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Kiss My Name
by Calvin Wade
On the eve of his wedding day, a young woman, Flo, armed with a double barreled shotgun, arrives at Simon Strong's front door. She is there to avenge the mistreatment of her best friend, Zara. Simon begs for mercy, claiming he has no knowledge of anyone called Zara. What has happened to Zara to create such an extreme reaction from her best friend?
Kiss My Name follows the lives of several characters from childhood in the 1980s to adult life in the twenty-first century. As several of them gather in Blackpool, for a Stag Do and a Hen Do, mayhem ensues. Has Simon cheated on his wife to be and will he make it to the church at all?
FLO – June 2012
This was the moment. This was the house. A modern, mid-terraced property, in the heart of suburbia. Still gripping the Ithaca double barrelled shotgun in my right hand behind my back, I pressed the doorbell and then immediately returned to my two handed grip. It sounded busy inside, looked busy too, even through the frosted glass door you could see figures moving to and fro.
“Who’s hidden the front door key?” I heard a male voice ask. It could have been his voice, the voice of my intended victim and the anger that I had not been able to contain, rose up in me once more.
“It’s in the kitchen!” replied a calming female voice. I knew it would not remain calm for long.
“Next to the oven.”
After a delay, I could hear the keys jangling towards me, then being placed and turned in the lock. My grip on the shotgun tightened as the handle was pressed and the door pulled open.
“Simon Strong,” I thought to myself, “you deserve absolutely everything that is just about to head your way.”
The door opened. I was all set to spring my surprise, but then I looked at who was standing before me. It was a man, just. A young man, barely out of adolescence with greasy, long blond hair and wearing a T-Shirt with a lipstick stained skull emblazoned with “Bullet for my Valentine”.
“Please tell me you are not Simon Strong,” I pleaded.
The young man chuckled.
“No, don’t worry, I am not the groom! Are you a work friend of Mum’s?”
“Is your Mum marrying Simon Strong?”
“She certainly is! Tomorrow at 1pm, he will finally make an honest woman of her!”
“That’s what you think,” I thought, “That’s what you think!”
“Is Simon here now? I have something for him.”
“Not want a word with Mum?” asked Rapunzel in drag.
“No,” I replied as sweetly as I could muster, “I really want to meet Simon Strong. I have something for him.”
My finger gently ran along the trigger as I spoke.
“OK,” son of Simon said tossing his locks like an 80’s rocker, “I’ll get him.”
He disappeared behind the door, leaving it ever so slightly ajar. I heard him shout up the stairs.
“Dad, there’s a woman here for you. Think she’s brought you a present.”
That’d be right.
I heard the noise of heavy feet on stairs, then the door re-opened and finally, I was confronted by the enemy.
“What a gorgeous day!” he said with a broad smile, “hope they have the forecast right for tomorrow!”
I looked him up and down. Simon Strong was certainly not what I had been expecting. Zara had painted a picture of an irresistible Lothario, a man that every woman would fall head over heels for. I for one was not inhaling those pheromones. This man was strange looking, almost ugly, overweight with a receding hairline, black hair with flecks of grey, reddened cheeks and wearing a paint splattered collared t-shirt and light blue jeans cut off above his knobbly knees. Not exactly Brad Pitt, more a trim Johnny Vegas.
I needed to check it was not a case of mistaken identity.
“You are Simon Strong?”
“The very man!”
His cheerfulness was grating. I must have just stared silently in disbelief.
“Are you a friend of Nicky’s?” he said after a pause.
My moment had arrived. This was my cue. I pulled the shotgun from behind my back and pointed both barrels at his crown jewels, one barrel each.
“I am a friend of Zara’s, Mr. Strong!”
I enjoyed saying, “Mr. Strong”, it made me feel like a seductive Russian spy in a Bond movie.
Simon Strong, like the coward I already knew he was, put both his hands up in a surrender motion.
“Whoa! Hang on a minute! Who the bloody hell is Zara?” he asked, feigning confusion.
“Forgotten already? How convenient! It hasn’t even been a month.”
“I don’t know any Zara’s!”
I prodded forward towards his knackers with the tip of the gun. Simon Strong took half a step back, keeping his hands in the surrender pose.
“Let me tell you, Zara has not forgotten you. And you know why, don’t you?”
“Because you left her a little reminder of your fumbles in the Guest House, didn’t you, Mr. Strong?”
I could tell he was ready to confess. Simon Strong wiped the gathering beads of sweat off his forehead.
“Can you put the gun down?”
“Please put the gun down and I’ll explain exactly what happened in Blackpool.”
“No. Turn around, Mr. Strong.”
“Just do as I say and turn around.”
I said it coldly, like I was experienced in armed combat. I wasn’t. Inside I was trembling.
Whether Simon Strong sensed my anxiety, I’m not sure, but he was reluctant to comply.
“I’M NOT TURNING AROUND SO YOU CAN GUN ME DOWN IN THE BACK OF MY HEAD!”
He was speaking louder, probably to attract the attention of everyone else within the house, but for whatever reason, no-one was coming.
“Simon, turn around, right now or I promise you I’ll blast your bloody balls off!”
That did the trick! He shuffled around slowly so that his back was facing me.
“Now drop your pants!”
“You heard me, Simon…DROP YOUR PANTS!”
Simon Strong was an irritating bugger. Once again he refused to do as he was told.
“I am not dropping my pants!”
“Yes, you are!”
“What if one of the neighbours sees me?”
“Simon, I have a double barrelled shotgun pointing at you! Believe me, what Mrs. Jones at Number 28 thinks, is the least of your concerns.”
“Mrs. Jones lives at seventeen. She’s partially sighted. I’m not worried about her.”
