The Writer’s Muse Ch. 01


I enjoyed writing Leftovers so much as it gave me a challenge to write about the problems that Trans people must experience in making very difficult life decisions, that I thought I would write another Transgender story and this time put it into the Trans category where it belongs. However, this is another love story with a plot and character development and there’s not a huge amount of sex in this chapter so move along if that’s not what you are looking for.

There will be one more chapter… when, I have no idea.

Constructive comments are always welcome.


Chapter 1

There’s no getting away from it… Felixstowe is a shithole. The promenade is shite, the town is shite, the sea is shite (and full of it), the pier is shit, the amusement arcades are all shit and the shittiest thing of all… is the beach. For a seaside resort that’s not a very good scorecard. For those of you who don’t know, Felixstowe is a seaside town on the east cost of England and lacks the grace and charm of Brighton, the fun of Blackpool and the sandy beach of Great Yarmouth.

Nothing to recommend it at all. Nothing to see here… move along please… in fact don’t even bother going.

All those shortcomings are magnified at 2.30 in the morning in the middle of January when the wind has howled it’s way directly from Siberia and the sleet is flying horizontally. Like an idiot, I’m sat in one of the many promenade shelters watching the waves pound onto the shingle beach and the lights of the occasional container vessel or ferry making their way into the nearby port.

Oh, the joys of an over-active brain at the wrong time of day. Why can’t I get inspiration at 10.00 in the morning when I’ve got a nice cup of tea to sustain me. No, the dire problems of an author with day-time writer’s block should be much more widely known so that sympathy can be given as needed. Maybe, if it was called day-time-writers-block-syndrome, then learned doctors could expound about it at great lengths at international conferences, cures could be discussed and medication prescribed.

But no… no-one gives a shit about some stupid guy with a deadline to finish his third book… which is sure to be remaindered like the first two… who wished he had never started to write a detailed expose of the County Line drug problem in small-town UK. The problem goes like this… I can’t get inspiration during the day so I sleep, hoping it will inspire me when I wake up. As a result of sleeping in the day I then can’t sleep at night and still can’t get the inspiration. There are only so many repeats on late-night TV you can watch and the revolving news channels loops about the two cretins running the English speaking countries on either side of the Atlantic are boring. Mind you, there’s a new segment about a missing heir to a billionaire’s fortune which piques my investigative journalist interest. The son of the late Max Edwards, the famous Welsh media mogul, has gone missing just as he approaches his 25th birthday when he is due to inherit his deceased father’s empire. The son, Jake, has not been seen for some time and the whole thing becomes doubly interesting as soon as Jake’s uncle Ray issues a plea for information. My spidey senses tell me that a body will be found and the uncle’s DNA will be all over it.

As a result of the insomnia I walk the streets in search of inspiration, or peace of mind, I don’t know which. There is nothing open in the town once the kebab van has closed for the night but I could go out to the port and find one of the local dives that caters to the transient sailor population. However, I value my life and sexual health too much to do that.

Instead, I sit and watch and listen to the roar as the waves pound up onto the shingle and then the hiss as the water tries to drag the whole beach back. I do find it therapeutic but unfortunately, not very inspirational, so all I do is sit and contemplate the 42 years of my life… the two failed marriages… the triumphalism of the award-strewn early career as a journalist and the hubris of youth thinking I could make it as an author… the gradual self-recognition of mediocrity… the hand to mouth existence before pride is squashed and the ignominious (dressed as triumphal) return to full-time journalism… resurgent pride tempered by pragmatism as I take a sabbatical to expand on newly garnered awards for pieces on the underbelly of British society.

When I’m still 20000 words away from finishing the book… for which the advance has been spent a long time ago… this introspection isn’t helpful.

You may ask why I am here in this god-forsaken place. The short answer is that this small town and many like it in the UK, are where the County Lines end. Big city drug dealers send teenagers… children, even… by train or bus out to the far-away towns to deal drugs to the needy population… well, they weren’t needy before but it doesn’t take long for addiction to take hold. I thought by immersing Bahis Sitesi myself in the environment of a small town my inspiration would flow… no such luck.

