You may have noticed that I haven't been all that prolific of late with the blog. It's because I've decided to drop all leisurely writing until the novel is finished. So seeing as I've been working on it all afternoon I had an idea. I'll paste up 3 pages with the request of getting your honest feedback. If you want to read more, I could always paste up another bit, or email it to you. So here you go:
Girl Racer – Chapter One
The Private not the Public
“Ma. Where are you Ma?”
I knew I’d have to shout louder than the telly and go in the direction of where you could smell cigarette smoke.
There was still no answer so I pushed open the door of the living room. She was on the good armchair, the one that didn’t have a big spring sticking out the seat of it, and even though the good one had a big tea stain ring on it’s wooden arm, she made sure to put her tea cup on the floor .There was a half full cup of tea with a skin growing on it, a nearly empty one and another empty that had turned into an ashtray. She had pulled the chair right up to the telly, almost near enough that that she could fiddle with the rabbit’s ears on top of it without having to get up.
“Ma, I need to ask you.”
“Fifteen – Love.” The man on the telly had a funny voice and when I’d asked her earlier what he was on about she had said that in tennis ‘love’ means nothing. Then she said to go away and not to be always annoying her. This was the kind of thing our Ma did instead of making apple tarts or spraying furniture polish all around the house. Even on a glorious day, you could forget about going to the park and getting an ice cream. If it was tennis season, all that happened in our house when the sun came out was that she’d close the living room curtains to sit in the pitch dark watching people in shorts knocking balls across a net for ‘love – all’.
“What’s wrong with you now? For God’s sake, don’t you know I’m watching the tennis? You’re as bad as McEnroe with your whinging.”
“Ma, you know the way Da found me under a head of cabbage down the end of the garden?”
“Bloody right I do. Now would you ever be quiet, you never leave me alone.” Ma’s eyes rolled up with the fag smoke.
“Well Helen Byrne in my class said that she came from inside her mother’s tummy and they had to cut her Ma open to get the baby out.”
“Never heard such a load of rubbish in all my life, and I’m not surprised at her aul’
one saying stuff like that, because that’s the kind of talk them ones in the corporation houses go on with. Now, get out of the way of the telly. Look, there’s the queen of
“Where, playing tennis?”
“Ah you haven’t got a clue, get out and don’t be annoying me.”
“But I have got a clue Ma, her Ma said that cabbages don’t grow all year round and that all babies come out your privates and if they get stuck the doctors have to cut you open with a knife and pull it outa ya. Is it true Ma, is it?”
Ma lifted her arm and I ducked before she could get my head. I wasn’t sure if it was for saying “privates” or for blocking her view of John McEnroe and the Queen of England.
Maybe it was just people in corporation estates who weren’t found under cabbages or brought by storks, but I knew, I just knew, that Mrs Byrne was telling the truth. I preferred their house to our house, even if it was a corporation house. There was hardly any difference really. The rooms were a bit smaller, but Mrs Byrne sprayed furniture polish all over the house and they had proper three piece suite and lots of little ornaments. Their living room was so perfect that nobody was allowed into it. If the priest called, he’d be brought into it, and anyone who got a cup of tea in that room, got it on a china cup and saucer. Their real house was the kitchen though. When Mrs Byrne wasn’t cleaning she’d sit at the kitchen table and drink tea with whoever else was there, and with nine kids there was always somebody home. The tea you’d get in the kitchen wasn’t in a china cup. It was served in a big metal teapot with a tea cosy and a whole heap of mugs around it. In the kitchen the milk and sugar came out of bottles and bags, in the good living room it came out of a jug and bowl. I was never sure which room was the best room to be greeted in at the Byrnes. In the kitchen it meant you were in. You were one of them, you belonged. Yet, in the living room – or the parlour – as Mrs Byrne called it, you were being acknowledged as being someone special. I had decided that for now, it was great to be in the kitchen, but that when I grew up and came to visit them when I was a famous person, they would probably insist on bringing me into the parlour and giving me the good china cups and the rest, and Mrs Byrne would have made fairy cakes especially.
The ads came on and she lit herself another fag, then pulled herself off the armchair and headed towards the kitchen to put the kettle back on again.
I followed her into the kitchen. The silver lid of the kettle fell onto the floor, and I picked it up and handed it to her as she turned on the biggest gas jet, and waited for the whistle sound to tell her that the water was boiled. Her curlers were in, so it must have been Da’s pay day, and whatever dress she was wearing was hidden by her massive housecoat. She’d say it herself ‘this may as well be a bloody tent, the size of me.’ I’d say ‘you’re not a bit fat Ma’, but she was, and the nylon housecoat with all the flowers in the world on it looked more like a building site than a pretty garden when Ma wore it.
“Ah Ma, is it true. Is it?”
“Not a word of it.”