I've had a few good chinwags with him since and got to know a bit more about him and his writing. I think you're going to like his writing and I reckon he's got a bright future in the writing world.
By the way, did I mention he has a twin brother who's also a very talented writer? Wonder if you can guess who that is...?
Without further ado, I'm sure you'll enjoy...
A Day in the Death of Stafford Plank by Stuart Ayris.
There comes a time when all of us have considered killing. Come on, deny it. See - you can’t can you? Whether it was that first time you got the cane at school or the last time your wife cheated on you. To kill, my friends, is an innate, throbbing, living being within you. It’s not a concept, an act or a crime. It’s a fucking inevitability.
And it was inevitable that one day, one fine day, Stafford Plank would kill.
It was a Thursday of all days. Thursday is a nothing day. It’s not the middle of the week, it always rains and the only football is the Europa League. Sure, Test Matches start on a Thursday. But what’s the point of that when it rains? And Eastenders, that started off on a Thursday - what a load of bollocks. Thursday was a good choice for Stafford Plank. For Stafford Plank wanted to change the world. What better day to start than a Thursday?
Stafford Plank has always considered the word ‘station’ to be something of an anomaly. You see he thought long and hard about the world and everything in it. ‘Station’ to him was derived from the word ‘stationary’ - which meant paper and stuff. And the word ‘train’ surely implied an element of learning. What learning takes place, he thought, when all the train does is follow the same track to the same destination over and over again? The station isn’t made of paper and the train doesn’t learn - that, to Stafford Plank, was indicative of the lies thrust upon us by society. And you wouldn’t want to ever get him started on Bank Trust Funds…
So on Thursday 12th January 2012, Stafford Plank resolved to rid the world of terror. The so-called ‘war on terror’ he considered to have been a failure. Time and again he would scream at the telly “just fucking nuke them, nuke the fuckers, just do them, fuck them all!!!!” But the lady that worked at Curry’s would always wander out of the shop and move him on. He would initially protest by apologising and then go to Argos to browse through the catalogues.
But people did not understand Stafford Plank. From an early age he had experimented with shouting at old people whilst they weren’t looking. He had then graduated to pissing on statues before moving on to throwing eggs at chickens in an ironic fashion. Whilst many of us would perhaps consider these acts of virtue, Stafford Plank believed he was merely treading the inevitable path to the gallows. For a serial killer he would be - and we’re not talking cornflakes people.
The sun was high in the sky and there was not a cloud in sight. The streets were free of the debris of people and the air reeked of promise. Stafford Plank breathed it in. Today was the beginning of it all - the beginning of a better world. It was his duty to kill, to rid the world of menace. It had come to him during the night, this notion that he was to do the work of millions. Terror? You’ve never fucking seen terror - Stafford Plank roared at the world through his yawn - not ‘til you’ve seen me. For Stafford Plank had drawn up, over the years, a sort of wish list, a deathly menu if you will. And he had not written upon it names of specific people like perhaps you or I would - not even groups of people. His list consisted of three items:
Every fucker that is posh
Every fucker that hates me
Every other fucker
It wasn’t an extensive list by any means, but it was pretty good to be going on with.
Stafford would sit in his bedroom every evening and visualise how he would begin his killing spree. He loved the idea of asphyxiation - the gradual removing of air from a living being. There was something appealing about the symmetry of it, or so he imagined - that just as they were resigned, with their last breath, to their fate, so he would be resigned to the fact that he had killed. There is something perfect about moments with which mere minutes can never compete. And he would see blood when he opened his eyes in the morning. Everything would be dripping in red - the bed sheets, the curtains, the carpet, the door-frame. He would have to rub his eyes incessantly before the scene would right itself before him.
Stafford had visions of killing animals, children, old people - visions that did not stop. Night after night he was regaled with them. He kept a knife upon him at all times just in case the urge to kill overwhelmed him. His bookcase was full of Jilly Cooper books. He listened to Take That’s first album incessantly. And whenever he saw someone smile he wanted to rip their face in two.
And one morning, this Thursday morning in question, he had awoken with the guilt of the murderer thudding within him. When the vision of blood had cleared from his eyes and his breathing had slowed, he looked around his bedroom, half-expecting to find a newly hewn corpse. But there was nothing - not under the bed, not behind the shower curtain - nothing. He checked the kitchen - nothing; the small living room - nothing. There was no evidence at all that he had killed anybody but his whole being TOLD HIM THAT HE HAD!
