Writers Block – Does it really exist or is it just the fragility of our ego’s?

 

After a good start to my writing since being taken on by Wendy. Spurred on by that almost unattainable goal of a, “Four figure publishing deal.” I had no problem with ideas for the book. Even the usual what should my characters being doing now wasn’t a problem. Dialogue and sub plots were running at a good pace. Dark thoughts were in my mind 24 hours a day. Just wanted I need for writing a thriller.

 

And then suddenly I found myself this weekend with writers’ block. I was siting trying to move the plot forward to a major denouement. But I found my mind wandering to world events and how Great Britain seemed to have lost the plot about the Corona virus.

 

I have covered many subjects in my novel and I have no intention of including an outbreak of stockpiling toilet rolls as a method of moving the plot along. What did distract me briefly was the announcement that the London Book Fair for this week has been cancelled. The reason of course being the corona virus. I feel like Corona is the new Brexit. Blame everything on Corona.

 

My heart dropped when I heard the Book Fair was being cancelled. The organisers of one of the UK’s the largest book fairs Reed Exhibitions made the decision to cancel as a result of the travel restrictions from the fallout of the Corona Virus.

 

My disappointment was born out of a purely selfish reason. Feel free to berate me for this. I know many people across the world have died because of this strange new virus. But my Agent was going to the book fair and was going to pitch my book at a few publishers. I had got myself excited at the prospect of a possible publishing deal – however small. I suddenly visualised my hope of literary fame going down the proverbial with the diminishing piles of toilet rolls and hand wash in supermarkets.

 

Fortunately, Wendy is professional and was immediately on the case. Its business as usual for her. Shame the rest of the population isn’t taking the same attitude. Yet I am now wondering how self-isolation would work for me.

 

If I took 28 days behind my closed doors. No internet, no tv, no phone connection. No social media networking. I would have the first draft of this book in the bag.  I would also probably be suffering with cabin fever by the end of the month. And perhaps my first day back in society would have resulted in random acts of violence.

 

Why do we writers even have the temerity to claim, “Writers Block”. I know exactly what I want to write I know how to drive the plot forward. I have three endings for this book so why did I waste a weekend, pontificating on things out of my control instead of just sitting at my table in the kitchen and writing?

 

Blame it on the weather? Blame it on the virus? Blame it on the moonlight? (It was a full moon this weekend and it was shining brightly through my window.) Blame it on the boogie?

 

Blame it on a big dose of laziness more like.

 

Hilary Mantel said in a recent interview in the Guardian, “I’ve got quite amused at people saying I have writer’s block. I’ve been like a factory.”

 

This is why Hilary is such a prolific writer and such a literary giant. She works at it all the time.

 

Well maybe the rest of us have arrived at the factory that has been closed due to the corona virus. Or maybe we should be adopting the business as usual philosophy that Wendy has taken.

 

Maya Angelou, said, “Nothing will work unless you do.” She is of course right. 

 

With every job we do, the output is only as effective and prolific as the input. And writing is a job. For some it is their main job. For me I aspire for it to be my main job. I just need to work harder at it.

 

This week is going to be a good week. Well for a writer anyway. Back to working at it. Back to a huge dollop of enthusiasm. Back to hope of the publishing deal.  

 

I can’t really comment on the toilet roll situation that is developing in to a national crisis.

 

Although on a more positive note the word “Corona” can mean “the cup-shaped or trumpet-shaped outgrowth at the centre of a daffodil or narcissus flower” – a flower of spring. You know a time of hope, of the prospect of beautiful sunny days ahead.

But for me just, “Keep Calm and Carry on Writing.”  

