Bombs, Spandex, And Nails

I used to tell people that I was such a sound sleeper that I could sleep through a bomb going off, and that’s true. But a bomb going off is nothing compared to the noise of everything that follows, as I found out one day when I was about eleven or twelve.

My bedroom in those days was at the front of the house with my window opening onto our street. I remember a few times waking up in the morning (times when I had no outstanding homework so didn’t have to get up early and race down to do it while watching 60s Batman), sitting up in bed and seeing the fat guy across the road in his special morning outfit. Now, before you go getting any ideas, the special outfit was spandex in a combination of colours that only the late 80s and early 90s could produce, and he was wearing it to do his morning exercises alongside Mr Motivator and whoever the woman (Lizzie something, I think) who was his predecessor.

Anyway, accidental voyeurism aside, this is a story about something that happened at nighttime in that bed. And before I go any further, let me remind you that I not only wasn’t even a teenager then, but it was a more innocent time as well. The most exciting things that happened in that bed were the times that I had vivid dreams of Transformers coming to life (something I’ve fondly held onto even as I became a man). So no, this isn’t that kind of story. This is the story of how I did indeed sleep through a bomb going off.

The bomb in question was a car bomb, and it was a pretty small one. Set by the brother of the drug dealer whose car was destroyed, the bomb was meant to send a message and merely blew out the windows of his car overnight. From all accounts you could make more noise opening a can of Coke. However, the car itself was parked behind a van belonging to the morning exercise guy, and that guy was a miscellaneous delivery driver who at this night had a van filled with gas cylinders. It was his panicked run into the street that woke me up, and I looked out of the window as he drove his already smoking van away from the burning car before any of the cylinders ignited, and I still find myself wondering whether he’d have made it without the exercise he did every morning.

I watched as the street slowly awoke, lights going on and people coming out of their doors to see what was happening. I saw the fire brigade arrive and put out the car. I saw the police arrive just as the two brothers started brawling in the street (did I mention I grew up in a classy place?). And at some point, with it all still happening, I fell asleep again.

So there you have it. I can sleep through a bomb going off, but a fat man running to his van will wake me up. All of which is useful information for understanding why my alarm clock involves an oversized cage, a cheesecake and a van on the other side of the room. It should also help you to understand why I’ve spent the majority of the past two weeks stuck in the house recovering from a self inflicted injury.

See, a while ago I managed to irritate the skin on my back somehow. There are several suspects with the strongest ones being a new deodorant we were asked to test and report on, and buying lilies for Kim (which apparently can cause skin irritations for some people), but we’ll never know what it was for sure. What we do know is that I managed to get into bed that night, go to sleep, and scratch myself raw without waking up. Seriously, if you’d seen the state of my back the next morning you’d have thought someone had burned an almost straight edged rectangle of skin off of me. I was raw bloody meat from my shoulders all the way down to the place most people think I talk out of when I tell them that I can sleep through a bomb going off.

And now, having filled you in on what’s been happening to me, I’m going to end this as I’ve probably said bomb often enough to worry more than a few government agencies. Have fun guys, girls and government workers checking this post for secret codes.


I was saddened yesterday to hear that Terry Pratchett, one of my favourite authors, died. He was one of the first authors I latched onto as I grew to adulthood and my reading tastes grew alongside his book releases.

I stopped reading his books a couple of years ago so that they wouldn’t influence my own while I write them, so there’s still plenty to catch up on, but to know that’s now limited feels like some of the magic has gone from this world.


For those fans of his Discworld books, the perfect epilogue to his life came via the Twitter account.

Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.