I am, at least, wrapped up warm against the vicious east wind but my face is still exposed to the frigid night air and I can feel my cheeks tightening from the cold. I am, however, better dressed than the other occupant of the shelter although he / she does at least have a beany hat on to keep their ears warm. The androgynous person grumbled wordlessly when I sat down as though they had sole right to this particular shelter and has spent the last 10 minutes staring at me with big brown eyes that are surprisingly bright and clear, albeit unwelcoming.

I say ‘surprisingly’ because most of the rough-sleepers… we don’t call them homeless any more… that I have met have eyes that are sunken and lifeless (and I met quite a few for my second book… From Affluence to Homelessness: The Rough Sleeping Guide… did you see what I did with the title… Rough Guide… oh well never mind… another best-seller… not). This person is an exception and I wonder if they are new to life on the streets. Their clothing… trainers, jeans and a padded coat… all cheap knock-offs I presume… is certainly not up to the required standard for sleeping rough on a night where the temperature is barely above freezing and a wind-chill factor that definitely takes it below. The lack of a sleeping bag or blankets tells me they are definitely a newbie and I worry that they will succumb to hypothermia. I wonder if I should offer help in some way.

My previous experience tells me that any intervention on my part (or by any other do-gooder) can be met in many ways, most of them positive but sometimes very, very negative. It usually depends on the amount of mind-altering substances that they may have taken over the course of their life and immediately before the encounter. At least this one has clear eyes so probably hasn’t been hitting the meths or the ‘hairspray and milk’ cocktail recently. I decide to be a good Samaritan and reach into the voluminous pocket of my jacket for my flask and meet the angry gaze.

“Would you like some soup, it’s broccoli and parmesan? I made it myself.”

Yeah, I’m middle class too.

The eyes narrow a bit in interest but then misplaced pride takes over.

“Fuck off and leave me alone.”

Female, I think, reasonably well spoken although her voice is croaky. I shrug my shoulders at her and turn away.

“OK, suit yourself.”

I pour myself a cup and sit there staring at the windswept water as I casually sip the scalding hot soup. I can hear her shuffling in the corner and eventually she speaks again in a hoarse voice.

“Have you got any change you can spare.”

The age-old cry of the homeless. Some call it out, some just write it on a card so that you can read it, although most passers-by avert their eyes before they see the card when they realise they’re dealing with a rough-sleeper. The ones who have a dog with them get a better response although that’s because the Brits are suckers for animals… why else would the major charity for animals in the UK be richer than the one for children? Go figure.

I look over at her.

“What, so you can go buy more of the shit that got you here in the first place? Not a chance. If you want soup… that I can do… but I’m not helping you further into the crappy place you’ve got yourself already.”

You may think that’s not very charitable but unfortunately I know what some will do with the money and have no wish to help them on their way. When working on the second book I made it a principle to only give in kind… food, drinks, clothing but never money, as I couldn’t take the risk that I would accelerate their descent into whatever chemical hell they had consigned themselves.

She looks wounded by my rude assertion and bravado kicks in at that point as she bristles at my insinuation.

“I don’t do any stuff so fuck off out of my shelter then.”

I glance over at her and can see a pugnacious look on her face and think that she could be quite attractive when not scowling.

“That’s not going to happen until I’ve finished my soup. It’s not your shelter by the way and Plod will be along soon to move you on so get ready for that. I’d recommend the shelters further down towards Landguard Point as they don’t go down there so often. Here in town they do a sweep about every 2 hours. It’s just enough to let you get off to sleep and then cause you maximum grief when you have to wake up. I’m sure they got the idea from the interrogation techniques used by the CIA to disorientate their prisoners.

She looks at me suspiciously and then realises I am giving her good information and groans in frustration.

“What the fuck? Why can’t they just leave me be?”

I laugh unkindly.

“Hey, don’t be so up your own arse. There’s at least 20 rough sleepers in Felixstowe Bahis Siteleri and you were lucky it was me that came along and not Bella or Roach. They would have kicked your arse for loitering here. Now those two crazy folk really do think this is their shelter so you must be new around here not to know that. Mind you, if you are stupid enough to be on the windy side then they will probably let you freeze to death here while they’re better off on the other side. They could be there now.”

