It’s been a while, working on the translation of the book and submitting to contests.
I wanted to share with you the exhilarating journey of the signing, in pix.
All copies of The ‘Balding Club’ have gone in the blink of an eye, ebook/kindle version soon available on amazon and FNAC.fr
2nd printing has been launched.
Please find hereafter an excerpt , enjoy!
“ The Balding Club
My best friend Gary and I were like butter and toast, chips and vinegar, Saturday night and hangover… We shared the same humour, a candid philosophy of life, simple pleasures, a passionate yet doomed love for Mrs. Atkinson (Kindergarten time) and, later, a flat. At school, we started the first Star Trek club, went to all possible conventions together (and met our girlfriends there). He knew when I had a bad day at work; I could tell when he and his associate had a row. He had set me up with this fantastic redheaded “Tomb raider” player, after I parted with Cassie. (Well, actually, after she had dumped me like an old sock…) He did so to prevent me from a potentially too sugary- and-potato-chips-loaded painful aftermath, and it worked. Equally to return the favor, when his soul became swollen with grief, due to a continuous series of heartbreaks with Tracy, I dragged him to a vintage fair. Even if he was reluctant in the first place, he quickly became his old self. We’d almost collapsed with laughter and joy in an unprecedented orgy of candy floss and popcorn (and believe me, we know how to orgy with food).
You know, I even replaced him for his annual medical visit he had to undergo. He was so sick he could barely stick a foot out of bed. The night prior he had unsuccessfully tried to drown his sorrow in an unreasonably amount of alcohol to get over the definitive break-up with Tracy, witnessed by me and Mr. “TeddyBeer”. Tracy loved to nickname herself “Tastylips”. But eventually, since none of her features were even close to the adjective “gorgeous”, except maybe her way of making sandwiches, it only made her ridiculous. Well, from my point of view and Mr. TeddyBeer’s, that is.
She had left Gary (for good, this time) for Nigel Wart, a Star Wars nerd, thereby “transgeeking” herself into a Star Wars fruitcake. Weird. (FYI, Nigel Star Wart, nothing beats Star Trek, you freak!). So I had to fill in for him that morning for the medical thing. I had a blast, that day, while he was a wreck, poor sod.
Ah, yes, my dear friend Gary…He always showed great enthusiasm for new ideas, such as when we decided to become Sunday fishing aficionados, or when we tried to invent the no-fuss-portable-kitchen-BBQ-grill with the toaster. We were the best flatmates too. I notice those little things, you know, a jacket button in need of mending, no more navy shoe polish, broken padlock for his bike, hair disappearing from his forehead…I had bought the polish, a new padlock and a revolutionary hair-loss lotion. He used to notice little things, too: my changing weight because of too-much midnight snacking or how one day I ran out of metallic paint for my little lead soldiers. He had me enrolled on a weight-loss program and offered me an assortment of new paints.
It was a brotherly friendship, in a way.
You see: since pre-K, there’s been no secret between us.
No secret, until that October. It occurred two years ago. Suddenly, every 3 weeks, our Wednesday activity became impossible for him to practice.
Now, Wednesdays were sacred. Always have been. Since 1983, we’ve been playing the Star Trek Game with the boys. Doug even refused a promotion abroad to remain in town. We wear Dr Spock’s ears, Star Trek t-shirt adorned with our Starfleet command badges, and we eat pizza cut with the Starfleet command pizza cutter. At some point, Gary joined us a little later than usual. But I have to admit that his disinterest grew alarmingly rapidly. Various suggestions emerged to hide his lack of interest: he asked to postpone, to reschedule, and then, offered to quit. He even stopped wearing his Captain Kirk t-shirt on Saturdays (birthday present from me). As he was reluctant to tell the reason, I investigated.
Anonymously, and discreetly.
I found out (because I followed him) that he had been to dinners on the London Eye, had danced in a private bus touring around the town all night long (cost me a fortune in taxi fares!), had attended a chocolate-body-painting party at the British Museum (Egyptian section), had cycled through Whitechapel dressed as the Ripper (at a point, I got a flat tire), and had enjoyed a White Candlelit Supper on a roof (for that, I was pissed when he recognised me in the crowd watching him).
I know, because I also downloaded photographs from his laptop.
And he had done many other things. Oddly enough, it was always with the same group of people. Some were anonymous, and some were minor celebrities or life coach gurus, mind you.
A woman stood out prominently, with stunning hairdos. Strangely, as I scrolled down in his pictures folder labeled “Top secret, for my eyes only”, I noticed that they were all bald, or at various stages of baldness. Or what we called mockingly, “eggheads”. But the worse is that they seemed to enjoy themselves tremendously, from what I sneaked in his photo album hidden under his bed. I also found, neatly tucked in his wallet, pictures of him and the wigged lady, very close to one another, apparently. The wallet concealed pictures taken in some customised photo booth at one of those fancy parties.
The earth opened under my feet. This discovery shook my beliefs and my faith in our friendship.
I felt jealous, and betrayed, and left behind.
And the lady was incredinsanely pretty. So, I decided to confront him. I waited for the right moment. I wanted to take him by surprise, unprepared. I did so while he was fixing the no-fuss-toaster-turned-kitchen-BBQ-grill, ready to make “minute- mayonaised” T-bones.
I crossed my arms, frowning.
- I know what you do.
He jolted and dropped the screwdriver. The shadow of fear froze his features. His eyes became perfect round shapes.
- You do?
- Yes. And I want to do it too.
His eyeballs almost jumped out of their orbits. He bit his lip.
- You can’t!
I frowned harder, and crossed my arms tighter.
- Because…I can’t tell. It’s a secret. Cross my heart.
He crossed the screwdriver on his chest. Now, I know how to handle things like that, I am subtle.
- Cross mine! A secret? You keep secrets from me, your best friend? BTW, we signed up for a joint grave, remember?
The post-mortem deal. Who can resist this? It weakened his defense.
‘The Balding Club and other short stories’, © 2013 Editions Ramses 6
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