Let me get into your head! Pretty please?

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with Mrs Holder’s Legacy

I have a problem. …I’ve had to conclude that my main character has more than a touch of the Janes. Whilst several of my minor dramatis personae have introduced themselves with unexpected enthusiasm, telling me all sorts of unimagined things about themselves, Lucy – or maybe Chloe (this woman is such an enigma, I can’t even work out what her name is) – is keeping resolutely shtum.” The Jane Fairfax Dilemma

Revision Blues? I wish.

Killing my darling was only the beginning of the struggle.

I thought that once I overcame that hurdle I’d be singing all the way to the finish line. Not so. I’m double-crossed. Stumped by none other than the elusive Bertie Gray. Bertie Gray

Formerly a minor character, he somehow managed to cut out so much scene-time for himself that I was stunned to discover half way through the novel that two protagonists became three.

Now then. I must have a word with him, I decided. What we ended up having was a paragraph instead, and then some.

Me: Look, Bertie. I like you. You always bring something fresh to the table and I appreciate that. However… there are characters and then there are leads. You are not a lead so… Would you kindly explain on what account you take such liberties with my plot?

Gray: I don’t know what you’re complaining about. I’m the spice of your little suspense novel, aren’t I?  Don’t take me wrong. I’m happy to help out, but know this: I’m not some stooge who’s going to pop in any time you need to make the other guy jealous. If that’s what you want then — be my guest — find someone else to do the legwork. I didn’t spend three years at RADA to get your leftovers.

Thus speaketh the great Thespian.

Wait a second. I created you! Aren’t you supposed to do what I tell you?

Not Bertie. A few chapters back, this no-strings-attached actor by day and round the clock womaniser, halted right in the middle of a rather steamy scene, turned around and point blank refused to follow the script. His conflicting desires, his backstory, the present ambiguity of the relationship between him and the other character… It was too much. He wanted some time to take stock of the situation. Going through with it didn’t feel right — apparently.


That’s all well and good, but how am I expected to work under these conditions? I tried to reason with him. I explained how important this scene was to the plot. It’s a turning point, I said. No. He would have none of it.

Gray: Find another way to turn it then. Don’t go objectifying me. Need conflict? Start a war. I’m done.

Ta-da. Off he went and the entire production skidded to a standstill. New scene up in flames.

Me: Alright. Alright! You don’t want to do it. I get that. But what does feel right to you? Tell me, what is it that you want? Let me get into your head!


Me: Pretty please?

When I came across Mrs Holder’s Legacy‘s piece earlier today I realised that we were dealing with the same problem. The Jane Fairfax problem. For those of you unfamiliar with Austen’s work, Jane Fairfax is a character in her novel Emma: Jane is the niece of one of Emma’s neighbours and, despite … being intelligent, educated and otherwise the epitome of the suitable companion, Emma finds her – well, more than a bit annoying. The problem, we are told, is that she is too “reserved”. Emma can’t work out what she thinks about anything; she can’t confide in her; she can’t instruct her, or scold her, or laugh with her. In short, she can’t work out what makes her tick.” MHL

MHL’s Lucy and my Bertie are – in a nutshell – our Jane(s) Fairfax.

Just as MHL can’t work out what her Lucy thinks about, so am I denied access to Bertie’s inner life. That means that in any given situation I can’t tell how the character will react. Hence my aborted scene, and this latest impossible task of making Bertie do his job and move the plot forward.

If he’s not plotting with me then who is he plotting with? He’s up to something. I’m sure of it. I’d put a detective on his tail if I had the means to do it.

As MHL says: “I know Lucy’s a very private person and all, but surely she can tell me what she’s thinking?  I created her after all!  Doesn’t that entitle me to some kind of confidence?  Doesn’t she have any sense of gratitude?!”

Hear that, Bertie? Gratitude. You may think yourself secure, but take care. I’ve killed my darlings before. I can do it again. So sayeth the desperate author, pulling at her hair.

That’s that. Have to find some way to bring him back to the fold… But how? There must be a way, something to tempt a character to confide. Could try getting him drunk, I suppose. He’s rather partial to whiskey. Might get messy though… Don’t want to put him out of action altogether. Have you ever encountered this problem?

How do you get into your characters’ heads, if they refuse to let you in voluntarily?

All suggestions welcome!


Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

Or if you happen to be a fellow Hogwartsian send me a letter by owl. ;)

Revision Blues

Revision BluesI am under the spell of an unwelcome virus. I like to call it “revision blues”.

All was going so well. I was speeding ahead at the rate of one chapter a day, sometimes even managing a couple, and then it stopped. Full stop.

I don’t quite know what has prompted this. Although if I had to guess, I’d say it is the next chapter… the one awaiting revision. It was my favourite you see. The one I loved to read and reread, the one that captured so beautifully the atmosphere of the entire novel, through both description, dialogue and inner life. It was my darling.

And now I have to kill it.

This is the stumbling block. I had no problem cutting everything else, mutilating, transforming, rearranging, and then cutting some more.

I say that I’m revising, but what I am actually doing is rewriting the entire novel. I have changed it beyond recognition. If you could see my printed out volume — the one I have taken the red pen to — you’d understand what I mean. There are whole lines, dialogues, pages, chapters gutted out. I have gutted it out, without mercy. Revision hat well and truly on.

But now… here I am, wavering.

I know I have to go ahead and cut it out, or rewrite it at least, so that it may resonate with all the changes the narrative has undergone so far, but my fingertips retract from the delete button. Rebellious.

What do you do, when you have to kill your darlings? How do you do it?


If anyone would’ve told me what was awaiting me at home that Friday evening I may have hurried my step instead of lugging through the bustle of Bloomsbury streets at the end of a long day’s work. Then again, I may have decided that some things are best left unseen.

“Honey, I’m home!” I shouted out once through the door, my hands sore with the weight shopping bags, a last-minute escapade in attempt to appease a rather moody fridge that for the past week had only a solitary bottle of champagne to keep it’s innards nice and chilly.

No answer. Just as well. I could make it a surprise. It’s not often that I sport the domestic goddess hat. Except…

What’s that noise? Damn. He left the shower running. I shoved the door with one foot, dumped the shopping bags onto the floor and ran to the bathroom to turn off the taps before the flat turned into the next post-impact Titanic scene. Opened the door and…


Benedict Cumberbatch. In my shower. Stark naked. Perhaps this last explanation is unnecessary. After all, people do tend to be unclothed in this context. I can’t say that I shied away from the view. Rather picturesque.

“Oh… Hi,” he said.

I nodded. My tongue decided to take a leave of absence, together with my senses. That however, I could’ve just about coped with, if it hadn’t been for the half drawn shower curtain opening up next and Martin Freeman sticking out his head from behind.

“Jonny should be here in a few minutes. He’s just gone down to get supplies,” he smiles and then disappears back behind the curtain.

I can’t move. Frozen to the spot. Breathed in. Breathed out. No better. I did not just see that. It wasn’t happening. Oh. My. God. What the hell?!

I could sense Benedict’s gaze on me, but making eye contact was a little too much to ask of me that very moment. My eyes had seen, but my mind refused to process the visual evidence. I turned around and fled through the half-open door, leaving my two unexpected guests to their own devices. The image of what that might actually be was stuck to my retina, no less real for it having been imagined.


I stopped outside the bathroom door trying to reassemble myself into something resembling a sentient being. The effect of the scene began to recede. Thoughts flooded in one after another.

Wait a minute. Did he say Jonny’s here too? He didn’t mention being in town. I was sure that he was still busy filming in New York. If this is about to turn into a ménage-a-trois, I need to make myself sparse. Quickly.

Elementary-JLM“Hey, there you are. I see we’ve had the same idea,” Jonny was standing in the doorway, presenting a bagful of edible delights.

“Jonny, what’s going on? What are Ben and Martin doing here? What are you doing here?”

“Hey! I’m just here for the dinner,” cheeky wink followed.

“So I haven’t just stepped into the prelude to an orgy then?” I followed him through the hallway towards the kitchen, Jonny having insisted that he’s more than able to carry my shopping in as well.

“Come on. You know me better than that,” he laughed, unpacking the goodies into the fridge.

“I thought I knew those two better than that as well. How long has this been going on?”

“The heart gets what the heart wants,” he said, philosophical like.

“Not mine, apparently.” Deflated didn’t even begin to describe how I felt.

“Come on, Vics. Chin up. Didn’t you say that you’d reached the ironic stage in your obsession with Ben? Now you can get over it altogether.”

