Here's another section from my novel project, 'Notes from a Small Campus.' It's been slow going, as I've started a hundred different projects otherwise and the initial extract wasn't well received because I really took it outside of the context of the narrative and it came out a bit weird, so I was a bit perturbed; so here is a more easy-to-follow extract, where the protagonist, Paris, has recently received his A-Level results:
Notes From A Small Campus: Extract 2
I can still picture results day clearly; I remember the weather was positively awful for August; the rain battered the streets in an endless, soulless rhythm that thundered through my head like the rattling groan of a bass drum. It did nothing to settle my nerves, which were so tense that the Vindelici could have used them as bowstrings. Mother was blustery as ever; wearing her ridiculously huge anorak which made her appear like a walking parachute. (On two occasions, I had since tried to burn this anorak with no success. The second time, Mother caught me. When she had reprimanded me appropriately, in the harshest punishment of all, she purchased a matching anorak for me. Fortunately, I was allowed to terminate this one.)
Before I had even managed to get my shoes on, she had caught me by the hand like a child and began to march down the street, a defiant and angry expression on her face.
I was not able to muster a protest of any sort for the entire fifteen minute walk to school. (I have an inkling that a number of my peers, if one would dare award them such a title, had watched with apt enjoyment) When we arrived, the hall was packed with people milling around, some openly weeping, others rewarded with huge smiles across their faces. All in all, the company was varied and exciting; and thoroughly pedestrian at the same time. Dire, as you can perceive.
Mother dearest had snatched up my envelope from the box and was already tearing into it with more enthusiasm than a beaver at a timber mill (excuse the colloquialism, but it is the most effective simile I can provide you; heightened by the large, rotund image Mother projected from beneath that ghastly anorak.)
My heart stopped. I watched her open the letter and gaze at it for some time, her eyes narrowed deeply, as though she were struggling to comprehend the words which had appeared on the paper, so magically produced from the envelope.
‘Well, that’s a relief,’ she stated, in the least relieved manner imaginable.
Now in nearly all narratives, the protagonist responds with a stupid question like “what’s a relief, Mama?” as if she will explain everything in black and white, so that we can move on to a mournful soliloquy and a touching reconciliation of some sort. Anyway, that’s what I suppose you were expecting. I’m hoping you have more common sense than that.
I, unlike most protagonists, am not one to ask baseless and empty questions for the sake of pointless information. Without the slightest inclination, I snatched the letter from Mother’s hands and took only a second to peruse the three A’s so deftly carved on it.
The parachute/beaver that was my mother allowed herself a smirk and stated in her most sneering tone.
‘Surprised, are you?’
‘No,’ I was not. In the vein of Hellenistic Stoicism, dramatic events do not have the slightest effect on my demeanor. I had three A’s and had achieved what I had desired. There wasn’t much else to it than that.
‘I suppose you want some expensive reward then,’ Mother growled, viciously prizing the letter from my grip and looking disinterestedly back over it, ‘another expensive present to empty my purse with. You know your father lost his job the other day; you can’t expect that we can just make money for you.’
I never expected them to make money for me because they never did. We were exceptionally poor but nevertheless, Mother saved these performances for when the plebs were in listening distance, in hopes of inciting riots and forcing me to be stoned or something. I had already seen the ass-ears of busybody Mrs. Conway as she caught a snifter of gossip drifting in the winds and expected the lynching to occur at once. I’ll never forget her stupid red wig darted through the masses, trying to sidle up alongside my mother. (This was, it must be pointed out, the same woman who had burdened her son with the name ‘Theobald.’ The name conjures up an ageing, balding nobody who throws up over himself when afraid. It turned out to be a fitting title for her son.)
In truth, Mother had provided me with little in the way of presents, save on my 8th birthday, when I had been magnanimously (and I use the term loosely) awarded with a CD of the Bach Double-Violin Concerto in D-Minor. (I later learned that my father had procured it in a Buy-One-Get-One-Free deal with the new Take That album and having no use for it, passed it onto his son, who, he assumed, had an interest in ‘music with violins in it.’ This was the only present I had ever received from either of my parents. It also turned out that neither had known that it was my birthday. On a side note, no, I cannot account for my father’s peculiar taste in boy bands)
‘I don’t want a reward,’ was all I recall saying, though it might have been somewhat more curt and tongue-in-cheek, because the next thing I recall was that Mother had lost her temper, cursed at me, and promptly stormed out, leaving an eerie silence in her wake.