Exclusive ‘The Killing of a Bank Manager’ Excerpt
We love The Killing of a Bank Manager. We think it’s so fresh it could wipe out any unpleasant pungent smell around (including mediocrity). So here is an exclusive excerpt. What do you think? Do let us know in the comments below.
Today is the day when the flowers will bloom.
The shadow weighed heavily upon him as it must have done upon the conquistadors who first stood underneath the looming tower. His breathing synchronised to the heavy drumbeats. No, a skull rolling down the steep brick steps. No, it was his heartbeat. A cry broke through the morning stillness. It was a conquistador being introduced to the rites. No, it was the conquistadors succumbing to the weight of the tower. No, it was a blackbird, maybe a magpie.
The missive was written on the back of a beermat advertising Tecate beer. Today is the day when the flowers will bloom. Henry read the sentence again. A smile appeared. Today is the day when the flowers will bloom. Flowers. Bloom. Above the word ‘will’ a good sized smear could be detected. Blood, the smear was blood. It was blood. No, it was salsa. On closer inspection a leaf of cilantro told him it was salsa. He pressed his right nostril into the beermat and allowed the beer and salsa to stir his heart.
Mexico was real. Here was proof. Henry’s thoughts careened through the isle of Barataria. He stumbled over hills, he waded through streets, he kicked stones, he barked like a dog, he meowed like a cat, he plucked a flower and held it to his nose, the isle of Barataria was real. What Quixote didn’t know and Henry did was that the isle of Barataria was an island to be found in the Pánuco River, a mighty river that flows from the River Moctezuma in the Valley of Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico. On that island could be found a city unlike any other city.
I will do it.
You will do it.
Daddy Mummy, he said. Before he could emit an O or this is ridiculous they had him bent over the bed.
Two rather large frogs, ugly, snotgreen, praxitelean shoulders, arms, legs, strong as bulls, frogs dressed in Saville Road suits.
I will do it.
You will do it.
His legs had been spread army fashion, his cheeks spread even wider. Without the aid of lubrication, not even spit, they inserted the biggest straw known to man into his anus. Once the tip had passed his rectum it was easy sailing. Now he got to emit O.
The frogs were smoking cigarettes and sharing a bottle of cider.
He could feel the pull, the moving within, they were not just cleaning his poor, tortured colon, they were removing his kidneys, lungs, all the matter, all the shit, all the fabric, all the warm, mushy substance, all the glue, the goop, he could feel the pull on his tonsils.
Henry climbed out of bed and stretched. He touched his toes three times, he tried to touch the ceiling four times. A huge yawn was followed by a tenuous cough. Before urinating Henry brushed his teeth. Each act had a finality to it, and this made Henry relish each act.
With a chair, a table, a television, a bed and a huge photograph the commodious apartment was bare compared to the other apartments on the High Street. There was none of that familiarity that comforts a stranger in a strange home, there was no sign of character, no whims splashed about freely, no idiosyncratic magazines placed with symmetry on the fashionable coffee table, there was no fashionable coffee table, there was no attempt at art or fashion or wild abandonment to one’s own taste. The chair was just a chair, the table was not ornate, the television was old and took a lifetime for the screen to fade from green.
After dressing Henry slipped into his blood soaked clogs. Although this asceticism would not comfort a stranger, Henry found a wonderful equanimity. He was able to think with his eyes open and without the danger of distraction.
On the wall opposite the window was a huge photograph of green doors. Henry would not class this photograph as art, it was a blueprint. A friend had produced it. Henry no longer saw the friend, they had had a terrible fight, the reason for the fight now had no mass, it was lost above the ether. From his front room window Henry could see the green doors of the local bank. Sometimes Henry was caught in a perplexing state for he believed the green doors on his wall to be the real green doors and the green doors outside his window to be the untrue green doors. These ephemeral visions, for they were short spells of perplexity, left him both fatigued but paradoxically also with a profound desire to run – to run far. How many bus tickets, train tickets, plane tickets lay upon that table obfuscated in dust?
Henry enjoyed his last breakfast. The diet allowed only meat, so Henry slowly consumed two, cooked-the-night-before, pork sausages. The diet prohibited rice, potatoes, and bread. The little balls of masticated meat rotated down his throat and plopped into his belly.
Henry quickly washed the plate and knife. By the time the bank manager was placing the key into the unlocked green doors Henry was at the window, his eyes enlarged, his breathing careening wildly through his flaring nostrils for Henry hated the bank manager, hated him to his core. The bank manager walked like a duck. Henry would watch him waddle down the High Street talking to somebody. The bank manager was always talking to somebody. He knew lawyers, judges, publicans, architects, shop owners, disc jockeys, soap stars, journalists, policemen, glass-workers, painters, physicians, sculptors, surgeons. A fear gripped Henry the moment the doors gave for he feared the bank manager would enter his commodious apartment. He sighed with relief seeing that the green doors on his wall were still locked.
Finishing his tea, Henry watched the vivacious bank tellers skip through the green doors. The fear was superseded with desire. Desire was superseded with a great disappointment. All the bank tellers were young, beautiful girls that were waiting to go off to university where they would sip wine, pontificate about Schopenhauer and indulge in promiscuous sex. They had long straight hair and puffed lips, they moved with grace, they were lithe, they skipped along the High Street like ballerinas. Watching them cut through the smog filled Henry with hope. Now and again one would come into Walker & Son and purchase the most expensive steak. The Son would always serve the girl with the obsequiousness of a bank teller, fawning, blushing, coquettish. The Son used his fat elbow to remove Henry.
Henry thought about making another cup of tea. He turned off the radio. This was Henry’s last day of work at the butcher shop Walker & Son which proudly stood in the exact centre of the High Street. It had opened and closed there for many generations. Our factotum Henry was still learning the trade. It was not his trade; it disgusted him to his core, three long bloody years. The pay was meagre, but still Henry could afford a commodious apartment on the High Street. He was told by the estate agent that everybody wanted to live on the High Street, right in the middle of things, close to the shops, the pubs, a stone’s throw away. Mr. Walker spent most of his time fiddling with the radio and reading the local newspaper; the Son had his nose pushed up against the window or he was in the toilet.
This little piggy went to market, This little piggy stayed at home, This little piggy had roast beef, The Son could not play this little piggy went to market. He was a fool. One day he cut off his little piggy while chopping up cow.
Paul Kavanagh’s ‘The Killing of a Bank Manager‘ is out now, priced £7.99/$12.99.
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