An Itchy Liver


SKU e-book Category

175 in stock


By Adam Shargool

ISBN: 978-1-84747-940-2
Published: 2009
Pages: 200
Key Themes: schizo-affective disorder, fiction, relationships, alcohol



Lacking any ambition other than to keep his glass full, Jerry Fiddler is a man struggling – and failing – to walk the fine line between serious work and alcoholic play. One day, at one of life’s crossroads, he makes the most obvious of wrong turns and decides to empty what savings he has into financing a drink-fuelled adventure that can take him where it will.

But although there are moments of limited glory for Fiddler, situations arise that will require all of his limited resources and strength if he is to overcome them.

AN ITCHY LIVER is filled to the brim with adventure, pathos, humour and philosophy. It will appeal to anyone who has ever woken up with a hangover in an unexpected place.

About the Author

Adam Shargool was born in 1980 and grew up in a small village on the outskirts of Stafford. Since his mid-twenties he has been in and out of psychiatric hospital and various jobs. 2007 was a busy year for him: He got married, become a father, and was diagnosed with Schizo-Affective Disorder. Now with the help of his family, medication and therapy, he looks forward to writing more books.

Book Extract

The dawn scene would have been an innocent one but for the unconscious man on the front lawn. He was dressed in a white, sequinned, Elvis-style jumpsuit that was scuffed and stained at the knees. Indications were that his previous night’s activities had been less than salubrious: A pat of caked vomit was congealed onto his front. The semi-digested matter on his chest rose and fell in time to his breathy, throaty snoring. The sun shone unheeded onto his eyelids and even the soaking of his clothes under him by the absorbed dew had not roused him from his unconsciousness. There was no wind, and the only movement was of the twittering birds as they flitted from one manicured garden hedge to another. The backs of the curtains in the house’s windows slowly absorbed the heat as they waited for their occupants to awaken and pull them apart.

A white cat lured by a scent beyond human senses approached the supine man whose snores began to rattle in a slightly higher pitch. Droplets of dew sparkled on the blades of grass that they had condensed on, and the cat’s paws left dark dots on the lawn as it warily approached the man, sniffing the air before it.

The man, whose name was Jerry Fiddler, finally awoke on a front lawn he didn’t recognise to find a cat eating the vomit off his chest. He was briefly eye-to-eye with the animal before he jolted in surprise and the white cat darted to safety.

The white cat need not have feared Fiddler, for whom the simple but sudden movement had initiated a stabbing wall of pain on the inside of his skull. Fiddler let his head slowly descend backwards to rest upon the damp grass once more. The cool wetness was a relief of sorts, and Fiddler knew from experience that his chief problem – a goliath of a hangover – would not be sated by any amount of haste. In any case, he was still deeply drunk and had not even begun to sober up to the extent of becoming re-acquainted with his inhibitions. Where he now lay seemed for the moment to be as good a place as any to gather his thoughts.

He pushed his right hand down into his waist pocket, searching for his cigarettes. His hand felt its way around a crushed packet and he dragged it out. All of the cigarettes except one had been squashed or snapped by whatever exertions had been his whim the night before. He pulled out the surviving smoke with his teeth while he rooted around in his left pocket to find a lighter. Fiddler’s hand found no lighter, but it did find a host of what felt like pound coins. Sitting up to count his prize, the pain in his head and the burning in his abdomen temporarily abated as he counted out £47. I must have cleaned out the fruity, he thought, reflecting that at least destiny had partly refunded his spending at the bar.

Fiddler was absorbed in self-congratulation when, through a maelstrom of alcoholic residue, a nasty truth presented itself: today was a Wednesday, and he needed to get to work.

* * *

As Fiddler contemplated his sullen, weathered face in the mirrored interior of the lift which was hauling him up to his office, he fancied that even after a rushed shower and change, the smell of vomit still lurked about his person. The skin over his normally flat cheekbones was puffy, particularly below his eyes. His hair was as neat as could be expected: its coarse, sandy locks were in the process of being grown out and so was scraped back with styling wax as usual in an attempt to keep it neat. The teeth in head seemed to all be aching in unison, and Fiddler imagined they were wobbling in his gums as he crunched down on a mint. There were dissenting sounds emanating from his abdomen. He exhaled through his teeth as the lift doors slid open.

Fiddler had good reason for concern: He had only been in the job four months, yet his attendance and punctuality record already had a speckled – if not tattered – quality about it. With the exception of one occasion of genuine sickness, his absences and instances of tardy arrival into work had always been due to the effects of his social exertions. Several times he had come home heavily intoxicated, and sometimes his last act before unconsciousness had washed over him had been to set his alarm clock, not so that he could get up but in order to call in sick when he awoke the next day feeling like he’d eaten dung. When the absence had risen to a level whereby he was too embarrassed to call in even when still drunk, he had had to find his way into the office from wherever his drinking had deposited him, resulting in lateness. This morning it had been a lawn, but on other occasions he had been under tables, in car parks and even sitting on a pub toilet long after the landlord had retired upstairs.


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