Wednesday 6 May 2009


When I asked Paul D. Brazill to come up with a piece of flash fiction which was loosely western based he took the word, "loosely" to the extreme and sent the following piece called, A Tissue of Webs. And although not strictly a western it does play around with western themes and is a damn good read besides.

Paul's work is cropping up everywhere and is gaining praise from all over. I asked him where he saw his work developing and if we'd see a novel any time soon?

"I've only been writing for six months so I'm just finding my feet. A novel would be great but I'm sure that's way down the line. At the moment I'm just enjoying making stuff up and, hopefully, entertaining a few people."

It's incredible to think Paul has only been writing for six months - you'd never know from reading his work which displays the skill of a lifetime's learning. I wondered who his influences were?

"Lots, but Damon Runyon was someone who always entertained me with his stories. Bukowski - of course - Patricia Highsmith, Albert Camus and Graham Greene too, maybe suprisingly. Ealing Comedies, Porridge, Galton & Simpson, Tony Hancock's The Rebel. People trying to escape 'The lives of quiet deperation' interest me. That's why I'm writing a story called 'The Postman Cometh'! Oh, and my mates and family have supplied a fair bit of my dialogue!"

Given the dark nature of Paul's work I wondered if there were any themes he wouldn't tackle?

"Dark, maybe but I hope not depressing and hopefully not too icky! Nothing is sacred in theory but I can't see me going anywhere near writing a story about child abuse, for example ! There are ways it can be done but I certainly don't have the chops to do it!

I always think that if my stories had a certificate, like in films, the old AA would suit them. No irony intended, hic!"

A list of Paul's fiction can be found HERE

And so The Tainted Archive proudly presents Paul D. Brazil's A Tissue of Webs

A Tissue of Webs.

by Paul D. Brazill

The thing is, I didn’t particularly care whether she was lying to me or telling me the truth, since most of what I’d told her had been dug up from some murky hinterland somewhere on the outskirts of honesty, but whatever I did I had to get my hands that guitar.
Once upon a time I wouldn't have dreamed of picking up a hitch-hiker, even one with long, long legs like her, but then again once upon a time I wouldn't have been driving as far away from my six bedroom Essex home as possible in a stolen rust bucket, on the lam and on the make.

I’d fallen asleep in a lay by some
where near Leeds and had woken up smelling of smoke, booze and worse. I’d been driving for about ten minutes when I saw her. She was stood at the side of the road near a Little Chef, looking like a long limbed drink of water calling out to a thirsty man.She was wearing a big white stetson, a white dress, white cowboy boots and carrying a white guitar case. Her black RayBan's seemed to glint in the early morning sun.

Shit, I thought, why not. Maybe I’ll get a shag, or maybe not. There was nothing left to lose now. I tried to tidy myself up and rub some of the brown stains from my fingers and hands before pulling over.

Without a word she got into the back seat stretched out and took off her sun specs. Which was when I gave a double take. She could have been Ben Turpin's grand-daughter, with eyes at five-to-two. A real Butterface, this one. What the hell, I thought , you don’t look at the fireplace when you’re poking the fire.

In a fake Irish brogue, I introduced myself as Cormac Brown and attempted to schmooze her in the way that had made me the best photocopier salesman in Essex –shit, I could have sold ice cream to Eskimos once upon a time –all the while looking at those long, tanned legs in my rear view mirror.

‘Just call me Angel,’ she said.

‘Angel in the morning,eh?’ I said pointing to the clock in the dashboard. It was an hour to noon.

‘I love the smell of Angel in the morning,’ I said and realised that I was babbling.

Angel said nothing. She just popped a Mentos in her mouth and unscrewed the top of a bottle of Diet Coke. Maybe a signal? I thought. You know, screw? Maybe.

‘Going anywhere nice?’ I said in a voice that was like sandpaper. A diet of cigarettes and whisky will do that to you.

Angel started to tell me about how she was going to play at the Hartlepool Country and Western Festival as part of the local Wild West Weekend. Impressed, I spun her a yarn about being a writer travelling around Europe researching the low life.

‘People call me the Irish Hemingway,’ I said, which barely seemed to register with her.

I turned on the radio and listened to George Jones sing ‘One More Last Chance’.

