Tripping by Darren E LawsTripping by Darren E Laws

Tripping

byDarren E Laws

Paperback | November 6, 2013

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Tripping is a surreal black comedy drama that looks at the lives of four friends and how the ripple effect of an event at university comes back to haunt them over a decade later. Samantha arrives in London for a reunion with three university friends, but she is hiding a secret with a ten-year history that has touched and irrevocably changed the lives of everyone, even if they don't quite know it yet. The story charts the lives of the four girls who at university have the world at their feet. Ten years later they have become women searching for the most elusive of dreams.happiness. Tripping is a modern fable that explores the complexities of life's most intricate paradox, balancing the mundane world of shattered dreams with secrets, lies and deception. Tripping is a step into a modern day wonderland. The events of a hot summer week in May during their reunion will change their lives forever.
Born in East London in 1962. Darren's first writing success came in the mid 1990's, winning first place in a short story competition for a BBC Radio 4 arts programme. The thrill of hearing his words read on Radio 4 drove him to write short stories of a dark and quirky nature before progressing to lengthier works. Darren then crafted h...
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Title:TrippingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:316 pages, 7.8 × 5.08 × 0.71 inPublished:November 6, 2013Publisher:Caffeine Nights PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0955407001

ISBN - 13:9780955407000

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Chapter 1Friday 12 May 2000'Hurry up, she'll be here soon.' Becky swept Tom's feet from the coffee table as she passed. Tom raised his legs as though he was the human equivalent of Tower Bridge to let her pass unheeded. She looked down at her dishevelled spouse. Tom was still unshaven, his usual condition during the week; only at the weekend or special occasions was his face ever likely to come in contact with a razor. He was dressed in his bathrobe, a cigarette hung from his lips, sucked but unlit.'Jesus, Tom, put some pants on.'Tom lowered his legs unabashed, and sucked harder on the cigarette. It was so much easier to recover from a session when he was younger. He was trying to present as positive a disposition as possible, given the circumstances of having been totally rat-arsed a mere six and a half hour's earlier. 'She's your friend.' The cigarette thrashed about between Tom's lips like a break-dancing haddock. Becky continued her journey from the lounge up the stairs. 'What's that supposed to mean?' She fiddled with an earring as she walked, trying to snap the small clasp into place to secure it. Becky heard the television spring to life. A breakfast television show boomed from the speakers of the home cinema unit. She groaned inwardly. Tom took the cigarette out of his mouth and gazed at it longingly.*****Alice Doughty hovered briefly on the edge. Staring at the glistening water, pleased that it was nearly summer and that this was one of the few open-air swimming pools that remained open, albeit for a few brief weeks in what appeared to be increasingly shorter summers. The water looked cold. The May sun would not have provided enough heat yet to make the water temperate for the human body or to be more precise, for her body, so only the serious swimmers glided like dolphins through the near empty lanes, as the meek gathered around the water's edge drinking in the weak sun along with their diet Pepsi's and fat Coke's. Alice stood. Her towel was wrapped around her waist. Her toe skimmed the surface, testing the temperature. The water's coolness sent shivers up her body forming thousands of goose pimples. A seasoned swimmer reached the end of the pool and turned gracefully in one swift, motion. The sun felt nice on the back of Alice's neck and fought eagerly with the rising fleshy goosebumps, sending them back below the surface of her skin. She now felt aware that she was being watched, that 'eyes' had concentrated on her, making her indecision seem foolish. Alice knew that within a length of the pool she would join the growing ranks of swimmers immune to the temperature of the water; just one length and she would join the elite. She imagined her audience cheering her on, shouting her name, calling for