PAPERBACK BOOKS
SKYLARKING

skylarking

This book is made up of five short stories.  

     Home Brew tells the tale of a man who turns his life around while caring for his grandmother. 

      Golf is about the fulfilment of a dream to make a living out of golf and finally hitting the ‘Big Time’. 

       The Gamble is centred around gambling, greyhound and horse racing and a guy who finds himself through opportunity. 

        Rock ‘n’ Roll follows the life of an Australian band on the road along with sex, drugs and the high life. 

     Heading Down to New Orleans is a recollection of the author’s travels in the USA. 

 

In Store Price: $AU24.95 
Online Price:   $AU23.95

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Buy as an Ebook version -  $AUD9.00
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ISBN: 978-1-922229-28-1
Format: Paperback
Number of pages:174
Genre: Fiction

Cover: Clive Dalkins

Author: Adam Mayhew
Publisher:
Zeus Publications

Date Published: 2014
Language: English

READ A SAMPLE:

 

 Home Brew - part sample.

 

 I should be about an hour thirty,” Fat Albert shouted out before riding off on his pushy over the Foster Tuncurry Bridge. He arrived at Jim’s place and knocked on his door.

“Albert, mate,” he called out.

“Oh, Uncle Albert,” said a child who greeted him at the door.

“Hello, little one,” he replied. He walked into the kitchen, opened a drawer, picked up two $50 notes and dropped the Weed in the same drawer before going through to the lounge to shake hands with Jim. His next stop was Lisa’s place.

“Do you want a glass of water?” Lisa asked.

“No, I mean yeah,” he answered.

“I haven’t seen you down the beach for months,” Lisa commented.

“Yeah,” Albert mumbled while looking at his shoes. “Gotta go.”

He then went over the bridge to see Ten Beers Tom.

He glanced at his phone for a moment and thought to himself, ‘Ten o’clock,’ and laughed. ‘I’ll be in time for Tom’s first beer.’

“Albert, buddy. Me and you, mate, we are good mates aren’t we?” Tom asked.

“The best. Got to go,” he replied.

Albert then stopped off at the park to see one of the black fellas who was pretty much putting himself out of his misery. He then returned to his boss man.

“Four hundred, Lou,” he said, handing over the money.

 “Here’s your reward. A fifty of Weed and enough Speed for two days. When I get enough takers, I’ll call you for your next mission,” Louie replied.

Albert walked off to the Bottle-O and picked up four litres of Colombard Chardonnay. ‘If the price is right,’ he thought to himself, ‘that’s $12.95.’

Albert lived with his girlfriend, Heidi, and their seven-year-old son, Joel, in a granny flat across from Wallace Lake. He took a hit before putting some ice in a glass. A euphoric sense of wellbeing came over him. He then began impersonating an Indian sitting on the TV table.

“Do you smoke the bark of the red gum? I do. Do you smoke the bark of the red gum?” After one and a half litres of wine he walked into the bedroom, looked at the mirror and gave himself a big hug. Almost about to crash out, he heard a noise and realised Joel had arrived home. He hopped into the shower to wake himself up and then greeted Joel, who was putting some ice cream into a glass with creaming soda.

“How was today, Joel?”

“Okay.”

“Good. I’ve got some questions.” They sat in the lounge together. “So, the Roosters or the Knights?” he asked.

“The Knights,” Joel replied.

“Saints or Parra?”

“Um, Saints,” Joel continued as he scribbled away.

“The Storm or the Sharks?”

“Sharkies.”

“Okay, Manly or West Tigers?”

“Manly.”

Albert was in a pottering mood so he did some dusting. Junior was doing his homework. Heidi came home from work and they played Mum, Dad and son. Heidi soon got a phone call.

“Alright! Shit, okay. I don’t have a choice then,” she muttered.

She sat down for something to eat. As she had to work a double shift, she pulled out a large frozen lasagne for the guys. She noticed some white powder in a satchel in the bottom of the fruit bowl and put it in her bag.

“This will fuck him,” she remarked before heading off to work.

Joel and Albert watched a television show – Letters and Numbers with Lily – and played along. After their lasagne dinner they watched a documentary on glaciers. Joel went to bed. Albert was sure he’d left the Speed in the fruit bowl but couldn’t find it. He rang the nursing home and someone told him that Heidi wasn’t due till Saturday morning. He fell asleep in his chair with one confused eye half-open. Suddenly he awoke to lights flashing through the window. The landlord’s dog barked. Heidi walked in and looked at him as he pretended to be asleep. She cursed him and called him a few names before walking to the toilet. Albert got up and went through her bag.

“Speed, Speed, Speed,” he read aloud from a piece of paper which continued with, “you’re everything to me, Heidi. I love what you do to me.”

He overheard Heidi talking to herself, saying, “And that was the end of that...”

He walked to the toilet and quickly opened the door. He saw a stream of what he nicknamed ‘White Gold’ flowing from the satchel to the toilet bowl.

“No. No. No.”

Bang! He hit Heidi hard with his right hand to her right nostril and upper lip. Heidi lay on the floor.

“Yeah? So what? I belted me girl. So?”

As Albert turned, Joel hit his old man in the leg and went to cuddle his mother. He was crying so hard that he could hardly breathe.

Albert sat in his lounge chair and called his mum. “Hello, Mum,” he said.

