Post Midnight Blues blurb
She’s a neurotic non-binary seeking forgiveness; he’s a heartbroken hound desperately seeking his master: together they are… dysfunctional.
Con is living in self-imposed isolation after an accidental death that she blames herself for. Her only contact with the outside world is the occasional midnight trip to the local supermarket and her visits from loyal colleague, Sandeep. Deadpan companion, Heathcliffe the Lurcher, has his own issues: most notably an inexplicable fixation with post boxes.
Can these two social misfits find a way to readjust and make peace with the past?
Targeted Age Group:: 30+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
3 years ago I was really struggling with my gender identity and discovered the term non-binary. Wow- some eye opener that was! So, Con's struggles were partly informed by that. Also, there's a lot of me in her – she 40 something, lives alone, adores her dog! Originally I wanted to pay homage to Wuthering Heights and it was just going to be about Con and Heathcliffe and her being obsessed with the Brontes… but it sort of went off on a trans / mental health trajectory!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Well, the protagonist and dog are really based on me and my dog, but with a big dollop of creative licence (my dog is a bitch and she's a Staffy). I think the bad poetry writing side of Con was also influenced by my love of 2 things: the Adrian Mole books and a book called 'The Wrong Boy' by Willy Russell.
Bang. Bang. Bang. Con is woken by the sound of the door banging in its frame and a freezing cold draft.
She slowly emerges from the black, wet clutches of her day dream. And then the realisation hits her – “Heathcliffe! Heathcliffe!” She leaps up from the sofa bench so fast the blood rush can’t catch her for dust. She stands at the open door, scouring the area in front of the van. He’s nowhere to be seen. But the small wooden stool she’d used to prop the door open is lying next to the van steps, dripping wet now. The van had become unbearably stuffy what with her needing the heating on full blast to dry out her coats and shoes. Poor Heathcliffe had looked as uncomfortable as a husky in a solarium, lying on his side, panting, his tongue lolling out, desperately seeking cool air. She’d taken pity on him and when the heat had lured her into its boudoir, he’d seen his chance and taken it.
Quick as she’d been to leap from the sofa, leaving the van is a different matter entirely. Half a dozen times she tries, but it’s no use; as soon as she plants one foot on the top step, the world in front of her seems to shift, losing its solidity. She’s in that slippery parallel world. And its probably a good thing because she hasn’t even put on a coat; she’s wearing shorts and a T-shirt that she’s lived and slept in for three days. Mrs Hibbertson, who’s nipped out to change the fat balls hanging from her plum tree, spots her. “What you said about the woman with the dog on the corner plot?” She whispers to Mr Hibbertson, rubbing her damp hair dry.
“What about it?” Mr Hibbertson asks, looking up from his paper.
“You were right: she is mad. Quite mad. I’ve just seen her doing the Hokey Cokey on her steps in shorts and a T-shirt. Bare foot. I don’t know what this world’s coming to, I really don’t.”
Mr Hibbertson, who is studying the racing form folds back a corner of the Post and tries to decipher from his wife’s face what his reaction should be. He’s unsure whether she’s looking for disapproval or agreement and so he nods, shakes his head and tuts in quick succession. That should cover all bases.
Meanwhile, back in her sweatbox, Con finds her phone and presses, ‘call Sandeep’. “Please let him be free, please, plea-“ He answers on the fourth ring. “Sandeep! Thank God. It’s Heathcliffe. He’s gone. I left the door ajar and fell asleep and he’s done a bunk on me. Oh, God Sandeep, please say you’ll find him for me. I can’t get myself outside –“
“Calm down, Con. I’m sure he won’t have got that far. I’m sure we can find h-“
“We? But I can’t. I’ve tried, but I physically just can’t. I get to the top step and then everything just grinds to a h-“
“OK, OK, calm down. I’ll go look for him. Any idea where –“
“I know exactly where he’ll be. Just check all the post boxes near Daybreak. Remember I told you about his obsession with them?”
“Vaguely, yes. Alright. I’m leaving now. Just sit tight and have your phone handy, OK?”
“But you’ll need his lead! Pop in and get it first.”
“OK. On my way.”
Sandeep’s at work, but he’s owed a lunch break, so he shoots off. As he’s approaching Daybreak, his eyes are peeled for pillar boxes. There’s one on the corner of a cul-de-sac just before the caravan park. He slows down. To see two men bungling a lurcher, a dead ringer for Heathcliffe if ever he saw one, into the back of a gold Dacia Duster.
“What the?” He screeches into the cul-de-sac without indicating, much to the chagrin of the driver behind him, and makes an emergency stop beside the street sign for Sycamore Crescent. But by the time he’s got his seat belt off and climbed out of the car, the Dacia is turning at the top of the little street and making its way back towards the main road. He runs towards them, the puddles splashing up and soaking his legs. “Hey! Stop! That’s not your dog. Hey, bring him back!”
The driver of the Dacia doesn’t notice Sandeep because he’s on his phone, about to report an escaped dog to the local police. His passenger doesn’t notice Sandeep because he is fending off a highly excited and extremely soggy Heathcliffe.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. You’ll take me to Jimbo now, won’t you? Did he send you? I knew he’d fetch me. Good old Jimbo.
“My you’re a friendly one, aren’t you?” The passenger is not experienced with large dogs and is struggling to assert the backseat as his territory while attempting to rub his boisterous companion dry with an old gym towel he’s found stuffed in the back pocket of the passenger seat.
“Can you keep him down?” The driver asks, “I can’t see out the back – oh, yes, hello, I need to report a stray dog.”
Sandeep jumps back in his Fabia and buckles up. “Right, that’s how you wanna play it, is it?” He revs the engine and pats the steering wheel, “c’mon girl, don’t let me down now,” he screeches back out of the cul-de-sac with the Dacia still in sight a few cars ahead on the main road. The two men in the Dacia may not have noticed him, but there’s plenty of curtains and blinds twitching and his dramatic entrance and exit will keep tongues wagging on Sycamore Crescent for the rest of the week at least; a welcome change from talking about the rain.
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