20 March 2006
Lawks. Adventures in the South-West: I have been down to Bristol for Left Coast Crime, a traditionally American convention that strayed across the pond this year. It was fun, but inevitably full of writers, old friends, who are all still being published within the genre, so I did suffer pangs of envy and feel really rather out of place. I only went to keep my face in people’s minds, to remind them that crime is a genre I have occupied in the past and would like to do so again - but it was probably a mistake. Tho' I did sell five copies of Phantoms... on the side. I really should've been an encyclopaedia salesman, if only they still went door-to-door; I'm good at this one-on-one persuasion thing. Unless it's just that the book is so good, it sells itself...?
And then I went further south and further west, to visit family in Cornwall, and that was certainly a mistake. Don't misunderstand me, I love my mother and my sister, my good-brother and my nephew too; but Cornwall always makes me ill. I was wheezing and gasping when I got off the train already, my chest was on fire before bedtime, and this morning my mother sent me home with instructions to see doctor first thing tomorrow.
Trouble with that, of course, is surviving the night in the meantime; but Newcastle always makes me feel better, so I guess I'll make it. People have suggested that this whole I-can't-breathe-in-Cornwall thing is psychosomatic, and no doubt they're right, but it could still kill me. For preference, I'd be tucked up in bed by now with a warm cat to cuddle; only Barry went back to the vets for the period of my absence, and I haven't been able to reclaim him yet.
So it'll just be the bed-on-my-own thing, which isn't half so much fun. These days, you can't even get a buzz off asthma-medicine (they used to give me these extraordinary big horse-pills called Do-Dos, and half a dozen of those was like a serious trip).
But the best thing about sneaking home early is that nobody knows I'm back. I'll have a full five days, free and clear; so long as I can shake off the chest-infection, or at least drug it into submission, that's a bonus week of work, all undisturbed. Shh - anybody asks, you have no idea where I am...
© Chaz Brenchley 2006
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.