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Saturday, 27 August 2011

Introduction

Hello there. Some people reading this will know who I am, or at least have heard of me, and some won't. A bit like real life really.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, some years ago I came across an author named Guy N Smith, and quickly became a fan. Mr Smith wrote a series of bizarre horror novels for New English Library, and churned them out at a phenomenal rate, quite frequently with unintentionally hilarious results.

A few years ago, I came across a reissue of Mr Smith's ouvre, and was tickled pink.

In fairness, Smith was a talented writer, whose only 'crime' was to take full advantage of a craze for pulp horror novels. And this chap could knock a novel out as quickly as I can knock a spoof out. That's a rare talent.

Reading some of Smith's books, I found myself writing notes in the margins, in my usual sarcastic, critical way. I had the idea that perhaps Smith's book, with my accompanying remarks, could be published. But at that time there was no outlet.

Now, there is the Spoof.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to demolish the man's work. I'm just hinting that it might have worked better with a critical commentry. I love Smith's books - they're just so...tacky. At least the bad ones are. But as I said - I lap 'em up.

I hope that I can introduce a few people to Guy's writing, and maybe even inspire you to go the whole hog and check it out. No problems here with copyright, because this is a critique, so we're on safe ground here.

The original text is presented as published. In black print. My remarks are in red and completely interrupt the narrative flow.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby present:

THE SUCKING PIT by GUY N SMITH

A hellish quagmire of secrets...

'THE ALL TIME PULP HORROR CLASSIC TITLE' STEPHEN KING

1

The fox paused at the top of the steeply wooded rise. His body, mingling with the autumnal colourings, He's brown was heaving and his breath came quickly. As it does when you're a fox being chased by hounds. Behind him, he could hear the excited baying of the hounds. So he's not deaf, then. For a moment, fear was plainly visible in his vulpine eyes, but this gave way to puzzlement. As it does. Carry on... The hounds had never come in the wood before. He didn't know why, but they always stopped at the lower boundary in answer to the horn which summoned them back to their masters. Freaked out dogs. ESP - that's how you know you're reading a pulp horror novel.

Not so today. Because something unpleasant is about to happen, is my guess. They were in full cry. Reynard An original name for a fox! looked at the grassy basin which lay below him. As one does when one is a fox being pursued by hounds. Its sides were emerald green, sloping steeply down to an acre or so of level ground. It was soft and marshy. So that would be the Sucking Pit then? Usually he avoided it, having seen a hare which he was chasing disappear beneath its squelchy surface. Yup - it's the Sucking Pit. Yet there was a way across. Those two clumps of spiky grass and the willow sapling, if followed in a completely straight line, led reasonably safely to the opposite slope. Reynard knew he would just about make it. Anything, or anybody heavier...

Now, forgive me if I'm a little misguided here, but I would have thought that a fox, no matter how crafty, with a pack of hounds bearing down on his arse, the last thing on his mind would be the scenery. If that was me, I'd be running as fast as my legs would fucking carry me. And bollocks to the scenery.

He walked another minute or so. Walked? Is old Reynard a bit simple, or what? I'm a fox, and oh look, I'm being chased by a pack of hounds, so I think I'll just have a breather and walk for a bit. This is either one very cool, or one very stupid fox. In my humble opinion.
The baying came closer every second. Then he saw the leading hound, a massive brute with slavering powerful jaws, its nose close to the ground following his scent. Or sniffing out truffles. He could see the others now. Four couples. There would be more, but he could wait no longer. In all honesty, he'd be fucking stupid if he did.

Cautiously, he began the descent. They had seen him now, and there was no time to waste. You're telling me. The ground was soft beneath his steps. His feet Feet? On a fox? I'm sure he meant paws.
sank in a couple of inches or so, but it did not impede his progress. Past the spiky grass, beyond the willow and then he was on firmer ground again. He looked behind him. All nine of the pursuers were at the bottom of the slope. Their baying intensified, then suddenly changed to howls of panic. They were floundering. Struggling and sinking deeper all the time. Sucking Pit anyone?

Reynard stopped and watched them for a few seconds. The flight and the pursuit were forgotten. He was enjoying this. Sadistic bastard. Then he heard the muffled pounding of horses' hooves on the thick carpet of pine needles and caught a glimpse of scarlet through the low branches. He delayed no more. Yea! Go foxy! Now you're getting it!

'You're a bloody fool!' shouted the Master of Foxhounds, his usual ruddy complexion even deeper with rage as he cursed the small, ferret faced whipper-in. 'You know we can't go beyond the "Devil's Dressing Room" and now we've got the whole ruddy pack in here. Let's hope we can get them out before we run into that madman Lawson.'

Now this Master chap - he sounds like a nasty bit of work. Mind you, I haven't got a fucking clue what a whipper in is, or why he should resemble a ferret, but here is where Guy N Smith comes into his own. He sets the scene. He introduces two despicable sounding characters, the "Devil's Dressing Room" and a madman. All in one paragraph. Pure genius.

