The Magic Potion

potion

THERE once lived a man who imbibed a skinful of whisky and fell asleep in his armchair. His wife had long gone to bed, leaving all three bars of the electric fire on. When the man spluttered himself awake in the wee small hours, he became aware of an excruciating sensation in the inside of his left shin and found that his jeans were singed. When he removed them, he realised that although they had not been set alight, they had conducted enough heat to leave a huge burn. In one place there was a dead dark patch where he felt no pain at all, even when he poked it with his finger. Though still groggy from booze, he had enough wits to know what had transpired. He had cooked his leg.

The following morning, his wife persuaded him to get it seen to.

II

THE DOCTOR informed the man that he would require a course of antibiotics and a skin graft as soon as one could be arranged. This was unavoidable and the replacement tissue would be taken from his backside. He should come back in a week.

On leaving the surgery, the man decided no flamin’ chance. And so he paid a visit to the other place. But he was not so stupid as to reveal to the vet why he was asking for a bottle of horse liniment.

III

THE MAN took the antibiotics as directed. And every day his wife was subjected to the foul stink of horse liniment. After a few days of faithfully wrapping his leg in bandages soaked in the odious compound, it looked as though progress was being made. Within a week, well, it was nearly but a scabby indentation and some of the feeling had returned.

It was quite out of character for the man to return to the doctor’s surgery without being pushed but he was keen to gloat at the success of his own ministrations. When he pulled up his trouser leg for the doctor to examine what evidence remained, the latter was close to speechless.

It stuck in the doctor’s throat to admit that he could no longer see any reason for an operation. When the man told him how he had achieved such a miracle, the doctor just said “You cannot be serious”, before suggesting that he could perhaps continue doing whatever he was doing and come back in another week.

The man had no intention whatsoever of letting on that without the antibiotics, his leg would have become so infected from such a rapid healing that it would surely have killed him.

Copyright (c) M K MacInnes 2015

Close Call: Short and Bittersweet (my first literary review!)

“Close Call: Short and Bittersweet is a great title for a memorable book. It is an autobiography in the form of short stories … the first three are based on her family’s south Skye stories from the first half of the 20th century and actually pre-date [her] own life … taken together this string of pearls offers fragments of a Skye woman’s background and then her journey through the second half of that century.

One of the beauties of M K MacInnes’ Close Call is its fusion between fact and fantasy and the manner in which that fusion alters over the decades …

Her later experiences in France and elsewhere are told by M K MacInnes deftly and with a sophisticated sense of plot which, as she acknowledges, she owes to her Skye family background. The two most striking stories in the collection, ‘Port Wine’ and ‘Recto Verso’ are shifted between time and place with the confidence of an experienced narrator.”

Full feature here.

Reproduced with the kind permission of the West Highland Free Press. Many thanks to Roger Hutchinson, award-winning author of Calum’s Road and The Silent Weaver.  

Port Wine

Granny’s acting awfy suspicious-like. Why on earth would she want to harm her newborn grandchild?

“… [THE woman] quietly turned the handle and crept towards the little cot that had been placed beside [the] bed. There she found the infant loosely wrapped in layers of swaddling blankets, a tiny set of fingers poking out the top … A nurse entered the room only to find an old woman dangling the newborn like a plucked chicken. When she cried out “Unhand that child immediately!”, the speechless old lady handed the infant to the nurse, then escaped through the door and down the corridor before anybody had a chance to stop her. The child’s mother had just woken up and asked what the hell was going on …”

extract from Close Call: Short and Bittersweet by M K MacInnes, available via Amazon 13 April 2015 More details here.

As the Crow Flies

What has Iain been up to? The Old Man has his ways of getting to the truth of the sins of the son …

“… THE MAN slammed his brakes, veering to the other side of the road to avoid lurching forward and flying through the windscreen … When the car finally screeched to a halt, he sat for what seemed to him an eternity, his fingers and forehead glued to the upper rim of the steering wheel. It was only when he lifted his head that he realised he had no idea which direction he was facing. Whatever that thing was, it had pulled up and over the vehicle just in time …”

extract from Close Call: Short and Bittersweet by M K MacInnes, available via Amazon 13 April 2015 More info here.

Chicken

The house has a little secret. What is Roddy not telling his wife?

“… MR MCDIARMID was just polishing off the last spoonful of cream from his plate when the light and soft quiet emanating from the window was interrupted by a dark shadow and a loud flutter … By the time Morag returned from the kitchen with a neat tray of teacups and a freshly made pot of tea, Mister McDiarmid was out of his seat, Iain’s arms locked around his waist …”

extract from Close Call: Short and Bittersweet by M K MacInnes, available via Amazon 13 April 2015 More details here.

The Serpent and the Bicycle

IN THE wake of the Great War, a young Skye man experiences an inexplicable occurrence that leaves everyone with their heads scratching and his mother climbing the walls. It is an event that that will change the course of his life forever.

“… NOT EVEN the sight of Beinn na Cailleach and the Coolin mountains in a cloudless sky could soothe [the young man’s] anxiety over what the future might hold. During his eleven-mile journey from his mother Marsali’s house in Heaste, he had already narrowly avoided being clipped by a motor car in Broadford … Now approaching the abandoned churchyard, he was greeted by the sight of Blaven towering over the softer rolling Kilbride terrain. Knowing full well how distracted he was, Roderick pedalled his bicycle slowly to avoid any further mishaps …”

extract from Close Call: Short and Bittersweet by M K MacInnes, available via Amazon 13 April 2015

More details here.