#amwriting Thrillers

I’m toying with the idea of writing crime fiction or a thriller next year, and this is my first attempt at a prologue. See  what you think…

Ailsa wishes they would just piss off and leave her alone.

They have pushed past the broken-down door into the living room—very solemn policeman one, very earnest policewoman two.

“Are ye on your own, missus?” says copper one and she bats back the obvious, “What dae ye think, Sherlock?”

He’s got that wee look to him. She’s seen it too often before. A guy who’s been telt he’s got to say this stuff and has no idea what to do.

She sits, her feet out on the coffee table, drink in hand. Am ah meant to be apologetic here big guy? She supposes she is.

Female copper sits down. Ah, this is supposed to be the one who works out your feelings for ye, apologises and says shite anyway.

And no’ be the one who feels the shite tickety tac its way up to your very lungs.

No one liked her, Ailsa, she knew. It is a rare moment of prescience. But now, aye? She has all the power in the world. They shift around in front of her, waiting for her to say something.

“What d’ye want?” she asks. They take that as permission to sit down.

“It’s Ailsa, isn’t it,” the woman says. A statement, not a question. “We need to tell you something.”

She knows what is coming. It was never going to be good news, was it—two cops, acting all serious and sad.

It’s about Ross.

Two weeks ago, she’d turned up at his door. “I’m pregnant. I don’t want it.”

The good thing about Ross was that he didn’t bother with the whole feelings crap. When she said she didn’t want it, he nodded slowly and asked her if she’d been to the doctor to ask for an abortion.

“Aye. It’s all sorted, one o’ thae medical abortions,” she said. “I take a pill. It comes out. Can you take me to the hospital?”

“Aye, fine,” he said. “When?”

And that was that. Her ex-boyfriend picked her up on the Thursday, drove her to the Vale, came in with her and waited while they gave her the pill.

All the staff thought he was the father. They were kind to him. He was, well he was like Ross was. Maybe the nurses thought to themselves, “No wonder she doesnae want his wean!”

They were wrong about a lot of things.

Trisha had never liked her. It wasn’t one of those ‘no-one’s ever gonnae be good enough for my son’ things. Trisha just sided with everyone else. Ailsa could count her friends and allies on the one hand; a hand that had lost fingers to frostbite, mebbe.

Ailsa picks up her phone. The whisky is doing funny things to her. Trisha, she decides, shouldn’t have tae deal with eejit copper one and two turning up at her house, so solemn, so can we come in, missus?

She dials the number, waits a beat, two, three until the phone is answered. Trisha’s an oldie. She doesn’t have a mobile phone, so she’s no idea who is calling her on the landline.

“Trisha,” Ailsa says, smiling to herself as she watches copper one and two cotton on to what she’s doing and move towards her, clearly intending to snatch the phone from her. She rushes her words from now on. “Ah’ve got the police here. Ross’s dead. Your son’s no more.”

©Emma Baird 2017

Pic thanks to George Hodon.

 

 

 

The (Mucho) Joy of Chocolate

Ridiculously proud of the shine on those chocolates…

Friends, I experimented with the idea of home-made favours. I took my Lakeland chocolate mould, I made whisky truffles and I filled said chocolate mould (beforehand coating the moulds with a thin layer of plain chocolate) with the truffle mixture and I sighed in a Nigella Lawson style domestic goddess ‘I make my own’ stuff type contentment…

I did NOT. Yes to filling the chocolate mould, yes to the making my own truffles, but absolutely no to the ‘sighing in contentment’ thingie. Two-thirds of the way through lining the chocolate moulds I got bored and shortcuts were taken. The blasted truffles did not seem to stick together. My hands got seriously dirty. Chocolate worked its way underneath my nails and made me look like a dedicated gardener (reader, that could not be further from the truth).

In short, the whole exercise was a lesson in why people buy chocolates for their favours. Mind you, in true chef privilege style I did taste some of the truffle mixture and it was a bit wow-ee. It’s pretty easy too so here goes…

225g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids and above naturally)

75ml double cream

3tbsp whisky*

1 tsp vanilla essence

Finely chopped hazelnuts (or other ideas, see below)

Break up the chocolate into small pieces and place in a non-metallic bowl in the microwave. Put on for 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate has melted. Stir well, add the vanilla essence and leave to cool till room temperature. Add the whisky, then use an electronic whisk to beat the mixture for five minutes until it seems lighter and is paler in colour.

Cover and refrigerate for an hour or so until firm. Roll the chocolate mixture into balls (about walnut-sized shape) and then roll in either cocoa, chopped nuts, grated white chocolate or icing sugar. Eat within four days. They should be kept (covered) in the fridge.

If you do make them, please let me know and tell me what you think! You can substitute the whisky for Cointreu or Bailey’s too.

 

 

*I want to love whisky. It’s such a romantic drink. Think whisky, think sitting in front of a roaring log fire having hiked four or five hours up and down hills, think ancient clan chiefs sneaking the distillery away from the excise men (and Rabbie Burns was one!). Unfortunately, it still tastes pretty cough mixture to me.