Editors are wonderful at helping a writer shape their story into its pre-determined genre. Allison is a fast paced Sexy, Romantic/Suspense novel, to achieve that a lot of back story had to be ruthlessly stripped from its pages. It makes for a swifter read, and the story runs along as it was intended to do.
I am not quite prepared to ‘kill my darlings’ completely, I would like to share them here in the coming weeks. To help you get an overall picture of Allison and her family.
This is a tale of Allison as a child with her parents, in the original version of Allison she tells this to Mike Harkins, the fatherly security officer at Perth Airport.
When I was four, we went on the river. It was just getting dark. A bright rainbow coloured sunset filled the sky. Dad took the tinnie past Kings Park so I could see the glittering trees lit up to sparkle along with the night stars. Mum sang Proud Mary as he steered and knocked back a couple of Cold Emu Exports from the eskie kept between his seat and ours at the front of the boat. Dad stopped the boat at what he said was a good spot and we turned in our seats to watch him. Dad took a long handled net and dragged it along the bottom of the shallow water. The dark Swan River reflected the night stars.
‘Are you catching the star’s daddy?’ I asked him.
‘Yes Ally,’ he said. ‘Do you know that I promised I would make your mother one,’ he replied, smiling. ‘Didn’t I Emily. I will make you a star, change your ways from being a bar singer, anyone can be a bar singer. Can’t they? Anyone.’
He pulled a blue swimmer from the water and dropped it in the bucket next to the eskie, I watched as it thrashed around afraid.
‘Daddy put it back in the water. We scare it!’ I cried.
‘It should be scared, it’s your mother’s dinner, and your dinner is coming next,’ he said.
Sharp talons clipped as the blue crustacean tried to claw its way back into the safety of the river. For a moment it looked as if it had surrendered to its fate, but when another was plonked on top it resumed fighting to save its life again.
I stood up in the boat as dad was lowering the net to dredge for more crabs, Mum had tried to grab me, but I pulled free and lost my balance. Gripping onto the bucket, I went overboard. The crabs fell into the water. They gnawed and clipped their way up and over my arms and onto freedom as I sunk to the bottom of the river.
The stinging from the nips stopped. Noise stopped. I could no longer hear mum screaming my name. Darkness above and below me. Over in the distance I see the light from Dad’s dolphin torch and felt the nip of a swimmer on my left middle toe, it should have hurt more. I swallow water. It is so quiet. There is no one there to tell me to fight, to kick my legs and flair my arms. It is before I had swimming lessons at the YMCA, it is before I knew that drowning is for life. I watch on curiously. Water filled my ears, my nose, and mouth. Water replaced all the air that once filled my gaps. Blackness.
Mum brought me back into this world coughing and spewing, my throat hurt from the wakening. This is the last memory I have of mum and dad together.
Mum didn’t really talk about him much after that. She made it good, for the two of us. She sang, even had her own cabaret show for a while. She sang like Judy Garland. She was a star.
I was twelve when she got sick, she tried chemo. She was mostly bedridden for a few years. I started busking in Fremantle and picking up the odd gigs, weddings, and churches mainly. Mum taught me how to sing, how to look after myself. She even tried to find my dad so I wouldn’t be alone and have to go into care. I know that she hung on as long as she could.
Thanks for reading!