‘And the winner is…’

‘And the winner is….’

There I sat, perched literally on the edge of my seat, at next year’s CWA Dagger Awards ceremony. I really needed a big toilet. The category being announced was for the Debut Dagger and I was attending the gala event as one of the shortlisted authors on complimentary tickets. Holy crap! The bloke who was fighting to gain entry to the envelope was making a theatrical meal of it. I wanted to shout at him, ‘Come on you sadistic bastard. Hurry up, Some of us are dying of suspense out here.’ But I didn’t. I kept my composure.

He had the thick piece of card out now, but it was upside down. He turned it through one hundred and eighty degrees and only then realised that he wasn’t wearing his glasses. Fucks sake. Where do they get these people?! Here we go.

‘And the winner of this year’s CWA Debut Dagger is…’

‘You haven’t hung up the washing like I told you to,’ said my current future ex-wife in her familiar annoyed tone.

‘What?’ I mumbled, confused. ‘What washing? What about the award?’

‘What are you talking about, you idiot?’

I was now fully awake.

My wife had left the home an hour earlier to do the shopping on the understanding that I would hang the washing out to dry. Immediately she had shut the front door I sat down with a cup of tea to get on with my final, final proof read of the first novel that I’m going to be downloading to Kindle as soon as it’s proofed and formatted. I must have fallen asleep. This is absolutely no reflection on the quality of my writing, I hasten to add. I’m just tired from a hard week at work.

But I do see my dream as portentous. This is the sixth time that I’ve read this book now and it’s not half as bad as you might be forgiven for thinking seeing as I’m unpublished, mentally ill and deluded. I’m going to be a success. I can feel it in my water.

I’m on page seventy-five of the final, final proof reading. The manuscript is covered with scribbles and corrections – how could I have missed so much on my five previous readings? I might have to read it again after this. How could I confuse ‘sashay’ with ‘sachet’? and ‘aren’t I’ with ‘auntie’?

Listen, forget all that. This book is still OK. I still like it. It’s holding together. It’s holding up. I’m the kind of person who lives with something or someone for a couple of years and gets fed up seeing it/them around – like my children and spouses – but I don’t feel like that with my ‘real offspring’; my ‘creative creations’. That must mean something, right?

‘The washing?’ she shouts from the doorway.

Good job I didn’t win the Debut Dagger. I might be explaining to the police how it ended up between my current future ex-wife’s shoulder blades.

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