Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Guest Blogger Jonathon Fletcher: A Night in the Pub

I'm pleased to have Jonathon Fletcher as today's guest blogger.  Before we get in to his piece, here's a bit more about his writing:


"A no nonsense, foul mouthed, alcohol fuelled action hero; and that's just the author!"
Author, Jon Fletcher.


“The characters are gritty, foul-mouthed and entertaining. Think of the sort of people who inhabit the works of Joe Abercrombie or Mark Lawrence and you're on the right track.”
Reviewer, Paul Bird.

"Four years ago Josiah Trenchard was almost killed during the Insurgent uprising of Belatu-Cadros on Mars; his throat slashed by a mysterious, masked and black clad assassin. His only clue to the assassin's hidden identity was a whispered goodbye in a feminine Japanese accent. But for some reason, she let him live…

Now Commander Trenchard is fighting the Insurgents once more when he is unexpectedly re-assigned to the untested prototype Wolverine class vessel, the “Might of Fortitude”, the most deadly hunter-killer in the fleet. Uprooted from the star-ship that he has come to call home, Trenchard discovers that he has been specifically requested by an old comrade, now Captain of the cramped, submarine-like star-ship, which is about to be launched on her maiden voyage. Her mission: to hunt down bloodthirsty pirates who have unleashed a reign of terror throughout the asteroid belt.

Struggling with an inexperienced crew, bad turns to worse when the hunter becomes the hunted and Commander Trenchard must put his life on the line to save his ship, his crew, and the honour of the Space Navy..."


And now: Have a look at his story...



“A Night in the Pub”

By

Jonathon Fletcher

Trenchard came around slowly, the fuzzy shape above him resolved into the smiling face of a man. He
had long black hair that was woven into dreadlocks, with beads and coins threaded in amongst the dark brown strands and a goatee beard which was plaited into two rat’s tails. The man’s clothes were loose and flamboyant, the clothes of another age, but there was something very familiar about him to Trenchard; something nautical.
‘Hello mate,’ smiled the man as he reached out a helping hand. ‘Looks like you’ve ‘ad a little too much grog sailor. You don’t want to lie on the floor in ‘ere for too long. You might catch something!’

Trenchard took the proffered hand and pulled himself up onto his unsteady feet. When the stranger released Trenchard’s hand, he wiped his own hand on his leather tunic as if it were greasy from Trenchard’s touch and then stood with one hand on his hip and the other waving delicately about in the air.

‘Thanks,’ said Trenchard rather gruffly, blinking his eyes to try and clear his fuzzy vision. ‘Where the hell am I?’

The stranger looked confused and scratched at a dirty red bandana around his head which looked as if it was on occasion used as a handkerchief. He spoke in a voice that was slurred as if he was half cut himself. ‘The jolly old pub of course,’ he said. ‘Why? Where did you think you was mate?’

Trenchard gave the man a blank stare. ‘I was in battle,’ he stated, mimicking the stranger’s bad grammar and glancing furtively around.

The stranger snorted derisively. ‘I’ve been in battle many times shipmate,’ said the flamboyant man. ‘I’ve never woken up in the pub after one.’ The man paused and looked up to the ceiling as if remembering something. ‘That’s not to say that I’ve never woken up in a pub before. In fact I’ve graced many a pub floor the morning after a good night on the rum!’

Trenchard, now feeling a little more alert, studied his surroundings. He was indeed standing in a pub, but it was like no drinking establishment that he’d ever stood in before. For a start, the d├ęcor was a jumbled mess of different styles, a random mish-mash of disparate furniture and decoration. There were elements that resembled an old, oak-beamed pub. One area looked like something out of a futuristic science fiction movie, all plastic and glass with concealed lighting. Then there was an area by the bar which reminded Trenchard of his favourite pub on the naval base at Cairn, Mike’s Bar. It looked like home. The beaten up stool looked comfortable and inviting.

The Pub’s furniture was not however, the strangest thing about it. The clientele were the oddest 
collection of reprobates that Trenchard had ever seen. It was as if every category of character from every conceivable place in space and time had gathered together in one room. Across the bar, a rather large muscular bloke dressed in furs like a barbarian and carrying a huge sword was arguing with an R.A.F. officer from World War II. In another corner, a man with flared black trousers and a mustard coloured top was sitting drinking with a bald headed older gentleman in a maroon and black uniform who seemed to be drinking tea. They both wore an arrow-shaped badge from some form of military organisation, were they sailors too?
Meanwhile, sitting at the bar, surrounded by skeletal troopers in white armour, was another man dressed entirely in black with a shiny black helmet. The asthmatic sounding man was slumped dejectedly and seemed to be staring disconsolately at his pint of dark ale, which was being suspended in mid air above his black gloved right hand.

Trenchard shook his head to clear the foggy feeling and turned to the stranger. ‘Did you mention rum?’

The man smiled and slapped Trenchard hard across the shoulders with his outstretched arm. ‘Come with me shipmate, I’ll buy you a shot or two!’

