‘So you didn’t win again? Not even bloody shortlisted! Give it up for God’s sake!’
He logged off and headed downstairs, but her demanding rant followed - drilled into his brain.
‘How much have you chucked away this month on these bloody stupid competitions?'
‘Not that much, a fiver here a fiver there.’ He switched the radio on to drown her out.
It didn’t work.
‘Yes but it all adds up doesn’t it eh? Have you seen those bills piling up over there since you decided to go part-time so you could swan about pretending to be a writer? ‘I must follow my dream’ you say, all shiny eyed. You’re hardly sodding Martin Luther King are you? And all the time you chuck good money after bad, month after month on these scribbling you call stories. They must see you coming and laugh all the way to the bank!’
‘OK, I’ll cut back a bit, perhaps just enter two next month.’ He poured a good glug of red and dived into it.
‘Oh and when have we heard that one before huh? You can’t help yourself. It’s like you’re addicted, telling yourself you have a good feeling about a ‘story’... yup, this is the one. You’re like a broken record. What’s the old song by Tony Bennett? How’s it go now? Oh yeah, ‘maybe this time I’ll be lucky , maybe this time I’ll win’... Well you don’t stand a cat in hell’s chance, so quit.’
He ran his fingers through his hair and poured another.
‘And you can forget buying that stuff soon as well. Wallowing in booze and self-pity is too expensive. In fact, go to see the boss , ask him if you can have the extra hours back. It’s time you came to your senses before we end up living under the bloody viaduct in a cardboard box!’
‘There’s still the novels ... I’m waiting on a couple of agents.’
‘Oh please! If you can’t make it with the scribblings what chance do you have with novels?’
The thump of his heartbeat echoed in his head and a red tide of anger boiled in his veins. ‘For fuck’s sake, SHUT UP!’ He threw the glass against the wall and fled back upstairs.
‘Oh that’s mature. Artistic temperament is it? More like a bloody kid’s tantrum if you ask ...’
He slammed the door cutting off his nagging conscience in mid rant.
At last a bit of quiet.
He took a deep breath and started typing.