“And how am I supposed to do that?” I asked, genuinely curious to see what solution he might propose.

“That’s Elementary, my dear Vic,” he said, “Just get yourself another.”

“And who might you offer as a substitute?”

“Yours truly?” he pirouetted on the spot, sporting the best grinning Cheshire Cat impression.

“Swap one Sherlock for the other, you say? No offence, Jonny, but besides the fact that you are positively taken, my feelings for you have always been platonic.”

“Your feelings for whom have always been platonic?” asked Ben. He moved like a puma on the prowl that one. Didn’t even hear him come into the room.

“Why for you of course,” intervened Jonny before I had a chance to reply.

“Hmm…” Ben looked unconvinced.

He suited the just-out-of-the-shower look. Why Oh Why was I doing this to myself? Alright. I had to get over this. It was all getting a little too intense. Clearly Ben and I had one too many things in common. Namely, that whole sleeping with men thing.  “Tea?” I asked to change the subject.

“Whiskey, if you’ve got any,” Ben said.

“Shall I get one for Martin as well?” I asked.

He shook his head in a decisive negative: “He had to leave. Some emergency at home.”

“Right.” I busied myself with a dusty bottle of single malt. After a few minutes I handed him the glass. Jonny had mixed his own drink. Not in the mood for whiskey apparently. I decided to bite the bullet and ask: “So… You and Martin… Are you an item now?”

A loud bang made me start. I looked around. Everything became hazy. No. Wait. I’m not ready yet. Can’t go. I need to find out…

Dream over.

Just my luck. Can’t get a break, can I? A girl can dream… But what kind of masochistic tendency is this? Frustration running high.

Ever since Cumberbatch has infiltrated my unconscious, one disaster follows another. His appearances for quite a while were rather villainous in nature, and the one time I somehow managed to seduce the elusive Cumberbatch, low and behold, instead of the expected steamy sex scene, I got the disappointing tryst of Sex with you-know-who. And now… homoerotic dreams about his presumed affair with Martin. Damn.

My hubby laughed for ten full minutes when I related him the shower scene. Well… at least someone is getting a measure of enjoyment out of this. I know I’m not.

tumblr_Sherlock and John

Despicable Me

Let’s Talk Opinion in conversation with In This Moment

You will always be the villain in someone else’s story. There will always be someone around-whether you know them personally or not-who will hate everything you ever do just because it’s you doing it. … If you are going to put yourself out publicly in anyway, if you dare to bare  your soul to the world SOMEONE is going to hate you for it.”

villain g

Have you been the villain in someone else’s story? I know I have. Multiple times. It used to bother me, but then I realised that being the villain is not all that bad. You know what they say: all publicity is good publicity.

Being the “bad guy” can have its advantages. Heroes have very high expectations to rise up to. Just think of the pressure! Every good deed they make, every decent thing they say is taken for granted. After all, that’s what heroes are supposed to do. But villains – the freedom! – you can’t go wrong. Going wrong is just what villains do. Can’t blame a wolf for doing what wolves do. And every good thing you ever do it’s a bonus and the world stands to attention.

He-he. I think I may act the villain more often from now on. It all sounds rather delicious to me.

But what makes a villain? Moreover… what makes a good villain? Now that’s given me some food for thought. Let’s talk recipes for success, fellow villains!

To be a true villain, we must wrap our malevolent heads around what it means to be good or else we’re wasting our time.

I think I’ve come up with one: a leader not a follower be. We’ll make up our own minds as to what we think and what we do, and let others rage in our wake. After all “there will always be people telling you what your motives are.” Whether they are wrong or right in their assumptions, “they won’t hesitate to tell you what you really think about something,” and to stay true to our villainous selves we must make sure to give back as good as we get. For good measure, add a sneaky cackle to your depraved actions. Everyone loves a cackling villain, don’t they?

Of course, whatever we do and say must be morally indefensible – after all that’s what us villains trade in, it’s our bread and butter – but we should come up with some skewed justification for it too, you know, so that it all makes sense for us at least. We are after all the evil products of our own experiences and beliefs. Shock and horror: it may be that we actually see everyone else as evil and ourselves as the few whose pursuits and opinions are truly admirable on this planet. We are bound to be a little self-involved that way – we are villains after all.

