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Standing up to a bully can change your life. Small, downtrodden Malcolm finally explodes, and stands up to his bullying stepbrother – with a frying pan. That moment drastically changes his life. Exiled by his stepfather to the wilds of Scotland, away from his mother and little sister, into the care of his elderly Aunt Mary and a huge Rambo lookalike, he meets a fresh type of bully and faces humiliation and shocking dangers for himself and his beloved dog Bullet. He tries to control his urge to react with violence, to stop being a victim, to develop a new outlook on life. So that when the gorgeously handsome Gerald reappears, gloating, Malcolm can maybe – just maybe – sort him out. Nothing goes smoothly, of course. But in the fresh clash of personalities, with the help of his new friends and family, Wee Malkie faces his problems with determination and humour – and the result surprises even himself.
Pollinger in Print; July 2007
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Gerald called me a bastard again, and I nearly killed him. Serve him right. I’d known all my life that I was. A bastard, I mean. I was born while mum was on a rebel/ hippy/ free love/ do your own thing kick. I’ll swear dad was on some kind of drugs, though mum always denied it. Whenever he was high on cloud nine he was good fun, giggly and cheerful, what outsiders saw as normal. But even at three I knew to keep out of sight when he was down, which was most of the time; he was vicious and depressed, like a weasel with toothache. Mum couldn’t protect me, he was too strong. She just cringed and told me to run for it if I could, or hide, usually in the cupboard under the kitchen sink. For some reason dad never thought to look in there. If he caught me, though, I was black and blue for days. Like mum. I was in hospital for broken ribs once, and Mum with a broken arm. Mum said she’d been papering, and I’d climbed up the ladder and she’d tried to catch me and we’d both fallen. Next time, when I lost three teeth, mum says they looked suspicious, but she smiled charmingly, as she could, and it went no further. I was lucky, I suppose, that was the worst. Then when I was about five dad quit on us. Maybe there was nothing left around to steal. He never got in touch. I didn’t miss him, except with relief, and neither did mum after the first shock. About three years later we heard he was dead. Anyway, mum was left with me and no visible means of support; her own parents died when she was just fourteen, and her only relative was a crazy old sister away in the wilds of Scotland somewhere. She was pretty and stylish, even on no money, with a kind of dreamy, delicate, vulnerable look, huge shadowy violet eyes surprising against her pale skin and dark hair, and kind of scatty – a real dizzy blonde, except that she was dark. Elfin, they call her. I’m small and dark too, but nobody ever calls me elfin; more likely goblin. Okay, so I’m nobody’s sweet angel. I was used to it. I just kept so quiet nobody noticed me. That suited me. Being noticed meant getting hurt. Anyway, gatecrashing the party of a friend of a friend – you know how it is – mum met Walter Melford-Jarvikksen, who was an accountant, fair, definitely well-padded, posh and divorced, with an eleven-year-old boy left on his hands and a small mouth plump under a soft, waffly moustache. So she married him, and discovered pretty soon why he was divorced. His name was about right; he really was a wally, a pompous oily prat, and sarky with it whenever he’d had a drink, even a sherry, which with business lunches and so on was a fair bit of the time. He treated her like a child, with no respect. And even less for me.