The recently released anthology “Words Over Waikato” published by the Waikato Writers and Associated Artists has three excerpts of my writing. One is from chapter 15 which is copied here below – I hope it gives you a flavour of the story!
From the novel No Ordinary Man, Chapter 15 – Egypt 1942
He pulled his trench shovel from his backpack, unfolded and locked the scoop into position and began digging. The tall shadows of the palms camouflaged his secretive activity. The guards would have needed binoculars to see what Mick was up to, so he felt relatively safe to carry on. The soft sand was easy to shift and he carefully laid each shovelful to the left side of the shallow hole. He carried on, with the occasional grunt, as sweat started to form on his forehead. It was hot work, but within minutes he saw the tell-tale edge of the brown-paper parcel securely tied with twine. Furtively looking around once more, he quickly reached forward, grabbing the package from its shallow grave. Mick relegated the shovel to the desert sand while gingerly pulling the binding string aside and carefully ripping open a corner of the parcel. He smiled in relief as he saw the red silk fabric and began tugging it out of the torn paper. He held it in his hand for a few seconds, pleased that his secret was safe and in perfect condition after all this time.
He gently pushed the red shiny fabric back into the package and wrapped it up again. Suddenly, from behind, he heard the loud, booming voice of Sergeant Reginald Pollock.
‘Hey!’ Pollock shouted, making Mick jump in shock. ‘What the fuck are ya doin’?’
Mick stood up and swung around in a swift, fluid movement, sweat clearly visible above his terrified gaze.
‘Sir?’ Mick stood to attention, the parcel stuffed into the belt at the back of his army fatigues. ‘Nuthin much … just a present,’ he mumbled.
Sergeant Pollock looked like he’d just been asked to choke down a ball of bullshit, the sharp ruthless edge of his anger tested to breaking point. He thrust his right hand towards his prey.
‘Give. It. To. Me. Now!’ boomed Pollock with one-second staccato intervals between each word as if his victim was hard of hearing.
Mick stammered, his crimson face flushed as he reluctantly passed the torn package to his tormentor. Pollock snatched the parcel and ripped the hidden fabric from its brown paper. He hesitated momentarily, raising his eyebrows while a slight grin spread across his hardened face. He retrieved his sense of torturous enthusiasm as he began waving the red silk chemise in the air.
‘What the hell is this then?’ shouted Pollock. He wasn’t called Rhino Hide for nothing. His thick skin was only secondary to his limited intelligence.
Mick, sweating, with the familiar sense of humiliation seizing his entire body, responded in a small uncertain voice. ‘A silk chemise, Sir.’
‘A what!’ Pollock was getting more than he bargained for and a lot more than he
could logically process.
‘Lingerie, Sir,’ Mick stated in an uneasy explanation.
‘What for?’ Pollock looked completely perplexed.
‘My girlfriend back home, Sir.’
Both men momentarily paused, a truce in their confrontation. They eyeballed one another, Mick not daring to blink.
Pollock eventually spoke, still angry, but at a volume a few decibels below the original. ‘I didn’t bloody well think it’s for you!’
Mick remained silent, staring straight ahead. His expressionless anxiety set in stone.
‘Why would ya bury this?’ demanded his incredulous superior.
Stumped for words, Mick breathed heavily, trying to subdue a rising panic attack. Swallowing slowly he said, ‘I wanted to keep it safe.’
‘Safe from what? Bleeding camels?’ responded Rhino Hide, softening ever so slightly.
‘I couldn’t take it to the trenches, Sarge. I didn’t have time to post it before we went to the front.’
More silence while Rhino Hide absorbed this new information. ‘Get back to barracks and get cleaned up.’
‘Yes Sir!’ Mick didn’t move.
‘Whatta ya wastin’ time for? Git goin’!’ commanded Pollock.
‘Can I have it back, Sir?’ asked Mick, thinking he’d won this battle.
‘Fuck off!’ boomed Rhino Hide, ‘before I have ya court marshalled!’
Mick stood to attention, saluted and marched off towards the camp gates. Pollock watched Mick retreat across the sand and shoved the red silk chemise inside his tunic front. There would be plenty of time after the war for tears, remorse, anger and regret.
The eBook and paperback have been approved by Amazon. I’ve requested a hard copy proof of the paperback to double check. You know how it is – there’s always something wrong!! Even though I have combed through every page, space, spelling and grammatical nuance! It has 304 pages and is all aligned for release on 21st January. Would love to hear your feedback.
If you want a discounted pre-order copy please email me and I’ll email the Amazon link as I receive it on 21st January. I understand the pre-order process is only open for a couple of weeks. Enjoy the last days of the wonderful summer and Xmas holidays everyone!!