This story is a response to a challenge from Janette at the Writers’ Circus. The topic she gave was “Winter Blues”.
As the story developed the Dr Mel and Anisa characters began to emerge from the shadows of Maise Kaywood’s back-story as a former guru in MI6/GCHQ. These support characters will appear again in another story being spun in the ether, coming soon. It may be called “Spanish Sparrows”.
Fracking seems to be coming. Fracking for subterranean gas in the US and oil from Shale Sands in Canada have changed the Oil Supply Dynamics world-wide, causing attendant financial and political unrest. We can see it today in the North Sea sector. It seems that the Britain, an island built on coal, will be an obvious target for US Fracking companies.
But this story is not about fracking. It’s about something else...
We sat round the table at the second session of our Creative Writing 2 class.
Some of us had come flown up from CW 1 but other were new.
David Pettigrew our Tutor set the challenge of setting down a few points about ourselves which we would be asked to read aloud to the class.
We were allowed five minutes.
A shorter version of this story appeared on the page in front of me, as if by magic.
It still makes me smile, because it 99% true.
When we lived in Pollokshaws I was befriended by an older crafter boy from a large family. They had a small mongrel dog, which I have dubbed Rusty.
The story of six-year old Johnny tells itself and happened almost as set down.
Sadly, re-telling it has not expunged my feeling of guilt.
During stage two of the Creative Writing course at Strathclyde University, I noticed that one lady in our class nearly always wrote of people being ‘done in’. Until then I had never dared to kill anyone in my stories. I decided to try and this story is the result.
It was written against a target of 4,000 words forcing me to turf on words to get down to this limit.
In the opening scene Maisie appears as her deceased mother, (whom I subsequently discovered was Myra). This image of Myra haunted me. Now there is a novella being edited entitled Living with Myra which will hopefully soon be available.
Louisa at our Writers Circus set us the challenge of “Betrayal”.
The idea of setting this story against a background of Greyhound Racing came at once. My Dad was a weekend gambler, not addicted but he did enjoy Friday nights at Shawfield Stadium, which still exists as a Greyhound Racing venue.
The ambiance I am trying for is post-war Glasgow, seeking to contrast the gulf between the lives of rich (living in the grand mansions of Pollokshields) and poor (living in the Oatlands district, where my Dad was born).
There is a possible Part Two to this story, competing in my head with other imperatives.
In September 2014 we were on holiday in Milano, Italy. We took a day trip by train to Lake Como, crossed on a small ferry to Bellagio. Later after a wander, we caught another ferry to the bottom of the lake and then a different train home.
On the smaller ferry I snapped a warning sign, which appears in the story.
In Bellagio I spotted a poster, advertising a visit to a workshop which made wooden wheels for bicycles.