by Liam Livings
Darryl’s on the run – from controlling boyfriend Chris, an air-conditioner called Dave (deceased), an intolerable, claustrophobic situation and a person he just can’t be any more. The trouble is, he doesn’t have a plan – or any money – and all he knows is he needs to get away from everything. That’s where a lucky lift to Glasgow comes in, which turns out to be just the beginning of a whole new life …
51,000 words/188 pages
Publication 1 February 2015
“It was well written, with characters that can draw you out and have you wishing for the best with them.”
Review by Lisa at MM Good Book Reviews 9 February 2015
” …an entertaining story… “
Review by Dan at Love Bytes Reviews 11 February 2015
“Lightly fluffy and will leave you smiling.”
Review by Jill at Gay.Guy.Reading 3 March 2015
“I could not put this story down… “
Review by Rainbow Awards judge at Reviews and Ramblings 28 October 2015
“I’ll mostly remember this book for the smiles it brought me…”
Retro review by Helena Stone at The Way She Reads 26 September 2016
RAINBOW AWARDS 2015
Full of McDonalds for dinner I’d found a table near where the lorry drivers sat for breaks, so I could strike up a conversation about ‘going north’, then my phone rang.
Of course it was.
My finger hovered over the reject button before answering. I didn’t even say hello and I was hit with a tirade of pure Chris: “What the fucking fuck are you fucking doing eh? All my stuff in the bags? If you think you’re getting away with this, you really don’t know me. I’m not even sure how angry to get at the moment. This is just the warm up … ” He shouted at me about the state of the flat first. I put the phone on speaker, and sat it on the table. Then he moved onto the car: “Fucking police called about the car ’cause I’m the registered keeper. You little shit. It’s a good job you were insured. It took me a while to convince them of that. They still think you were drunk driving, that’s why you ran away, but some plumber said you didn’t smell of booze, but you were a bit dazed. You’ve had a narrow miss there.” And I let him shout at me about the car for a bit as I stared out of the window at the lorries doing a sort of mechanical ballet, manoeuvring between each other as one arrived and the other left. Their drivers formed their own little ballet too, sharing cigarettes, comparing routes – bits of paper I assumed were routes – before joining me in the warm for food, then changing partners, and doing it all over again.
I noticed the voice projecting from my phone had stopped.
“You still there, Darryl, can you hear me?” Chris said, quieter now.
“Chris, I am sorry. I don’t know what came over me. It was the air con unit, the heat, my lenses, lunch with Lena, I don’t know. It was all of those things, and none of them. But I had no choice. I had to do it; I had to leave, because I couldn’t be the person I am when I’m with you, any more.”
“But I love you, babe.”
“Do you? Or do you just love me making dinner for you, doing what you want? Having someone to fuck for hours, on tap, whenever you want? Isn’t that what you love about me, Chris?”
I picked up the phone to check he hadn’t hung up. No, he was still there. “I need someone who takes my dreams seriously. I need someone who loves how I’m always floating about in the Milky Way with my dreams, and who realises that’s who I am. I need someone who realises that doing a job I love, which means something to me, is as important to me, as whether the towels are piled up in colour order in the airing cupboard is to you. I can’t work in the KFC because I’d rather die. Some people can, they can just turn a switch and do a job which pays them, and come home and buy a new games console. I’m not that person. What’s so sad is that you still don’t know that, all this time of being together.”
“I always knew the age gap would be a problem. We’re from two different decades. Maybe it was never going to work.”
“We are. You’re right. Maybe it was always doomed to crash and burn.” I shrugged to myself. It felt strangely liberating not having to fight with him any longer.
More silence. “What about my car? Work’s going to hit the roof when they see it. What am I supposed to do about that eh?”
“It’s insured, like you said. When I’m settled I’ll send you a cheque, but to be honest, I think all the stuff I left, but paid half for it’s swings and roundabouts.”
“You what? You’re going to do what? You are un-fucking-believable. I literally, can’t … “
“Bye, Chris. Have a nice life.”
“You don’t know who you’re dealing with. I will come after you, and I will get what I’m owed, just you wait – “
I did know exactly what I was dealing with, I’d lived with his madness and moods and unbelievable temper for far too long. I put the phone down. And he was gone.
After a bizarre night in the service station, when I got talking to a group of other hitch-hikers: one an Irish man in his late twenties who had spent the last week on a drink and drugs bender and needed to get back to Ireland to see his ‘Mammy’ and a couple who were on their way back from a music festival, having lost their friends – and part of their minds too – and with no other means of travelling without money. I was relieved to climb into the lorry of ‘Call me Douggie,’ a long distance lorry driver with a thick Glasgow accent on his way back home from London with a load of fridges and freezers for Currys.
We had got talking over hot drinks in the early hours of the morning. I’d just about had enough of the bizarre antics and people I’d met trying to hitch hike, and he was feeling lonely before a long drive back home to see his wife and kids – two men about my age, called Jimmy and Gregor. “You’re not a smack ‘ead are ya?” Douggie had asked over hot drinks.
I immediately pulled back my sleeves to show off my perfect forearms.
“Right enough. I’m away to Glasgow. Any good to you?”
“Glasgow’ll do me fine.” And we had cheersed our tea and coffee.