I know I’ve been Absent Without Leave, and I know I said I would be back and I haven’t, but that’s just the way it is. Such is life. I’m sorry. I am relatively close to finishing my novella ‘The Last of Logan’. The novella and the deck of cards will hopefully accompany each other.
Anyway, thought I’d put up the first two sections of the novella. It tells the story of a 15yo boy coming to terms with the death of his older brother. It is set in the present day in a small seaside town in Norfolk. It moves around in time and space a fair bit with not much in the way of narrative aside from a section in the middle, which has a semblance of plot. I hope you like it and it throws up lots of questions. Thanks!
Oh oh oh brother totem pole
I get pulled out of class, and as the howls of derision fade, each knock of Mr Beach’s walking stick on the floor of the deserted corridor escalates The Fear inside, so that by the time I see them sitting there in his office, smiling desperate smiles, I almost don’t notice the fact they are holding hands and so something awful has happened. They tell me to sit down as Mr Beach slips out of the room, and the air solidifies as
Dad leans forward, elbows on knees, breathing heavy, staring at the floor like he’s counting ants. Mum also leans forward, but takes my hands in hers, rubbing her thumbs over my palms. I can feel her soul shaking. She takes a deep breath, but the words are trapped, so she swallows
and tries again
and this time there are words and she picks her way through each and every one of them, so careful, so caring, of me and the language, because these are the most important words she will ever say. Each word is more deliberate than the last, each more devastating, and they gather and drift in the air between us, like dust in the sunshine
just like that,
Logan is ripped away.
The world implodes, my body collapsing in on itself, but she can’t be right, she can’t be right, because the air remains still and where are the sirens and the trauma and the noise and I still owe him four pounds. Where is the panic and the screaming and the end of the world and he is two levels away from completing Uncharted 4, his hoodie is on my floor, his half-eaten yoghurt is in the fridge and his copy of Fight Club is on the sofa and his trainers are on the landing and his laptop is charging on the dinner table.
His message is still scrawled on my blackboard.
Got you past that Dark Souls boss x.
I saw your legends lined up and I never felt more natural
This is the only way I’m going to get through this:
An extreme close-up of the bottom of my trainers.
Adidas Hamburg. Steel grey. Barely worn.
The camera tracks around the tread. It looks like a Death Star trench.
Then, a slow zoom out, reeeaaal glacial though, and only as the main director credit fades do we realise we’re looking at trainers sticking out of the top of a bin. It’s a large bin, brown. It has four wheels. It lives in the alleyway next to Chick King. The camera swings down to ground level and we see the trainers are attached to a pair of legs. They are my legs and I am upside down, surrounded by discarded chicken bones and barbecue sauce. As the camera swoops back in and dips down into the bin, the music drops – maybe something cheerfully ironic by Taylor Swift – and my voice-over kicks in:
My name is Jefferson Lane. Also Known As: Jefferson Lame, Lamo, The Lamester, Lamemeister General, Lamiserable, McLamington, Lamington Spa, Stupid Little Prick.
Only one person calls me that last one. His name is darren bullimore but you’re supposed to use the shift key. Last week, I caved and told him he was the best case of nominative determinism (Logan taught me that) I’ve ever known and he stole my Pokemon deck and put me in a bin. His sausage fingers are too fat to harass me online so he resorts to old-fashioned methods. I wouldn’t mind but I had a Lunala GX in that deck that took me four trades to get.
Do not feed the trolls.
Today, though, is just a regular dunk. A goon has to keep his standards up, can’t let his authority slip, even on a day like today. I understand.
I’m sorry about your brother, he says before stuffing me in and tipping more chicken bones over me. bullimore works in Chick King so gets special privileges; access to wheelie bins and chicken bones. But it doesn’t change the fact you’re a stupid little prick.
Still, as much as he’d like to think he is my Bowser, my nemesis, I will not grant bullimore that honour. An obvious boy with obvious tastes making obvious jokes, he’s more of a Goomba: mindless and furry – Mario just jumps on their stupid little heads as they waddle around.
All of which assumes I’m Mario, but I’m not the hero of this story.
I’m the middle brother, unnoticed.
Not as cute as Jacob, not as wise as Logan.
Not as funny as Jacob, not as dead as Logan.