Tag Archives: The Graveyard Book

Memoir of a Teacher: Chapter 9, The Graveyard Chapter



To read the gripping first chapter of my “memoir” please go here:https://riedstrap.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/memoir-of-a-teacher-a-red-hot-tip-for-nanowrimo/

The knife had a handle of heavily worn, cheap, black plastic, and a blade, that although promised to never dull was in fact smooshing tomatoes rather than cutting them. If someone tried to slice you with it, you might not even know you had been cut… because you probably wouldn’t have been. So much for TV advertising guarantees.

The knife had made a mess of almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet with squished vegetable matter.

The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and the woman who held it had traipsed in, and wofts of nighttime pollution slithered and twined through the house, through the open door, leaving an unctuous layer over every surface.

The woman Robin paused on the verandah. With her left hand she pulled out a baby wipe from her nappy bag, and with it she wiped off the knife and her plastic gloved, right hand, which had been holding it; then she tossed the baby wipe into a scented nappy bin. The venture was almost over. She had left the lasagne in the oven, the cupcakes cooling on the bench, a fruity punch in the fridge. That only left the salad. A delicious ricotta,  peppered leaves, olives, srmi dried tomatoes and artichoke ensemble. Just one more decision to be made, to add crispy bacon or not.

She flexed her fingers. They were blistered from attempting to use the knife for fine cutting. The woman Robin was, above all things, a gracious hostess, or so she told herself, and she would not allow herself to hit the wine until the salad was finished.

Her hair was red and her eyes were blue and she wore clear plastic gloves of the cheapest price.

“Muuuuuuuum.” One of her three kids, or possibly, two, or all three, was crying. The  toddler’s room was right near the kitchen. The woman Robin walked to her daughter’s room, her feet loud and heavy. She pushed open the door, and she walked in. Her slippers were a dusty grey and looked like little dust pufts on the carpet, you could see the filth of infrequently vacuumed carpet reflected in them.

She could make out the shape of a child in the bed, head and limbs and torso.

The bed was big and inviting for a woman who had barely slept since her first child was born. Robin leaned over, raised her right hand, the one holding her glass of wine that she had promised herself once the salad was done . . .

…and then she lowered her hand. No this would have to wait. The salad wasn’t done yet. The shape in the crib was a teddy bear. There was no child.

A giggle could be heard coming from the cupboard. One day her daughter would learn how to play hide and seek properly.


Based on the amazing Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book.” He is a genius,  and I recommend anything of his. Read an excerpt of the real thing here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/books/chapters/chapter-graveyard-book.html?_r=0