Looks Like It’s Hell For Me, Folks!

Looks Like It's Hell For Me, Folks!
Image: Boston.com

I found myself wandering around Portobello yesterday mid-morning with my wife and father-in-law looking for a coffee shop. We’d gone out to buy floor tiles but the place wasn’t open yet, so we nipped into Portie for a coffee. The only thing open, though, was the local Baptist church, outside of which was a middle-aged man handing out leaflets to passers-by. Eventually we found a coffee shop (Reds it was called and it was very nice) where we sat down on some comfy leather chairs and ordered our drinks.

While we waited for them to be delivered, I looked at the leaflet handed out by the Baptist volunteer. “Are you good enough to go to Heaven?” it began. It then worked its way through each of the Ten Commandments explaining that if I had betrayed any of them, even one, then Hell it would be for me. I was in deep trouble already.

Yes, I’ve lied in the past (Commandment 9 broken) and yes I have sworn in the past (Commandment 3 broken). But it was when the waitress bent over to hand me my coffee and I happened to glance at her ample bosoms swinging delightfully in my direction, it appears I had immediately betrayed my wife and committed adultery simply by thinking about them. Commandment 7 broken, life on earth buggered, Hell here I come.

What a load of absolute tripe. On the way back I hoped to see the same guy in order that I could tell him precisely what I thought of his marketing strategy, but the lecture—sorry, sermon—was already under way inside the church.

If there is indeed a Hell, by this guy’s rationale I’m in the same boat as Hitler merely by glancing at another woman’s ass in the street or yelling “fuck!” when I bring a hammer down on my thumb. Rather a sweeping set of strict rules to live by I would have thought. Then I realised, one doesn’t have to have a Faith or attend Church to be a good person.

I don’t think I’m perfect or any kind of angel, but I certainly am not the next Robert Mugabe. Maybe there’s an in-between place for people like me who aren’t perfect enough to get into Heaven but really don’t deserve the Hell treatment either. I can only imagine wherever it is, it’s packed out to the rafters.

I started the final polish on my GREENER IS THE GRASS manuscript like an Ethiopian sprinter running the Amsterdam marathon. I’m doing it from a hard copy and it feels brilliant to be in among my words and a story that comes into my mind so very easily when I delve in. The manuscript has a lot of red marks on it early on, but these are the chapters I’ve tinkered with a lot since I started redrafting it; the latter chapters seem to run more smoothly as I’ve found the voice for the piece and I’m having to mark less and less as it progresses.

There is, however, one fundamental decision still to make with this story and that is where to place the murder (it’s a crime novella). I’m in two minds to leave it where it is, unseen by the reader and providing a shock when it comes, or to introduce it at the start in what would be the only chapter written through another person’s point of view-the murderer. Tough call and it needs more chewing over. Maybe my trusted readers will advise on that one since I am very close now to sending this one out to them.

Dinner last night consisted of leftovers. However, it was roast beef with all the trimmings kind of leftovers so it was absolutely smashing stuff. After eating it I went onto my computer to check my email when a message flashed on the screen along the lines of: “You hard disk is buggered. Please back it up before it collapses into a heap altogether and get it fixed.”

I’d only recently run my full weekly backups so I wasn’t bothered but I thought I would run the Vista built-in backup as well. Due to the hard drive problem it wouldn’t run though, which really is pathetic. I’m not sure what the problem actually is, everything seems and sounds okay other than the annoying “I’m broken, fix me” message. The only certainty is my days of Windows PCs are now numbered—Apple is closer than ever before.

Peace out!

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About Colin Galbraith

Thriller author, music fan, St Mirren fan, fluff chucker, rabbit tamer, outstanding fake faller. Loves cannoli.
This entry was posted in Edinburgh, Editorial Comment, Family, Fiction, Food, Drink and Bevvy, I.T., Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Looks Like It’s Hell For Me, Folks!

  1. The Organized Religion’s version of Hell doesn’t fit into my belief system, and I do think you wind up with the Afterlife you think you deserve (along the lines of Terry Pratchett’s Disc World philosophy).

    But hey, if I’m wrong and I get there first, I’ll save you a seat at the bar, right? 😉

    Good luck with GRASS. What kind of impact do you want the novella to have? I have a personal dislike for a single chapter being in a different POV, especially if it’s the FIRST chapter and we’re never in that headspace again, but that has more to do with feeling personally jarred — if it works, it works.

    I’d be more inclined to lean towards hiding the murder and having the murder as the reveal. What you might have to do in that case is think how you’ll query it — if you query it as a mystery, they might comment it takes too long to get going. You might be able to still do it as a crime novel, or as literary fiction.

    Also, as you’re working on it, what feels best and most natural to the piece?

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