Research, Research, Research

Continuing with my current theme into writing with a Literary Agent. I have been thinking this weekend about research.
It goes without saying the importance of research if you are writing about a subject that is not familiar to you or if its something you don’t really know much about.Or if you just need to add an extra layer to your novel.
My books on Israel involved frequent visits to Israel. (It’s a hard job but someone had to do it.)
It wasn’t all about lying on a beach in Eilat. In fact, none of the research involved lying on a beach anywhere. There was some necessary drinking of Mount Carmel wine made by the tipsy nuns of the local convent. All in the name of authenticity for the books.
There were trips to the Negev desert. There were numerous bus journeys. Train journeys just to see how the country changed from year to year. Hours of sitting in bars and café’s just chatting or people watching. And visits to stranger’s houses based on whimsical fancy.
Jerusalem became an obsession of mine. And although I did not suffer from the  “Messiah Syndrome”, I did find myself fixated by anything that happened in the city. From the opening of a new restaurant to the outbreaks of violence that erupt frequently in the city often called “Hysterical Jerusalem”.
But what I have found with this my first thriller, is that well perhaps I have no need to really do research for writing about a serial killer. I get the impression so far that perhaps that was my true vocation in life. Born to be a serial killer!
I have come up with many scenarios – as to why a person could go on a killing spree. And I am finding all of them totally understandable. And several of them acceptable behaviour. No wait – ALL of them acceptable behaviour.
And then the method of killing? Again, I have not been lost for ideas. Potential victims? There is a very long list of candidates for this.
Should I be worried? Should my friends be worried? Should my neighbours ensure they have the most up to date security installed on their properties? Probably not.
Because that is the beauty of writing. No physical harm is done. You can go on a veritable grisly killing rampage and rather like a modern video game no one is harmed in the writing of the book.
And another thing I have found just how therapeutic the whole process is. Instead of inwardly fuming about someone who has pissed me off and has caused my blood pressure to surge up into the danger zone. I can just kill them off in a suitable painful manner.
It’s a form of research really. I have deduced the most satisfying method to despatch my enemies. Now when one of my colleagues walks past who I have crossed swords with in the past I can visualise myself despatching them to hades in by various methods.
They are of course blissfully unware of what is going through my mind. And I am sure if they new would be given me even more of a wide berth.
So, what is the strangest topic of research for a writer. My google search would probably send alarm bells to many a psychiatrist, members MI5 may just give me second glance. And well yes there is that once occasion when I crashed my works computer at a previous place of employment when I managed to access a part of the Israeli Defence Forces site for information on their attack dogs. It was an honest mistake, I wasn’t planning on hacking the site. But well I think my company IT department got a bit worried.
Then of course initially I had to research what constitutes a serial killer. But that was short lived when I realised no research was necessary as I had all the prerequisites myself.
Dan brown said “Google’ is not a synonym for ‘research’.”
He was right there are better methods then google to research subjects. You can adopt the hands-on approach. This is one of my preferred methods. I am not going to divulge too many of the situations I have been in for the sake of my art. But suffice to say most of the time it was fun, but a few times it was just a bit too dark even for me.
One of the most productive ways to be a successful writer is by a very simple approach. Reading. If you don’t read books how can you write books?
I sometimes walk into my library, pick random books off the shelf and go home and read them objectively. I ask myself a simple question. Just what is in the book that caught the attention of a publisher? Sometimes I cannot believe a publisher would be interested. But often it is very obvious why.
I have read some amazing books this way. I have also read some absolute tosh. But it it’s a great learning curve.
We must love to read to love to write. I can’t think of one successful writer that would say, “Oh actually I have never read a book.in my life.”
And just living is great research. Daily life experiences lend themselves to great stories.
A few years ago, my friends will be shocked to discover I found myself in a squat. It was not planned research, I was in bad place mentally, found myself in a bad place physically. Fortunately, I managed to extricate myself from both places.
Its an experience that I still remember with a certain amount of confusion. I arrived in the place when the occupants were sleeping. Slowly as the evening encroached, bodies surfaced from under piles of cardboard, dirty blankets and places where I didn’t realise a body had been asleep.
Arguments began, emotions ran high. People were a bit miffed to find a strange woman in their midst with no apparent reason for her to be there.
It hadn’t helped that when I arrived I had for some reason a Waitrose bag on me. That was quickly taken away from me the contents distributed enthusiastically to other people. Yes, I know in retrospect it was not a normal course of events.
But then what is normal? A friend recently told me I am as normal as white dog floating up to heaven.
I rather like the idea of being a white dog floating up to heaven. Do I need to google it? No. Can I imagine it? Yes. Can it really happen? Who cares?

A Dysfunctional Character Makes a Dysfunctional Writer.

 

The plan was always to be the reclusive writer. Not quite like J D Salinger where he started waving his gun around when ever visitors turned up on his door step. But rather like Agatha Christie I was hoping I could write in relative solitude, publish and then just disappear to start on the next book. Well that allusion has quickly been shot to flames.

 

My Agent wants statistics. Statistics of social media of hits and connections and likes and comments. Me the woman who has tried hiding out on a remote hill eschewing all social contact. I now must learn the art of social networking.

