Saturday, 27 December 2014

Extract from "Project X" by Mark Barry

This is an extract from my on going WIP (@Terry Tyler :D) or Work In Progress. It has a title and a cover idea, and it is very nearly finished. It's definitely the fastest paced book I have ever written. Here, the ex football hooligan protagonist dresses for a confrontation with his nemesis to protect the woman he loves.
I shower, for an age it seems, and towel down. I realise this could be it. The end of it all. I’m nearly sick in the bowl – a dry retch which might just be nerves - and this time there would be no Chloe to clean up after me.
I go into the bedroom and start to dress. I need to be in top shape mentally so I raid the wardrobe proper, the stuff in protective bags, just like I used to.  Even the bags I stores the clothes in are decent, a specialist shop just north of Kings Cross. After all, you can't go to the match dressed like a pov - or smelling like one.
This is gear I’ve not worn for an age, not since…not since before…
Proper gear. 
Aquamarine Lacoste Chemise. Jeans, PH, the darkest blue, almost reflective, visible stitching. Fresh Ralph Lauren socks and boxers. Stone Island jacket (worn twice, Oldham, Coventry). 
And for the piece de resistance, I pull out a blue shoe box. I open the lid. Bought these trainers online. Original. Never worn. Eighty quid in the box. I had my first pair when I went to Villa, the Holte End. I was just a kid but I can remember everything about that day; I remember wearing those trainers that dad bought me for Christmas and thinking I was the dog’s bollocks. 
The absolute business.
I delve inside the blue box, enfolded and encircled in cream tissue wrapping that rustles and crackles as I touch it. I remove the trainers gently, as if they were made of three thousand year old alabaster that could crumble to dust at any time.

They blue itself is almost unique.
It isn’t dark and it isn’t light.
It isn’t sea and it isn’t sky. 
I hold a trainer in my hand. 
I caress it.

I tune out the music and focus. This trainer is a work of art. Every football lad worth the name had a pair.
Forget white trainers. 
Forget them forever, as if they had never been invented, an anomaly in the space time continuum, an aberration in evolutionary history. 

Cerulean blue kid leather.
Three white stripes on each side.

And in gold letters,
The best pair of trainers ever made.

I put them on over fresh priest-black socks and look at myself in the mirror. I don’t wear a cap. You are either a hat man or not a hat man and I am definitely the latter. Never wore a cap in my life, though Pike is seldom seen in public without one. 
I have spiked my hair as high as it can go with proper salon wax. I splash on Givenchy aftershave. Lots of it. The very fact I am dressed like this makes me feel better able to take the challenge Neville has set me.
 I still feel like shit, but I feel less like shit than I did half an hour previously.
I go to my desk and pull out my model making scalpel and place it in the inside pocket of my immaculate Stoney. It's done enough damage to me in the past so what it will do to Neville is anyone’s business and unless he tells me what’s happened to Chloe in great detail, I’ll cut railway tracks into his cheeks.

I listen to music as loud and as heavy as I can get away with without encouraging Gay Roger and the rest of the posh neighbours to call the filth.
I think of Chloe. 
My beloved.
(Love of my life)
(Love of my death)
I think of Jamal and Picnic and Neville and I clench my fist.

I know that it's going to be them or me. 
They are the only two options.


"Project X", by Mark Barry - working title - will be published on March 22nd shortly after the Cheltenham Festival and shortly before I head to Dubai to see the my brother and the Dubai World Cup (horse racing, not football). 

Readers who enjoyed Carla and/or UV will be particularly interested in the tale. will readers old enough to remember this...



  1. Love it Mark!! :-) Seriously though you tempting troublemaker, got to wait until 22 March for the rest?? Patience is not a virtue I possess... Good luck with finishing it off :-) Gx

  2. Takes you right in. Fascinating. This is going to be good. Damn good. You got me by the bollocks! ;-)

  3. As always, a master of phrase turn and descriptive detail... we're wrapped fully by the moment, right down to the color of the logo on his shoes. Since I'm one who loved CARLA, I will very much look forward to this next book. Thanks for the tease, Mark!