Smug git. He was making my job easier.
“Drop those pants! I have a very itchy trigger finger and if you don’t drop those pants, this second, I’m going to scratch it.”
Simon Strong undid the buttons of his crappy, cheap jeans to reveal some old, pastel coloured boxer shorts with a small, age created hole, in the left cheek. There was no accounting for taste, but I could see no legitimate reason why anyone, let alone Zara, would be attracted to this man.
“Happy now?” he asked.
“No. Drop the boxer shorts too!”
“Bloody hell! Why does everyone get so much pleasure out of humiliating me?” he moaned.
“What comes around, goes around,” I replied, feeling quite proud of my spontaneous intellect, “now drop ‘em!”
“I swear on my children’s lives I have never met anyone called Zara!”
“Drop ‘em NOW!”
Finally, the boxer shorts came down to his ankles. A hairy, unattractive, dimply bottom was revealed.
“Zara, you stupid fool!” I thought to myself. It would be like mating with a sasquatch.
I started to realise I was taking too long. Standing in the middle of a terraced block pointing a shotgun would draw people’s attention to me like a compass drawn to magnetic north. I was here to accomplish a mission and now was the time to act. I was primed and ready to fire when I looked again at the disgusting, hairy backside.
“What the hell is that?” I questioned.
“That tattoo, on your arse.”
“Ironic,” I thought, “how ironic!”
I would genuinely have loved to hear that long story, but I had deliberated too long. This man did not deserve a second chance. I took aim at that tattooed backside, closed my eyes, pulled my sweaty finger back onto the trigger and fired.
By Joanne Rigby
As with Calvin's first book Forever is Over it is a book that is very easy to read and very difficult to put down! With so much insight to the characters I could visualize the complete story in my head like a movie. The only complaint I would have is that it did have to come to an end! I had come to know those characters so well I didn't want to leave them behind! I hope you've started the next one Calvin.......
Interview With the Author
Hi Calvin, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book Kiss My Name.
What age group do you recommend your book for? Sixteen plus, although ages 30-55 would probably identify with it most.
What sparked the idea for this book? I had an initial idea of a lady turning up at a man's house the day before his wedding, armed with a shotgun. I built the story around that.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel? With my first book, Forever is Over, it was the character's story. With Kiss My Name, it was the idea for the novel, so I guess it differs. With both, I have told the story from several different characters perspectives which I feel helps you identify with them more. I personally feel the set of characters in Kiss My Name have stronger personalities than those in Forever is Over.
What was the hardest part to write in this book? In Kiss My Name the hardest part was the ending. In Forever is Over, the central character, Richie, was always going to die, that was revealed in Chapter One, but with Kiss My Name, there was never going to be a clear an ending. The ending in Kiss My Name has already sparked some debate but thankfully the majority seem to like it.
How long did it take you to write this book? I spent around six months slowly building up the characters and then six months writing flat out, so twelve months in total.
What is your writing routine? I start a book slowly to let me get a feel for the characters myself, so I only write a couple of hours a day (and sometimes not at all) for the first few months. When I was writing flat out towards the end, I could spend twelve hours a day writing and if I wasn't writing, I was thinking about it!
How did you get your book published? At this stage, I have just launched the ebook via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer? With the likes of Amazon's KDP, anyone can be an author these days. That does mean, however, there are thousands and thousands of authors competing with you for an audience. I think these days you need strong sales and marketing skills as well as skills as a writer. My advice would be to develop a story that has unique qualities to try to set it apart from your competitors and build up an interest via social media.
Great advice, Calvin. What do you like to do when you're not writing? I have been married to Alison for sixteen years and we have two boys Brad and Joel who are 13 and 11. I like to watch the two boys playing their sports and spending time with my wife and our friends.
What does your family think of your writing? My wife and boys are very supportive, as are my extended family. My sister, Mum and Dad are always encouraging their friends to download the ebook!
Please tell us a bit about your childhood. I was brought up in a village called Aughton in Lancashire, England (this was the setting of Forever is Over). I had a sister, Lisa who is eleven months older than me. My Dad ran a painting and decorating firm and employed around a dozen men and my Mum did his secretarial work. My Mum also did amateur dramatics which I guess is where my interest in writing developed from.
Did you enjoy school? I went to Ormskirk Grammar School which was a very old fashioned school in many ways (the boys had a playground which the girls were not allowed on!) Some of the teachers taught in a very old fashioned manner so, although I enjoyed the friendships I made, I did not enjoy the lessons very much at all!
Did you like reading when you were a child? I have always enjoyed reading. Alfred Hitchcock's Three Investigators series was a particular favorite.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I have always had ambitions to be a writer, but they were fuelled by a small piece (monologue) that I wrote for BBC Radio in 2006.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing? Very much so. I think this is evident in both my books as, after the first Chapter, they begin in childhood and work forward.
What can we look forward to from you in the future? I intend to release two books next year. A non-fictional sports related book in late May 2014 and a fictional book in the second half of the year.
Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Calvin. I wish you all the best with your future projects.
About the Author
Calvin Wade was born in Ormskirk, Lancashire in 1971. He studied Economics at Manchester Metropolitan University, graduating in 1992. On graduation, he worked in a record shop for eighteen months to fund a backpacking trip around the world.
Since returning from his travels, his working life has been in the mortgage industry, working for Alliance & Leicester, Yorkshire Building Society and Birmingham Midshires. During this period, he has run five marathons, three in London and one each in Liverpool and New York. His first London Marathon was run in a fancy dress house where he was narrowly beaten by an apple, a banana and a pear.
Calvin Wade is married to Alison and has two sons, Bradley and Joel.