 

This for many is probably easy, they embrace the modern world of Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, snapchat, pine interest and You tube to name just a few. But for me the whole thing is an anathema. The word social for a start does not resonate very well with me. That’s means conversation and interaction with other people.

 

But to be a writer one must be out there. And what has become apparent social network consumes an awful lot of a writer’s time.

 

But network I must. I have started a small experiment to see how this can work for me. So, my first step was to resurrect my word press blog. My last post had been back in April 2019, my march for democracy on to Parliament.

 

 Last week wrote a piece about how excited I was to get a Literary Agent.  So, this week, we are going to see how my first week of social networking has gone.

 

I decided to boost my post on Face Book. I had mastered sharing from Word press to face book. So, I picked an amount to boost the post clicked and watched the statistics. And with one day to go the stats are 2066 Reached, 47 Click 41 Engagements. Whether this is good or bad I have no idea, but the figures seem higher than previously.

 

I then remembered I had a linked in account and I could share my blog on to that which I proceeded to do the next day and the statistics are 68 views after three days. Two ways where actually I didn’t spend too much time on.

 

The word press site over the four days so far is 60 hits. And 15 followers. I can see by other blog postings that I have along way to go with this. A really long way to go.

 

But I had to start somewhere. I have along way to go. On building up statistics. I am now going to have to post a blog regularly. Consistency is the key.

 

I still plane to be as reclusive as I possibly can though. I don’t understand why I need to give any input socially. Write the book, publish the book. Let people read the book. Why do they need to know about me? Why do they need to see me?

 

I referred to Agatha Christie at the beginning of the post.  The writer disappeared for 11 days on Friday 3rd December 1926. One of the largest man hunts was mounted with nearly 1000 policemen searching for her.

 

Her car was found abandoned in a chalk pit very near to where I now live. Eleven days later she was found safely in an hotel in Harrogate.  The explanation was that she had had a form of breakdown. She eventually picked up pen and paper and continued to write.

 

J D Salinger was a different “kettle of fish” but he famously said, “Writing was a terrible invasion of my privacy.”  This is what is worrying me too. If my genius is finally recognised how will I cope with the curiosity of this media obsessed world. He eventually became as famous for his desire for privacy as for his book The Catcher in the Rye.

 

But are we as writers already socially inept? We sit and write in solitude. We self-obsess about what we are writing. If we are wring about dysfunctional people, we must get in the minds of dysfunctional people.

 

If like me, you are writing about a serial killer you become a serial killer. Living each day thinking OK what my character would to do next. How would they behave in certain situations?

 

What would make a serial killer? That was part of my research.

 

I spoke to my friend who has known me almost 55 years. We discussed certain issues about my book. We bounced a few scenarios which would result in a person turning into a serial killer.

 

Finally, her reply was, “I feel like you are slipping rather too well into the mind of a serial killer.”

 

She is right of course. One step further into dysfunctional for the writer, let alone the character in a book.

 

I then phoned another friend whilst he was at work to ask him “Have you ever stabbed a person?”

 

I can’t say for sure whether I was relieved when he said after a pause. “No, I haven’t” or disappointed.

 

Undaunted I continued with my line of query, “So what would the amount of blood spray be if I stabbed someone through the heart?”

 

Again, a pause before. “Well they would bleed a lot once the knife is pulled out. But its difficult to stab someone through the heart. You must get through the rib cage to the heart. And what kind of knife are you using?”

 

And that of course is the crux of it, not only was I already getting into the head of a serial killer. I was dragging my friends into the same dark disturbed world.

 

It would only take a few more steps to become socially reclusive. To become inept at social conversations. To want to just ignore invitations to any event. It’s hardly surprising that writers reflect their characters or vice versa.

 

We put so much of ourselves in our writing. Do we have time for socialising? And do we have time for social networking.?

 

Already on a couple of writer’s forums the response to my initial query has been social networking is a full-time job in itself. Do we have time for it? Well by the sounds of things we must make time for it.

 

But in my heart, I still hope that I can eventually revert to my life of solitude. Living the life of the wild woman of the woods. That by some turn of luck my books will suffice, and no one will want to know anything about me.

 

I am meanwhile looking for houses that are difficult to get to and miles away from other humans.

 

Slay your demons with a pen.

