Thursday, March 07, 2013

Backhand by Liza Cody (Doubleday 1991)

At home, north of Holland Park, Anna walked into a domestic row of gigantic proportions. All the lights in the house blazed. The television was on in the Prices' flat but the shouting came from upstairs in Anna's front room. Bea and Selwyn stood nose to nose in the middle of the Turkish carpet.

'You selfish, opinionated, destructive bastard,' Bea was yelling as Anna opened her door. She had a rolled-up copy of the Kensington Chronicle in her hand, and at every adjective she whacked Selwyn on the arm. His arm was protecting his left ear.

' . . . Bourgeois, small -minded . . . sneaking behind my back . . .  and undermining my position . . .' Selwyn thundered at the same time.

' . . . in the bloody papers, the bloody newspaper.' Whack. 'I've never had my name dragged into the press.' Whack. 'This is the last straw.'

In the background was the unlikely sight of a huge man trying to look inconspicuous: Quex sat in the corner of the sofa pretending to read.

'Home sweet home,' Anna said, but nobody noticed.

'You've no right.' Whack. 'To draw on that account.' Whack. 'That's the house account.' Whack. 'And I'll need every penny . . . '

'I'm not moving to a poky bloody hole in Potters Bar. You're trying to castrate me, woman . . . '

'Bleeding shut up!' Anna shouted.

'I'm stopping the cheque!' Bea screamed. 'I'm warning you!' Whack.

'You're on your own!' bellowed Selwyn. 'What you want is a pet poodle with a pay packet.

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