Simple Acts of Kindness
By Richard Todd
Bob wants it all, who doesn’t? But it’s dog-eat-dog in this world, and when it’s not—well, hell, it’s just the other way around:
Publication date: February 2018Buy
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Bob can’t believe his luck. Why a woman like Ellie would be interested in a man like him he doesn’t know and he doesn’t care. Neither does he worry what the deal is between her and Vinny. For sure Vinny scares the hell out of him but Ellie only works for Vinny and Bob just wants a good time, and the thing he has for Ellie, well it’s nothing serious.
Bob works hard and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t let off a little steam. His wife and kids will never know and his friends will turn a blind eye. His behaviour may be bad but it's not as if anyone’s going to get hurt.
But soon Bob finds that he has more to worry about than just Vinny. There’s also Benny, and Jimmy’s just back from a five stretch inside. Then there’s the cop Murray who seems to take things a little too personally, and there’s his pal Joe who’s taking the moral high ground.
Before he knows it Bob’s in so deep he can’t see a way out. At least not until Vinny shows him one. Bob reckons that he owes his boss Dirkze nothing and that maybe Vinny’s plan can solve all of their problems. Maybe. Or maybe it’s just the start of them.
With Simple Acts of Kindness Richard Todd delivers a gritty urban noir that’s as twisted as it is addictive and original.
Richard Todd was born in the East Midlands in the swinging sixties. The apple never falls far from the tree: fifty years on he lives fifteen miles from the spot of his birth.
That journey has taken him via Leeds, Bradford, Manchester and, er, Tring. Along the way he has failed to become a landscape architect but succeeded in graduating in Philosophy and English.
To pay for sins in past lives he works as a solicitor by day to pay the bills. By night he plays the guitar and writes as best he can.
Provided by his father with wildly inappropriate hard boiled fiction to read as a child in the place of children’s fiction, the seed was sown to seek to tell tales of losers, drunks and killers.
This is his first effort to have one of those tales published.
One thing was for certain, thought Bob Hallmark, and that was that tonight, one way or another, he was going to get his ashes hauled.
What a woman Ellie was. What a honey. He was going to stick it to her every fucking which way. In his present frame of mind he quite simply didn’t give a damn as to the consequences. It was odd, he reflected, how at times his wife and the house and the kids, all of the family crap, seemed like the most important thing in the whole world whilst at others, well, the sum of his ambition seemed to be nothing more than a simple and overwhelming need to shoot his load. And tonight she was damn well going to get it. Yes sir, thought Bob, as he pictured her in his mind’s eye, I’ve spent too much time screwing Suzie while thinking about Ellie. Tonight’s the night. Tonight I get this goddamn monkey from off my back.
Before Bob had the opportunity to reply Suzie again called his name, but this time even more loudly.
“All right,” he snapped. “All right, all right, I’m coming.”
He tramped downstairs to where a cup of tea was waiting for him on the breakfast bar in the kitchen. He screwed his face as he sipped at it. Why couldn’t she make his tea the way he liked it? It was tepid and weak and Bob wondered how the hell it could be that after twelve years together that Suzie still made him tea that tasted like shit, no matter how often he told her to leave the goddamn bag in a while and to let it stew. He reckoned that maybe she did it to provoke him or maybe to get her own back or maybe she just didn't care how much it pissed him off. Whichever way it was here he was at seven thirty in the morning and already he was wondering just why the hell he had married her. He swilled the tea down the sink and banged the cup down on the side, which Suzie pretended not to notice – probably just to irritate him some more, or to make a point, or something.
“I need some help with the kids,” Suzie stated in an accusatory tone and Bob figured that was what the sack of shit cup of tea was really about.
“I can’t be expected to do it all myself. It’s not fair,” she continued.
Bob felt guilty, for a moment or two. Suzie was a good mother to his kids, there was no doubt about that. And Bob had tried his best but there was no point in lying to himself any more, he simply didn’t have the character. He had long since ceased torturing himself over his moral failings, these days he just indulged them. Anyway, Suzie had let herself go. Once upon a time he had lusted after her but now, whenever he looked at her, he felt indifference. He reflected that he hated her hair, it was greying and it was middle length and it was boring. It used to be long and blonde and sexy as hell, but not now. And she seemed to take it as some kind of personal attack if he suggested that she might visit the hairdresser and have some of that blonde colour put back in.
Whatever her goddamn magazines may tell her, accepting middle age gracefully wasn’t sexy. Suzie would look down her nose at him and tell him that they weren’t kids anymore and that he should grow up and appreciate what he had. Appreciate her how she was. Bob didn’t want sensible and he didn’t want middle aged. What Bob wanted was a woman, but the woman he wanted wasn’t Suzie, it was Ellie.
- 15th April 2017 It's all downhill now
So the metaphorical crowdfunding boulder has hit the crest of the hill and it's all downhill from now on. But downhill isn't always a good thing, as poor old Sysiphus discovered to his eternal torment.
Similarly, after a crazy day in Spring and a wild Summer of love, poor old Bob will find that the downhill half of the year won't be nearly so kind to him. And if Autumn takes the shine off his…4th April 2017 Every Picture Tells a Tale
Every picture tells a tale but just what is about that old photograph? And where the hell is that photograph anyway?
Bob's inexorably inching his way towards finding out but when he does will he like what he finds?
Equally the book is inexorably inching its way towards meeting the pledging target and when it does those who've already pledged will find out just what it is about that photograph…30th March 2017 Low Hanging Fruit
Bob likes things easy and prowling the office floor and the pubs and clubs for women has always got him what he wants in the past. But Ellie, well she's a class above, or at least that's what Bob thinks. Bob's not scared of a gamble and he's no longer happy chasing the low hanging fruit. But if he raises his aim higher will his shot at love get him the girl of his dreams or a bullet in the head?…24th March 2017 What are Bob's chances?
Bob's a devious man and usually comes out smelling of roses, but this time it looks as if he may have bitten off more than he can chew. If this was just about Ellie you'd believe he'd pull it off but with Vinny, Benny and Jimmy lurking in the background I'd reckon his chances as being no more than 35% - coincidentally the same percentage as the funding for the book as has been raised to date.…13th March 2017 Who's the boss?
First things first: A big thank you to all those who have already shown faith. An even bigger thank you if you'll be good enough to spread the word. And an extra special thank you to Andrea Harman, wherever you are and whatever possessed you I hope that you won't be disappointed. Which leads on to.......
Second things second. There's still a long way to go and for those who have not yet shown…
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R J Hallmark