Private Darling Chapter One
Hi this is the first chapter of my book private darling, am about 6 chapters ahead already but would really value some comments on it x x
Please be honest and tell me what you really think. x
It had been a cold harsh winter in Carlisle the old cobble streets had been given a sugar coating of frost that had started to thaw with the warm sun light that had just began to show. Down the high street in Carlisle was old rustic area known as bank street the two banks of the Midland and Barclays lay on each corner which gave it the name, further down and an aroma of freshly ground coffee in the old John Watts was a greeting from the past to many people who were on their way to work. The sun light was becoming much brighter and it seemed to make the frost on the ground glisten and shine like diamonds.
Along bank street are old sandstone buildings that through out there years of existence have never aged, they seemed to reach high above into the sky and the beautiful Victorian windows that made each building look as if it were smiling at you with pride.
Down bank street between a florists and a men’s clothes shop lay a glass door, an entrance to the apartments and offices above the charming street.
Up the old wooden staircase to the third floor where you found two apartments number 6a was Lesley`s and 6b was unoccupied, it had been vacant since old Mrs Charleston was arrested after an embarrassing incident involving herself, her class, and a french teacher. She had been attending college and at 62 that was an achievement in its self, she was studying french, only this night the teacher said she was told to prepare for a french oral, so she began to undress in the class and revealed all shall we say. Like a shot the police arrested her and she got 6 months for indecent exposure. I mean it was a genuine mistake to make said lesley to his mother Sarah on the phone it wasn`t her fault she got misguided a bit, what did she want to learn french for anyway, said his mother with her name like it is she could have learned to dance like her husband. said lesley. Your right son, but he always did have natural rhythm I’m sure Mrs Charleston could back you up on that,to which lesley replied yes he was always dodging her rolling pin and doing his cha cha at the same time. any ways mum gotta go now, alright lesley are we still meeting tomorrow for tea, because i have the fairy cakes you like with the pink icing and cherries on top. Oh goodie see you then bye bye love you to mum toodles.
After lesley put the phone down he walked over to the CD player and put on his favourite tune,number 16 as the music started to play he shook his head and said you silly old queen lesley its number 17 he knelt down again to press the play button and delila his cat jumped from behind his Egyptian cotton curtains and on to his back giving lesley an awful fright and as lesley screamed delila screamed and ran into the kitchen she took refuge in the pedal bin, meanwhile lesley still screaming ran into the bathroom and locked the door. After 10 minutes had passed he controlled himself and found the courage to open the door he walked gently into the lounge pulled the curtains back to allow the sun light into the room he grabbed the first thing that came into his hands which was a book on war and peace and kicked the door of the kitchen open but unfortunately his timing was all wrong and the door flew back to quickly and hit lesley, he did a backwards somersault over the sofa and landed in the pile of ironing that had been waiting to be done for the passed week.
He got up and delila was in a state of panic and began shaking in front of him so he picked her up and calmed her down.
You silly bleeding moggy he said what you trying to do kill me? carry on like that and it will be me in the nut house like old Mrs Charleston.
Once Delila had calmed down he filled her bowl with cat food emptied her litter tray and pressed play finally on his tune. As the YMCA began to play on the cd player lesley had his shower and his breakfast which comprised usually of 2 croissants and a cup of coffee but this time he had 3 cups of coffee and 2 Valium tablets to be safe he thought, he even gave the cat one.
