HAVING found so much encouragement online since blogging about other stuff than twins, triplets and more, I thought I'd take a deep breath and share some of the fiction I've written.
The following is a short story included in a collection put together to raise money for Comic Relief. Although the project was started by me, I did submit this story, along with another one, anonymously.
Both came back with high praise from the judges so that was a great surprise.
My lovely friends Alice at DulwichDivorcee and ExmoorJane are now encouraging me to work on a novel and I keep saying I will but a small matter of two children and a mortgage keep getting in the way...(Plus of course an inevitable crisis of confidence, novels aren't for the likes of me...)
It includes an exclusive (and hilarious) story from Dave Spikey and more stories from new writers.
*But please do not read this following story if you are offended by or feel uncomfortable with strong swear words. The language gets very fruity. It's not half as bad as the other one, set at an Anne Summers Party -so that's something..
Lady Muck's Last Stand
'Come on Love, move your arse,’ Mum coaxes. I don’t want to go.
Squirming with embarrassment as she entertains more screeching women at another 40th birthday party is no fun.
I’d rather be practising my music. I'd love to do it at college, but the tuition fees are out of reach. We sold my violin when Dad lost his job. I study when I can, with a borrowed violin.
Mum reckons I’m the next Myleene Klass – erm, with a different instrument and no bikini.
Dad will be at the party too. He’ll have a T-shirt on, with the initials BLUFF – Big Lazy Ugly Fat F*cker – and I’ll want the ground to open and swallow me.
Mum asked me to wear one once: Mini Ugly Fat F*cker it said – MUFF for short. I wouldn’t be seen dead in it.
Yet I felt bad when Mum’s eyes glazed with tears when I told her to get lost.
I'm cringing now, picturing what's about to happen.
Mum’ll enter dressed like a lollipop lady to the strains of Britney Spears. It's Womanizer tonight.
At either side of her there'll be a fat bloke in schoolboy shorts and tie.
The women will whoop like they’ve never seen a topless overweight man before.
“How dirty do you want me to be on a scale of one to ten?” Mum’ll ask.
“Ten,” someone inevitably yells. An “eleven” follows. “Sixty-nine” Dad shouts before anyone realises he’s part of the act.
So it begins.
Mum bats off hecklers. Men insult her and mock her weight.
“If your c*ck's as big as your mouth, I’ll see you later,” she beams.
This is no place for a 16-year-old girl.
How would you like it if you heard your mum joke: “Can I smell your f*nny? No? It must be your feet then.”
Sometimes she picks on someone watching.
“You’ve got big hands...bet they make your c*ck look small.”
While the women roar, all the men, except Dad, squirm.
It hasn’t always been like this. Dad worked in a foundry since he left school - clanging away and getting filthy.
But those days are gone. Dad’s factory closed - something to do with China. I didn’t get the full picture. Dad didn't either.
Now Mum has lost her job too – she blames this credit crunch business – after her branch of Sue'sSavers shut.
She’d worked there for years. People preferred Tesco now – all that free parking and two for the price of one.
Mum worked school hours and was always there to pick me up. Then she’d listen to me playing and we’d plot my future as an international performer.
We followed Myleene’s career closely – from HearSay to Ten Years Younger.
“See where a flair for classical music can get you Sweetheart?” Mum’d say. “And think of all that cash from M&S.”
“This isn’t just cash, this is Marks & Spencer cash,” we'd both smile.
But sometimes our plans were serious. We researched college scholarships and dreamed I'd make it.
Still, I knew where I was needed.
Mum lined a job up for me at Tesco. “Every little helps,” we laughed.
“You should be on the stage Dot”, enthused Mum’s ex colleagues when they came round. She had them in stitches. She had no shame.
Other people’s mums were cross if they swore. Mine farted and gave herself marks out of ten.
“Mum...” I’d begin, gearing up to ask for a pack of crisps.
“Mum’s arse!” she’d answer – years before Jim Royle was on the scene.
When Dad was made redundant, she did go on the stage.
She continued to work in Sue'sSavers and to pick me up from school, even when I insisted she shouldn't. Yet the bookings for her Lady Muck act were mounting up.
