More on Tommy Barlow


I promised to do something today as a postscript to my short story, One Cold, Cold Day. So here goes with some thinking aloud …

1. Expansion into a full length short story (say 4,500 words from the current I,800) 

To expand the narrative I would develop Tommy Barlow’s character. (See 2 below) Sketch in how he feels about life in general and his Gloria in particular. What does he like to do other than deliver letters? What is he like physically? Where the current narrative finishes I would write forward. Tommy would be faced with another problem. In spite of all, he is beginning to have designs on nurse O’Reilly. But … she has spent time with hospice director McCorquodale - who also fancies her and who makes a more direct approach. Will she come and supervise the hospice for him - and of course fall for the big etc? She does like the job offer and also the man. Even though she has developed a soft spot for her patient, Tommy, she is professionally inhibited in that direction and besides that is put off him by his drinking. The twist in the tail of this longer short story comes when he is allowed out of hospital. Belinda has rounded up the neighbours’ support for a big party in honour of their long-serving postie and incidentally to say goodbye to the neighbours on her own behalf. WELCOME HOME, TOMMY PRESLEY reads the banner across Napier Street. (Presley? See below)

2. Expansion into a novel.

Here I think it would be necessary to go back a bit; show how postman Tommy’s life had developed with his wife Gloria. Tommy has been a lifelong Elvis Presley fanatic, often dresses the part, competes in Elvis Lookalike contests etc. I begin the novel with the scene where he gets home off shift and finds her goodbye letter ref. Anglelo the plumber propped up on the kitchen table. Descent into drink etc. Then the full length short story narrative above. Picking up from there, during the welcome home street party he ends up performing his full Elvis repertoire. He is now certain that he is falling for Belinda. He enlists her help in taking stock of his life. Unfortunately the drink is still on him. He forces his sexual attentions on her and, although through no intention of Belinda, the police become involved. Some letters have gone missing whilst he was in his heavy drinking phase after Gloria ‘left’ and before his accidentm. He now is faced with two major problems (possible rape and theft of the mails) and a third when the post office fire him. Tommy gathers his finances and resolves to disappear. Where to? America beckons.  Graceland of course.

(That’s takes us up to about chapter four … after that? No idea … yet.)


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