There was a knock at the door lesley answered it hi he said i wont be a minute come in and sit down Sheila, how are you doing lesley? she said, I’m better now but suicide puss has struck again! he said What’s she done now? She hasn’t`t tried to trapeze off the light shade again, how many times do i have to tell you lesley to stop her watching burt Lancaster films, no not this time she jumped out of the curtains landed on my back and gave me a fright and hid in the bin. Alright lesley what was it you let her watch this time? lesley went quiet and said in a gentle voice rambo. You silly twit said sheila you know what happened the last time she saw that, she put one of your ties round her head and hide in the attack for 6 days. and when we eventually found her she was so upset she tried to electrocute you with your electric toothbrush. its alright said lesley she is calm now i gave her a Valium, you did what said sheila you should have gave her 3 just to make sure or knocked her out. Delila strolled through she did not look pleased she climbed onto the window-sill and look out she seen the royal mail van parked out side she began to climb up the curtains and jumped out of the window luckily she timed it right and landed in the postman`s sack sheila said it wasn’t rambo you watched last night lesley it was the great escape look! lesley peered out of the window he seen delila she waved her paw at him and left, lesley looked at sheila and said well i guess where ever she is going she will be there on time.
Lesley ran after her but as he got to where the van had been it had long gone, he knew it was hopeless to follow it so he went back upstairs. Sheila cuddled him and said its alright lesley. Lesley and sheila both worked in the florists below they were qualified florists themselves but lesley had always thought he was destined for better things. After the first week had passed lesley had began to get over delila and now the first year had passed it was as if delila had not existed. lesley had just turned 21 in march he was outrageously camp and worse than he had ever been. He got up in a morning did his usual routine of playing his tune, having his shower, eating his breakfast, painting his nails and cleaning his handbag with febreze. As he was going to work lesley thought today was gonna be different he just knew inside, he bought the paper on his lunch break and immediately turned to his horrorscope it said Aries your day will begin as a normal day but something you will hear later will bring a whole new direction to your life. lesley thought of a new direction but going straight would be against his nature, as he put his change in his pocket and fiddled with his handbag that his mother had bought him whilst she was on holiday in Blackpool, she couldn’t resist as she got a matching one for her self. He walked back to work slowly still thinking about his horrorscope as lesley believed it was going to happen, he walked into the florists and as camp as he was began to sing don’t rain on my parade to barbara striesand on the radio, but just as he got to the last part the song was cut short and a voice emerged and an announcement was made.
This is an announcement to all able bodied persons, we are in need of fit young men and women , who want serve and fight for there queen and country. Lesley was still he did not move he thought wow all those men fighting and living together in the army i have to join this club maybe i must.
Luckily lesley was off work the next day so he went to the recruitment office on English street he filled out his form and then was questioned by a recruiting officer, Colonel Clark and why do you want join the army young man? he asked I heard your announcement on the radio and i want to do my bit for the country and of course be with the men.
I see young man said the colonel well I’m sure we will find you a spot, report here tomorrow at 0800 hours for your medical . yes sir said lesley and he went home.
The day seamed to fly by and before long lesley was waiting with 4 other men for a medical he was the 2nd to enter. the doctor opened the door and said darling, mr darling I’m ready for you now. lesley got up and walked into the room the doctor closed the door and said right step behind that screen strip down to your undies and come over here.
lesley went behind the screen and undressed then he walked back , the doctor examined his back, breathing etc and then said now drop your under wear for one last test, lesley could not help but comply very quickly they were down. the doctor said now cough, good now cough a gain a big one. lesley replied oh thank you doctor it is isn’t it. the doctor shouted grow up young man, it just has said lesley pull your undies back up said the doctor who by now was most embarrassed. now we need to fill out your form he said.
Age: 21 and 3 quarters
Height: 6ft 2ins
Weight: Cheeky 10stone
Fathers Name: Unknown
Mothers Name: Sarah Darling
Any diseases in family asked the doctor My grandfather was a celibate man who died with all the symptoms of gonorrhea just like his father and his father before said lesley and what about your grandmother asked the doctor oh well she died of the drink oh how said the doctor was it sirosis? no said lesley she got pissed one night and whilst coming home legless she was knocked over by a cider truck.
The doctor shook his head and said stop wasting my time darling err mr darling okay sugar plum said lesley.
The doctor who by now was furious said your A1 and pass take this card to the sergeant outside and put your kit back on.
