A Mind Polluted by Martin Geraghty
Paperback: 286 pages
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books (4 Mar. 2018)
BLURB: His world falls apart…
Triggered by overhearing a confession from his mother’s lips when he was a young boy, Connor Boyd carries the burden of the secret through his life.
Is falling in love his saviour? Or will he embark on a journey down a self-destructive path which ultimately leads to his version of justice?
Will he concentrate on his future, or be consumed by his past?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martin Geraghty is a forty-five-year-old from Glasgow. He is a self-employed Private Investigator who claims his profession is not remotely as interesting as it may seem. Human beings and how they react to the various curveballs that life throws at them is generally what inspires him to write. He has had work published in various litzines including Razur Cuts and Glove. When not writing or playing amateur detective, he can be found on a golf course or indulging in his chief passions, food, wine and music. A Mind Polluted is his debut novel.
Twitter : @MartinGeraght1
And to whet your appetite for this book I have an extract.
A typical teenager with typical teenage dilemmas. I trudged down the lane, heading for home, relieved that I had avoided getting my towel swiped and wishing my body would hurry up and catch up with everyone else. I just wanted to be the same as the others. Maybe I have something wrong with me? I couldn’t ask Paul though, how embarrassing would that have been? He’d just have laughed at me. I knew I couldn’t keep pretending to be sick to avoid PE.
Our street looked like the successful result of a cruel experiment to block all sunlight from reaching the residents. The buildings were built high and faced each other. They were so close together that it appeared as if the residents could open their windows and shake hands with their neighbour opposite. The dearth of light in the street looked as though it matched that of our living room. Approaching our block of flats, I frowned at the unusual sight of the Venetian blinds being closed. Raised but muffled voices emanated from the flat. Stride by stride the restrictive nature of the voices ceded to familiarity. I began to hear Mother’s antagonistic tone. Reaching the front door of our ground floor flat, I wiped my feet on the ‘We start and end with the family’ doormat and smiled as I heard Dad being interrogated. ‘Did you go to the job centre yesterday, Gerry?’ ‘No, hen, I didnae get the chance.’ A sarcastic, false laugh. ‘You didn’t get the chance? Aye, you’ve got a lot on your plate … didnae get the chance!’ I was enjoying this little episode of eavesdropping. ‘What the hell was so important that prevented you from going down the job centre and actually trying to get a job for the first time since Dunblane.’ ‘Wow, did you see that? They’ve unleashed the scud missiles again, hen.’
‘Answer my question, Gerry. NOW!’
The volume and aggressive tone of my mother’s voice made me change my mind and think it best that I let my presence be known. Turning the door handle, I heard Dad answer jovially. ‘You know Willie Gibb? Well, I got talking to him and he was telling me that he has started racing pigeons and—’
The sound of something smashing off the wall caused me to shudder. My hand separated from the half-opened front door. There was no opportunity to deliberate on what I should do as Mother screamed. ‘There’s a scud missile for you. Pigeons! Fucking pigeons! What a waste of space you are. I regret the day I first clapped eyes on you … I don’t know if I can take much more of this. If it wasn’t for falling pregnant with Connor I would be long gone by now. Paul has been big enough and ugly enough to cope with us divorcing for a while. He’s got the brains to see you for what you are … a miserable excuse for a man.’
‘Come on, Mary—’
‘Come on, nothing.’
I stared gormlessly at the closed living room door. A door that separated concealment from revelation.
‘I lie in bed at night wishing that I’d had the abortion. I would be free by now.’ She was sobbing as she said, ‘I wish I had never had Connor. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. What does that tell you about how I feel about my life with you, Gerry? When I lie in bed at night wishing I’d never had our son?’
I took a backwards step out of the flat and quietly closed the door.
Moving like a sleepwalker, the overheard conversation was on repeat in my head until it came to a sudden halt. One word had taken control.
I was confused, walking aimlessly, when my mind provided some direction. Library … I need to go to the library. I needed a trusted answer to the question that was burning my mind. I refused to believe the answer in my head that was kicking and screaming, demanding my acknowledgement.
From my first visit to the library, the smell of the polished floors and the distinguished aroma of the books had me hooked. While Dad looked for books, I spent my time sitting on a stool flipping through the piles of children’s books, front to back, the same way as Mum did when going through her album collection. It was a place of good memories for me. A couple of years previously, I had entered the library to find a poster naming me as the winner of a Roald Dahl Book Collection.
‘Excuse me, Missus, do you have a dictionary that I can borrow for a wee minute please?’ I asked.
‘Of course! It’s great to see a boy serious about his schoolwork.’ She handed me the dictionary. ‘Wait a minute, why are you not at school?’
‘Free period.’ I walked to the table furthest away from the prying eyes of the librarian and took a seat, placing my school bag on the floor. Opening the dictionary, I flicked to the correct page:
The intentional ending of a pregnancy; rare
I placed the dictionary on the table. My head was bowed.
As I started to cry, I tried to stifle the sound. My shoulders bobbed up and down in tandem with the sobbing. Thirteen years old. Struggling to breathe.
The realisation pervaded me.
I whispered to myself.
‘My mum didn’t want me. My mum doesn’t want me.’
Strangely, in the past year or so, whenever this scene has returned to haunt me, my mind’s eye has added another layer of disturbing imagery. The librarian appears at the table, an outstretched hand full of checked paper like butchers use to wrap their meat. She drops the contents on the desk, blood splashes my school shirt and face. I’m staring at what looks like viscera as the librarian’s manic laugh causes others to join in.