Celebrating 20 E-Books: 'Spanky'

Christopher Fowler
CF-SPANKYcol So there I am, standing in the shop window of a bookshop in Bluewater shopping mall of all places, next to a gigantic man dressed in leather stockings, a thong, wings and size 11 court shoes. It was my own fault. I had wanted to write a novel that updated the Faust legend. I thought; if Goethe's student was around now he'd probably ask for tons of really lame stuff, then feel dissatisfied, then discover that everything came with a hidden price, and then he'd have to find within himself the things he needed all along, like truth and morality and kindness. Cool, huh? I just didn't expect to be sent on tour with the cover model. He frightened the life out of everyone, including me. And Bluewater really wasn't ready for us. But the book went on to be a big success for me, and got so close to being a major movie that it still breaks my heart to think about it, because the scriptwork by Guillermo del Toro was superb. This is from that book; "Tell me, Martyn, do you know what a daemon is?' 'A devil, I guess.' 'You guess incorrectly. A daemon is the link between God and man.' 'And that's what you are?' 'Indeed. We're a very noble breed. Socrates himself had a very superior one, called a δαíμων in the Greek language. In Homer's Odyssey the word is interchanged with Oεóς, the terminology used to describe a god.' 'You mean you're a muse.' The beer was obviously going to my head, because I found myself being drawn into conversation with him. 'Rather more practical than a muse. But like those insight-bearing creatures, we have a tendency to attach ourselves to one person and operate in a problem-solving capacity, yes.' 'Let me get this right. You're a familiar. A personal daemon?' 'I could be your personal daemon — if you require my help.' 'D'you have any idea how completely fucking ridiculous that sounds?' Spanky gave me a cool, hard look. 'You're the one with the lousy life, chum. Tell me you don't require my services and I'll walk out of here right now." "That made me angry. 'Well, I don't, okay? Who the hell do you think you are, walking up to a complete stranger and telling him he's having a lousy life?' He stepped nearer, pointed an accusing finger. 'Martyn, I know all about you. You work in a tenth-rate furniture store and you can't even do that right. Your supervisor is about to fire you and promote your fellow workmate, the little fat chap. Your attitude sucks. Your last girlfriend left because she was sick of not getting any emotional reaction out of you. You can't remember the last time you had fun with someone. If you don't want my help fine, everything's tickety-boo. There are thousands of mortals begging for a break like this, a chance to change their lives and realize their deepest desires. I can take you out into the freezing black universe through an infinity of starlight. I can fill your mind with the sentience of harmonic world order and your body with the mobius-chords of hedonistic fulfilment.' I looked at him blankly. 'Or you can throw the opportunity away. It will never, ever come again.' He turned sharply on a highly polished
heel, walked off into the throng and was quickly lost from sight. Even though I hadn't believed a word he'd said, the sudden, sinking sense of loss was so strong that I found myself moving quickly across the floor of the club. I caught up with him near the staircase leading back to the street. 'Wait, how do you know so much about me? This is some kind of scam, isn't it, like timeshare sales, or est or something.' 'Are you asking me or stating a fact? It sounds like you've already decided. You should try to keep an open mind.' 'I have an open mind.' 'Just for the record it's not a trick, Martyn. I can look right into you, and I know how to help. I'm attuned to people in need. I can see you're going to take further convincing. Okay, give me an hour of your time.' "When?' 'Right now, before you have a chance to talk yourself out of it.' 'Why, what do you want to do?' 'Bite you on the neck and drink your blood, what do you think? For heaven's sake, don't you ever make a decision? No wonder you're not considered management material. But with my help, you might be.' And something snapped. Right then. What could happen in an hour? I didn't want to stay at the club. The music was lousy, and drunk secretaries were starting to dance around their bags. What did I have to lose? 'All right,' I agreed against my better judgement, following the shiny black shoe-heels as they retreated up the stairs ahead of me. I wanted to know where he'd got his information, and how he'd done the trick with the flame-women. So I let him lead me from the club. Can you definitely, absolutely say that you wouldn't have done the same thing?" Excerpt From: 'Spanky', now available as an e-book.
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Rachel Green (not verified) Tue, 28/03/2017 - 07:34

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I loved that book.

Porl (not verified) Tue, 28/03/2017 - 08:02

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Recalls a time when you could thank WHSmith for being helpful for stocking your books - (I guess that cover helped!!)
You should do a "where are they now?" on the model!

Roger (not verified) Tue, 28/03/2017 - 19:38

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

"So there I am, standing in the shop window of a bookshop in Bluewater shopping mall of all places, next to a gigantic man dressed in leather stockings, a thong, wings and size 11 court shoes."

...and there was I, thinking you were seeking inspiration.

SteveB (not verified) Tue, 28/03/2017 - 22:05

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Guillermo del Toro!!! Wow that WOULD have been amazing. What a shame.

Wayne#1 (not verified) Wed, 29/03/2017 - 16:13

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

The very first book I read of yours Mr F. and the book that made me look for more of your books. I now have pretty much all of your books and short story collections, I even have "How to Impersonate Famous People"....