The man led Trenchard to the grubby bar and they sat heavily on two grimy barstools. The bartender, a smiling man with quaffed hair who was wearing a baseball shirt, winked at them and deposited two shot glasses and a bottle of dark rum in front of them.

The bartender winked at them both and grinned with a perfect set of shining teeth. ‘Enjoy these Captain Trenchard. They’re on the house!’

Trenchard looked up at the bartender quizzically. ‘How the hell do you know my name?’

The bartender smiled an even toothier grin and said, ‘In this bar, everybody knows your name Captain Trenchard!’

With a friendly nod, the bartender walked off to serve a gentleman standing at the bar who was dressed in a tight blue body-suit and a bright red cape. Trenchard decided not to worry about the odd attire in the bar. Perhaps it was fancy dress night? Yes, that had to be it. He turned back to the man who had helped him off the floor. He was already on his third shot of rum, which he downed gladly with relish and then started to sing a raunchy sea shanty under his breath.

‘You remind me of my pal Dasilva,’ said Trenchard as he swigged on his own rum, savouring the rich caramel sweetness. ‘You look like a sailor. What’s your name son?’

The man suddenly stood up from his bar stool and bowed rather elegantly from the waist.

‘Captain Sparrow, at your service sir! But you sir, may call me Jack!

Trenchard blinked and remained silent as the man sat back down upon his bar stool. ‘You’re a Captain?’

The man raised an admonishing finger and waved the glass of rum in the air, spilling most of it onto the already sticky bar top. ‘That I am mate, although I find myself temporarily without a ship… or a crew… or the means to purloin them. But nevertheless, I am a Captain!’

Trenchard was distracted momentarily by a group of gentlemen in one corner, all of varying ages and states of eccentric dress. They were standing around a large blue box and arguing with some kind of grey, pepper-pot shaped robot. The robot clearly wasn’t enjoying the experience, judging by the rapid shaking of its eye-stalk.

‘I’m a Captain too,’ said Trenchard gruffly, ‘though sometimes I wish that I wasn’t!’

‘Why so?’ asked Captain Sparrow, his face suddenly becoming full of deep concern.

‘I’m fed up with being pushed around by those arseholes in High Command!’

‘They’ll be your bosses then?’ asked Sparrow. ‘I’ll wager those dogs never set to sea themselves mate!’

Trenchard nodded. ‘I thought it would be great to have command of my own vessel. Then on my first mission, this bloody robot thing rips apart half of my crew and then Admiral Adisa stops me from getting to the bloody bastard that built the damn thing!’

‘That is a crying shame…’

Another shot of rum disappeared.

‘Then the same French twat who built the robot, buggers around with the brain of one of my crew turning him into a mass murderer and I’m sure he’s the one employing that Japanese bitch with the fancy sword that gave me this!’

Trenchard pulled down his collar and pointed at the scar that ran down his neck.

Sparrow swayed unsteadily as he tried to focus on the scar with one eye screwed up. ‘Feisty lady is she? Full of womanly wiles?’

‘She’s has a nice arse, but she’s a cold, calculating killer; a real bitch!’

‘So many of them are,’ said Sparrow with a conspiratorial wink. ‘I never yet met a woman that I could look at sober…’

‘Every time I try and do some digging,’ continued Trenchard, ‘Admiral Adisa puts a block on it and it’s muggins here who has to do the flippin’ dirty work and clear up their shit!’

‘Sounds like you have a barrel full of woes mate and no mistake! Here, ‘ave another rum lad…’

Sparrow poured them both another large measure and the caramel coloured spirits were duly downed in one. It seemed odd to Trenchard that the bottle did not seem to be emptying.

‘I can’t help but think that I know you from somewhere Captain?’ said Trenchard with a raised brow.

‘You may have seen me around…’ winked Sparrow. ‘I gets about a bit…’

‘And this place, these people. It doesn’t seem real somehow?’

Trenchard glanced around. He had the vague feeling that he was missing something important.

Just then, another man walked over to the bar. He was wearing a camel hair coat and had black leather driving gloves on his hands. His mean featured face was acne scared and carried a deep scowl. He pointed a finger at the bartender and shouted, ‘Oi Pal! A bottle of your finest Scotch mush, or I’ll come over there and give you a hiding that you won’t forget! Capiche?’

Trenchard stared at the man. He was sure that he recognised this character from somewhere, some old repeat of a bygone television show; something about Mars? The man poured a large measure of Scotch into a thick cut glass and swigged it down. Then he spotted Trenchard staring at him and slammed the glass onto the bar.

‘What you starin’ at pal?’ he shouted. ‘Piss off! This is police business!’

Then the man grabbed the bottle in one gloved hand and pushed his way through the crowd 
towards a table full of heavily drinking men who were playing darts. From the other side of the table, a thin man in a black leather jacket looked back and gave a dour nod of recognition.
Trenchard turned back to Sparrow. ‘This isn’t real is it?’

Sparrow shrugged. ‘What is real mate? Who knows? It’s one of life’s great imponderabbb… impombder… imp… mysteries!’

Trenchard scowled at the gently swaying drunken sailor. Then Sparrow leaned in to whisper confidentially into Trenchard’s ear.