He ran through the door to the sergeant who was waiting and he handed his card the sergeant took it and then he was given more questions by an officer this time.
Major Miller was a tall man with really small eyes he sat down and stared at you making you feel intimidated by his cold glance, he said to lesley I’m going to ask 3 questions and the answers must be the truth young man.
1 could you kill a man? to which lesley in his effeminate voice answered oh eventually sir. 2 Do you have a criminal record? No but i have the no 1 hits by the police on cd.
3 Could you lead someone into battle?
Yes and i can salsa through war and peace as well.
After the questions were over the colonel shook lesley`s hand and said you have a good sense of humour young man now just one more thing i need to ask as a matter of protocol who would you like us to put down as your next of kin. My mother said lesley oh very good then young man said the colonel we will be in touch.
A week had passed and the post man had just arrived as lesley was coming down the stairs, he was greeted by the postman who said good morning, in his usual friendly manner he put the letters into lesleys hands and began to walk away. Lesley began to go through them as normal saying Bill,Bill, Rubbish, until he got to the last one, The letter looked really important so lesley ran upstairs into the flat and put the kettle on, nervously he began to tear the envelope open. and out popped this:
Dear Mr Daring
It gives me great pleasure to inform you that you have passed all the requirements we need and may i be the first one to welcome you to the British army young man you will need to make the arrangements with your job and report to the recruitment office right away for your travel arrangements etc and hopefully in a weeks time if all goes well you should be undergoing your basic training with us in the base. May i once again say well done and congratulations on your good news.
We will look forward to your stay with us and we will make you into a real man.
I received this letter today said lesley as he showed to his mother, I’m in mum I’m gonna fight and become a real man like everyone else and hang out with all the boys.
The army said Sarah are you sure son its a huge step in your career , you will find it hard son are you 100% sure you know what your doing she asked by now she was frantic with worry, you and lily are all i have got she said if i lost one of you i would not know what to do with myself, it would finish me i mean.
Look why not join your sister out on the oil rig? but mum Lily is 33 she has a shaven head, 5 tattoos, watches grace jones over and over again and has never been friendly to men, even the men on the oil rig avoid her like the plague and you want to send me there trust me that would be suicide, no wonder she sent delila to me lesley thought definitely not mum no way. said lesley
That is your sister you are talking about, and I’m sure she cares for you in her own ways said sarah
Lesley looked up at the ceiling and bit his lip he wanted to tell his mum more but he loved her too much to deliberately upset her, so diplomatically he said I know mum and i care for her, but my minds made up and i have to be where the boys are.
If i can’t change your mind can you at least think about it before you jump in with both feet! Sarah put the kettle on and sat down with tears in her eyes and said You will watch out wont you and keep your head down? Yes mam and i will phone and write to you every day i promise, i know son I’m your mother i just worry for you sometimes that’s all, if you don’t like it you can come home sweetheart you know I’m still here for you.
Yes mum that’s all i needed to know, I love you mum lesley said and i love you too said Sarah now lets see about this cup of tea she said and got up off the chair dried her tears blew her nose and walked over to the kettle, which was whistling at her. Lesley walked to the window and looked outside and thought how I’m gonna miss Carlisle but I’m sure i will get leave, and I’m sure mum will write to me as well and tell me how much my city is changing. I love my Carlisle he thought but this was more important England expects and all that.