We all have dreams. For a writer the dream is a publishing deal. Even in today’s world of self-publishing. There is a sense of well, you know really that is a form vanity publishing. You are not a real writer or a good writer unless you have a publishing deal.
One of the routes to publishing houses is by being a sheer genius and being spotted sitting under a tree with your manuscript. A publisher is drawn like a magnet to you and hey voila you’re up there with J K Rowling, Stephen King, Lee Childs. Anon
Well no because of course in our heads as a writer we are all genius’s. And even the most astute of editors will find it tricky to see your halo among all the other halos on display out there.
And then there is the route of Literary Agent. But again, this is not a case of someone just recognising your talent. How do we the little aspiring writers even get ourselves on the next step to publishing?
When I was young. I like many young girls wanted to be Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. The tomboyish, hot tempered, honest, book worm who eventually gets published. But writing was not my only dream back then. I wanted to be a vet.
But I read so many books that eventually it became a natural aspiration to write in some shape or form. Journalist/Travel Writer/Author.
I achieved a small amount of success over the years. But the published author tag alluded me like it did many writers.
I was never going to write the best-selling novel that would make me rich and famous. But to be fair that was never my aim. When I wrote my first book Jewish Days Arab Nights it was not for fame or glory. I wanted to write about a situation in a country I visited that affected me strongly enough that the plight of the Palestinians has stayed with me through my life since that first trip in 1987.
But it’s not a subject that sells books not works of fiction. And that is what I wrote, a work of fiction. The blurb on the back cover says it all – Israel 1987 “…… Fresh off a plane from England a young girl, Fiona, arrives to work on a Kibbutz, romantically imagining Israel as a biblical land full of orange groves and donkeys. The harsh reality is that she has arrived in a country on the brink of a brutal civil war.”
But it was a book I wanted to write. After a few publishers and one agent showing an interest. I was ultimately rejected. Not on the scale of Stephen King with his first novel Carrie – rejected 30 times. James Patterson 31 times. Marlon James 78 times for his first novel went on to win the Man Booker prize for A Brief History of seven Killings. But I was rejected.
But I wanted my book out there for people who wanted to read a view point on a very emotional unstable situation in a country where the Christian religion was born. And where a controversial political ideology took shape called Zionism.
So, I went down the self-publishing route through create space. And this was for me a huge learning curve. Yes, if you take the word “vanity” then this was vanity publishing. I wanted to be published, but I did not have a publishing deal, I did not have a literary agent to represent me. I just did what many writers do I downloaded my precious manuscript to a space on the internet gave it a title put my name to it. Put a cover designed by a talented young woman with a degree in design on it and waited.
I had absolutely no idea about marketing. Advertising. And even worse selling my self on social media sights. I really had not thought how I was going to, as an absolute nobody get my book out there.
The book considering my ignorance elicited a small amount of interest from work colleagues and friends. The feedback was positive, but reviews were minimal. Of those who loved it they wanted a sequel. And so, I wrote a sequel.
And spent several more years and trips to Israel watching and experiencing the changes in the country. I can safely say I do my research when I write.
As many will know writing is a very solitary habit. I am a solitary person but recognised the importance of interaction with fellow writers. My second writers group lead by the indomitable Elizabeth Kay (author of The Divide) had disbanded and I was at sea trying to communicate with other writers.
I tried a local group in Dorking that met at the Lincoln Arms – The Phoenix Writers Circle but after a few months, work commitments took over and I put all dreams of writing on the back burner again. But the need to write was burning strong and I kept returning to my book Not Quite Gaza.
I wrote. I rewrote. I travelled to Israel and all the countries surrounding it. I was still convinced there was a story for me to write.
I kept going back to the Dorking group. They were all writers of merit and had various styles and genres of writing. But then once again life events caused me to stop going.
In 2018 I had what I can only describe in the Queens word’s my “Annus horribilis”. It happens to us all at some stage in life. That year visited a side of myself that was not good. Did things that I would not want to crow about. Descended almost to the point that I was in the gutter, but at that point I picked myself up. Dusted myself down and moved on. I had my feet in the dirt yes. But I didn’t quite swim in it.
I killed my demons with a pen. All the darkness of my emotions I poured into a book. Into a dark character in to a fictional story with fictional people. Life imitating art. Or art imitating life. Who knows.
What is that famous quote. It is easy to write to just sit at a typewriter and bleed?
From that year of angst an idea was born for a psychological thriller. The Dark Side of the Hill. I played around with the idea not really doing much with it. I went back to the writers group. A change in leadership encouraged me to go back.
One of the joint chairwomen at the Phoenix (Justine John) posted on face book that she had got an agent. I was pleased for her she is a talented writer and I read her first book Gilding the Lily. She has great style.
But if I was honest I was envious too. Here was the chance that we all aspire to a Literary Agent to represent us. But I didn’t feel I was good enough. Could I approach this agent with my work?
The lady I approached was Wendy Yorke and by a very strange quirk of fate she was looking for thriller writers. I had the kernel of a book. I sent it across and she has taken me on her books.
It all sounds so easy doesn’t it? Is it? But of course, that is not true. Again, I would like to say well she has recognised my great talent. But that would be ridiculous and very vain. I am hoping that working with Wendy I am going to step up to be a published writer in the traditional sense.
I am excited about the opportunity. About the prospects I can see and about the new journey I am about to embark upon. I am a traveller this is another journey to another place. I am going to embrace this chance that I have been given. I am going to give it my best.
It has been less then three weeks since I was taken on by Wendy Yorke. Already I have experienced all the emotions of an aspiring writer. I have woken up screaming – I am going to kill you I am going to kill you! I have felt exhilaration, fear doubt, enthusiasm, determination, delusions of grandeur, humility and hope. All the emotions that I have used in the writing of my new thriller. But probably not in the way people think!
Watch this space fellow writers and readers.