‘Look matey, you were in a battle right?’ he said, swaying almost off his stool.

Trenchard nodded.

‘Then there was a flash of bright light and, bang, you’re ‘ere?’

Another nod.

‘Me… I took a dive of the side of a harbour wall, when the tide was out. Terrible mess. Lost me hat too!’ I loved that hat!’

Trenchard’s face suddenly cleared. ‘Then this is…’

Sparrow brought his finger shakily up to his lips. ‘Shhhhh. Don’t say it out loud, or you’ll ruin the ambience. We just prefer to call it, the “waiting room”.’

Trenchard stared around, open mouthed as he realised that every person in the bar had once been a fighter, an up-keeper and up-holder of the law. Irrespective of right or wrong, or what side they were working for, they had been the people who put the boot in. They were the poor sods who kept control when all was chaos. They were all leaders… Captains in their own right.

Trenchard stared deeply into Sparrow’s eyes. ‘I’m not ready yet!’ he said with a growl. I’ve unfinished business.’

Sparrow smiled. ‘Then the door’s just over there mate,’ he said pointing. ‘It’s your choice.’

Suddenly the double doors to the bar swung open and a bright white light flooded in. Nobody else seemed to notice it apart from Trenchard and Sparrow. Trenchard made as if to stand, but Sparrow placed a restraining hand onto his arm.

‘Just remember one thing mate; never loose faith in yourself. Always have courage in your own decisions and always walk into a bar as if you own the bloody place!’

Trenchard nodded and Sparrow released his arm.

‘What about you?’ Trenchard asked.

Sparrow raised his glass. ‘My time has passed. I’ve earned me rest mate! Besides, the rum’s free here and they never run out!’

Sparrow smiled and seemed genuinely contented.

‘Pleasure to meet you Captain!’ said Trenchard with a curt nod.

Sparrow winked back. ‘Yo ho, me hearty, yo ho! I’ll keep a bottle on the bar for when you return.’

‘I hope that won’t be for a long time!’ said Trenchard, turning and walking briskly towards the bright white light.

Trenchard awoke with a start in a white room and sat bolt upright. He was surrounded by white clad medics and he recognised the naval trauma tent immediately. Standing over him was a concerned looking Lieutenant Commander Pugh. As Trenchard sat up, Pugh placed a gentle hand onto his shoulder to prevent Trenchard from rising off the bed completely.

‘Woah! Steady there sir,’ said Pugh with a relieved smile. ‘Glad to see you back in the land of the living.’

Trenchard screwed his face up, trying to remember something that was fading fast. ‘What happened?’

‘You were standing right next to an I.E.D. when it went off. A piece of shrapnel went straight through your armour and pierced your chest. They’ve been working on you for the last forty minutes. We thought we’d lost you there for a while.’

Pugh smiled what he hoped was a comforting smile. Trenchard looked down at his chest. It was wrapped in thick bandages.

‘What do you mean, lost me?’ asked Trenchard.

Pugh looked uncomfortable for a moment before replying. ‘You were technically dead for around three minutes…’

‘Right,’ said Trenchard simply. Then he stared around as if looking for something.

Puzzled, Pugh leaned forwards. ‘What’s wrong sir? What do you want?’

Trenchard looked up into Pugh’s face. ‘Where’s the rum?’ he asked…

THE END.

Join Captain Josiah Trenchard and the crew of the “Might of Fortitude” in their continuing adventures; available to download from Amazon today!

Honour, strength and unity!

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Jonathon Fletcher was born and brought up in Bramhall, near Stockport, England. After studying Art & Design at school, he went on to complete a Foundation course in Art at Stockport College and then completed three years as a film student in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. He graduated after making a short science fiction film entitled "Unity" with his mates Mark, Paul and Pete (and so many others too  numerous to name, thank-you all!). After leaving the North-East, he became a prop maker, set builder and art director working at Cosgrove Hall Films in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy and Hot Animation in Altrincham. He worked on several shows that included
"Brambly Hedge", "Lavender Castle", "Rocky and the Dodos" and the first fourteen series of "Bob the Builder". Among his most noteworthy creations were the first cardboard prototype for Scoop the JCB, Bob the Builder's (voiced by Neil Morrissey) mobile phone and tool kit, and the Gibson Les Paul guitar for Lennie Lazenby (voiced by Chris Evans). He finally opted for the "good life" and became a professional gardener and married Louise, who was the only one that would put up with his sh!t. He is now working as a gardener back up in the beautiful Northumberland countryside. The one thing that remained constant throughout was his love for science fiction and for writing. This has reached its conclusion in the writing of the forthcoming "Unity" series, based on the idea for his short film, which starts here with the "Josiah Trenchard" short stories. he's on Twitter @JonGardener and on YouTube as "Evilgenius1972".

Find him & his books on Amazon - click HERE
 

2 comments:

  1. Ooh great post - now I know so much more about the foul-mouthed author!!! And a great excerpt. Commander Hedges and Unable Spaceman Gerrard are going to fit into the new books nicely!

    ReplyDelete