Paperback Writer

By Anthony Jones

Balthasar shuddered as the whip cut into his flesh leaving a bright crimson welt as record of its introduction. He smelt the mixture of Chanel and vodka as the Baroness leaned over his shoulder, “And now, leibchen,” she murmured, her tone deepening to a husky contralto, “I shall teach you to scream for my kisses!”

“Supper’s ready, darling!” Rodney Makepiece paused at his typewriter as his wife’s voice sang from downstairs. “I’ll be with you in two seconds, Cynthia, my lamb,” he called back as he surveyed his last paragraph before hitting the return bar.

“Promising,” he told himself. But he still needed to tie up the various strands in this, his first novel, a smorgasbord of sexual deviancy, the occult, rubber fetishism, domination and murder, set in a near future landscape – a planet tipping into ruin, ruled by huge autocratic empires, mmm, say 2020 – far enough away from 1980 for a bit of free invention.

For his protagonist, his anti-hero, Rodney had drawn on childhood memories of the novels of Frank Richards to borrow his rotund schemer, Billy Bunter, and build on him. Thus, Balthazar Bassington, porcine, priapic, flaxen-haired ex-public-school boy, who inveigles himself into a safe Tory seat, endears himself to a gullible TV audience and then schemes and betrays his path to the premiership, from where he proceeds to destroy his country through his greed and incompetence. He prefers to be known as Bazza or Baz, his shortened name having a more endearing quality about it.

There’s plenty of torrid sex with Maddie, his blonde, slightly insane Culture Secretary, his fourth wife being occupied with a succession of babies, whilst his special advisor, the satanic descendent of the great beast, Aleister Crowley, seduces his first minister, the slippery and equally treacherous Michael Rove. “That ticks two boxes,” Rodney smiled as he applied the Tippex to his copy.

He was due for a meeting the following morning with his prospective publisher, Bernie Carvhallo of the Forbidden Press, and purveyor of Spanx, a quarterly to which he had already contributed several articles. Bernie was a man who knew his market and didn’t mince his words, “Get the first shag in by page three, then keep ‘em coming. You’ve got 120 pages to fill, no more – our readers don’t have big attention spans – and remember, if it ain’t dirty, you ain’t doing it right!”

Well, humble beginnings; Rodney dreamed of the day when he could make enough from his writing to pack in his job as an insurance clerk and ride the winds of fortune all the way to Hollywood and beyond. He had a couple of half-finished scripts in his drawer, crime capers with plenty of action and exotic locations, plus a dystopian science fiction thriller that he had a gut feeling could be his big break. He just needed the time to finish it. And in the meantime, erotica was the order of the day.

Rodney returned to his typewriter after supper, focused and ready, his fingers touched the keys, tentatively at first and then with increasing speed as the ideas flowed;

Balthasar came to with the shock of cold water hitting his face. He was still shackled to the punishment frame, naked, face down and feeling distinctly sick. His buttocks were on fire. The crazy bitch! She was only supposed to give him a couple of light strokes, what part of light did she not understand? He wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week, let alone take his seat for PMQs by Wednesday. And he was starting to realise that wasn’t water dripping down his face either. He threw up on the floor that spun slowly in front of him.

“Well, piggy, did we enjoy that?” asked a gloating voice that had lost its German accent in favour of Home Counties cadences. A voice that sounded alarmingly familiar.

“What in God’s name are you playing at woman? You nearly killed me,” he gasped.

“Why on earth would I kill you when I can make you suffer, piggy? Suffering is so much more satisfying, and as for the humiliation…”

He heard the baroness’s stiletto boots walk round the frame and stop in front of him.

“Now look here,” he began, and then “ouch!” as his tormentor seized his disorganised mop of hair and pulled his head up until it was facing hers. With her free hand, she unzipped the PVC hood that concealed her features and dropped it casually to the floor.

“Yikes! Lavinia!”

Balthazar found himself staring into the face of Lavinia Hartley-Brewer, otherwise known as the first Mrs Bassington.

“Correct, piggy,” she purred, “and YOU have been a very, very naughty boy.”

“Well that should wrap up the chapter,” said Rodney as he leaned back in his chair, “Let’s see how it runs tomorrow.”

Anthony (Tony) Jones is a British expat and member of the Torrevieja Writers Circle. He is also a published author, including of articles about boxing in Boxing News magazine.

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