Fifth news item

"You've Got to Sleep With Your Mum and Dad" is now available on Amazon. Childhood angst, marathon swimming, international exploitation and the threat of impending pinniped intimacy. on 2014-08-13
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Fourth news item

Have a look at my page on Amazon. Still plenty of summer left for challenging literature. on 2014-08-13
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Third news item

Check out my Amazon Kindle page. 'The Baby Who Killed People for Money' is now available. An utterly charming child with a unique and lucrative skill. A father with no defence against his daughter's impulses. Would you take your little girl around Europe for a spot of murder tourism? Of course you would. on 2014-06-30
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Second news item

My story on the Tate gallery website on 2013-11-11
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First news item

A Thousand Natural Shocks An anthology that includes two of my stories. Available now at Amazon. on 2013-11-11
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January 2021
« Jul    

Paul Stonemore is convinced to take his daughter (Marie) to a gallery opening with Monica, the glamorous academic barmaid from his local. Tina, his wife, is enthusiastic about the plan because it enables her to go out drinking with friends from her schooldays.

“We’re nearly there,” said Monica. “Give me your mobile number in case we get separated during the night.” I didn’t have time to get her number before the cab drew up at a footpath heaving with artists drinking cocktails. I could tell that they were artists because they were clad in skintight black and I could tell that they were cocktails because they displayed secondary colours with clashing proximity.

Marie was suddenly back in my arms. Monica managed to pay, get out and unfold the Bugaboo before I had worked out an appropriate course of action.

Monica greeted several people, took the Bugaboo through a door and came back without it. “We won’t need that.” She disappeared, leaving me on the pavement with Marie.

Lord Byron Gallery, I read. Aaron Holden Sculptures. I peered through a window. The space was populated with huge anthropomorphic animals. Marie wriggled as she noticed this. “Bear.” She pointed at the grinning animal closest to the window. She wriggled to get herself into a better position to see the exhibition. I felt her turn and go still. There was something in her hand. She was holding a bright green cocktail. A forest of fruits on sticks stuck out of it. It looked poisonous.

I picked out some of the more recognisable fruits and waved them at Marie. She giggled and grabbed at them. As she transferred her attention to the fruit, I took the glass away from her. She took her first mouthful of mango. She grinned at me. There were orange fibres in her teeth. I gave her a slice of dragonfruit and tried her cocktail. It was sweet and didn’t taste of alcohol at all. I knocked it back and took a purple version of it from a waiter’s tray. I would need more fruit to keep Marie busy.

“Ah, you’re here.” A young man smiled at me. His horn-rims showed a miniscule area of lens in the dense, black mass of the frames. “Shall we do the photos now?”

“Photos.” I found myself nodding. Marie perked up even more when we went in. She was in a forest of bronze cartoon animals, a version of heaven for her.

“Can I take her?” Monica had appeared beside me. Marie’s welcoming grin gave Monica the opportunity to remove the fibres of fruit from her teeth. Lights went on and variously shaped reflectors were deployed near the bronze bear. Monica held Marie in front of the metallic creature. She giggled and reached for the vapid face.

My phone vibrated in my pocket. Tina.

How’s Marie going with your glamour girl?

I looked up. Marie was in the arms of the bronze bear while an army of sycophants attracted her attention, gave her fruit, stroked her hair, photographed her.

She’s the centre of attention. Having a whale of a time.

That would stop her worrying about Marie. There was an almost immediate answer.

Good. Don’t hurry back.

She certainly wasn’t worried about me. I wondered whether Tina was having an affair. I had no idea what I would do if she was. I purloined a cocktail with horizontal layers of pink and orange. It didn’t taste alcoholic either.

The black-clad cognoscenti turned out to be good company. A band started up, playing heavy metal covers in an ironic way. “So post-modern,” said the girl in front of me. I realised that I was dancing with her. I immediately became self-conscious and stopped moving in whatever way it was that had made her think that I might be worth dancing with.

“It matches the art,” I said, trying to get myself back into some kind of time.

“So true,” she said. I noticed Marie wafting past me in the arms of a gothic beauty. Everyone there seemed to have a pallor but this woman was like Lily Munster, as if light would be death to her. Marie reached out to me and the woman steered her my way. Marie grabbed me and planted a kiss on my nose before relaxing back into Lily’s vampiric grip.

“Wow,” said the girl I had been dancing with. “You know Marie?”

“Yes.” I didn’t think it worth explaining.

“Let’s go to the toilet,” said Lily.

“About time,” said the first girl.

Marie gurgled in an affirmative manner. I grabbed a purple drink with cream swirls and followed.

We all crowded into a cubicle. I noticed as I got in that it was large enough not to be crowded. There was a mirror-finish, free-standing structure that I imagine was the lavatory itself. Marie was sitting on this with a selection of exotic fruit. Everyone else folded metal plates from the wall and sat on these. Lily opened a hatch above the toilet and pulled out a sheet of rigid plastic. She took a little sachet from her bag and poured some powder onto the shelf. She pushed it into four long lines with a Tate membership card. She rolled up a twenty pound note and used it to suck up one of the lines into her nostril.

She had a satisfied look on her face as she passed the note to me. I had heard of things like this. It had always had an air of simultaneous style and sleaze. Now it was no different from standing or kneeling in church when everyone else did. I felt the powder disappear into my sinuses. It had no effect at all. The other girl hoovered up another line. One left. Lily pointed at my innocent fruit-eating daughter. “Does she…?”

