In the late Spring of 1962, black clouds gathered over London Town. As the thunder rumbled and jagged shards of lightning pierced the heavens, down below, in a shabby hospital ward, a sour-faced woman opened her legs and guffed out a human form. Bloodied and urinating, Peter Caffrey entered this world in a manner he intended to continue.
The son of an Irish immigrant, Peter grew up in a household where fanatical obedience to the church came only second to ritualistic corporal punishment. As the sole male child amongst an army of girls, he endured the beatings owed to his sisters, as well as those he’d earned himself.
To escape the mundanity of prayers and whippings, Peter became a voracious reader. He devoured every book in the house, including medical reference works, and quickly learned the trick of having several library accounts with deviations on the spelling of his name. To supplement his reading, he started writing his own stories as well. Sadly, when his parents found one of his stories they mistook it for a threatening letter to a neighbour, and he got another beating and was confined to barracks for one year.
During this time, Peter watched the news, and became fascinated with reports about the conflict in Viet Nam. It wasn’t the war which intrigued him, but the people who were reporting on it. In his world, he equated the life of a war correspondent with high jinks and hilarity.
When the first opportunity came to leave school, Peter seized it and started work in an abattoir. His teachers saw it as a strange move and tried to persuade him to remain in school and go on to University, but work meant a wage, and a wage meant freedom. He left the family home and took a room in a house inhabited with ne’er-do-wells and drunkards.
After a year of slaughterhouse drudgery, Peter had a serious accident. During the time he was recovering, he decided he didn’t fancy lugging animal carcasses around for the rest of his life, so he took himself off to University. After getting pieces of paper to tell strangers what he was capable of, he started a career in journalism.
Starting out as a regional reporter, his goal was to work his way up until he could grab an assignment in a war zone. Sadly, the world seemed to be at peace, and the old ‘shoot, bang, fire’ had fallen out of fashion. However, as the UUSR started to crumble, those pesky chaps in the Balkans decided to revive their centuries-old feuds. When a spot on the International desk opened up, Peter seized the opportunity.
His assignment was frustrating. Located hundreds of miles from the action, he was tasked with reporting on how the locals felt about the conflict. He soon discovered most of them did not care, and if pressed, would regurgitate the Government’s official statements. It became obvious there was no real story, which meant Peter’s posting would be ended, along with its expense account, and he’d be forced back to London to write about dog fouling and postal strikes. In desperation, he did the only thing he knew: he wrote a series of fictional articles about life in the small town.
Covering the comings and goings of the locals, the conflicts due to their political and religious differences, and the oppression they faced from their Soviet overlords, the often outrageous stories were wired back on an almost daily basis. When not writing, Peter and his local handler used the staff car to go out in pursuit of good food, fine wine, and the best wild pig hunting.
The gravy train eventually came off the rails following interference from NATO, who persuaded all relevant parties to make up and promise not to do it again by bombing the shit out of them.
Back in London, Peter returned to hum-drum reporting, but still wrote fiction. He would fill notebooks with words, then fill drawers with notebooks, and then fill the bin with the drawers filled with notebooks.
After many years of discarding all his fictional writing, in 2019 Peter wrote The Devil’s Hairball. He did it more for his own amusement than for any other reason. With no intention of taking fiction seriously, he published the book and promptly forgot about it. However, little did he know the world was about to change.
When COVID-19 struck, Peter’s work role became office-based. Bored and with too much time on his hands, he penned a series of short stories about AI-enabled sex robots. These were published by a number of magazines, before being brought to together in a collection with the novella, Whores Versus Sex Robots.
The various lockdowns afforded Peter time to write more fiction, but just as lockdowns were lifted and the world of real work beckoned, Peter was diagnosed with cancer. It was as if the Gods decreed he shouldn’t give up. After learning how arduous the treatment and recovery would be, he stopped work and concentrated on losing his hair.
Peter has recently completed his first year in remission. He has written more filth, and continues to do so. He still hasn’t bothered going back to work.