The Red Gloves Are Back On…
As part of my initiative with Penguin Random House to get 20 back-volumes of work into print once more (well, e-print for now but you know what I mean) ‘Red Gloves’, which originally looked like this, is coming back. The little-seen (and hefty) collection was broken into two volumes and gathered together 25 new stories set all over the world. It was first published by PS Publishing, a small press house. Here’s the first original hardback cover…
And here’s the second one. Both books included cheeky essays about the current state of the world in order to place the stories in context. The essays will be reprinted along with new introductions in the upcoming e-books.
And here’s an excerpt from ‘The Rulebook’ – the opening two pages, in fact, to whet your appetite…
‘Every house has a rulebook. It’s not an actual book, but it has rules you’re not supposed to break. In our house the rulebook appeared after my Dad went away. Here are some of the rules:
Put the lid down on the toilet seat when you’ve finished.
If you want to get something down from the top shelf don’t stack the furniture to reach it. Your cousin Freddie died like that.
Don’t touch the boiler in the kitchen, you’ll burn yourself.
Reading under the bedsheets with a torch will hurt your eyes.
The internet does not replace real friends.
Don’t say Bollocks even though your Grandad says it all the time.
Just because everyone else has got one doesn’t mean that you should have one too.
When you ask for seconds and can’t finish them, remember there are people starving in Africa.
Television doesn’t go on until you’ve finished your homework.
Pressing 6 on the speed-dial will call Auntie Pauline in Australia, she has verbal diarrhoea and it will come out of your pocket money.
Every time you blaspheme, an angel gets a nosebleed.
Don’t touch the cat’s tray without washing your hands afterwards.
Don’t ever put a lightbulb in the microwave again.
When we went on holiday, there was another set of rules:
Don’t go in the sea until an hour after you’ve eaten.
Always keep an eye on the tide.
Only go into an amusement arcade if you’re prepared to lose money.
A stick of rock can pull your fillings out.
If you feel carsick tell Mum at once, don’t leave it too late and do it down the window.
There’s no need to drop a brick on a jellyfish. It can still feel pain even though it hasn’t got a face.
Soon I made up my own rulebook. These were rules I just seemed to know by instinct, or felt were probably true. Here are some of them:
If you don’t reach the bottom of the stairs before the toilet finishes flushing, the Thing That Lives In The Landing Cupboard will come after you.
You can ruin next door’s telly reception by throwing balls of silver foil at their satellite dish.
Every time you squash an insect, God makes a mark in his book against you.
If you die at home while your Mum is away there will be nobody to feed the cat, and it will eat your eyes.
There is a horror film that can make you go mad if you watch it.
Dad is still checking up on you, even though he isn’t here.
Then, in the winter of my twelfth birthday, I learned a new rule.
Don’t tell the neighbours that Mr Hill murdered his wife.’
From ‘The Rulebook’, one of 25 stories in ‘Red Gloves’, coming soon to e-books, from me.