but they were too diffuse to do anything but suggest the outline of the four or five hulking, squat shapes sitting in the blackness.

The odour of death pervaded the scene. The smell of rotting meat.

A rumbling sound began to build, from distant murmur to thundering rattle. With a whp-crak, a bolt was drawn back. In the blackness, nothing seemed to stir.

Several groaning creaks signified the stop-start opening of a reluctant door.

“Sure when’s it not my fuckin turn…”

Muttering this and other dark utterances to himself, Danny Morrigan reversed into his back alley, dragging the bastard wheelie bastard bin behind him.

He emerged into The Alley of Eternal Damnation And Sporadic Dogshit thoroughly fucked off with life, shivering in his T-shirt and shorts, regretting the decision to do this in his comfy night gear, wishing he‘d done this during the hours of daylight instead of coming home and thudding gratefully into the depths of the sofa.

“Might have been an idea to have done this a few hours ago? When it was light? When you still had your jeans on?” a voice called to him. It was young. It was female. It was so chock-full of smugness that if someone had pricked it with a pin it would have exploded in a shower of iPhones.

“Might be an idea to go and fuck?” he growled back. But not too loudly.

This fucker of a bin, curse it, curse it and its demonic seed for a hundred generations, was as ever a complete ballix to navigate. Some unidentifiable but unmistakably gloopy shadow-material at his feet gave the wheels the merest flicker of a nudge and despite being big and solid and heavy, as ever the bin demonstrated the strength of its grasp on upright equilibrium was on a par with the stopping power of a butter bullet.

It wobbled. It bobbled. The whole thing came within a whisker of capsizing. If it did, it would vomit black bags into the darkness and they, being about as solid as the Old Woman Who Lived In The Shoe’s grasp of birth control, would gratefully release their unspeakable loads and he’d spend hours, honest to God hours out here in the black, ankle deep in his own crap lest he earn the disgust of the entire street.

Not gonna fuckin happen. Danny strained every sinew and let loose with a string of very bad words before he finally managed to get it righted and set down in a suitable parking spot.

Job done. Danny risked a quick glance up and down the alley. Intellectually of course, he knew it was just a narrow passage between two identikit terraced rows of houses, a very mundane and urban object. Some other part of him knew it was a very narrow space extremely poorly lit at fuck knows o’clock. No-one even had their bedroom lights on at either adjoining street, making the darkness especially oppressive.

But...

But he was a man. And men do not nervously scamper and skip like ballerina crabs through alleys. Men don’t think of how easy it would be for something to hide between these ugly oul bins, something small and brown and scuttly and diseased, blending in with the eye-watering stench.

Danny was thinking very hard indeed of how much men didn’t think of any of this.

He moved as casually yet purposefully as his ego allowed to go back through the alleyway entrance again and into the safety of his own back yard.

With perfect comic timing, a large black shadow dropped down right in front of him.

“GEERRRWAYACHRISTABASTARD!!!!!!”

Danny immediately embarked upon a whistlestop journey of the five stages of male recovery from a fright. Relief. It was a cat. Not some hitherto unknown to nature alleyway horror. Calm. A cat. A cat. Stop the heart pounding Danny, for fucks sake. Simmer down son. Reflective. Just a cat. Embarrassment. You just got on like a big woman over a cat…

Anger.

“Stupid fuckin cat! Bastard ye!”

How dare it? Danny thought, wrapping the anger around him like the big fluffy comfort blanket of masculinity it was. How dare the wee bastard flit across his vision like that? Who did it think it was, the fucker, making him momentarily - if completely understandably - startled?

The big black fucker didn‘t pay him the tribute of so much as a backward glance thrown contemptuously over its shoulder as it slunk off into its nocturnal alley kingdom, flowing liquid-like from one bin to the next. Deciding he’d had enough, Danny fairly dived back through his alley door. He bolted it first time, his brain telling his fingers in no uncertain terms this was no time to fuck about co-ordination wise, and was through his kitchen door in a few strides.

Not far away (the kitchen’s size guaranteed that anyone, anywhere within it, wasn’t far away) at the sink, washing a day-long three-lane pile-up of dishes was Ellie, his girlfriend.

Like many of the fairer sex, to Danny’s way of thinking, Ellie rather fancied herself as a guru-like purveyor of sage advice. Unfortunately, also to Danny’s way of thinking, her particular brand of advice was mostly of the “shutting the stable door after the horse has not only bolted but been caught, subsequently lived to a ripe old age, fathered a massive brood of colts, and been taken away to be turned into Pritt-Stick” variety.

Ellie was petite, pretty and raven-haired. And she had a smile that…well, he couldn’t explain it. Most likely, the smile was just the most visibly adorable thing about her that summed up everything else. But that didn’t sound as romantic as “she had a smile that lit up the room” or somesuch nonsense.