A very British Affair – Parliament Square April 13th 2019

Democracy – from the Greek, meaning literally “Rule by People”.

In 1972, I was nine. Too young to care about the EU, the existence of it or our entry into it.

I remember nothing of this event whatsoever. What I do remember was the initial out cry after about the fact we could no longer sell curly cucumbers in shops, they had to be straight. One of the first idiotic decisions made by Brussels on behalf of the British Nation.

Now fast-forward 47 years and here we are stuck the black hole desperately trying to leave it without being made bankrupt.

For me today it is no longer about whether I voted to remain or leave. The debacle that has become Brexit is now about democracy or the disintegration of its existence in what I had grown up believing was a democratic country.

In the year 1972, I remember vividly days where I would sit in the back of my father’s black cab driving through London and he would point out various landmarks of this fine capital city. One of course would be the Houses of Parliament – as we crossed the river Thames over Waterloo Bridge the iconic shape of the clock tower known affectionately as Big Ben stood sentinel by the embankment.

The gothic Palace of Westminster home to the House of Commons and the House of Lords was the bastion of British Democracy. It was never under question that we lived in a Democratic country and that the decision made in those buildings were for the good of the British Nation. They were voted in by us. They represented us.

April 13th 2019 Big Ben was shrouded in scaffolding. The face of the clock hidden.  Was this symbolic?  How the duplicity going on inside the House was passing unnoticed?

Now today in 2019 with the debacle of Britain’s attempt at leaving the EU  I like many citizens question what we once accepted as an undeniable truth – is Britain a Democracy?

I have always encouraged people to take their vote at every opportunity. Especially women. The suffragettes fought for our right to vote as women. We owed it to them and ourselves to vote.

Now I am beginning to think why bother? What the Brexit has revealed is our votes mean nothing and our Government has been happily sending us down the Thames.

The first thing that came out of or vote to leave or remain in the EU was the way suddenly those who voted to stay not liking the result wanted another vote. That is not how a democracy works. It is not a case of I don’t like the result can we do it again.

If Tiger Roll hadn’t won the Grand National, there wouldn’t have been a re-run. As adults, you have to accept the result and live with it. You have to suck it up.

Even worse, subsequently we have found out our votes mean nothing. The MP’s are having the final decision trying now to change the course of our history for their own ends. Representatives in the house with criminal records are voting, making decisions for us when they should have stepped down from their positions when they were first caught out as blatant liars.

They have no business making decisions for the British Public. None of them now should be representing this Nation. So for once in my life, I decided I would march. Not against immigration, not against terrorism. Not against world poverty or Global Warming and any of the other issues, not against the extinction of rare species of wildlife we have on this planet. No just against the erosion of Democracy in the country I was born into and love so much.

Arriving at Parliament Square on Saturday it was a beautiful spring day. I have been on marches in the past. But not strangely enough for my own country. I have raised the Palestinian flag and marched for Gaza. Unfurled their flag in Portland Square in 2014. Marched for the cessation of the Israeli Bombing of Gaza.

When I wrapped the English flag across my shoulders it suddenly felt strange. Why? So many times, we have been told it has been racist for us to raise the flag for England. Was that why it felt strange?