She had a slot at the community centre on Friday nights. She tapped away at gags on the computer in the early hours.
Dad went on loads of courses – how to be an IT consultant, how to be a cost management consultant, how to be a herbal drinks consultant – but he couldn’t go the distance.
“Consultancy’s not for me love’, he sighed, back home from a wasted day of ‘Paint Me Gorgeous’ training. We couldn’t disagree. He wasn't the next Trinny or Susannah and could never do camp like Gok Wan can.
But he needn’t have worried. Now he’s needed in a supporting role.
Mum was featured in our local paper: “Roly poly mum cleans up,” it said.
It was the talk of our school but I wanted a ‘normal’ mum – one who was naggy if I said “f*ck” and wasn't always tired.
Last year she won an award. Some arts body gave her £3,000.‘Check out girl licks the competition,’ screamed the tabloid headline. There was Mum, her cheesy grin filling most of page eleven.
It was getting harder to ignore everyone telling me how chuffed I must be for her. But she was still my mum and I loved her – even if she was Chubby Brown in a dress.
Now she’s stopped typing while I’m in bed. I suspect she’s lost interest.
She went away for a weekend last month without Dad. She mumbled something about ‘an appointment’. She was lying but I was scared to say anything. Dad seemed touchy about it too.
I’m worried. Mum has never had a weekend away. I’ve told her she should enough times – she could go with her mates from work, but she shrugs and says she sees enough of groups of women in her ‘night job’.
’What’s she up to? What’s happening to our family? A horrible, nervous knot is gripping my stomach.
Why is my mum deceiving me?
I must be wrong. Mum has been working herself into the ground to keep this family together, and how do I reward her? By thinking she must be playing away. I feel guilty and selfish for doubting her.
She loves performing. Surely that’s her passion after Dad and me?
“Are you coming or what? Hurry up slowcoach,” she chides again.
We don’t speak as we head to the venue. No doubt it’ll be another Working Men’s Club, maybe it’s a hen night.
Those are worse than birthdays – women in grotesque costumes of bin bags, L-plates and pictures from porn magazines, with snaps of their own heads stuck on by their so-called mates.
But we take a different turn. Soon we’re in the city's arty quarter. We pass the music shop that bought my violin. It’s no longer in the window. At least someone’s enjoying it.
Then I forget about the violin. We’re stopping outside the TV studios.
“Oh God no, Mum’s going to audition for Big Brother, or even worse Britain’s Got Talent –she wants to be the next George Sampson.”
“Mum, Mum you can’t breakdance,” I wail, confused.
“Eh? What you on about?” she asks, stroking my hair.
“What you doing Mum?” Panic is rising in my voice.
“You’ll see. Hurry up, we have to meet Dad. He’s gone to get a new T-shirt done but he said he’d see us here.”
We are soon outside Studio Three and here’s Dad, waiting. He pulls his T-shirt out of the carrier.
It says PAF on it. “Proud as F*ck”, he explains gingerly. “Had enough of BLUFF.
Sorry ‘bout the language Amy,” he says.
“I’ve got you one too.”
Then he produces another bag – Tony’s Musical Supplies it’s from – and here’s Dad chuckling, as he unwraps my violin.
For a split second I’m lost for words, I just can’t take in what is happening.
“This is for you Sweetheart,” says Mum softly. “This is what it has all been for, there’ll be no more Working Men’s Clubs for us.”
I take in the sign on the studio door: “Dirty talk with Lady Muck”.
Mum tells me she recorded a pilot last month. “Went down a storm,” she says. “They’ve commissioned a 12-week run – it’s going out at 10 on a Saturday night and I’ve got soap stars and singers as special guests.
“Even Myleene,” she nods, beaming. “Oh and I’ve been paid a few grand up front. I’ve contacted that music college you’ve set your heart on.
"It’s enough for the first term – my fees for the series will pay for the rest. “Where do I change?” I ask for the first time in my life.
Please help us boost Comic Relief if you can spare £4.99 for the download or £9 for the book (which was put together in a month) by supporting TwitterTitters here.