Pragmatism like that rarely showed up in the Cosmo relationship surveys she sometimes insisted on making him do. In his mind no matter what the actual title of the surveys was, the bottom line was always something like “are you destined to be a super-happy couple who stay together forever or are you, frankly, a bit shit?”.

On the “what’s her best feature?” question on those surveys, he always went for ’lovely smile’ or ‘great sense of humour’ which was a nice safe option and made sure to tut tut disapprovingly at option D, which was usually something about ‘size of tits’.

Danny himself was nothing special, medium height, medium build, neither particularly handsome nor homely in the looks department. His defining feature as a person wasn’t physical, but was instead a sort of lolloping, genial manner which made everyone surmise (correctly) that he was harmless and (incorrectly) that he was not all that sharp.

“Did you say something? When you were outside? Thought I heard…” Ellie began, with altogether too much merriment in her eyes for Danny’s liking.

“Fuckin bin. Hate putting it out, did I mention that?” Danny replied, shivering. “It’s pitch black out there.”

“Ach it is not pitch black,” Ellie retorted mildly, swabbing a plate with her trademark counter-clockwise motion. “Don’t exaggerate. You’re always exaggerating, you.”

“I’m not exaggerating!” Danny said indignantly, between swallows of apple and raspberry juice (on the verge of turning, by the taste of it). “It’s that dark out there the fuckin bats are wearin night-vision goggles. They should have a flare gun emplacement rigged up every ten yards down that alley. It’s not safe. And that fuckin cat – oooh,” and he took a moment to physically shake with rage and animal cruelty fantasies, “I hate that big black bastard…”

“What are you afraid of?” Ellie asked, bemused.

“Don‘t talk daft,” he retorted instantly, getting himself a suitably manly mini-Snickers bar from the leftover-from-Christmas-Celebrations tin on the countertop. He tried to bite into it in as masculine a way as possible but given its reduced size, this would have carried the serious risk of chomping off fingertips in the process. He settled for simply swallowing it whole with as gangsta a look as could be mustered.

Ellie continued to swab egg-glooped plates innocently. “Could it be the huge rats out there?” she said, lingering over every word. “Is that it? You should be glad of that cat, because I saw one the other week swear to God coulda mangled a Labrador-”

He grabbed her by the waist and made as if to bite off her ears. She wriggled in protest, letting the plate slip with a blooopsh into the almond and coconut scented dishwater. She scrabbled at him with wet hands and he spun her around until she was more or less (but not really) forced to kiss him given their positions.

Her supposed resistance evaporated after the first few seconds and he enjoyed the taste of her, as if her lips were warming him again after the dark uncertainty of his epic quest to Put the Wheelie Bin Out.

Danny broke the kiss and tilted his head, as if listening for something.

“What?”

“Isn’t this where the wee fella’s supposed to start crying and we look at each other and sigh?”

“I bribed him with the emergency fiver,” Ellie replied, grinning.

Danny moved away from his girlfriend, having to skirt around her given the ridiculous narrowness of their kitchen, and padded out of the kitchen to peek into the living room. Spread out on a squashy blue baby mat, covered in soft blankets, surrounded by squeaky toys, was – in Danny’s unbiased opinion – an extremely cute eight-month-old boy. Little Luke. Their son. Currently flat out asleep. All was silent, all was still.

The only noise in the room, in fact, was coming from the television news, given the task of lulling him those last few inches to sleep while Ellie did the dishes and Danny was dragged to bin duty. Set to low volume, it had done its job brilliantly. He felt like kissing the screen, until he saw what was currently occupying it.

“…and so in one week‘s time, Ireland will usher in a new era of telecommunications when the Lircom network goes live, delivering what’s been termed “the information hyper-highway”, a super-high-speed Ethernet connection from Rathlin in the North to Cape Clear, leaving the rest of Europe…in the slow lane. This is Terry Irvine, for ITN News, in Belfast.”

Danny made a face. Even at home he couldn’t escape reminders of work. That fuckin super-duper-Ethernet project accounted for 90% of their support calls, and it hadn’t even gone live yet. Next week was going to be a nightmare.

An almond and coconut scented goddess appeared at Danny’s shoulder. He had to hand it to her; they might not have two quid to rub together most weeks, but she wasn’t prepared to let standards drop when it came to dishwashing aromas. The legacy of her less-modest upbringing…

“Look at him,” Ellie said softly. “I could sit and stare at him for hours.”

“Yeah,” Danny agreed, leaning on the doorframe and taking in the peaceful scene before him, scarcely credible only an hour before. “I know. I could too.”

Ellie looked across at him, her eyebrow raised.

Seconds later, they were bounding to the stairs, Ellie leading, trailing her hand to Danny, who reached forward and grabbed it, hopping happily as he moved, singing their traditional foreplay ditty as he went.

“Sex, sex, sex sex!”

Ellie laughed.

 

 

 

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