Did I get a sense of centuries of British Colonialism being placed on my shoulders? A collective memory of guilt at how we turned the world pink on the Atlas?

I don’t think so but I do know it felt slightly strange. Waiting for the march to start we stood in the spring sunshine. The blossom on the trees, the sky unusually blue.

There was a round of applause when the orange men marched into the square. And shouts began, “What do want? Brexit. When do we want it? Now!”

“Goodbye EU goodbye”.

We joined the walk towards Downing Street. If there was meant to be an atmosphere of anarchy there definitely wasn’t. It was if we are all just going on an afternoon stroll. There were more police officers then protesters it seemed to me. And they were chatting away to us all as if it was an Easter Parade. Or a Royal Wedding was about to be held in Westminster Abbey.

So after a slow walk.  I am afraid we did the very English thing of hitting the Red Lion pub, buying a cider and sitting outside in the warm sun watching the rest of the events from a chair with a pint in my hand.

Coats off, faces looking up to the sun. Was this the start of our glorious summer?

Whilst sitting there I felt vaguely reassured that it was all so civilised. This is what Britain is all about. No dramas, no violent outburst of civil unrest. No just a day out in London.

It was all summed up so eloquently, when I visited the ladies toilets.

“OH gawd, there is no toilet roll.” I heard from the cubicle next to me.

Her friend standing at the sink replied. “Drip and dry love. You voted to leave. You can endure worse than not having toilet roll.”

So all in all a terribly English affair. Although I do think, we could have got some of our French friends across the channel to come over and liven things up at bit. Those French certainly know how to protest!

Long live the Queen. Still not sure how much longer Democracy will last though!

 

Every great story begins with a snake.

It seemed that the pet shop called “Scruffs” in Hayward’s Heath High Street had been there forever. Sometimes, Garry thought some of the pets had been in there slowly ageing dying and finally decomposing over the years.

The proprietor too had aged from when Garry went in the shop to buy his first snake when he was 12 years old. Then so had Garry aged, from boy to man.

Over the years, he had acquired various pets, ranging from rats, snakes, ferrets, chameleons and lizards. But his interest in snakes had never wavered. They were his favourite pet and he purchased all of them from this shop.

His latest purchase had been an Emerald tree boa. It had cost him an absolute fortune, and if were not for the fact that he had lost a large amount of money on the horses the previous day he would have brought two.

His emerald green boa was a beauty. It was dark emerald green with white zigzag markings like lightning bolts down its back.  Garry was convinced that already Jade, as he had called her, already liked having her yellow belly caressed.

The good thing about Jade was she didn’t eat as much as Harry the reticulated python and Freddie the Indian python. She sure was a good investment.

Immediately when his latest girlfriend saw it, she wanted one. “Wow she is beautiful. I want one.”

Garry was at the stage in his new relationship that when he said, “Anything for you.” He meant it. That would change as the months went on, it always did. But he knew right now, the gift of a snake would set him up with brownies points.

He was sure this girl was the one. No woman had come this close to him. And they many things in common, including their mutual love of snakes.

Shame he had lost on the horses. He didn’t have the spare cash, but he was sure he would come up with something.

A few days later strolling down the high street, he passed Scruffs pet shop. The young assistant Bradley was sweeping up shards of glass from the pavement. A police tape stuck round the broken front window.

Garry glanced at the scene. Bradly raised his head up and said “Hi, Garry. How’s it going?”

“Better for me then you guys. What happened?”

“We had a break in last night. Bastards totally messed the place up.”

Garry frowned. “Anything stolen?”

“Yes.” Bradly nodded. “Some of the snakes. Including our Emerald Green Boa.”

“Oh dear. I was planning on buying that one for my new girlfriend.” Garry replied.

“Oh well out of luck now buddy. It will be some time before we get some more in. Amir just found out he hadn’t updated the insurance correctly. £3,000 worth of stock not covered. They took the snakes.  Oh and some mice to feed them with, I guess,”

“Oh well, least they won’t go hungry then. Disappointing though, she would have loved one of them to add to her collection.”

Garry carried on walking heading into the bookies further down road.

A few days later as he walked past the pet shop, he saw that the glaziers were installing a new window. Amir the proprietor came out of the doorway and said. “Aah Garry I’m glad I saw you. You heard about my break in didn’t you?”

“Yes I did. Sorry to hear that the snakes were stolen. I was hoping to buy the other Green tree boa for my latest girlfriend.”