Lesley and his mum walked towards the train station it was a cold morning the flowers outside the citadel began to shine with the frost coating they had received earlier,
as lesley and his mum walked through the arch of the citadel the tears began to stream down her face like a wave on a beach when the tied is coming in, Don`t cry mum i will be fine, we have to get on the train on platform 4 go down to Crewe where we will be collected and taken to the base for basic training. Lesley was on his way through the sliding doors into the station he said one minute mum i have to buy this weeks heat magazine, whatever for asked sarah, oh he said just to see if green is still the new black, got to keep up with the trends mum. On platform 4 there was a cold wind howling up and down the tracks, with its glass roof you could here the rain banging off the glass panes forcing total silence from all in the station who looked up to see what was happening. Good bye son said sarah waving to her son as he got on the train, I’m gonna miss you mum loads but i promise i will phone you and write to you everyday mum. he said and tears began to stream down his face, Keep your head held high son and don’t take any nonsense from any one or i will come down and smack you for not standing up. Yes mum he said he gave her a cuddle and wiped his tears and hers with his neckerchief he then walked over to the train waving to her as he climbed over the step, he could not see any thing in front of him as he was looking behind him to his
mum. Unfortunately as he brought his foot up to climb aboard he misjudged the height and forward somersaulted on top of the ticket collector. He apologised to the man who was trying to get up and cursing him in polish and lesley ran into the carriage he sat down at the window and waved to his mum. Suddenly the whistle was blown and the doors closed lesley began to wave to his mum and she waved to him as the train began to pull away within 10 seconds he was out of sight and could no longer see the station only the Currock bridge embankment and the streets of terraced houses which lay off the line. His mum was leaving the station and whilst crying she answered her mobile which had been playing its annoying tone for the past 5 minutes, she got the courage and answered it Mum is that you, a smile came on to her cheeks and said yes lily its me. Has he gone yet only i had something for him, oh sorry doll said his mum but you have just missed him, what a brave boy he is i only hope he knows what he is doing.
oh give it a rest mum!! lily shouted in her masculine voice that she had, it had been two years since she had seen lesley and her mum and said I’m on holiday in Six weeks and I’m going to pass Carlisle on the way so can i drop off his present with you? You don’t need to ask permission to come and see me lily I’m always here for you both any time. said Sarah Thanks mum, you know delila the cat escaped a year ago from lesleys apartment. yes said Sarah in an suspenseful tone as if she was excited like she had been all those years ago when she was told she was pregnant with Lesley. Well said Lily guess who is here? that’s right mum she came back to the oil rig and hid in here so I’m going to bring her back to lesley as a gift when he finishes his basic, because i know and you know he wont last in the army she said in an envious manner and went on to say because its not for sissies is it, I mean what use will he be when they tell him hes a pansy you know how sensitive he is. Sarah interrupted her daughter and said Now just a minute, that is my son your brother you are calling how can you sit there and say things that you say is no longer in existence, he grew out of that when you left to join the oil rig and don’t you even have any faith in your brother? She climbed into the taxi which was waiting outside for her, Just a minute young lady she said. she held the phone in her hand and told the taxi driver where she wanted to go and without any haste she picked up the phone and said don’t you dare underestimate him, I mean you should know all about pansies shouldn’t you seen as you never had a boyfriend, and the company you kept made you look like a lemon. You can forget all about coming home and keep that suicide puss to yourself and don’t speak to me until you can show your brother some respect. Sarah ended the call and sat back in the taxi as they were on there way to her home. Meanwhile Lesley was reading his heat magazine and looking out of the window they were approaching Penrith Station at a high speed he could see his beloved fells which were snow covered in the distance and the strange mist that seemed to flow around the tops of the mountains. I have walked up there he thought and the lake that lies at the bottom where i was born. he remembered the cottage where he had been born along the lake and the garden that seemed to flow downwards to the boat house upon the lake. he sat back in the seat and began to read more about the new series of Changing rooms that was going to begin with carol smiley and handy andy oh he said i might get some ideas for the barracks.
The Journey was going to take at least 4 hours to Crewe and then another hour to the base he thought so i might as well have a nap before we get there. he looked down to his rucksack and pulled out his pink cushion, it was filled with feathers for that extra comfort he said when he bought it. he looked at it for a moment and then placed it behind his head on the chair. When he woke up the train was approaching a little station not far now he thought he could see the village with its old fashioned houses and there thatched roofs, he could see the forest that flowed down the side of the hills and the open countryside and oh yes something really fowl the smell of a pig farm, as the train pulled away he looked at his watch and thought the village is just missing one thing.
