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There are stand-alone novels and there is a series, which grew out of reader demand. Start with Best Sister Ever, the hilarious introduction to the life of Martin King and his alter ego, a butler named Carstairs. Get a free preview! (And a money back guarantee for the real book, as long as you purchase it from THIS site.)
This is just an excerpt and the inside of the book looks much better than this. I will never understand what's so nice about sports. I wish I did, but I just don't get it. You wouldn't sand and then paint your house just for fun, would you? Or volunteer to move a piano for anyone who asked? So how is that any different from running or badminton? Is it just the points you score? Seriously? Because it's not like those buy you anything. They're not Nectar points. I suppose it
could be about the cheap silver-plated cups. I mean, you can just order those online but some people are afraid of credit card theft. Seems like a roundabout way of getting them, though. It's not that I'm lazy. There's probably just something wrong with my dopamine receptors. I only ever get tired and agitated, because I'm sweating and wasting my time. The runner's high is not something I've ever even come close to experiencing, though that might also be because I tend to give up after about
ten minutes: I keep imagining my meniscus slowly crumbling into a million pieces, one step at a time. Running can't be good for a person, surely. Show me a runner (or any kind of athlete, really) and I will show you someone who has at least five hours' worth of horrendous anecdotes about all the physical therapy he has received and how the one they're with now is a 'miracle worker'. If your hobby requires you to have miracles performed for your resurrection, may I suggest reading? Or stamp
collecting? I'm also not very competitive. So you can kick a ball, can you? Or get a shuttlecock past me? Well done. Now go do a lap of honour while I sit on this bench, reflecting on how much I hate changing rooms and the smell of sports halls. I hate everything about them: the smell of stale sweat. The equipment, all offering unique ways in which to break one's spine. Plimsolls, or tennis shoes as Americans call them. Can't stand those, or the sound they make on rubber floors. Communal
showers, those are awful as well. I stopped using those as soon as I found out skipping showers after gym class only got me half an hour of detention. I never needed a shower anyway, because I didn't exert myself in the slightest. Which didn't make me very popular with my classmates, but that never bothered me too much. When math class came around they'd all want to be my mate again, copy off me. The thing is: I'm a big guy. Not so much tall, but wide. Broad-shouldered. I looked fine until I
was about eighteen, even though I couldn't outrun a tired snail on crutches. Then I went through a rather dark period and gained about fifty kilos in five years. But the thing is: that's exercise too, in a way. Could you make it through the day with a fifty kilogram backpack? I could. And I grew up in Holland, where we all ride bikes and where schools and universities really don't bother with escalators. I was fit enough to make it through daily life, even if I sometimes had to watch a bus or a
train pull out without me because I couldn't run two hundred metres without blacking out. I gave badminton a go once and after four weeks I decided I really, really did not care for the company of people who got emotionally invested in something as stupid as badminton. And that was my sports career. Well, that attitude came back to bite me in my early forties, after I'd had rather an eventful year. First I broke an arm and a rib. Recovering from that took ages. Then I dangled off of a bridge
by my left arm for a few minutes, holding on to a young woman with my right arm. Didn't do much for my ligaments, let me tell you. I followed that up the same day by doing a very physical comedy sketch, which required me to fall down a lot. And wouldn't you know it, that was the straw that broke the camel's back: three days later my back was sore, my left shoulder was swollen and I had more complaints than the Wailing Wall has bits of paper sticking out of it. My sister Kate and my wife Melody
dragged me to a physical therapist and other assorted quacks (one of whom wanted me to throw a heavy ball at her at a rate of seventy pounds for half an hour) and eventually I ended up with a tailored workout to help me recover, supervised by my sister. There was no getting out of it, even though my own instinct was to just sit in a chair very quietly until the throbbing stopped. And that is how, for the past three weeks, my routine had been to start the day by having a swim. I work for a PR