“That would have been great. But listen Crime Watch are doing a clip on their show. They wanted to know what the snakes were. And when I them about the emerald tree boa and how rare they were. They are trying to find one to use on the show, I immediately thought of you. I was going to ring you today. Would you consider taking your snake on the programme?  So that if anyone is trying to sell one, people may stop and think that it may be stolen and ring the police.

That way we may be able to get my snakes back. I won’t have lost so much. They wrecked the place when they broke in.”

Garry hesitated before replying. Eventually saying, “Well, I guess that would be OK.  I’m not driving at the moment. How will I get her to the studio? And I would have to take a day off work.”

Amir put his hand up to stop all the doubts Garry was spouting, “Garry, no problem they will arrange all that and I am sure they will reimburse you for any expenses incurred having to take time off work. We are talking about the bloody BBC.”

Garry’s mind began to work overtime. There was a chance of making some money from this, of that he was sure. Suddenly he smiled at Amir. “Yes of course Amir, Anything to help you out. Just let me know when and what I need to do.”

Garry ambled off with a grin on his face. Jade was going to be a TV star. All he had to do was make sure his face wasn’t seen on TV. Especially Crime Watch. That would make Dawn laugh. She was convinced he was an ex con. She couldn’t be further from the truth. Actually, he was still in the thieving business.

The BBC contacted him a couple of days later. Spoke to him about the arrangements to pick him up. He discussed how they were going to transport Jade and told him the pickup time.

Promptly the BBC transport pulled up outside his house and drove him and Jade to the BBC.

When he arrived at the studio, he was taken into to the waiting lounge where there was a selection of drinks and snack on display.

“Help yourself Mr Smart. We won’t be long. And make yourself comfortable.”

Garry enjoyed his day at the BBC, made full use of all the facilities provided. He was relieved to know his face would not be on Crime Watch, just his snake.

When he was dropped off home later that day, he carefully put the snake back in her tank and smiled. Easy money he mused.

He walked over to the second tank and opened up the top and peered in. “Hello Jade. Your sister was a star today. You would have been very proud of her.”

Two snakes for the price of one. What a touch!

Dawn will love hers. She will definitely be over the over the moon he mused. His new babe’s face will light up with a huge smile. That gave him a warm feeling inside, happy girlfriend, happy Garry.

He just needed to wait a few months before he took it over to her as a gift. By then people would have forgotten about the theft of the emerald tree boa from Hayward’s Heath pet shop. Of that, he was sure. There were far worse crimes going on in this country.

How funny was that? What did Jeremy Vine say precisely? Oh, yes that was it. “Not the snake that was stolen but one very much like it.” Said that on national TV he did. It must be true. Not the stolen snake but one very much like it.

The police officer was ever so polite to him. “Thank you for bringing your snake in for us Mr Smart.” Then he shook his hand. “I am sure it well help jog people’s memories. Your snake really is very striking. Memorable for its markings. Each one is different isn’t it?”

That really was a turn up for the books. Normally the cops were handcuffing his hands behind his back. That was the only shaking of hands going on. Who would have believed it, the police thanking Garry Smart for his efforts to catch a thief?

Garry smiled to himself as he dangled a mouse over Jades tank later that night. A thief to catch a thief?  Well no let’s hope not in this case. Jades head reared up and gently took the mouse from Garry’s hand.

Garry’s smile seemed to take on the image of the snake. It seemed for a moment to be eternal.

 

Was nothing sacred to you?

You pick me up and drop

me down.

Shatter my soul.

In to water I fall

and slowly drown.

Bubbles rise from my

last gasp of death,

you raise my hopes

up on that high,

that oh so high pedestal

and smirk as you wait,

to see me once again fall.

Love should not feel so dark.

Should not drag a heart

into such agony.

The light from hard steel

slices to make a map of thorns

on my heart.

Who will want to follow that path?

After you leave.

The slow drops of a bleeding scar

like footprints that

crushed my hopes as

you danced on my peace.

And your hands dragged me

from my solitude

into a cage of anger.

Your smile that lured me

away from sanity.

Lips that cruelly lied

and took my words

of resistance away

Eyes like molten lava

that melted  my

resolve to resist.

The fight I had lost

from the very start.

 

Was nothing sacred to you from the start?

Was my heart such an easy mark?

Was I never loved by you?

Was nothing sacred in your malicious game?