I smirk and bang on the glass panel behind me which separates the two sides of the shelter.

“Hey Roach! You there? There’s an idiot here who thinks its’ her shelter. You going to come and sort her out?”

The girl’s eyes widen in alarm but relax when there is no answer. They must have got into the hostel tonight.

She is quiet and I can see her brain working through her facial expressions.

“How come you know so much. You don’t look like you belong on the streets.”

I shrug.

“I’m not… on the streets that is… let’s just say I’ve just spent time out here… but not living out here and certainly not as fucking cold as this. I’ve got to say you are really not kitted out for these conditions and I suggest you go on the other side, out of the wind. You may at least survive the night… oh… and drink the soup. It’s better to have something warm inside you.

I leave the flask on the bench and stand up and walk away without looking back to see if she takes my advice and my soup.

Chapter 2

When I get back to my rented flat just up the hill from the pier I have a pang of conscience and look in the cupboard for my rolled-up sleeping bag. I pick up the bundle and retrace my steps down the hill to the shelter and arrive just as the local area car pulls up with the blue lights flashing. Tweedledee or is it Dum… I can never tell them apart… is talking to the girl and I can hear her raised voice shouting at them before I get there.

“Look… I’m not doing any harm… I’ll move on if you want… but I’m not giving you my name… I don’t want to be found so just leave it… alright?”

“Sorry, miss, unless you provide some ID we’re going to take you in.”

The girl sees me coming and looks surprised and fearful at my reappearance. The copper’s eyes follow her gaze and he recognises me, both from my nocturnal jaunts and my investigation into the local drug scene, and nods a greeting.

“Hi George, what are you doing out here, it’s bloody freezing?”

I grin in acknowledgement.

“Not half! This wind comes all the way from the Arctic. Is my friend Chloe here causing you some grief? I did tell her not to get too deeply emersed into her undercover role.”

I have no idea why I said that or called her Chloe. He looks at me in surprise before we both glance over at ‘Chloe’ who’s looking completely astonished and more than a bit perturbed. The policeman speaks first.

“Oh, right, I see… yeah… right… undercover… no sorry, she didn’t say she was with you. She just told us she was a rough sleeper trying to stay out of sight and didn’t want to be identified. The only problem with that is she isn’t dressed well enough for this weather and we don’t want to be carting her off in an ambulance with hypothermia. The NHS has enough problems without adding to them.”

I nod in agreement.

“Yeah, well she’s one of the better undercover reporters I know but that’s why I brought her this sleeping bag as she didn’t realise how cold it gets here. She’ll be fine now so no worries.”

The policeman looks at me, the sleeping bag and then ‘Chloe’.

“Can I make a suggestion. I think we may have blown her cover with all this chat so I suggest she calls it a night… anyway, there won’t be that much outside business done on a night like this. You two go on back to your digs and try again tomorrow, huh?”

I look over at ‘Chloe’ who is looking daggers at me. I shrug helplessly.

“Yeah, OK, I guess, come on Chloe. let’s go back to the flat.”

She glares at me and then at the copper and shrugs and follows me back up the hill, turning every so often to see if the police car has gone and she can do a runner. It stays there and I mutter to her.

“Look, just follow me to the flat and wait a bit in the warm until they go off to hassle somebody else. You can take the sleeping bag and leg it once they’ve gone but trust me they will keep on your case until you leave the town or they find another newbie to irritate.

‘Chloe’ mumbles angrily about fascists and ‘the police state’ but tries to keep up although she is wincing with every step. I’m tall and walk fast and she’s a lot shorter than me and trots to keep up.

“Fucking slow down why can’t you!”

I turn and look at her.

“Look, it’s bloody freezing out here and I’ve come out in the cold again to help you out, so a bit of gratitude might not go amiss.”

She stares defiantly Canlı Bahis Sitesi at me.

“I didn’t fucking ask you to do that so don’t blame me if you’re such a goody-two-shoes.”

I’m sorely tempted to tell her to fuck right off but realise that Plod will just pick her up again and for whatever unfathomable reason, I’m trying to avoid that.