Now for the essential guide to becoming the best version of your “Despicable Me”:

You may want to start regarding others as intolerable waste, get rid of that all too bothersome empathy with their troubles, and start thinking that the world owes you something. Made note of that? Now we are truly on our way of being the villains they so want us to be, and when they tell us that what we do is “wrong or stupid or useless or repetitive or pointless or cruel or…you get the point” at least they’ll sleep well in the knowledge that we are doing everything we can to meet their expectations.

Next, let’s get ourselves some understandable and compelling motivations and goals. Evil for the pleasure of evil itself is hard to do well. The effect we want to go for is realistic, but chilling… What we do must look like something anyone would do given the right circumstances and enough of a push. I mean, that’s how we got to this place, didn’t we? We were pushed into it. We wanted to be good, but as they were so determined to make villains of us, we had no other choice but to do it. Started working on that torture chamber yet, anyone?

And we are not alone, mind you! We must get ourselves an army of minions and allies. They are bound to follow us wherever we go. They will respect and admire us – the great villains that we are – may even do a spot of worshiping on the side. Aww. Now that prospect warms my wicked heart. Where their goals don’t coincide with ours, fear will do the trick. We are criminally infamous after all. But beware of false allies turning against us at the crucial moment. Make sure to clip in the bud any secret plans of vengeance.

As for our opponents… Well. They can be rather irritating at times, can’t they? Hell bent on our destruction. But such persistence can be rather amusing, especially when we watch their frustration mount. (chuckle-chortle-cackle) Who’s resisted them in the past? Let this be your motto, fellow villains of the world, as -M- puts it “If you’re going to be the villain you might as well get some enjoyment out of it.”


Let’sTalk Opinion posts engage with issues that are important to other bloggers, connecting with others on matters close to their heart. If you like a topic and would like to contribute, please feel free to add to the comment box, reblog, share, email or message me on Twitter @shardsofsilence.

Or if you happen to be a fellow Hogwartsian send me a letter by owl. ;)


Woman s Hand Squeezing Bed Sheet

What do you do when you can do anything at all?

Adam had asked that question every single morning for the past six months. Most people would love that luxury – the luxury of choice, but for him it was more of a curse.

There had been no pressure to pick something once he got his degree. He’d waivered. Too big a decision to just delve into, without thinking it through, but this thinking through had been for some time the only thing he did on a regular basis. Now in his mid-twenties, he was good at many a thing and excelled at nothing.

All his friends had moved on: law school for some, careers in the civil service, media or investment banking for others. They were all proper adults, with proper jobs and proper relationships. All so very proper. It made him sick.

He refused to join their ranks, the living dead going through the motions, automatons fulfilling others’ dreams, never to discover their own.  He wanted to try life for measure. Find out what it was that fired him up. The last thing he expected was this: a barren terrain of endless choice, all reason and no passion at all.

Even that would’ve been fine. Perhaps his path in life was one of no ambition. It was no one else’s concern. He didn’t see why anyone should judge him for it, and wouldn’t have given a damn if they did. Not until he met Harper.

HarsH DreaMs


I dream.

I dream in colour. In textures. In scents. I see, touch, and even taste. My dreams are so vivid that they often feel as real to me as reality itself.

Through dreams I escape into another world. They whisper stories and draw me away from the pedestrian into the uncommon. Sometimes I know that I am dreaming. Memories of other dreams surge forth, and in remembering I take flight, journey to distant lands and uncover secrets that lay hidden to everyone else. They inspire. Dreamscapes.

I meet loved ones in my dreams. Sometimes they are living friends and family, sometimes they come to greet me from the world of shadows, as alive to me in that moment as they were when I last held them in my arms.

But there are strangers too. Both friends and foe.

Tonight I had an unexpected visitor. It was the second time he made an appearance. I did not know what to make of it the first time around. I am yet to make sense of it now. My visitor was neither known, nor unknown to me. He was OM.

I wish I had the skill of a portrait artist, or at the very least know someone who could sketch OM in a MAN WANTED-style. Lacking both, I have delved into the google universe in hunt for an image that would come close to his dream-self. Meet OM.

His first appearance is still fresh in mind. Three days past, the voice he shared in his vlogs seeped into the dream, and seated around a small coffee table, we talked. He spoke of “once upon a times,” of poetry and prose, of his hopes for the future. A man of no regrets and relentless in his pursuits.