My life was like a country and western song now, I knew that.
Less than an hour later, the car had broken down just outside some nondescript New Town. Angel had dropped the guitar case as she got out to help me push the car and it had spilled open revealing more green leaves than a cabbage patch. My jaw had dropped so much that you could have scraped carpet fluff from my bottom lip.

‘Well, well well.’ I said, not very imaginatively.

Angel looked edgy.

‘Look, I’m the treasurer of the Hull Line Dancing Association,’ she said. ‘We raised the money to send a poorly little kiddy to Disneyland’.

I nodded, trying to look her in the eye, which wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. But, as I said, it didn’t really matter to me if she was on the level or if she’d ripped off a whole hospice full of terminally ill kids. I just wanted the dosh.

I quickly gave up on the idea of wooing the money out of her and pulled out my Bowie knife , which I've always found a more than useful way of attracting someones attention,

Angel grinned, took out a Mentos and popped it into the Diet Coke bottle.

“What the fuck are you doing?’ I said as she shook up the bottle.

Then she pointed it at my head and I heard a church clock strike noon. And then it all went black.
It was night, when I woke up and I was cold and my head hurt like hell. I rubbed my forehead and looked around. I was at the side of a motorway and Angel had taken my car and my shoes.

Oh, things were bad alright. I was miles away from anywhere. I had a headache, I was cold, I was hungry and I was tired.

As I stood up a piece of paper fell to the ground. I picked it up. It was a business card for the Lone Star Bar, in Durham, and written on it, in red ink, was a message:

‘Cormac, Happy Trails! – Angel x.’

Now that, I think, is what they call an offer that you really can’t refuse.

The end


Paul D Brazill said...

Thanks Gary!

Ray said...

Brilliant - Paul loved the 'western' theme.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

And thank you Paul for a cracking little story.

Cormac Brown said...

That Cormac, 'e's a dodgy character, 'e is.

Thanks for a good story and a little infamy, Paul and Gary!

I.J. Parnham said...

I enjoyed that tale, thanks. I can remember seeing a mint in a coke bottle on some program once and I can imagine the pain it caused!

Michael Solender said...

ah..i guess you didn't get the shag the? perhaps saved for the "real" cormac

Alan Griffiths said...

Cracking story Paul.

Paul D Brazill said...

Thanks all~!

David Cranmer said...

"I introduced myself as Cormac Brown" gave me a good chuckle and I enjoyed the story to boot. Patricia Highsmith, Albert Camus and Graham Greene are three of my favorites also. As a matter of fact that reminds me I still need to read that last Ripley book.

Angel Zapata said...

You smacked this piece out of the park, sir! "I love the smell of Angel in the morning." Great line, Paul. Although I must confess, I've heard it whispered in my ear many, many times before.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Damn me, there are some good lines in that story.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Freaky Jewelry said...

Awesome yarn. I have to agree with your reviewer, that your writing "displays the skill of a lifetime's learning." Couldn't have said it better myself.

So, who is this Cormac Brown of whom you speak? :) He is Irish, yes?

Nik Morton said...

So, we have comments from Cormac... and Angel to boot! Does art imitate life? Well, the Bowie knife is western. Keep writing, Paul; you're going places.

Paul D Brazill said...

Everybody. Thanks very, very much. It's nice to know that I'm doing something right! Makes a change! Freaky, that Brown is a dodgy geezer. But wait until his missus comes looking for him!

Kristin Fouquet said...

Only six months? And I thought I had just discovered you, Paul. So good; loved the fireplace line.

Unknown said...

Always entertaining, Paul.
Loved the characters!
I was surprised at the six months comment, too. No way, you're a natural!

Paul D Brazill said...

Col and Kristin and everyone: Ta. It's been a hectic 6 months as far as writing goes and if it wasn't for a boost from Cormac Brown, I may still be dithering!

Kevin Michaels said...

Damn straight good story - that Cormac Brown certainly gets around (love the "Irish Hemingway" line). Well done!

Jimmy Callaway said...

Six months, my balls.

You, sir, are clearly a lifer. It's taken the rest of us six months to notice, that's all.

Jimmy Callaway said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul D Brazill said...

Kevin & Jimmy. Na zdrowia!

Pamila Payne said...

Love that breezy style of yours, Paul. Glad to see you turning them out.

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