her to enter the pool. Al-ice, Al-ice, Al-ice.She turned. No one was the least bit interested.Alice dried her feet. Maybe she would swim another day, a warmer day, yes that was it, a day when the sun would be at its zenith, when she would look so brown and so fantastically beautiful. Today was not a day like that; today the water was too cold and she was too pale. She lay down on the grass and stretched her arms above her head. A copy of Zadie Smith's latest novel was open by her side, destined never to be finished. Eventually it would occupy prime space on her glass-topped coffee table in the lounge, before taking its place amongst the ranks of other 'works of literature' that she could never be bothered to read. The sun was warm. Alice closed her eyes and began to fantasize. She dreamed once more of making love in an office, on a desk. Her skirt pushed up around her hips and his hands all over her body. She felt warmed by the fantasy, as warm as the sun beating down on her. Alice sighed, it was the third time in a week that she had had the dream, and still she could not see the face of her mysterious lover. She smiled as warmth flushed through her.*****'Kings Cross Station.this train terminates at Kings Cross Station.' The voice of the train driver crackled through a speaker system that had the audio quality of two tin cans connected with a piece of string. 'Don't forget to furmbal flidup algorithm in the berdoink.' Samantha Baldwin rubbed the sleep from her eyes and metaphorically massaged the fug from her mind.Around her, fellow passengers were gathering their bags, slipping rucksacks over their shoulders and preparing to meet and greet London. An old man who was sitting adjacent to her had magically disappeared. She hadn't heard him leave the carriage, but she fell asleep near Doncaster and short of the train crashing, nothing would have awoken her. She stretched her body hoping to ease out the feeling of anxiety, which had dogged her since she opened the letter. The train was slowing down, a general air of anticipation flowed through the compartment as passengers flitted back and forth in search of exit places. Two children ran through the carriage, their klaxon voices bellowing excitement. Exhausted parents followed the children's wake, smiling apologetically to Samantha and the other passengers. Samantha reached between the seats for her suitcase. It was decorated with dog-eared stickers proclaiming visits to exotic and some not so exotic destinations. It was as much a visual embarrassment as Samantha could bear, but having borrowed the case from her mother she felt she could not protest at the far-flung tack adorning the luggage. Anyway, apart from Becky she was unlikely to meet anyone she knew in London. Samantha lifted the case and plopped it on the threadbare seat next to her as she watched the station approach. Signs pronouncing Kings Cross were interspersed with the faces of passengers awaiting the return journey back to Newcastle. 'Samantha?' A hand rested on Samantha's shoulder. Suddenly she went cold. 'Samantha Baldwin, I don't believe it!'Samantha turned to greet a ghost from her past: Zoë Harrington. At the sight of Zoë, Samantha's brain went to mush.'It is you!' Zoë beamed. Zoë Harrington didn't look a day older, though instead of jeans and a scruffy tee shirt proclaiming that 'Meat is Murder', 'The Smiths' or 'legalise cannabis', she was wearing a summer dress from Karen Millen that Samantha rightly guessed cost more than she earned in a month.'You look so.so.well.' Zoë said, after a thoughtful gap. Samantha knew exactly what Zoë meant. Zoë looked fabulous. Her blonde hair was radiant in the sunshine, extremely fine in texture and cut into an expensive style that looked every bit as healthy as the rest of her. Samantha self-consciously rubbed at a dribble patch that had collected on her lapel while she was sleeping. Her own hair stuck at different angles like cartoon electric lightning forks. Part of her wanted to feign a Scandinavian accent and lie through her teeth.'Noooooooo, I'm sorry, I am not knowing you, I am from Vetlanda.' but she pathetically mumbled 'Hi, Harry.'*****The mid-morning traffic was unusually heavy. Tom cursed as he guided his Honda Civic through Islington High Street. 