There were many things which Arthur Fraser used to hate about his job, but the worst of them was the lift.
He worked in a tall building called Excelsior House. Both the building and its lifts were shared between two important enterprises.
Floors 1 to 14 inclusive belonged to Megalopolitan Television. Floors 15 to 24 inclusive belonged to Her Majesty The Queen, who had graciously assigned them to her Department of Internal Revenue and Expenditure (DIRE).
It was easy to distinguish the different users of the lifts. Mega-TV employees wore casual clothes but emphatic fragrances. Their men disdained jackets and ties in favour of garish open-neck shirts. They greeted each other in the lift like long-lost brothers and sisters, and complimented each other in exotic language. One especially florid man had a regular set of buzzwords: ‘very heavy … very macho… very phallic…’
The DIRE people wore dark clothes. The men had white shirts, ties and jackets at all hours of the day. They smelt of government-issue soap. DIRE people were silent in the lift until safely past the fourteenth floor, when observations about trains or the weather were permissible.
Arthur was a minor official of DIRE. His boss was an incompetent martinet, who had blocked his bids for transfer or promotion. His work was routine, his prospects negligible. Day after day he travelled up in the lift. He studied every word and gesture of the Mega-TV people. The florid man’s catch-phrase lodged in his brain: ‘very heavy … very macho… very phallic.’ It became his mantra too, his hope of reincarnation in another life-form.

Another passage from my reprinted first cricket novel A TALE OF TEN WICKETS (ISBN 0-9523419-0-5) The Canterbury Tales of village cricket

“This delightful tome resonates with a barely concealed English passion for the sport of flannelled fools. He manages to cram the outlines of ten novels into a paperback about one village game.” Peter McKay, The Daily Mail

“Amateurs of all ages will feel at home in the bucolic atmosphere on pitch and in pavilion.” Duff Hart-Davis, The Mail On Sunday

“Some of the stories are beauties, vignettes of triumph and disaster in which the characters are illuminated with real sharpness.” Max Davidson, The Daily Telegraph

And in case you missed him earlier, here is my star fast bowler (on loan from Scott Fitzgerald).

It had always seemed unjust to Pat Hobby that his only lasting gift was for playing cricket. In fifteen years he had lost twenty-three writing jobs, four houses, two wives and many weekends, but he had never lost his outswinger. Pat Hobby could no longer create stories, or scenes, or characters, or dialogue. But the hands that froze over a typewriter could still put the devil into a cricket ball, to the great benefit of the Frenetic Cricket Club.

22. May 2014 by rkh
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