Thanks for hosting me on the final day of my tour, Jean. Today, in contrary fashion, I’m going back to the beginning to bring your readers the opening from my novella, A Change of Mind.
“Hey Reuben, my main man, pass me that stapler, will you?”
The loud, abrasive voice of Guy Borderman jackknifed into me as I blew on my hot milky tea, causing me to spill some on my trousers. I cursed silently, not wanting to bring further attention to myself, and rested the mug on my desk before picking up the stapler and making the journey to Borderman’s desk as nonchalantly as I could.
As it was getting on towards five o’clock, I had hoped Borderman would give me a break today. No such luck. It wasn’t so much the humiliation, but the hit to my pocket that really grated.
I dropped the stapler on Borderman’s desk, not looking the hulking brute in the eyes, and quickly turned to leave, praying the next part would be left out.
“Got any plans tonight, Rubes?” barked that faux-jovial voice as I was halfway back to my desk. I turned, looked at Borderman’s self-satisfied grin, and raised my shoulders slightly in a shrug that felt more like a gesture of surrender. I wasn’t sure why Borderman still made the effort. Everyone already knew I was a massive loser, and most barely looked up from their work.
It was too late today, but tomorrow I would have to request a new stapler, essential for my work, at a cost of £4.99, consuming both my time and money. And at some point, this new item would be “borrowed” by Borderman before disappearing forever into a black hole. This had happened nearly every day I was at work for the past two years.
At five o’clock, I put on my jacket, checking the pockets to find that thankfully there was no glue or other unsavoury items today, and left the office to walk to the bus stop. It started to rain in a torrential downpour that felt like some sort of water-based apocalypse. The bus approached, headlights like hazy red suns glimpsed through the rain. Then I noticed the “Full” sign.
Rather than wait half an hour and take a chance on the next bus having a seat, I started to squelch in my sodden shoes towards home. On the way I passed the Rose and Crown, as I had many times before, always wondering what it was like inside. Rather than continue wading through what felt like a sea with holes in it, I decided this might be an appropriate time to find out.
After all, it was my birthday.
* * *
Title: A Change of Mind and Other Stories
Page/word count: 107 pages, approx. 32,000 words
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: Speculative fiction
Format: Ebook only
Release date: 25th May 2015
A Change of Mind and Other Stories consists of a novella, four short stories and one flash fiction piece. This collection puts the extremes of human behaviour under the microscope with the help of lashings of dark humour, and includes four pieces previously published in Writer’s Muse magazine.
In A Change of Mind, Reuben is an office worker so meek and mild he puts up with daily bullying from his boorish male colleagues as if it’s just a normal part of his day. But when a stranger points him in the direction of a surgeon offering a revolutionary new procedure, he can’t pass up the chance to turn his life around.
But this isn’t your average surgeon. For a start, he operates alone in a small room above a mechanic’s. And he promises to alter his patients’ personality so they can be anything they want to be…
In Marissa, a man who is determined to find evidence of his girlfriend’s infidelity ends up wondering if he should have left well alone.
The Dog God finds a chink in the armour of a man with a megalomaniacal desire to take over the world.
In The Insomniac, a man who leads an obsessively regimented lifestyle on one hour’s sleep a night finds a disruption to his routine doesn’t work for him.
Hole In One sees a dedicated golfer achieving a lifelong ambition.
The Loner ends the collection on a note of hope as two family members try to rebuild their lives after they are torn apart by jealousy.
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those rare times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter or Goodreads.Rafflecopter giveaway