Charlie is an extremely beautiful, extremely irascible, and exceptionally foul-mouthed character in my so-far unpublished first novel. I like her a lot. And her long-suffering boyfriend (later fiancé, later husband) Rick has his moments too.

This is something I wrote that didn’t make it into the finished novel, but I just like it. There’s a certain amount of truth in it too, because Charlie is a mashup of several people I’ve known.


tequila and worm

One thing about Charlie is that, despite her feminine appearance, it seems as if those fabulous legs of hers are hollow. She can really drink when she puts her mind to it. I’ve seen 20-stone big-drinking navvies keel over while trying to match her. It just doesn’t seem to affect her at all. But I know the other side of things. After a big night out, Charlie gets hangovers of Biblical proportions, and it takes a bottle of Lucozade, at least two big pots of jasmine tea, and a heap of wholemeal toast slathered in butter and honey before she can speak. The toast has to be cold so the butter doesn’t melt. Charlie hates toast where the butter has melted, especially when she’s feeling a bit rocky. If you love someone, you pick this stuff up.

‘Ni hao mah?’ I’ll ask.

‘Boo hao.’

Charlie and I spent some time in China, and it’s phonetic Mandarin. Roughly what it means is ‘How are you?’ and the reply means ‘I’m not feeling very well.’ At least that’s what I think it means. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s what it means to Charlie and me.

On one occasion, the subsequent conversation went as follows.

Fuck. I don’t feel well.’

‘I don’t suppose the drinking competition with that tedious vending machine repairman who kept groping your thigh has helped you much. Anything involving pints of rough cider with tequila slammer chasers has to be a mistake. Though it did make him stop groping and fall off his stool.’


‘He got what he deserved. Your challenging him was a good call. Loser pays was a good call; his wallet got emptied just before he got stretchered out. Giving him an added incentive to accept the bet was also a good call. However, I have to tell you that saying you’d have sex with him if you lost was a very good incentive but wasn’t such a good call.’

Fuck. Did I say that?’

‘He thought he was on a winner. A great each way bet. Get pissed for free and shag you. If I didn’t know you as well as I do, I’d have taken those odds.’


‘Hey, no harm no foul. You won a straight fight. He’s probably still on life support somewhere.’

Fuck. And I hate tequila. Why did you let me drink it?

‘Charlie, be fair. When have I ever let you do anything? You’re a Juggernaut. You just keep rolling. People die under your wheels.’

‘Fuck. Yes, OK. But at least please don’t tell me I ate the worm.’

‘Do you really want to know?’

Fuck. No wonder I don’t feel well.’

‘Look, to be honest I don’t think it’s the worm that did the damage. By the way, you got us barred again for your swearing.’

Fuck. Did I?

‘No, I made that up.

‘Ha dee fucking ha,’ she groaned. ’Fuck. I really don’t feel well. Give me a cuddle please.’ Even Charlie has her soft side.


If you like Charlie, and lots of people do, you can find her behaving very badly here.

And the whole saga is here. followed by the subsequent chapter here.

I hope you have fun. Charlie’s a lot of fun to write about.