The Felixstowe coach rolled along in the sun, bound for the sea and ozone with many others who, like us, had their bus pass.
In a shelter at the bottom of Bent Hill we enjoyed a lunch of sandwiches and a flask of tea. Then it was a walk to Jacob’s Ladder and back, then through the town and on to Gregg’s for coffee mid-afternoon.
Over coffee I had a look at a book I’d bought, a hardcover with wrapper and decent type by an acolyte of Andy Warhol’s. Looked like a red-hot read. A book you wouldn’t want to put down, not one that’s just adequate. I didn’t get any Kerouac or Ginsberg. The bookcase full of beatnik material that they had before in the Treasure Chest had disappeared.
I did however locate a Rod McKuen poetry book with dust wrapper, In Someone’s Shadow.
Earlier, I’d been reading a biography of Ken Russell with the lunch, a book I brought with me. These controversial works, like the Warhol and this one, being full of crazy mouthing off although they’re still scholarly, have their appeal. The Warhol for example being full of sleaze, gossip and the rest of it, the inside story.
For me, being a fiction writer, the world is my mountain oyster and I can run any character down as much as I like. So long as it’s real to the tale, that is.
This vamp saga I’ve started with ‘Easy Blood’, the exploits of Eric Vauclare, Grant Appleton and others, including Suggie Southgate, the shaven-headed git on the trail of those two bloodsuckers, well, I don’t know where it’s going, but it goes. Must get onto the follow-up.
The ozone-pouring sea gives you a high, but we kept our heads together, staying in the shady side of the shelter.
Not far from the Treasure Chest an older man stumbled and went down alongside the curb and just lay there in the street. He just reclined there on his back, looking around him, admirably cool, I thought. I went over and asked if he was OK and if he wanted an arm up.
‘Tell the wife to stay over there, I’m all right,’ he said, getting up on his elbow. Cars were swishing by. He wasn’t panicking, he’d just let himself roll into the fall like a ballet dancer. Staying put until he was good and ready to get up.
‘You don’t feel as if you’ve broken any bones? You got any pain?’
‘No, no, I’ll get up in a minute.’
His wife stood over the other side of the road with a walking frame, and a lady beside me went to tell her to stay put and not go under a car.
With legs braced I spread my feet, grabbed him under the armpit and gave my shoulder for a prop and he got up. Then I saw that he had a walker too, like his wife. I rolled it to him.
I started thinking, what about if that vampire, Eric Vauclare, was living in a Care Home, being about 400 years old, concealing his easy grace with a walking frame and hiding his eternal middle-aged man appearance under a silver wig. Yeah?
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A stand-alone short story about Vauclare, the anti-hero of Easy Blood, has been put online at the fabulous Back Road Café. Check it out here.
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