My buddy Lee Henshaw is wriiting his new novel, The Uncertainty of Friendship, and he’s publishing it as he goes along at next-to-hemingway.blogspot.com/. I am going to be serialising it here, because I just read the first party and it make my grin from ear to ear like a split faced moggy.
Thinking of Ignatius Moricand on The 108 Steps.
They were tripping, this boy and girl, at the bottom of The 108 Steps. It was a warm Sunday afternoon. The pubs and the kebab shops were quiet and the bells of the church at the top of The 108 Steps were ringing. He was looking at the kebab shop. At the flames licking the kebab meat. His eyebrows rose when, every now and then, the flames melted through the window and danced for him to the slow melody of the church bells.
They’d eaten meringue nests for their tea, the meal you have around 5 o’clock in Macclesfield, holding them in their hands like Cornish pasties. They’d filled them with magic mushrooms, which grow freely in the countryside around the town. The sweetness of the meringue disguised the bitter taste of the mushrooms.
“When did you first come?” she asked him, her hand drifting from his shin to his thigh and back again as he sat next to her.
“When I was 12,” he said, “with a girl from Bollington called Mandy.”
“There’s a surprise,” she said sarcastically.
Bollington is a small town near Macclesfield and its girls have a reputation for being promiscuous.
She’d asked him about his first orgasm.
“What was it like?” she said.
“It was surprising,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll ever be surprised like that again.”
“I can’t believe it was with a girl. Surely most boys do it for themselves first.”
“She was 16,” he said defensively.
He slowly licked his top lip and started to chew it.
“You’re thinking about Ignatius Moricand, aren’t you?” she asked him.
Thinking about Ignatius Moricand, she knew, could change his mood as completely as tide covers dry sand.
She put her arms around him.
“Let’s kill him,” she whispered. “Just in our heads. Let’s kill him in our heads.”
“I would like to kill him even if it’s only in my head,” he said.
“We can do it,” she said, “but take me the top of the steps first.”
They walked up The 108 Steps to have sex in the churchyard.
She sat on a wall and he stood. With her head pushing against his she was louder than the church bells, like Mani’s bassline over Reni’s drums in the song I Am The Resurrection by The Stone Roses, he thought.
Afterwards, as they were near the gates, she saw the vicar leaving the church. She fell to the floor and started crawling around.
“What are you doing?” asked the vicar.
“I’m looking for my purse,” she said, “I lost it in the church.”
“If you lost it in the church,” said the vicar, “why are you looking for it here?”
She looked up at him and smiled.
“Because the light’s better out here,” she said.
Lee Henshaw’s first novel was called Queer Fish in God’s Waiting Room, and it’s out now.