Fiction

Excerpt from The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

I think about pinball, and how being a kid’s like being shot up the firing lane and there’s no veering left or right;

you’re just sort of propelled. But once you clear the top, like when you’re sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen, suddenly

there’s a thousand different paths you can take, some amazing, others not.

Tiny little differences in angles and speed’ll totally alter what happens to you later, so a fraction of an inch to the right, and the ball’ll just hit a pinger and a dinger and fly down between your flippers, no messing, a waste of 10 p. But a fraction to the left and it’s action in the play zone, bumpers and kickers, ramps and slingshots and fame on the high-score table. My problem is, I don’t know what I want, apart from a bit of money to buy food later on today. Until the day before yesterday all I wanted was Vinny, but I won’t make that mistake again. Like a shiny silver pinball whizzing out of the firing lane, I’ve not got the faintest bloody clue where I’m going or what’ll happen next.

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