“Albert, it’s a bit late, mate.”

“Ma, I need your help. I’ve done something really bad. I just belted Heidi. Can you come and pick me up?”

After a long pause, Marg grizzled, “Listen, I’ll pick you up, but guess what? You have one beer, one bong or any of that other stuff under my roof, then under the Tuncurry Bridge is your next stop. If I help you out, will you help yourself out?”

Joel cried himself to sleep. Heidi, full of guilt, went to sleep. Marg pulled up outside but didn’t enter. Albert silently packed his bag and a large box. His mother was his best friend, his only friend now.

***

 

Days passed. Albert and Marg were lining up in a queue at the supermarket.

“Hi, Marg,” said the checkout chick, ignoring Albert.

The news had spread around town that he’d hit Heidi and people in the queue avoided his gaze. Albert had no mates. Every time he thought of a hit, he’d say to himself, “You know what you are?” and the urge would subside. It was early September; he was getting used to the look on people’s faces.

One evening when he was cooking tea, the phone rang.

“Hi, it’s Mary,” his auntie said, “could I speak to Marg, Albert?” Her tone was distant, like those of the town folk.

Albert handed the phone to his mum. “Here you are,” he said.

“Oh, okay, that was against the form,” Marg remarked. Once she’d got off the phone, she explained to Albert, “Your grandfather died last night of a massive heart attack.”

It was against the form because Albert’s grandmother, Norma, had not been well, having just got over pneumonia. Albert and Marg got their stuff together and at first light Monday morning, they drove down to Broadmeadow in Newcastle.

“Hi, Nan,” said Albert.

“Hi, Albert. He’s not coming back, you know.” A lit candle sat on top of an unused fireplace with a photo.

Albert’s relationship with his pop, Alex, had been good until he left school, when he’d told him he was going to go on the dole, smoke pot and surf. His pop loved a drink and in his later years he brewed his own from grain but spoke little about it to his grandson.

Albert didn’t have a suit, just jeans and a grey shirt.

One of Alex’s old football mates, Jack, was talking. “Whenever there was a blue on, I felt safe around Alex. He was an ‘if you’re not alright, I’m not either’ kind of bloke,” he remarked.

The thing about dying at 74 was that most of your friends were already dead.

They had sandwiches and tea for the teetotallers and a few beers for the drinkers. Albert chose tea and walked into the kitchen on his way for a pee. His aunt and mother were in a heavy conversation but stopped when Albert walked through as if they were talking about him. His grandmother had days where she knew exactly what was going on but on others she was away with the pixies. Today she was okay, thank God.

They left Aunt Mary with his grandmother and drove off.

“Albert, I want you to think about something. Would you like to be Nan’s carer? You can pick up a pension. I could drive down for the weekend and see how it’s panning out and you could have a break.”

***

 

It was 8:30 am and his first day on the job as his grandmother’s carer. He was making a shopping list – ham, cheese, tomatoes, Weetbix, tinned fruit, steak, chips, fish...

He called out to his grandmother, who was in the toilet. “Are you finished in there?”

“I am now,” she replied.

“Yup,” he remarked, picking up the sponge, “here goes nothing...” as he turned on the shower and Norma hopped in. Albert ran the magic sponge over his grandmother. “Can you run it up and down your wee wees? Good, you can wash your bottom. Okay, hop out.”

While he dried her off, she began to ask, “Who’s your mother?”

“My mother is your baby, your daughter,” he answered.

“Oh!” she exclaimed.

Some time later the nurse dropped in. Norma was on antibiotics for her lungs. The nurse explained to Albert, “Norma has two of these tablets in the morning. Then before lunch she has two fish oil tablets and after lunch two calcium tabs and two more antibiotics before bed.”

The nurse was a large woman of Islander descent. Her name was Babs. She took Norma’s blood pressure and said she would call in every Monday at 9 am.

“Would you like to go for a walk?” Albert asked his grandmother.

“Yes, that would be nice,” she replied. On their walk he asked her, “Would you like an ice cream? What’s your favourite flavour?”

“Passionfruit. What’s yours?” she replied.

“I like chocolate.” They waddled down the street. “Do you know where we’re going?”

“Yes. Look, there’s the ice cream shop,” she answered.

“Oh, yes,” he remarked.

Norma thanked Albert for the ice cream. Together they crossed the road and sat in the park

“Where are we?” Norma inquired.

“We’re in the park. Up the street is your home. You know you used to... Oh, never mind...” Albert looked up to the sky. “Is it going to rain, Nan?”

“Na, not today,” she replied, which bought a smile to his face. He thought to himself, ‘Tomorrow I’d be passing ‘Go’ with Centrelink. Kids were laughing and dogs barking. Norma chomped her favourite bit of the cone as they walked home. The more they walked, the more Norma knew where she was.

“This is where I live. Do you want to come in?” she asked.

Albert didn’t look her in the eye. “I’m coming in,” he replied.

Norma settled down to watch the midday movie while Albert pulled out a book from the bookcase. The Lord Of The Rings had a bookmark in it which he could quickly put into the book if Norma needed him or if there was something that needed to be done.

This daily scenario began to be the norm. Albert would cook tea at 5 pm. Albert thought, ‘When Mum comes down tomorrow, I’d better mow the lawn.’

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