“Whatever! We’re here now so just come inside for a bit.”

The flat is nice and warm and I take my coat and gloves off and go into the kitchen area but ‘Chloe’ just stands by the front door and meets my gaze aggressively when I look back her.

“Look, don’t give me a hard time and take your jacket off or you won’t feel the benefit when you go back out. You need to sort out better clothes than those if you’re going to survive on nights like this… I’ll see if I’ve got anything. Plod will keep hassling you if they think you’re not equipped for rough-sleeping because they don’t want the aggravation of the forms they have to fill in if you’re found dead on the streets. They also recognise that you’re new to the streets because you don’t have any belongings so will want to try to get you back to your home so they can chalk up a success in solving a runaway or missing person. Add to that, you’re young and they may have thought you were under 16 so would be worried about safe-guarding issues. Trust me, if you are under-16 you are better off in here with a goody-two-shoes for the moment than with some of the pervs who live on the street.”

Her facial expression has been changing as I speak and the sense in what I’m saying sinks in. The aggression goes from her eyes and her face relaxes and once again I think she would be attractive if she learnt to smile. She acknowledges my reference to goody-two-shoes with a suitably embarrassed look so I gesture at her to come and sit down.

“Have a seat on the couch and I’ll get you something to eat and a warm drink.”

She sits down very gingerly, as though she has broken ribs and I can see her eyes well up/ She is close to tears and her voice cracks as she stares at me.

“Why are you doing this? You don’t know me… so, why?”

A very good question and I’m stumped for a sensible answer and just shrug sheepishly.

“Umm… well… I guess it’s because I’m Goody Two-shoes. Always have been, always will be… with a speciality in saving pretty young girls in distress. I’m George, by the way… George Reynolds. What should I call you… or is ‘Chloe’ good enough for the moment?”

Inexplicably, she looks perturbed again.

“Err… why did you… yeah… OK… Chloe will do.”

She goes quiet and I can tell she’s pondering saying something else before her body relaxes again and the moment passes.

“Err… would you like something to eat. I can offer eggs, eggs or… umm… eggs?”

She looks at me and smiles for the first time. I was right, she is a pretty girl when she smiles. She looks amused.

“I guess I’ll have eggs then… and George… thank you and I’m sorry if I was giving you grief… I’m just… ”

She trails away into embarrassed silence and I smile and shrug.

“No worries! Do take your coat and hat off as you…”

She smiles again and rolls her eyes, finishing my sentence in a sing-song voice.

“… won’t feel the benefit when I go outside. Yeah, I know… Dad!”

I raise my hands in surrender and turn to get the eggs out the fridge. I look over and she has removed her coat and hat and am shocked by the fact that her hair is cropped very short to her head. I’m now not sure what sex she / he is, although she reminds me of someone… large dark eyes with a slight slant, a full mouth and straight nose set in a heart-shaped face with good bone structure and a smattering of cute freckles… the early Sinead O’Connor perhaps.

I look away before she catches me staring but I do notice that what she is wearing under the jacket is no better equipped for the streets than the top layer… a thin high necked jumper is all she has on with her jeans. I think I can make out the hint of small breasts against her clothes and I decide that she is a girl. Either way, I think, she is stunning which will be a conundrum for my sexual orientation if she does turn out to be a ‘he’.

Not that I’m interested or anything!

Chapter 3

I quietly busy myself in the kitchen and make scrambled eggs and toast and a cup of tea and am just about to call out to her that the food is ready when I look over and see that she has fallen asleep, slumped in the corner of the sofa.

Fuck! What do I do now? I wasn’t planning on offering her a place to stay as my good Samaritan instincts only run so far However, she looks so vulnerable like that and is definitely not equipped for a night on the streets. My sympathy expands to meet the moment.

I unravel the sleeping bag and drape it over her recumbent form and quietly turn off the lights and go into the bedroom. Strangely, I am both sleepy and inspired to write at the same time but the need to finish the book wins out and I type furiously for an hour before tiredness catches up. I’ll check the quality in the morning but at least I got words on paper… well, not paper, but you know what I mean.

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