Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Uncle Mildred meets . . . The Surf Rider . . .

In an ongoing series, Uncle Mildred meets the various characters and ne'er-do-wells inhabiting the pages of UNCLE MILDRED AND OTHER STORIES - a collection of short stories in aid of cancer charities in the US and the UK.

Uncle Mildred meets the Surf Rider 
I check me lippy in the glass before I go in.  Always pays to make a good impression.  Anyway else in this country I might feel a bit . . . stared it, you know - not that I don't love a bit of staring at, you understand, but here, a girl's got to look her best.  California, we are.  Place called Huntington Beach.  It's very nice.

I'm here to meet someone.  Calls himself the Surf Rider.  Other people do, anyways.  Call him that.  Supposed to be a bit of a local character.  I love them.  Local characters.  People say I'm one.

People say a lot of things.

Right.  Lippy checked.  Eyes a-sparkling. Front bits plumped up.  In we go.

Blimey, it's dark in here.  Reminds me of one of my East London dives.  Long bar.  Place is empty. Just me, the nice barman, and . . .

'Can I help you, Madam?'

Barman.  Nice man.  Wiping up.

Give him me nicest smile.  All teeth.  The boys like that.

'Are you looking for someone?' he says.

'Gin and tonic, dearie,' I says.  I point to the large man with the Afghan coat and Bermuda shorts hugging the bright yellow surfboard, standing to attention at the other end of the bar.  'And whatever he's drinking,' I say.

The barman nods.  Gets me g & t, and a double whisky, and I go on over to the man with the surf board.

When I get close, I see his eyes.  It's like his real ones have been taken out and Kaleidescopes put in.  Good work, if it's the case.  Got to respect a bit of craftsmanship.  But, stoned out his brain, if I had to guess.  Still, can't knock a man for doing what it takes to get by.  We all got our funny ways.

'A drink for you, dearie,' I say, placing the glass on the bar.

He doesn't even blink.

'Dearie,' I say, a bit louder.  'Drink?'


To be honest, I'm  beginning to feel I've wasted my time.  I move closer.  Peer at the dents in the top of the surf board.  A bit of filler and some Humbrol yellow sixty-nine will sort that out, I'm thinking.  I reach up to rub my fingers over the dents.  I cross his sight line, and it's like his eyes explode inside and fill with blood.  I put my arm down quick.  Girl's got to look after herself, you know.

And then he's back normal again.

The place is filling up behind me.  Noises and muffling.  I hear two young English yobbos swearing and shouting.  They're getting nearer.  Haven't got a good feeling about this.  Time for Uncle to hide in the shadows, and watch . . .

In February last year I received an email from a great writing mate of mine - Chris Rhatigan.  He said he and another great writing mate of mine - Nigel Bird - were putting together an anthology of stories based on the soundtrack of the film PULP FICTION, and asked if I wanted to be a part of it.  There's no way I was going to say no - even if at that time I was doing two concurrent courses of an English Lit. degree and had two essays to hand in within a fortnight.  Chris and Nigel are the sort of blokes I'd always help at the drop of a proverbial hat.  Any sort of hat, really.

The title I was allocated was 'Surf Rider'.  My initial reaction, to be honest, knowing nothing about surfing at all, was to ask for another title.  But then I thought, I'm a writer.  I'll give it a bash.  Like I said, I was very much pressed for time due to the English Lit. wotsit, but within a week I submitted SURF RIDER to Nigel, fearing I'd landed wide of the mark.  But I hadn't.  Nigel loved it.  As did Chris.  

The resulting anthology PULP INK is an incredible collection, featuring such names as Eric Beetner, Chris Holm, Matt Funk, Reed Farrel Coleman, Richard Godwin, Allan Guthrie, and a host of other top, top names from the online crime/noir scene.

To top it all, SURF RIDER was nominated earlier this monty by Chris and Nigel for a Flash Fiction Derringer Award. Shortlisting takes place the beginning of March, but just to be nominated has been a huge thrill.

SURF RIDER is the second story in the UNCLE MILDRED AND OTHER STORIES collection.


This cause is massively important to me, this insidious disease having touched my family on more than one occasion over the last few years.

Thank you for your support.

Warmest regards,


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