Two duelling banjos came to mind as he smiled to himself the village began to disappear in to background.
At Crewe Station the military trucks were all parked outside with the drivers waiting in the dreadful rain that was crashing down, inside the station doors were two military police men in there red caps and uniforms waiting whilst on the platform were three other military men who waiting for there new recruits. The first was a young Corporal, the second a sergeant and the third was a sergeant major 1st class. The sergeant major was watching the screens for this trains arrival time and began to twist his arms round his baton that he carried. The corporal and sergeant were talking to the young lady in the news paper kiosk, just as they got her number the sergeant major burst through the door and said you two come on now that is enough skylarking for today, let the girl have a rest. The sergeant major was a reasonable man and yet commanded a great deal of respect he was a tall man and very slim he had blonde almost white hair and blue eyes that when looking right at you left you with every hair on your body standing up in fear.
The Corporal waved to the girl as he left the kiosk and proceeded behind the other two he was up for promotion soon and was eager to please the sergeant major on any order given. How long till they get here sergeant major asked the corporal 10 minutes said the sergeant major oh and corporal he asked next time you want to play happy families with the ladies do it in your own time and not mine understand. Yes sergeant major, sorry sergeant major he said nervously. the other sergeant began to laugh, unknowingly the sergeant major had seen him laugh and quite frankly said that goes for you to sergeant as well, otherwise its your corporal stripes again! he went on to say remember my motto the army is about defending the nation not extending it with fornication do you understand. yes sergeant major they replied. Now I wonder what we have got this time said the sergeant major i hope it wont be a bloody balls up like the ones before nothing but school children in the playground crying like girls he said. I need men not children, that`s why its going to get harder were gonna break them and make them into mean machines. that`s the army i remember he said and marched onwards. The corporal and sergeant looked at each other and as the sergeant major had said the army i remember the had mimicked him.
The train was on time thought lesley as it pulled into crewe he seen the military men waiting on the platform so he began to gather his things together and walked towards the door, he climbed down on to the platform behind some other men who also had joined this man club he thought so as the sergeant and corporal were shouting to them to get into line and report outside in the car park they all began to make there way through the station. Lesley was walking through the station and seen the military police waiting at the door a huge array of silence went through the men, suddenly the policemen grabbed the man next to lesley and hurdled him out of the crowd. Lesley began to watch but the corporal hit him on the back of the neck and shouted eyes front sir out side now. As a civilian the military have to call you sir because until you are on the base your not considered a army recruit. The man was taken out side and thrown into the police car. the car went away.
Outside the men were gathered together and a register was shouted with their surname only before the sergeant began to call it he said my name is sergeant Kline, that man there is corporal smith we are your new mammy and daddy so when i say your name you are to answer yes sergeant only if you don’t answer it corporal smith will hit you now is that okay. If there are any questions i don’t care. so put your stupid hands down now!
He began to call Anderson, Yes sergeant, Arch, Yes sergeant before long it was lesleys turn the sergeant smiled and shouted Darling, Yes Sergeant said lesley in an effeminate voice the men all began to laugh and the corporal began to shout quiet, silence. That’s your name said the sergeant to lesley oh yes he replied what`s wrong with it? you will find that out when we get to the base. said the sergeant major.
After the register was called all the men began to climb into the trucks and the three other men got into the trucks with the drivers. 88 said the corporal to the sergeant major who replied we will be lucky if 20 make it through. The trucks pulled away and off on the journey they began to the base. Crewe was a surprisingly big city lesley thought sitting quietly watching the other recruits talking and showing pictures of there children and girlfriends. Before long they were in the country side, luckily the rain had stopped and the sun was beginning to appear through the break in the clouds.