Saturday, 28 March 2020

New Release Spotlight & Author Guest: One Last Shot Post by Stephen Anthony Brotherton, featuring an original, unpublished short story.

An original, unpublished short story by Stephen Anthony Brotherton, Author of the Shots trilogy.
A Day in the Life of a Head Fairy’
Ah, you’ve arrived. I was wondering when you’d get here. His Lordship’s on the phone. Have a listen.
Of course I love you.’
‘Tonight. I’m not sure.’
‘Okay, give me a call when you’re ready.’
I know what that’s about. She wants a lift back from the nightclub, wants us parked up outside, him panting like a faithful hound. And then he’ll drive to their country lane, get in the back of the car and claim his kiss and fumble reward. His candy time. I’m serious. That’s what he calls it. Give me a second. I just need to whisper a couple of one liners.
Tell her you’re busy…Get a life…Hang up.’
He never listens, but I can’t ignore it. It’s not all tinsel and wings in this job. They like you to earn your keep. Hang on a minute. He’s by the mirror now, putting on his designer suit and a splash of Kouros. I’ll give him a few more prods.
Stick your jeans and sweatshirt on…She won’t care as long as you’ve got the car...You’re already on a promise.’
That last one made him think. I might use that again. It’s all a bit trial and error this fairy game and I’m still on probation, still learning the ropes. Fair enough. We’ve all got to start somewhere and it’s not as though there’s a rule book. It all depends on your host and my man’s riddled to his core with love. It’s sweet, all nice and cosy for a while until it turns on you. And that’s when you need me. It’s not easy. It’s me versus the deadliest virus known to the human race and the only weapon they’ve given me is a few seed of doubt bombs. You know the sort of thing: What ifs? What abouts? It’s all garbage, but it’s amazing what happens when those babies get planted inside your head.
Oh good. You’re back. I’m down here on the driver’s seat. It was all getting a bit grunt, grind and groan back there. I had to get out of his head for a break. I bet you’re wondering why the back of a car. Simple answer, they still live with their parents. Kids, just turned eighteen. Young love, the most virulent strain of the disease. Mind you, sometimes it gets worse with age.
Something different happened tonight. We pulled up outside the club. She was waiting. They did their usual kiss and reach-for-the-bucket hello:
I love you.’
I love you too.’
I love you more.’
I settled back and waited for him to pull away, but she reached across and put her hand on his knee. ‘There’s something I need to tell you,’ she said.
Well, that woke me up. The big kiss off. It was finally going to happen. I whispered a ‘she’s dumping you’ message for good measure. But this is what she said: ‘I want you to come with me to the club. I want us to be a proper couple.’
Now, don’t judge me, but I might have given you the wrong impression. You see, my man’s not exactly Mr Sociable. He goes through the motions, offers to do lots of things, but he doesn’t expect her to say yes. I’d have bet my pension he wouldn’t agree, but then, and this is really irritating, he smiled his bubble-gum smile, the one that always disengages his brain, and said, ‘I’ll try. I miss you.’
She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.
I pitched a What are you doing?’ at him, but, to be honest, my heart wasn’t in it and it was pretty obvious I couldn’t compete with her strawberry lip gloss and white musk perfume. I’ll bide my time, though, wait until he’s in the club, wait until he’s doing his gangly, dad dancing…
Oh, my God, there’s a girl sitting in the passenger seat. Dewy, almond eyes, drawing me in like a magnet.
Who are you?’
I’m Becky, madam’s head fairy.’
She’s looking up at me, her red hair cascading down her back.
Who are you talking to?’
This isn’t fair. I’m over all that. I’ll take a deep breath, try to dampen down the hammer of my pulse. Can you hear it? I’m sure she can hear it.

One Last Shot by Stephen Anthony Brotherton

One Last Shot concludes the trilogy of Freddie and Jo-Jo, which has moved through time in a series of flashbacks, showing how the couple fell in love as teenagers, why they drifted apart, what happened in their lives away from each other, and what happens when they meet up again over three decades later. At the end of the second book, An Extra Shot, Jo-Jo tells Freddie about her dark secret. Confused, vulnerable and in a state of shock, he says he needs time to think about what to do next. Jo-Jo’s right to be worried. Freddie doesn’t react well...

I was born in Walsall, grew up in the West Midlands and now live in Telford with my two cats, Boris and Tai.

After working in the health and social care sector for over thirty years, I have now written the trilogy that has been rooted in my head for most of my life.

The Shots trilogy is based on a first love relationship I had as a teenager. It tells the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo, who are reunited in a coffee shop three decades after the end of their teenage romance. How they originally met, why they parted, what happens in their lives apart, and what happens when they reunite is all told through a series of first person vignettes.

Getting these stories down on paper has been a cathartic process. I hope you enjoy them.

Twitter @FreddieJoJo1