If you have a dinghy, be sure to maintain it properly. Like all seagoing craft, dinghies can suffer from wear and tear which, if allowed to continue unchecked, will imperil their ability to remain afloat, especially in choppy seas or when sucked into a maelstrom.
The most prudent course of action is to enrol in a dinghy maintenance evening class. Consult the prospectus of your local community lifelong learning hub, if such a thing exists, and, if you do not see a dinghy maintenance class listed, bombard the hub outreach staff with pleas and demands and threats until they are cowed. You can use wheedling tactics, such as suggesting that you will bring your own dinghy to class for students to practise maintenance techniques upon. That way, you can sit back and watch, perhaps smoking your pipe in a listless manner, while all the wear and tear on your dinghy is repaired by eager hands. If the hub has a no pipe smoking policy, which it probably has, you can stand outside and peer through the window to watch perky young wannabe chandlers fix all the rips and tears and curious discolorations in the fabric of your dinghy.
You will want to be sure that the instructor is fully qualified, so in the period between enrolment and the first session, employ a gumshoe to carry out exhaustive background checks. It has been known, occasionally, for dinghy maintenance evening class instructors to be shameless charlatans who bluff their way into the job despite having little or no maritime knowledge. Your gumshoe should be able to flush out such rascals.
If money is tight, and you cannot afford the services of a gumshoe, it is possible to vet the instructor yourself, so long as you have a pair of binoculars, a sturdy pair of walking boots, a dictaphone, false identification papers, a pair of sunglasses, and a hat. Most such instructors live in cheap rented accommodation in the less salubrious parts of town, even when they are qualified, so be prepared for your exquisitely refined sensibilities to be dragged into a moral sewer, and take a packed lunch.
When preparing the sandwiches for your lunch, do not stint on the marmalade nor on the chopped up radishes, for you will need to avoid hunger pangs while concealed in shrubbery keeping an eye on the communal doorway of the instructorâ€™s cheap rented accommodation waiting for him, or her, to depart, or to arrive. If you want to smoke your pipe after eating your sandwiches, wave your hand in a fluttery motion to disperse the fumes which, arising from your place of concealment, could betray your presence, not merely to the dinghy maintenance instructor but also to any passing busybodies or police officers or civic politeness enforcement patrols.
After a week or so of constant surveillance, you ought to be in a position to judge your instructorâ€™s rectitude. If they turn out to be a shady rogue, jump out at them suddenly from the shrubbery, screaming your head off, and pursue them down the insalubrious streets waving a hammer. Keep chasing them until you are on the outskirts of town and then invoke an ancient municipal banishment order, citing the ukase of Prince Fulgencio. That should do the trick.
If, on the other hand, you learn that your instructor is superbly qualified in the field of dinghy maintenance, with untold certificates and diplomas to prove it, creep quietly away and be sure to arrive promptly for the first lesson. There, you will be able to take stock of your fellow students and satisfy yourself that they are sufficiently perky to be entrusted with the maintenance of your dinghy while you relax outside, looking through the window, puffing upon your pipe.
Hyper-pedantic readers, raising a neyebrow or two at the word ‘discoloration’ above, may suspect that Mr Key is turning into an American.
In which connection, it is unimaginably strange to hear an ‘Unspeakable Desolation’ story read in a US accent … for those not traumatised by the mere suggestion, http://tinyurl.com/58avg5 is the place to go, but you have to weather an advertisement, a dictionary definition, and some stuff about trains before the dawning of the Main Feature.
‘Weird, awesome stuff,’ the host declares.
R : Thank you for the link. I couldn’t help but notice the first comment on the story, which I will definitely have to use as a back cover blurb on my next book. Jim Bateman says:
Where dya dig this Frank Key dude up? Holy mother â€“ this has to be the hottest yarn I’ve ever gotten into, Im weirded out, gimme more more more.”
This is wonderful stuff. His voice is pitch-perfect for your writing. Can we encourage him to read some more?