firm called Keller & Fox. They have a very swanky office in Bayswater, one of the most expensive areas of London. It's on Sussex Street, on the North side of Hyde Park. They also own several adjacent buildings, some connected by basement tunnels or glass walkways. And underneath one of those buildings is a very fancy gym, which includes a pool. The rich in London like to burrow, you see. Their houses aren't that small to begin with, but apparently you really need your own indoor cinema, play
room, man cave, wine cellar, safe room or indeed climbing wall to make life bearable if you've got a few million in the bank. And that's why you can't walk through Kensington, Chelsea or indeed Bayswater without seeing at least a few conveyor belts coming out of the basements of stately homes. The facades, with their doric columns, porticos and dentilled cornices remain untouched behind their imposing fences, but below street level it's like a coal mine. Sometimes they bring in mini diggers,
those small excavators with a hydraulic arm road workers use for digging trenches. These machines essentially dig their own grave, because after the job is done there's no economical way to get them out again and so they're just buried underneath the floor of the lowest level. Some of these houses plunge deeper into the earth than their actual height from street level. I don't begrudge anyone an extra guest room, a sauna or some storage space, but you have to wonder why someone would want a
private ball room. Seriously, how often do you have to host dances to make it worth a few million in subterranean construction costs? What's this, nineteenth century Vienna? The pool underneath this building wasn't meant for parties: it was only three metres wide, but about twenty metres long and one and a half metres deep. This was a pool for doing laps, which was ideal for me. And even though the gym was open to all employees of Keller & Fox, it was understood that Mr. King really
didn't care for company during his swim. Each morning I would find the water perfectly still, a stack of fresh towels in the changing cabin and the underwater lights shimmering. I'd turn on the radio, tune it back to Classic FM, take off my suit and change into my swimming trunks. I'd take a shower, turning the mixing knob from thirty-seven to twenty-five degrees so as to get used to the cold and then I'd curse under my breath as I sat on the edge and lowered myself into the water. I'm not a
morning person. Never have been. Being a night owl is a sign of intelligence, they say. But then they also say vaccines cause autism. They say a lot of stupid shit. If I were intelligent, I'd have stopped chasing that eighteen year old boy after he'd beaten the shit out of me the first time. The first few days I couldn't manage more than three or four laps. Not that I was in any danger of drowning if I went on, but my arms were sore and I just didn't have the energy to do more. But that got
better day by day and by now I could do ten laps easily, in just under fifteen minutes. That's only four hundred metres, but given where I started from it wasn't too shabby. Besides, this wasn't the only part of my recovery: even though my job came with a chauffeur driven car, I would sometimes go home on public transport. It was half a mile on foot to Lancaster Gate Station and another half mile from Park Royal to my house on Dallas Road. And then after dinner, which I would prepare, either
Melody or Kate would supervise my exercises: some weight lifting, some sit-ups, all kinds of annoying swinging motions with my arms, stuff like that. And afterwards there'd usually be sex, because that is the one thing I don't mind breaking a sweat for. No matter how poor my stamina: I can fuck like a porn star. You may wonder what my sister Kate has to do with that, but in that case you are a bit late to this story and I would suggest starting from the beginning.
Book five in the Carstairs Series takes Martin to Rome, for his long overdue honeymoon. But trouble follows him everywhere, even when he is merely trying to be a Good Samaritan! Even though office life agrees with him, he can't resist the chance to become the face of a very prestigious car brand. Caroline accompanies him on a visit to Doha, where he must compete against a musician, a tennis player and a professional racing driver. Explore Rome and Doha with Martin, the man who has never met a bit of trivia he didn't memorise and then had an opinion about.
Ron Dudderie This Is Your Carstairs Speaking
Best Sister Ever eBook:
Don’t like previews? There is a free novella that serves as a prequel, Best Sinterklaas Ever. Get it from Smashwords (free), on Amazon.com ($0.99) or iTunes Books (free).