Friday, November 17, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 27: Sloman's Character Has Spoken 2


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Richard.  Welcome!  It's a pleasure to have you here today.  Some of my readers have yet to read your story.  What should they know about you?

Richard Lodge:
There’s not much to tell really. My name is Richard Lodge and I am a simple man with simple tastes. I live on a quiet street on the outskirts of London. A place where people keep themselves to themselves which suits me fine; no need for any unwarranted attention now, is there. I’m a numbers man. I run an accountancy business from home which offers me a good income and also allows me time to undertake certain hobbies of mine. Now and again I will bring my latest beau home for a meal and maybe a little more. I would say the experience is often life changing for them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you believe in?

Richard Lodge:
Respect. For me. I have worked hard over the years. So very hard. I set the world up as it needed to be for me. Simple respected parameters. Always me in control. Always. When you lose that respect from others, their recognition of my superiority then the world crumbles. My world crumbles.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What haunts you?

Richard Lodge:
In terms of what, nothing overly. I suspect more people are haunted by me than I of anything. Or that was the case until David. Cute David. Such a pretty face. Who could have known how frustrating it would become over time. So perhaps the question should be who.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any phobias?

Richard Lodge:
Not so much a phobia. More what some may describe as neuroses yet I would describe as high standards. Cleanliness is a virtue. My cleaner, Natalie, comes twice a week but she doesn’t do as good a job as she thinks she does. She’s well paid but that’s more for a discrete tongue than down to her expertise. And the real cleaning, the work in the basement, well I do that myself. Don’t need anyone prying too much into my hobbies.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Richard Lodge:
David. He’s a disrupter. Everything was perfect before him. Everything. And now he’s flipped my world. Testing my patience. Plaguing me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you lying to yourself about anything?

Richard Lodge:
No. What are you suggesting? That I don’t know my own mind? I think, perhaps, we should move on to the next question.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was your childhood like?

Richard Lodge:
Childhood happened. Mother was there. She was always kind to me. Loving. And so beautiful. Perhaps the most beautiful person I have ever met. I never knew my father. He left when I was barely walking. It was different back then to not have a father at home. The other children teased me at school. A lonely only child subject to the whims of the school bullies. Well sometimes the lonely child finds a way to fight back, find a way to make their troubles go away. And sometimes no one find the bully around any more.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Were your actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

Richard Lodge:
Oh what a pertinent question! Were they a result of freedom of choice? Have you ever been used, Ms. Hyden? I was. There is so much which happened in my story which wasn’t my fault. I think you need to look to David and the things he forced me to do. If he hadn’t come along then life would be simpler. An encounter here and there to restock my larder, another person to add to the missing people’s statistics but that’s all. We all have to go at some point in our drab, weary existences. I simply help some people there more quickly. Yet I would argue David caused more death than I would ever have done. I can picture the faces of people, poor deceased individuals, who would still be alive if it weren’t for him. Yes, my hand did the deeds but it was him who pushed me to it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

Richard Lodge:
It is the name my mother gave me. It is simple and honourable and slips into anonymity with ease. You will not remember it within a month of us speaking and that suits me well.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have?  What stories lie behind them?

Richard Lodge:
None. I prefer to blend into the background. There’s far too much of this me, me, me culture going on nowadays. Whatever happened to the simplicity of existing, living your life without prying eyes and inquisitive tongues?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was unique about the setting of your books and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

Richard Lodge:
I live in a simple world. A street perhaps like many of your readers would live on. Perhaps I lived next to them and they didn’t even know it. Perhaps the uniqueness is the world hidden from outside eyes. My basement took a long time to construct but it was worth it. Only I have the key. My gym is down there and it allows me to work out in privacy. You need to be fit and agile for what I do. You need to have strength to be ready for situations you might find yourself in. And there’s a special side room to the gym with a bath and a table. Only a few people have been down to this room and few of them have come down willingly. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

Richard Lodge:
Wronged.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

Richard Lodge:
A work in progress.  Sometimes I think he was to be me.  Other times I think he wants to change me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

Richard Lodge:
A monster. But possibly redeemable. He changes his mind, treating me like an enigma, like a moth drawn to a flame he cannot resist even though he knows he’s going to get burned. Perhaps he thinks he can change the nature of the flame.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why do you think the author chose to write about your story?  Do you think they did a good job?

Richard Lodge:
I think they like to explore the darkness which is right in front of all of us. There are so many vampires, werewolves, ghosts and demons out there but the real danger walks the streets in broad daylight, drinks at coffee shops, has relationships and will eventually get old and die, sometimes to be remembered and sometimes to be forgotten.
            I think he wanted to make people question what they had just read and to poke at the cracks seeing what was real and what was lies.
            And I think he wanted to lull people into a by the numbers tale and then add more layers until they found themselves in unfamiliar territory maybe even rooting for the bad guy. And some people did just that. So did the author do a good job or is there a dark desire to see evil unfold in all of us? Or is it just a story? You tell me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think about the ending?

Richard Lodge:
The ending is a blur to me.  I have vague recollections of it, yet it seems so distant from me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?  Would you change anything about the story told? Did they miss anything?

Richard Lodge:
I have blanks in some areas where I am not sure what happened. For the main parts I think he captured me well, though perhaps he could have polished some of the rougher edges he presented of me – after all, I’m not a monster no matter what you might think from his words.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you read any of your authors' other works?  Any good?

Richard Lodge:
He can write, though I suspect he may question just how well at times. However, others seem to think he can. They even shortlisted him for a British Fantasy Society Best Newcomer Award, the mad fools! 
            There’s a man in one of his short stories I particularly like. A very precise man. Likes cleanliness. It was published in a book called Phobophobias and this tale tells of a fear of disease. The poor fellow swallows a fly, in fact the title is There Was An Old Man Who Swallowed a Fly. Simple. Basic. But we go on a journey, moving from this precise lifestyle to a haunted man with a creature flitting around in his innards, plaguing him, causing him distress. Well worth a read.




About the author:
Phil Sloman is a writer of dark fiction.  His novella Becoming David was shortlisted for a British Fantasy Society Best Newcomer award in 2017.
            Phil likes to peak behind the curtain of reality and see what might be lurking there.  Sometimes he writes down what he sees and his short stories can be found throughout various anthologies.
            In the humdrum of everyday life, Phil lives with an understanding wife and a trio of vagrant cats who tolerate their human slaves.  There are no bodies buried beneath the patio, as far as he is aware.
            Occasionally, Phil can be found lurking here or wasting time on Facebook - come say hi.


About the book:
Richard leads a simple, uncomplicated life in the suburbs of London where anonymity is a virtue.  His life has a routine.  His cleaner visits twice a week.  He works out in his basement, where he occasionally he kills people.  Everything is as Richard wants it until David enters his life.  What happens next changes his existence in its entirety and the lives of those around him.  Is he able to trust anything to be true?  And will he be able to escape David or will David take over Richard's life completely?


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