For those of you who missed the announcement, PayBack Week has been re-released on Amazon Kindle. Some of you may have already enjoyed this title. Some of you might be wondering what to expect from my writing.
Below is a sample from PayBack Week where two characters who work at the story’s theme park are discussing the mysterious figure known to his colleagues as ‘Toilet’.
“Why do they call him the Toilet?” asked Nicky. “I mean, that’s not his real name is it? His parents didn’t call him baby Toiletwhen he was born, did they?”
The Spooksville Café boasted an elevated view of the Fun Park. Set above Spooksville Slots, one of the park’s many amusement arcades, the salt-spattered windows on the west side of the café stared out of the amusement park toward the neglected seashore and endless miles of unbroken sea. It was a desolate view that was only ever made remarkable during sunset. Throughout the rest of the day it was a vista of grey sands and grey sea beneath a grey, grey sky.
The east facing windows overlooked a quadrant of the park labelled Spooksville. Spooksville contained the ghost train and a haunted house, as well as a handful of traditional rides that had been redesigned with a supernatural theme. The tilt-a-whirl was called The Witch’s Hat, and had been fashioned with a fibreglass dome to look like a pointed, witch’s hat. The screaming swing was called The Pit and the Pendulumwith carriages fashioned to look like swinging blades. From the windows of the Spooksville Café, Chloe could also see a selection of smaller rides, attractions and stalls that had all been reinvented around the idea of the supernatural and classic horror stories. Pictures of Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula adorned the walls of otherwise utilitarian buildings. Statues and mannequins, dressed and painted to look like vampires, zombies and werewolves, stood motionless beside the stretch of the park’s main walkway. The carriages on the nearby mini-coaster were painted black with grinning white skulls at their fronts. A PA system, hidden behind one of the park’s many pieces of plastic greenery, occasionally spat out a blood-curdling scream. And yet, in the morning light, Spooksville appeared more comical than scary.
Making herself a coffee, and preparing for another long day of graft and ingratitude as she worked behind the counter of Spooksville Café, Chloe stared incredulously at Nicky.
“You’re asking me if the Toilet is his real name?”
Chloe rolled her eyes. “There are some days when you give blonde a bad name.”
Nicky frowned. “It’s not his real name then?”
“It’s just a nickname,” Chloe said stiffly. “Who would really call their child ‘the Toilet?’” She didn’t wait for Nicky’s response. “I think it was either David or Gary who first called him that. Most likely Gary. He said the guy was gullible and he took everything in: like a toilet.”
Nicky digested this with a nod. She was an attractive blonde and it was obvious she knew she was attractive. Her hair was a baby-soft yellow and her skin was tanned to a colour that she described as ‘Florida Sunburst.’ She wore skin-tight short-shorts and a bright white T that emphasised her buxom chest. When she grinned at Chloe her smile was so white it was almost fluorescent.
Chloe fired up the espresso machine. There was a moment of deafening silence as the café was filled with the reverberating hiss of steam from chrome pipes. The room’s acoustics made the noise unbearable and overwhelming. For Chloe, still recovering from too much alcohol at the previous evening’s impromptu beachside party, the noise was like dental surgery without anaesthetic.
When silence again descended, Nicky asked, “So what’s his real name?”
Chloe opened her mouth to answer and then closed it quickly.
“I don’t know.”
Pointing through the window, Nicola aimed her finger at the familiar figure of a menacing clown stamping along the main strip that ran through Spooksville. Six foot tall, dressed in a garish rainbow coloured romper suit, the clown had a chalk-white bald head surrounded by tufts of eccentric green hair. His face was as ashen as a corpse, save for the lips which were blood red and painted into a grimace of pained anguish. In his left hand he held a blood-besmeared meat cleaver. His big floppy boots flapped against the asphalt of the main strip in a comical, yet determined fashion.
“There he is,” Nicky sounded excited. She stood on her tiptoes and clapped her hands. “We could go and ask him.”
Chloe closed her eyes. “Cool idea, Nicks. We could go down there and say, ‘Hi, Toilet. We’ve worked alongside you for the past four months and we don’t know your real name yet. We only ever refer to you by the insulting and unflattering nickname Toilet. What’s your real name?’ That would sound lovely, wouldn’t it?”
“It would show we’re taking an interest.” Nicky sounded defensive.
“Somehow,” Chloe said, watching the clown stamp away from the ghost train, “I think he’d be a lot better off without our interest.”
“I’m not so sure,” Nicky argued. “I think he could use someone’s help.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, right now, he’s heading away from the ghost train, even though the park is two minutes away from opening. That’s not right, is it?”
Chloe considered this and realised, maddeningly, Nicky was right. Instead of assuming his usual position, standing inside the dark shadows of the covered ghost train, and waiting to leap out and frighten passengers on the sharpest bends in the ride, the clown was walking toward the ticket booth at the main entrance.
“Where’s he going?”
Nicky giggled. “Maybe the Toilet is going to the toilet?” Her giggles developed into a stream of shrill laughter that jarred against the remnants of Chloe’s hangover. If Chloe had been asked to make a choice she would have said the sound of cappuccino machine was preferable to the manic timbre of Nicky’s giggling.
“Toilet, going to the toilet. Do you get it?”
Watching the clown march through Spooksville, Chloe said nothing. She had taken little interest in the Toilet since the start of the holiday season and, even though she didn’t really know him, she thought he had made a change to his costume or his make-up. There was something different about his appearance today that she tried to pinpoint.
If pushed, she would have said it was something to do with the meat cleaver but Chloe felt fairly sure she had seen the Toilet holding the implement previously. What self-respecting murderous caricature of a psychotic clown, she wondered, would be caught without a meat cleaver?
Dismissing him from her thoughts, she decided it was probably something to do with his determined step and his obvious sense of purpose as he marched toward the ticket booth.
If you want to find out how this story continues, go to Amazon and get your own copy of PayBack Week