I thought I would post the opening of the book just to give a taste of what is to follow:-
I, August Arthur Bowditch, was little more than four days old. Four days, eight hours and twenty-seven minutes to be precise, when the first major tragedy of my life struck. I can’t remember too much about it, well nothing to be precise but I can imagine the conversation.
To be precise is, to be precise, my absolutely, number one, numero uno, ultimate, without a doubt, kickass, favourite phrase.
Reciting lists of words is, to be precise, my absolutely, number one, numero uno, ultimate, without a doubt, kickass, favourite occupation.
I thought I would just drop that in before I continue the story so that you know why I keep doing the listing thing and saying “To be precise.” It’s just my thing. It’s what I do. I can’t help it. You will see why later but for now, it’s enough that you know.
Back to the conversation. This is my version. It might be accurate, it might not but the gist of it is sure to have gone something like this.
Registrar: Good morning Mr Bowditch.
My Dad: Good morning.
Registrar: What can I do for you?
My Dad: I’m here to register the birth of my son... Please.
Registrar: Very well let me get my register and we can fill in the details. OK, your son’s date of birth?
My Dad: 8th of June 1992. (That’s right I am twenty-four years old just in case you’re like me and maths is not your strong point. Join the club.)
Registrar: Thank you, and now the Mother’s full name?
My Dad: My mother’s name?
Registrar: No, no. The name of the child’s mother.
My Dad: Evelyn Barcelona Bowditch.
Registrar: Thank you. That’s an unusual name.
My Dad: Bowditch? No it’s fairly common around here.
Registrar: No, no, sorry I meant Barcelona. It’s an unusual name. Is it a family name?”
My Dad: No her parents named her after the place she was conceived. My parents did the same thing with me too.
Registrar: Your son’s name?
My Dad: August…Arthur…Bowditch.
Registrar: August? But it’s only June.
My Dad: Premature (sad face).
Registrar: I’m sorry, I hope he’s OK. Finally, I just need your name and some identification. Your driver’s licence, thank you. So your full name?
My Dad: Martin…Grimsby…Bowditch.
Therefore, that you see was the first tragedy.
I had two crazy sets of Grandparents one set of whom thought that Grimsby was a suitable place for a romantic assignation and whose crazy gene for giving their equally crazy kids embarrassing names has obviously passed through to my parents. I mean, why else would they have named my sisters April and May, especially when they were born in September and February. At least my name was close. But, Arthur as well for me? They really didn’t give me a chance.
Now, back to the “to be precise” and list recital thing.
To understand why I do that I need to give you a quick, brief, swift, speedy history of my life so far. I’ll make it quick because I know you are itching to get to the all-action part of the story but bear with me.
I was always small as a kid. To be precise I was the smallest boy in my class and smaller than most of the girls for that matter. Girls scare me. That’s what I put it down to. Being five years old and having fifteen huge girls looking down at you does that to a small boy.
I managed to work my way through school, staying quiet, timid, and silent at the back of the class. In fact most of the time I just hid behind my desk.
I got through sixth form by the skin of my teeth but with good enough grades to go to college, the big one on the edge of town.
When I got there I was the smallest person in my class at five feet and five inches tall.
Every girl had at least an inch or two on me and the boys all towered over me. The teacher, sorry lecturer, even asked if I had come through some programme for fast track learning for child geniuses.
I laughed and said no and it didn’t take long for the lecturer to understand why that was such an unlikely scenario.
I was no child genius.
The first six months of college life passed by without any huge incidents, most of the time spent with Jilly who befriended me on day one, and stuck by me through thick and thin to this day. I took all of the ribbing from the rest of the class with my usual calm demeanour but there was one boy there, Rick Stanhope was his name, and he decided to make my life hell.
There isn’t really time to go through all of the things he did now but when he tried to tie me to the railings outside of the college one evening something happened. For want of a better phrase, the red mist descended.
He went for me and I kicked him in the bollocks.
He wasn’t expecting it and went down like a felled tree. I even, and I still don’t know why, shouted “Timberrr,” as he fell. The grin on my face was massive but when I looked around at the crowd of students who had gathered, none of them seemed to be sharing the joy.
I had no idea where either the kick or the shout came from but he was down, eating dirt, out for the count.
Then he got up.
So I ran.
I had a bit of a head start on him, which was handy because his legs covered twice the ground mine did, even when I ran at full speed. His aching nuts must have been holding him back.
I could hear him getting closer. His breath was coming fast and hard and so was mine.
When I looked over my shoulder he had has hand out grabbing for me and his eyes had a rage in them I had never seen in a person before.
I kept running as fast as I could. I could hear him pounding hard on the pavement behind me so when I thought he was getting too close I dodged right, straight between two parked cars and carried on running.
At least I would have carried on if a car hadn’t hit me.
My memory, even after all this time, about the actual accident is non-existent but according to the ambulance people who spoke to my dad at the time, they thought I was dead.
I had, apparently, starred the windscreen with my head, been thrown up into the air and landed, fifty feet down the road on my back with my legs bent right up behind me. The poor driver had no chance of missing me.
The head injury was the most serious and resulted in brain damage, which means I have limited capacity for speech. I can hear perfectly well. I can feed myself but I struggle to chew and when I try to speak, it sounds to me like I still have my mouth full. Part of the brain damage causes me to repeat stuff, to be precise for instance and also to recite the lists of words. Often in fours and all somehow related. A bit like a thesaurus but not as easy to understand.
I know what I’m saying when I speak. Those closest to me pretty much get what I’m saying but those who don’t know me look at me like I’m an idiot when I speak to them. I know I’m not the brightest bulb but I’m not stupid.
Very recently, I had my first epileptic seizure. From what I’m told by my doctor, epilepsy is a fairly common after effect of a brain injury like mine although I hadn’t had any sign of it for the last five years until this Saturday. It scared my parents to death. For my part, it was, overall, not the worst experience I ever had.
The injury to my spine severed my spinal cord so I am paralysed from the hips down. There’s a whole code thing to describe which vertebrae and what happened but why would you be interested in that? All of that medical terminology does my head in. I think we should just stick with I’m paralysed and can’t walk.
That really hurt when they told me and no pain relief works on that one.
It still hurts today. Inside.
I’m also in constant physical pain from my back and my legs even though I can’t feel them but the pain of not being able to walk hurts the most. I admit that I cried when they told me and for weeks, I, according to my psychological evaluation, grieved for what I had lost.
Now I live each day watching people through my bedroom window that, when I go outside, look at me as if I was something on their shoe that they can’t wipe off.
Do you know what the best thing is though? When I had my first fit, something amazing happened and it is something I haven’t told anyone else about yet so keep it under your hat and whatever you do don’t tell my parents. They look after me and I wouldn’t want to worry them unnecessarily.
I’m not even sure I should tell you now but if you are reading this you are going to find out anyway.
When I had the fit, and this might sound weird, odd, peculiar, strange, but here goes anyway.
To be precise, I killed Zombies. I became August Bowditch, Zombie Slayer. I’ve made it sound a bit more glamorous than it actually was but I think, in the circumstances, you will understand why.
Whether I actually travel through time and space to an actual Zombie Apocalypse or it’s just something going on in my damaged brain I don’t know and I don’t care because when I was fitting, I had the time of my life. Admittedly, I felt terrible for a few hours after the seizure but it was completely worth it.
I can’t explain what happened and I don’t want to explain it. If I could explain it, someone would find a way of stopping it and I don’t want it to stop. Not yet at least.
There, I’ve said it. You might not believe me but I know it is true and I’m going to share my adventure with you now and you know what? I think you will love it.