'We're going to be late.' Becky was using the mirror in the sun visor to apply her make-up and managed to sound disinterested yet sarcastic at the same time. Tom glanced across at his wife, malice imprinted in the whites of his eyes. She was a master in stating the patently obvious. Becky remained calm and continued to apply mascara to her lashes as Tom searched for a pothole to bounce into. He turned the radio up. Becky reached forward and turned it back down.'Train will probably be late anyway.' Tom offered an olive branch, feeling partly to blame as he had spent forty minutes in the bathroom trying to shave his face without accidentally cutting his throat or moving his pounding head too much. He swerved the car to avoid a cycle courier that overtook them for the third time in less than a mile. Tom blasted the horn and was promptly given the finger in return.'Bastard! Did you see that?''Tom, don't swear in front of Josh.''Sorry, didn't know it was his turn.''You know what I mean, Tom.' 'He's a baby for Christ sake! He's hardly going to start swearing at nursery is he?' Tom looked in the rear view mirror; he could see his son smiling, oblivious to the world outside the car, and for the most part inside it too. For a moment, Tom wished he could change places with his son, until Josh's face began to redden. A serious look of concentration overtook Josh's features followed by a loud 'parping' sound. The smell that filled the confined interior of the car confirmed Tom's suspicions.'Great, he's had a dump.''Tom!' 'Ickle Joshy woshy's filled his sacky with a load of cacky, didn't he?' Tom said in his best patronising baby voice. Josh promptly farted his reply'We'll have to stop.' Becky stated without batting a well-painted eyelid.'We can't, we're already late.' 'I can't meet Samantha with little Josh like that.''It's shit for Christ sake. All babies shit, that's all they do, shit and cry. She'll probably think it's cute.' After a pause, Tom suggested, 'We can change him at the station.' Ideally, Tom would like to change Josh for a SAAB Turbo 900. So far the expenditure on their baby son had reached the same outlay.'Good idea, you can change him while I meet 'Sam.'Sam, the name was already grating against Tom. He ground the gears and continued driving, cursing inside his head at this intrusion on his life. His mind went over the list of do's and don'ts Becky had given him.'Always use the downstairs toilet, don't leave the seat up, open the window after you've been, light a match if there's an odour, don't make too much noise if you must have sex, try and pick the pubic hair off the bath soap, wear pants under your dressing gown, try not to fart or belch.' The list went on, but suicidal thoughts began to overwhelm Tom. Images of his car mounting the pavement and mowing down all the pedestrians before playing Russian roulette at the traffic lights entered his head. Becky lowered a side window to allow fresh air to circulate.'I wonder what she looks like now,' Becky mused, not really wanting or expecting a reply from her husband. 'Ten years.' She said airily, as though it was meant to mean something to Tom.'Kings Cross, half a mile, not bad.' Tom said. The two of them continued one-way conversations until they reached the station.*****The train ground to a halt and jerked the standing passengers sideways. Samantha instinctively reached out and steadied herself using Zoë's bare arm for support. As soon as the train stopped she relinquished her grip and noticed four white indentations from her fingers. Zoë felt cool, almost cold to touch.'So where are you staying?' Zoë said.The doors to the train started to open and a mad exodus for freedom began. Samantha picked up her case, hoping that Zoë wouldn't look down at it, which of course she did.'With a friend.' Samantha replied, hoping to distract Zoë's eyes from the adornment of curly stickers that screamed 'I'M A WELL SEASONED TRAVELLER BUT HAVE ABSOLUTLY NO TASTE.''Who?' Zoë glanced upward and met Samantha's pale grey eyes. 'Anyone I know?'Samantha started to walk to the open doors of the train. All the time she was trying to think her way out of telling Zoë whom she was staying with. With her back to Zoë, Samantha knew she could just lie and say.No. No one you know.And then bang on cue, Becky appeared in front of them. Jumping up and down like an over wound clockwork toy, arms flailing in a dysfunctional epileptic greeting. Becky's voice screeching 'Sam, Sam.' so loud that every passenger on the train momentarily stopped what they were doing to focus on Rebecca Beckett. On seeing Zoë, Becky screamed. 'Bloody hell, Zoë Harrington.HARRY'.

Editorial Reviews

"Chilling, Gripping, Excellent" Lucy Felthouse