Then again, last night, there he was on my doorstep. Something was wrong.

“We must go. Now,” he said.

I picked up my coat and we were on our way.

He didn’t have to tell me neither where we were going, nor what had to be done. I knew. I knew as only in dreams you can read the other’s mind and their harsh reality crisps up within you becoming yours.

I felt no fear. No apprehension. The danger that awaited beyond the comforting bustle of that Bloomsbury street on a Saturday morning, was nothing when compared to what awaited the world if we did nothing about it. It had to be done. There was nothing more to it.

It was a call to arms, and neither waivered in crossing the threshold into the darkness that lurked just out of sight.


You can find OM @ HarsH ReaLiTy http://aopinionatedman.com/harsh-reality-blog/



They came for me in the late summer of 2011.

Nothing had prepared me for their arrival. I had no idea that they were investigating me. What was a reporter compared to the editor in chief or the owner of News of the World? They had bigger fish to fry I had imagined. Wrong.

They had been on my trail for a year or so. I did not know which of my informants had betrayed me, or why. It was a stupid thing to wonder about, but I could not help asking myself whether I had unintentionally caused for this to happen, or whether they’d sold me out to save their own skin. It mattered. I don’t know why.

This is the story of that moment. One moment that changed the course of my life.

You will have to bear with me. Too much has happened since, and although it all leads back to that point in time, there is so much still lost in the haze.  My recollections, for a time, were not my own. They were nothing at all, but the beginning of a journey through the judicial system and the underworld. The details are much the same, although the narrative has taken some time to crisp up and take shape. I have told no one about this, and anything that I did tell has been recounted on the witness stand under the grilling stare of a court prosecutor.

I cannot change the past. But the past… The past and its memories have kept me in continued flux. I no longer know who I am.

10:30pm. A chilly Monday night. That morning we had returned from a weekend in Devon. We had been working long hours for months – Russell in the city, me scuppering across the country for the latest story – and he demanded we spend some quality time together. He always got what he asked for. Independent woman or not, I let him believe that he was the one calling the shots in that relationship since the very start. I did not mind playing the junior partner in the arrangement: chose my battles with care, got the ring. To think only, that there was a time when it mattered. I long for those times.

The first warning that something had gone wrong was loud banging on his apartment door. I didn’t hear it at first. Exhausted after a weekend of trekking through Exmoor and then a long day of catching up at the paper, I went to bed at 9pm and was gone to the world. My fiancé, or ex fiancé I should say, did hear it. He’d stayed up to go through some paperwork and when the banging began, rather than going to check what the matter was himself, elbowed me hard in the ribs and in an instant I was awake. Coward. That right there was the last of many indications that he was not exactly the knight in shining armour he believed himself to be.

I sprang to my feet and hurriedly drew a nightgown over my head then went to answer the door. Question after question milled through my sleep-deprived brain.

Was it someone from the paper? No. That made no sense. There was no big story on the roll, nothing important enough to bring anyone to my door at that hour.

Did my mother die? I had not seen her in nearly a decade, but surely a phone call would’ve been sufficient.

Did some madman escape from some nearby asylum I was unaware of? I considered nipping into the kitchen for a knife. If I were to greet a potential killer, then surely I should try and level the odds. That couldn’t be it. This wasn’t Whitechapel.

Could it be the postman? I considered getting that knife in any case. He deserved all that was coming to him for getting me out of bed, express delivery or not.

In the end I decided that most likely a neighbour had forgotten their key, or someone else’s late night caller, drunk, got the wrong apartment. I was so sure of it that I was tempted to ignore it and go back to bed. Let Russell deal with it if he minds the banging that much.

There was a man in uniform coiled behind a buttery light. It blinded me. All else was darkness. Panic took over. Something shifted uncomfortably inside.

“Is this Jane Shift’s residence?”

For a moment I still waivered under the delusion that he got the wrong address. He got my first name right, but not the last. Did he mispronounce it, or was it all a mistake?

“No. There are no Shifts here.” I tried to keep my voice level, although that tremor… Perhaps they will attribute it to the cold.

“And your name is?”

I did not answer immediately, thinking fast on my feet. Could I lie? I dreaded what might happen if I did. No. I had to tell him.

“Swift. Jane Swift.”

“I have a warrant for your arrest. May I come in?”



