A fourth volume of shorts is well under way and due for publication towards the latter part of 2022. As previously, expect it to be a mixed bag including more monologues.
The last story, which takes up half the book is an odd piece in that, as stories go, The Tale of Tommy Tattle is something of a hybrid, a crossbreed, a mongrel for it’s one that can be read just as easily in parts, within a group, as it can in solo. I’ve also transcribed it into a script as a piece for radio.
Tommy Tattle, a local legend in the vicinity of Poleryn, a Cornish coastal community, was, and is a philanderer though death, he has had to accept has imposed limitations to his physical activity even if still not to his mouth.
Hopefully, the story’s lyrical qualities are its saving grace!
Here’s an extract from it:
A dead silence hangs pregnant before being broken by a soft, low, female voice, reciting,
“Tommy Tattle, full of rattle,
A wizard with the girls.
Soft as butter, he would utter,
Words that fell like pearls.”
This is a verse familiar now to most in the local community though who penned it in the first place remains anonymous. Despite the amount of research and rumour that’s gone into discovering the originator over the years its source is still a mystery to this day.
“Well, it weren’t me,”
says the same voice.
“I know that. I got it from Tamara who says she got it from Annie-May who got it from Sally Croft who got it from Morwenna Jones (Née Pentree); I think. Or was it Wyllow Storm? Might have been Wyllow. Yes, could have been Wyllow. No, no, it was Morwenna; I’m pretty certain. Yes, definitely Morwenna. That’s where it came from though who Morwenna got it from, she says she can’t remember. ‘Twere a long time ago now, and Morwenna’s memory’s no better than mine after all these years. I still remember the rhyme though, and Tom. No one could ever forget Tommy Tattle. A living legend he was. at least in these parts.”
Where the voice is coming from is also a mystery. It’s certainly coming from somewhere in the graveyard although, looking around, there’s no one obvious about. There’s no one standing by the open grave, fresh dug this morning and now waiting, health and safety considerations having been taken into account, boarded over, for its recipient tomorrow afternoon, three-thirty, give or take a minute or two.
There’s no one, part hidden behind the Great Oak, no one bent double either in front of or behind a granite headstone, nor anyone fetching water from the trough to top up a vase of flowers. When the wind blows, or the sun shines, those little tin pots can dry out some fearsome quick in this sou’-west facing cemetery, halfway up, or should that be, halfway down, a Cornish hillside? It’s all dependent on which way you’re approaching it, I guess.
“If you’re a villager, then it’s halfway up, obviously, given that the village lies at the bottom of the hill. Where else would it be but halfway up? Nobody visits the cemetery on their way home, back from working away all day or city shopping. The cemetery’s a destination place, much like the Smugglers Inn, down on the quay. They’re both places you go to for a purpose, though, in comparison, the cemetery does lack somewhat in atmosphere,”
the same voice adds.
No, looking around, there’s no one to be seen, nothing, apart from a couple of disinterested, scrawny-looking rooks atop the Oak that’s stood watch over the place ever since the date of the first internment, planted, as it was, in commemoration. Even the seagulls, landed in surrounding fields, give this place a wide berth and they’ll go almost anywhere.
Who’s talking then? it can only be asked, for it’s well noted, in general conversation, that dead men don’t talk. Women neither, by extension.
“They do, I can assure you, and I should know. For all his power, not even sharp-scythed Death concealed in hooded cloak, like some recalcitrant teenager hanging around on a street corner in a full-length hoodie, in a vain attempt to pretended that he’s not really there, can close this mouth,”
says Tommy Tattle, disproving the adage, proud that his prowess in that one department, if no longer in any other, still runs on, much as it always had in life; a perpetual motion machine if ever there was one.