Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Cadaverously Creative Tim Atkinson

The screams of the soon to be dead echoed though the corridors of the castle.  'What better way to relax on an evening than music and a soapy tub', I thought, as I hopped into my incredibly bubbly bath, which contained nearly half a bottle of Matey.

It had been a tiring day; my whipping arm was sore, I had hastily dug two shallow graves, and, in all the excitement, I had omitted my afternoon nap.  A hot, bubbly bath, a schooner of cherry brandy and an early night was definitely in order.

It was as I settled down and closed my eyes, dreaming of another day of horrific torture and bloodcurdling terror, that I heard a noise from the adjoining room.  At first I gave it no thought, but then I realised that I was supposed to be alone this evening.  Cat had been shut up in his cage, and I had given the butler the night off (or killed him, I couldn't remember which).  Quietly I pulled myself out of the water, grabbed the nearest weapon to hand and marched into the next room.

To many the sight of my naked, wet, and slightly bubbly body, looking menacing and wielding a loofah would be terrifying to behold and would send most people to the very edge of madness.  It was not so with my intruder however, who was sat on the end of my bed holding a book in his hand and a grin on his face.

It would seem that my, very full, day of torture had not yet ended...
Within minutes I had overcome the interloper, and dragged his semi-conscious body roughly down the stone steps to my chamber of delights.  As I entered, those that were hung from the walls, and who had been most vocal all evening, immediately ceased their noise.  They knew not to anger me further, especially this late at night, dressed only in a toweling bathrobe, and especially when armed with a loofah.

I turned to my captive.

Good evening!  How did you get in? Have I left the drawbridge down again? No matter, welcome to Holbrook Towers, the Castle of Despair. 

Make yourself comfortable, pull up a slave and tell me all about yourself, before I end you.

Pull up a slave? A slave is the personification of the corrupt power of the aristocracy. That should tell you all about me that you need to know!

I did not take kindly to his tone, yes, I had told him that I was about to kill him, but there were rules of decency and etiquette here.  After firmly strapping him to the rack, I emptied the contents of his wallet and saw that his name was Tim Atkinson and that the book he was carrying was called 'The Glorious Dead'.  Excellent title, I thought. Sounds like a busy weekend at my house.

Written a book have you? What’s it all about? Don’t dally though man; give me a
summary in 33 words or less.

When the guns stop firing, Jack starts digging - not trenches now, but graves. But for how long will the Great War’s secrets stay buried beneath the killing fields of Flanders?

I love a good onomatopoeia word. My favourite is ‘Thwacko!’ which is the sound made when a teacher in the 1950s smacks an errant schoolboy around the back of the head with his copy of The Times. Invent an onomatopoeia word and tell me what it is the sound of.

I like the word ’grupin’ but I’ve no idea what it means and I can’t find it in the dictionary so I must have made it up. It sounds, to me, like the noise of inner despair as you’re forced to endure the speech of yet another bullshitting politician. 

Do you think the world would be a better place if we just switched it off and then on again?

I’m glad you asked me that because I’ve been planning a little experiment for a while. You see, if I just push this button…

What drew you to writing? Was it the champagne lifestyle? The luxury yachts and supermodels? Or do you spurn the perks of the job?

It was the Railway Modeller magazine, who paid me the princely sum of £12 back in 1979 to write a feature on my (modest) model railway. I was hooked on the idea of being paid to write, and have been writing ever since. Just not getting paid (much). 

Could you have lived in a trench in Belgium for four years? What would you miss most, other than family?

No. Not now. Probably not then, either. But of course, back then I’d have had to if they told me to. But no-one’s ‘only’ obeying orders anymore. You couldn’t do World War One again. People just won’t take it like they used to. And I think, on the whole, that’s a good thing.

What’s your view on the supernatural? Is it all just bumph, or are we surrounded by the ghosts of the dead?

Of course, the question you really should be asking Paul isn’t ‘either/or’ but how can it be both? There’s no doubt ghosts exist. What they are (visitations from a spirit world or manifestations from our little-understood minds) is another matter. 

You have seen my dungeon; occasionally I invite my guests to stay here for a few years (all meals and manacles included). If I were to suggest that you spend some  time in this damp, rat infested room, who would you like in here with you to pass the long hours, whilst you wait for an unlikely rescue?

Whoever has the key!

I bestow upon you a power now. Much like the movie ‘Being John Malkovich’ you are able to inhabit the mind and control the body of anyone in the world for short periods. Who do you choose and what terrible mischievous act would you carry out?

I choose the 45th President of the US of A and what happens is this… I simply sow the slightest seeds of doubt deep in his hubristic hippocampus. 

Where else in the world wide web can I find you and where can I find your writings?

I’m everywhere, darling. Here (@dotterel) on Twitter, there ( on Facebook; I have a blog here ( and another one there ( You can hear my dulcet tones on Soundcloud (, see my photographs on Instagram and probably watch me shaving in a morning on a webcam. Actually, no. I’ve got a beard. Not the last one. 

But the all-important writings are right here:

The day suddenly caught up with me, If I didn't retire too bed soon I would be worthless in the morning.  Time to wrap up the interrogation.  I asked him a final question.

This is your final chance this evening Mr Atkinson.  I need my pit and I am about to kill you.  What can you do to prevent your death?

He did not speak, but gestured to the floor where the scattered contents of his wallet lay.  There, among the worn credit cards, and crumpled supermarket receipts was a photograph. I bent to pick it up and all thoughts of murder immediately left my mind.

Without uttering a word I undid his straps and let him leave with his life (but without the photograph, which I had put into my bathrobe pocket and belonged to me now).

Tim has had a near death experience in his quest to get his novel published.  Perhaps you could reward his efforts by supporting his excellent book.  You will not be disappointed and the sooner he hits his funding target, the sooner I'll be able to get my copy.

If you have enjoyed this interview and the others which I am posting please do return. I command it.  

If you yourself would like to be a victim at 'The Castle of Despair', then please e-mail me at and I will endeavour to entertain you.

Also please consider visiting my Unbound page here and supporting my own particular effort at literary glory. 

Thank you

Paul x

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