What do you see when you look in the mirror? And the mirror? What does the mirror see when it looks into you?

She wished that she could reach into that other world and demand a decision. Not a small decision about this or that part of her life, but a momentous decision… That all-changing look the other way. She had been searching for answers in all the wrong places, trying to avoid making a choice. It was madness to even think it. Could she leave all behind, start again? Will she?

– How do you feel?

– Trapped. Trapped by promises I’ve made in good faith and can no longer keep. Trapped by a sense of duty.

– Why do you waiver?

– Because of what I have to forfeit if I stay.

– And what is that?

– Love.

– Are you certain it’s love?

– No. It is not. It is the chance to find it out.

– Only the possibility of it? It does not seem like much to give up…

– You wouldn’t say so if you felt the way I do.

– How do you feel?

– Resentful. Resentful of the life that has entrapped me with its shine and lustre. A life that had me… domesticated. I used to be a wolf. I hunted my own prey. I’ve lost my hunger. That hunger was all that I had. It drove me forward through this pointless, purposeless existence. I am sated and discontented. I want to find the wolf within again.

– What’s stopping you?

– What I have to forfeit if I leave.

– Security?

– No. It is not. It’s so much more than that. I would be cut out from my pack, ostracised from the world that I spent a lifetime building.

– And won’t you take the risk? Walk out of the door?

– I am too afraid. I fear the unknown. I fear being alone, helpless, with no one to care whether I live or die. I fear that all that awaits me on the other side is the abyss… endless misery and untimely death.

– Then you must conquer your fears.

– How can I?

– I do not know. It is a mystery.

Does it speak to you, that face beyond the pale? It was only a mirror – a reflection.

Twinned lives. One decision. Infinite possibilities.

vicbriggs for HarsH ReaLiTy


This article was first published as a guest post on HarsH ReaLiTy: http://aopinionatedman.com/2013/11/10/unfaithful/ with the following reblog message: My fourth contribution to HarsH ReaLiTy is somewhat of a departure from the rule. It is a snapshot into the inner world of a woman whose life is falling apart, and who slowly, but surely descends into madness. She thinks that what’s at stake is her marriage, her life as she knows it. But what she does not yet realise, is that in delaying her decision, she risks losing her sanity.

Madness: Thinkers Welcome Aboard.

Madness does not come easily. It’s not something that can be accomplished overnight. It requires unswerving determination and commitment.
Along the way there will be many attempting to bring you back to sanity. Many more will make light of your madness. Others still will try to persuade you that you may be many things other than mad.

But stick to it. Don’t give in. If you reject madness, you give into convention. For what is to be mad than to see the world otherwise than you’ve been taught to see it?

Reality is not linear. Like a mirror that reflects fixedly our beliefs about the world, its synchronicity depends on its remaining whole. Shatter the mirror and you have hundreds, thousands, – countless variations. Madness rests somewhere between mystery and opportunity.

If I look one way when I’ve been compelled to look another, something’s changed. If I don’t replicate exactly the behaviour that is expected of me, something new comes into being. See?

Only children, philosophers and madmen contend with questions about death and the meaning of life. I’m no longer a child, not yet a philosopher… where does that leave me?

I think, therefore I am… mad.

L0031760 Sir Charles Bell, The anatomy and philosophy














vicbriggs FOR HarsH ReaLiTy


This article was first published as a guest post on HarsH ReaLiTy: http://aopinionatedman.com/2013/11/09/madness-thinkers-welcome-aboard/ with the following reblog message: This is my second piece for HarsH ReaLiTy. On madness. You may think it somewhat of a departure from yesterday’s post, but humour and madness have a long history together. More often than not they go hand in hand. Think of the King’s Fool: The Entertainer. The Thinker. The Madman. Thought you would appreciate some thematic continuity. Think! Be Mad 🙂

Cruel Games

The day after my thirteenth birthday, father told me that Tom would be coming to stay with us for the summer.

Tom was my step-brother, and I hated his guts. I’d not seen him in nearly three years, not since the cupboard debacle.

The incident had surprised and upset my father at the time. What he didn’t know was that, for as long as I could remember, Tom had made a sport of tormenting me.

No, he certainly failed to display any brotherly feelings whatsoever.

Had I known then what I’ve since found out, his despotism would’ve surprised me even less…