In a story called, The Trouble with Talent, a man finds success in failure. It begins:
The best years of my youth were disturbed when my grandmother died. My grandfather wobbled for a while on the edge of a deep hole before he found he could fill it with a certain eight year old boy: me. My grandfather devoted himself to moulding me into the performer he had secretly wanted to be himself. He tried me with most forms of entertainment, but when, at last, with frustration wracking his mind and body, I proved to be the world’s worst ever ventriloquist, his heart and soul gave up. His last words were, ‘He can’t sing, he can’t dance, he can’t even tie his own effing shoe laces.’
In a way, his death was a release for us both. At sixteen I became a free agent, wallowing in redundancy and craving attention. After school I worked in a factory. I liked the job, but every day voices screamed, ‘you loser’, ‘you quitter’, ‘you nobody’, as though granddad’s spirit were goading me.
After dealing with fraudsters and a psychopathic ‘adult’ clown called Kokayne the Klown, he comes to a light at the end of the tunnel of nightmares …