Stafford Plank was at once thrilled and appalled - thrilled that he felt like he had committed murder and appalled that there was no evidence to show for the act. A friend of his, when he had once had friends, had always said “what’s the point of banging a bird that you can’t tell your mates about.” In Stafford’s mind, murder was much the same. So he eagerly searched his flat for signs that a killing had taken place. He looked behind photo frames, he checked bin bags and he had a wank. Nothing. No sign at all. Yet in his heart he knew, deep down as it were, that he was a murderer. And that there would be no end to the killings.
And then a vision did befall him, an angel from the firmament, all white and winged, nice tits, you know the type…
“Stafford Plank!” called the angel.
“Ugh?” he replied.
“Stafford Plank!” repeated the angel.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“I am an angel.”
“Fuck off are you.”
“I am, you know,” stated the angel somewhat firmly.
“Prove it,” replied Stafford Plank.
“No,” came the angel’s retort.
“Fair enough,” Stafford conceded.
“Stafford Plank. I have come upon you this day to tell you that you have been chosen.”
Stafford looked up at the angel - for he was still recovering from his wank and she was suspended from the ceiling by a piece of wire.
“Chosen for what?”
“You have been chosen to save the world!”
“Me? Save the world?”
“Yes, Stafford Plank. Save the world.”
“How am I supposed to do that then?”
“You will know, Stafford. In your heart you will know what to do.”
And the angel did leave Stafford’s flat and get a taxi back to Salford.
So there he was, Stafford Plank - he was you and he was me, in our darkest moments, except his went on forever, they plagued him and nudged him, taunted and teased him. He was never truly free of the feelings that you get when you kill. For killing was what he was born for and killing was what was on his mind when he arrived at the station.
There were the usual early morning concoction of business types, students and thieves - the posh ones, the ones that hated him, and everyone else. To Stafford, they all looked like crappy pencil drawings from some child’s book - stick people in a non-stick fucking world. He despised every one of them as he looked about. They had lives he could only dream of. If he could dream of anything other than murder that its. He saw no colours but red and he felt no emotion but guilt. And with that sort of combination, well that is an explosion of which the world itself should be rightly afraid.
And so the words of the angel returned to Stafford Plank as he stood trembling upon the platform. Had it really been an angel? Were there even such things?
But all Stafford Plank could feel was the dull throb of the murderer’s heart and all he could see out of the corner of his wretched eyes was the deep crimson dripping of blood.
Saving the world suddenly appealed to him. He, Stafford Plank, would not be destroyer, but saviour! He would give the world an opportunity to live in peace and harmony, to breathe again, to sigh the sigh of the loved and to imbibe of the beauty of fellowship!
So, as the unlearned train approached, he threw himself in front of it.
Well, it was a start…
Six years ago, Stuart (former Roadsweeper, Market Stall Putter Upper and now Psychiatric Nurse) moved to Tollesbury, a small village on the North Essex coastline. He fell instantly in love with it, or more precisely, The King's Head, a pub so fine that it led him to sleep in the spare room of his new house on unpacked bags for his first two nights as a Tollesbury resident. The ensuing protestations of "I did it for you so we could get to know people!" and "It's not about the alcohol it's about being friendly!" fell upon stony ground.
The idea for Tollesbury Time Forever came from Stuary being inherently untidy and disorganised. For some reason long forgotten, he was looking for something under his bed one day, as you do, and he came across the original deeds to his house in Tollesbury. He discovered that it had been built in 1836 and that the first occupant had been a man named Zachariah Leonard. He went to The King's Head across the road and drank more than a few pints of the local cider, as you do, and all the while wondered what Zachariah Leonard had been like and what Tollesbury had been like back in 1836. Staggering out, he found himself face to face with the village lock-up, a six foot by three foot perpendicular locked box that had been used in years passed to secure the local drunk whilst they sobered up.
He got home that night and wrote the first chapter of Tollesbury Time Forever, awoke the next morning, read it through and kind of liked it. And that was the pattern for the next three years – King's Head, write, wake-up, read…
He sent the manuscript to various agents and publishers and those who bothered to reply just turned it down flat. So he started a blog about his experiences in trying to get the novel published and then decided to do it himself.
Tollesbury Time Forever became available on Kindle and Kindle for PC on 4th January 2012 and has sold over 200 copies in its first three weeks, received 22 five-star reviews and has been in the top 60 Amazon Literary Bestseller Rankings for almost the entire time.
Get Tollesbury Time Forever here (UK) and here (USA).
You can find Stuart's blog at www.tollesburytimeforever.blogspot.com and his website at www.stuartayrisbooks.co.uk
You can also follow him on Facebook here
And on Twitter @StuartAyris here