#Excerpt “One Last Shot” by Stephen Anthony Brotherton

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One Last Shot concludes the trilogy of Freddie and Jo-Jo, which has moved through time in a series of flashbacks, showing how the couple fell in love as teenagers, why they drifted apart, what happened in their lives away from each other, and what happens when they meet up again over three decades later. At the end of the second book, An Extra Shot, Jo-Jo tells Freddie about her dark secret. Confused, vulnerable and in a state of shock, he says he needs time to think about what to do next. Jo-Jo’s right to be worried. Freddie doesn’t react well…

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Jo-Jo remembers the challenges of her mum’s illness.

Jo-Jo – August 2015

A memory – I’m ten, it’s mid-November and I’m lying in bed listening to Mum and Dad talking in low pitched voices on the stairs. ‘Come back to bed, love. It’s two o’clock in the morning.’ ‘But he’s out there, Joseph. I can hear him. He needs me.’ I creep out onto the landing and sit on the top step, my back against the wall. I can see Dad’s pyjama covered back and feel the cold draft blowing into the house through the open front door. ‘There’s no-one there, love,’ pleads Dad. ‘Come inside. You’ll catch your death.’ ‘No,’ screams Mum. ‘He’s here on the front lawn. He’s lost his mummy. Don’t you care? What’s wrong with you?’ Another evening, around the same time, Mum gathers us around the kitchen table and tells us about a man, dressed in a suit and tie, who had visited her in the middle of the night, sat at the end of her bed and told her fairy stories about children being cut in half by slathering ogres and flee-ridden witches. Josh is seven. Dad stands up half-way through the story. ‘Come on,’ he says to me and Josh. ‘No, Joseph,’ says Mum. ‘They need to hear this. He’s coming back.’ ‘No they don’t,’ says Dad, pushing us out of the kitchen.

Mum’s uninvited schizophrenia lodger shared our house all the way through my childhood, her delusions making us tip-toe around in her fantasy world. She was convinced she looked after the house and all of us single-handedly – ‘It wouldn’t hurt one of you to have a go.’ ‘No-one ever thanks me.’ ‘Can someone make me a cup of tea for a change?’  In reality, Dad cooked it, Dad cleaned it, and we all colluded with Mum’s addled perception – all of us walking in ill-fitting shoes in case we upset her. It was easier that drowning in the blue whale weight of her depressive mood. She’d take to her bed for weeks on end, smothered under her duvet, locked away with her voices, no-one able to reach her. She must have been in pain. She must have been tormented. I should have tried harder to understand.




Author Bio Stephen Brotherton

I was born in Walsall, grew up in the West Midlands and now live in Telford with my two cats, Boris and Tai.

After working in the health and social care sector for over thirty years, I have now written the trilogy that has been rooted in my head for most of my life.

The Shots trilogy is based on a first love relationship I had as a teenager. It tells the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo, who are reunited in a coffee shop three decades after the end of their teenage romance. How they originally met, why they parted, what happens in their lives apart, and what happens when they reunite is all told through a series of first person vignettes.

Getting these stories down on paper has been a cathartic process. I hope you enjoy them.

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