VOICE

With a snarl Ramirez cut the last line and the boat smacked into the waves. It was only by a miracle that Jarvis and I were not thrown into the heaving green waters. Even Ramirez’s two companions had to hold on for dear life.

‘Take the oars damn you!’ he cursed, ‘Or we’ll be beam on and the next roller will have us over.’

Miller and Nairut scrambled for the oars as we rocked and plunged…

‘It’ll never sell you know.’

They got the blades into the rowlocks and began to…

‘Who said that?’

‘Nobody said anything, you were in descriptive mode.’

‘That’s right I was…no. You, who are you?’

Nothing.

They got the blades [is that the right word? Can’t use “oars” again, can I? Oh I don’t know, if it’s the right word, use it twice and use it three times to show them you meant it. I think Will Self said that.]

‘He says a lot of things.’

‘I know he’s good isn’t he?’

‘If you like that sort of thing. But that’s what I mean, a ripping yarn at sea isn’t what people buy now is it? It’s not what he writes.

They got the oars into the rowlocks and began to heave on them, turning the bow of the boat into the swell.

‘Help them, if you want to live!’

Jarvis and I let go our death grip on the hull and scrambled

[did I say scrambled earlier? Bugger yes. Think of another word.]

What would Will Self do?

‘Sod Will Self. There’s no point being an iconoclast if you use that iconoclasm to make new, iconoclastic rules a straitjacket is there?’

Jarvis and I let go our death grip [is that a cliche? It is isn’t it? Change it? Maybe later.] on the hull and made a grab for the other two oars [told you to say it three times} and…

Sticking with the iconoclasts new clothes then are we?’

‘Look, who said that?’

‘No-one, it’s not a quote.’

‘I KNOW! Who the hell is that voice?’

Nothing.

…and began heaving on them to save all our lives, murderers, thieves and honest men alike, all in the same boat.

‘That’s a cliche.’

‘It’s a knowing nod in a post modern acknowledgement to a past era of literary form.’

‘Pastiche is it then?

‘More an hommage.’

‘You say that when you’re taking the mickey.’

‘Do I?’

‘You know you do. Are you taking short cuts?

‘I’m establishing a mood, an atmosphere, using phrases and style familiar to readers of a certain genre of book to ground it in certain well travelled lines of expectation…’

‘And then you’re going to subvert them?

‘Possibly. You have a problem with that?’

‘Another cliche.’

‘Will you stop that!?’

Our small vessel nosed bow first into the waves now and Ramirez grinned, the knife still clutched in his hand. ‘We’ll make sailors of you yet boys!’ he laughed. [laughed? Should it be something less friendly? Such as?]

‘How about “cackled”?

‘And that’s not a cliche?’

‘Well I thought if you’ve given up I’d embrace the zeitgeist.

‘Given up?’

‘Well is this for real?

‘I don’t know. Are you?’

‘You tell me mate. You’re the one writing me.

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