“No,” I said. The extra line stayed there like an exclamation mark of reproach. Lily and the first girl aimed blank looks at each other. Lily shrugged, and emptied another sachet onto the plastic. She mixed the original powder in and formed three fat lines.

About this time, I realised that everyone was talking very loudly. So was I. That was good because I was saying some amazing things. The girl I had been dancing with was agreeing with me. What she said seemed very wise. Lily had picked up Marie. Her voice was loud too but Marie didn’t mind because she was getting so much attention. She let her head fall against Lily’s marble-white neck. I knew what was going to happen. Marie’s gently smiling mouth opened and turned. She closed her mouth in a loving kiss. I saw her masseter muscles tighten. That signature twist of her head.

I dived at Lily as she fell. I managed to catch Marie before she hit the floor. I had time to notice that this was the cleanest toilet floor I had ever seen. Maybe because nobody used the place for anything that would dirty it. Marie crawled happily up to the stricken Lily. She loomed over the stained neck and brandished her teeth. Lily opened her eyes. She wasn’t dead. She had a stream of blood running out of the wound in her neck. It accentuated the vampire look. I grabbed Marie. The girl I had first danced with had her phone out and was taking pictures. She was sniggering like a loon. I could feel Marie quivering as she decided whether or not to cry now I had separated her from her blood meal.

But Lily was all right. Marie hadn’t killed her. I wondered whether to call the emergency services. Lily might go the same way as my mother. The consequences of bringing the events of this evening to official notice might be catastrophic, especially in terms of whatever I had going with Monica. If the amount of cocaine in our toilet session was representative of the whole party, the unofficial economy of Colombia was in no danger.

Cocaine. If Marie had bitten Lily, she would have ingested some. What would the effect of extravenous narcotics be on a baby? I checked Lily. She seemed to be fine. The girls had opened the door of the cubicle and other people were hearing the story. Marie had stopped struggling to get to her blood. There was too much attention available. She posed for photos with an endless array of people.

Everyone was making jokes.

What’s black and white and red all over. Yvonne. (Her name wasn’t really Lily.)

How did the baby get high? It bit Yvonne.

Marie did seem a bit high. She had no social inhibitions and, whatever she was saying, she was saying it loudly. When she did come to me for a brief photo stop, I noticed that her pupils were dilated.

My phone buzzed again. It was a photo from Monica. It showed Marie, mouth dripping blood, in the arms of that artist with the glasses. WTF? said the accompanying text.

I was too busy trying to keep track of what Marie was doing to answer. I could see Marie now, posing with a completely recovered Lily or Yvonne, beside a giant bronze wolf. I battled through the crowd to reach her. I didn’t need any cocaine, Marie’s behaviour provided enough stimulant to keep me going through the night.

“Oh, there you are.” Monica surfaced from the crowd. “Did Marie bite someone again?”

What did she mean again? “Yes. Look, I think she’s got cocaine in her blood now.”

“What?” Monica stared at me. “I know you’ve got a bit of a laissez faire attitude to bringing up your child, but that’s a bit extreme.”

“I mean Marie bit someone who had been using cocaine.”

“I see.” Monica pointed at the photo session. “Yvonne?”

I nodded.

“How much did she have?”

“Two lines. The second one was really big.”

“How soon after she’d snorted them did Marie bite her?”

“Immediately after the second. About ten minutes after the first.”

All right.” Monica looked meditatively at the ceiling. “No appreciable input from the second, then. Not enough time to diffuse into the circulation. Any visible effect from the first?”

“What?” Monica seemed to have a new persona. “Effect on Marie?”

“No.” Monica looked like a Maths teacher glaring at a pupil forgetting the square root of four. “Yvonne. Did you see any changes in her behaviour after she had the first line?”

“Yes. She was talking loudly and she was making wild movements,”

Monica nodded. “How big was the line?”

“She emptied out a bag and divided it into four.”

“I see.” Monica’s calculating face returned. “About 250 milligrams. Let’s say 300. Fairly strong. Maybe eighty percent benzoylmethylacgonine.” This was like watching a highly specialised round of Mastermind. “Rapid diffusion rate. Let’s say it was all in the blood. So… 240 milligrams in eight litres of blood. That’s around…” She focused on me. “How much did Marie drink?”

“Very little. Lily fell over as soon as Marie bit her.”

“Who’s Lily?”


Monica gave me a strange look. “What… a millilitre? Ten millilitres?”

I pictured ten millilitres in a syringe. “Maximum of ten.”

“And most of that ran down her face.”

Monica smiled suddenly. “There’s nothing to worry about. If she drank ten millilitres of Yvonne’s blood, she got less than a microgram of active ingredient. Spread that through her blood supply and that gives a concentration of … That’s less effect on her opiate receptors than the stimulation she gets from seeing a new toy.”

“Good.” I nodded sagely while my brain tried to keep up with Monica’s quickfire calculations.

“She’s been a hit.” Monica laughed. Marie has made a bigger impact on the art world tonight than all of Aaron’s animals. “Let’s go.”

“Where?” Marie still didn’t look sleepy. Where was she getting her stamina if it wasn’t from Yvonne’s coke?

“Bluebird Café.”

“They’ll be closed at this time.”

Monica performed another in her complex range of smiles. “Not to me.”

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One Response to “The Baby Who Killed People for Money”

  1. Enormousfish | The Baby Who Killed People For Money | Adam Kaya Heskith | Author and Writer | Enormousfish Says:
    October 17th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    […] Read an excerpt here. […]


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