'That's right. Blame it all on me.' The smaller man had a naturally resentful attitude plus an inborn persecution complex. Sounds familiar...and he'd have to be the smaller man, because if a smaller man talked to a larger man like that, he'd probably get a smack on the nose for his opinion. 'If anything goes wrong, blame it all on the whipper-in. It's bound to be his fault. Moan, moan, moan. But Major, there was no stopping 'em. The scent was too strong. Must've been that 'ole devil fox again. The big 'un that's beat us four seasons on the trot. I...'

'Christ Almighty!' The Major tugged hard on the reins of the big chestnut hunter causing the animal to rear, almost throwing him.

I'd have put "tossing him off." Or something...

The smaller man however had dismounted No pun intended. and was preparing to go to the aid of the two remaining dogs that were already up to their shoulders in the mire. Ah, that would be The Sucking Pit again. Hint, hint... Their howls of anguish were a painful recognition of the fate that awaited them. See? THE SUCKING PIT! Geddit?

'Come back you stupid bastard!' The stentorian Obscure words - lit cred. command which had so often instilled fear into a platoon of soldiers Yeah, right. now stopped the whipper-in in his tracks. I still haven't a fucking clue what a 'whipper in' is. 'Nothing can save them now. Go down there and you'll never come back. Nothing ever gets out of the Sucking Pit alive.'

Moving on...

Tom Lawson, the woodman, You know, the madman he mentioned earlier. And he wasn't wrong. Trust me...Read on... had witnessed the saga of the hounds unknown to the huntsmen. From that same hillock where Reynard had turned in scorn of his pursuers this swarthy man of gypsy origin A swarthy gypsy? Whatever next? had stood out and watched. Whilst preparing a roast hedgehog dinner and training for a bare knuckle fight with Brad Pitt. The baying had brought him post-haste from his cottage in the far glade, a rusty shotgun clasped in his massive grimed hands. He was bent on vengeance. Now we're getting to it. He doesn't fuck about doesn't ole Guy N Smith. He was bent on vengeance. Told you so. He loathed the chase and all those who associated themselves with it. Especially the ferret faced whipper in. He hated the landed gentry and the bloated plutocrats, even Clive Rowlands Out of Dexy's Midnight Runners! Too Rye Ay! Or was that Kevin? the owner of these woodlands upon whom he relied for his wages. Willingly would he have stood by and watched the Sucking Pit claim his employer as yet another victim. Indeed, there was nothing he would have enjoyed more.

That's stretching credibility a bit far. Surely, he'd have preferred a full body massage with extras from a naked Kelly Brook using aromatic oils and rubber gloves?

Now, in the seclusion of his dilapidated cottage, fragrant with woodsmoke But sadly not a naked Kelly Brook. he could savour the events of the past few hours. Seated before his log fire, it seemed as though the wisps of blue smoke wafting their way up the narrow chimney were providing him with a slow motion action replay of all that had gone on before. And you can bet your fucking life this isn't going to be good. He saw again the agonised faces of the two huntsmen as they stood and watched their hounds dragged down into the Sucking Pit, the helplessness of man and beast enacted within a few yards of one another. When the last dog had disappeared from view there was a complete silence except for a final gurgle from the pit and a bubble which lasted a few seconds before bursting.

The scene changed again. As scenes do. Especially if you're looking out of the window of a train, or a bus or something. This time he saw himself. Younger by ten years at least. He carried the bulky sack as though it were weightless, his pose belying its contents. IT'S A FUCKING DEAD BODY! It soared through the air and then seemed to hang suspended for a while until finally it struck that unnatural greenness with a dull thwack. A couple of gurgles and it was gone forever. The bloodstained hessian sack might never have been. You can see where this is going. The bloke's barking. A raving mentalist. Neither, for that matter, the mutilated dismembered corpse inside it. I did tell you. Don't say you weren't warned. They were gone. Oblivion. Not quite, though...Oh do make your fucking mind up Guy! They either were or they weren't! Fucks sake.. The image of Marie kept returning to him. Sometimes in his dreams. Fucking unusual, that is. Sometimes in the woodsmoke. Marijuana smoke more likely. He tried to shut her out. It was impossible. That was the outcome of marrying a gypsy girl so much younger than himself. He couldn't stand the pace. They'd never heard of Viagra in those days. She had found what she wanted in the village. See? It's all getting a bit sordid now. I did say... Young men who could match her wriggling snake-like body. Snake like? This is where Guy's genius comes to the fore. Like, who'd wanna fuck a boa constrictor? He could only stand so much. Here we go with the viagra again. If they wanted her favours now they'd have to seek them in the depths of the Sucking Pit. That was where they all should be anyway.

So, and we're only part way through the first chapter, the moral of the story so far seems to be that there is no moral, and that if you're a gypsy, without access to Viagra, then never marry a younger woman, because she'll put it about a bit and you'll be left with no alternative other than to brutally murder her and throw her body into the Sucking Pit.

More? Maybe. Just depends.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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