Sunday, September 16, 2012

CAGI Finalist #10

Genre: Literary fiction
Word count: 60,000


Twenty-two-year-old Tracey Garside is looking for ambition in all the wrong places. After two years of scrubbing Europe’s tourist toilets, she crash-lands back home in Liverpool, England, with little to do but watch daytime TV and the regeneration of her neighborhood passing her by. That is, until her quiet and serious little sister Elaine drops a bombshell: She can correctly predict the result of every soccer match in Europe. Anywhere in the country, this would be a big deal, but in Liverpool, the sport is a religion with two rival churches and a bookmaker on every corner, and her gift is nothing short of a miracle.

Now it’s up to Tracey to persuade her sister to cash in on this talent – no easy task, as the memory of their estranged father’s petty crime still stings. Soon the sisters are running a full-fledged business selling tips, and their dreams are growing as quickly as their stacks of cash. But on the night of the European Cup semi-final, they risk everything on the biggest trick of them all in a city where grudges run deep. Think of it as more Fever Bitch than Fever Pitch. Evoking Alan Warner and Duncan McLean’s novels of growing up fast and living on wits alone in the Britain outside the tourist brochures, THE RESULT is a 60,000-word adult novel about those feet, that family, and giving it all you’ve got even when all you’ve got is in your head.

Formerly of London and New York City, I now live in San Francisco. I spent two years writing for BBC Online, and was published twice in Quarto, Columbia University's undergraduate creative writing magazine. For two summers, I interned in the production department at St. Martin's Press in New York City. My pitch for THE RESULT won the annual Pitchapalooza competition at San Francisco's 2011 Litquake Festival. 

THE RESULT is about so much more than sports and the masses of money that run them - it's about family, loyalty, and the fine art of thinking on your feet.

First 250:

I gulped down the last inch of Heineken too quickly to taste it. I hadn't paid for this pint, but I still clung to my old habit of trying to get my money's worth out of everything.

“Elaine, now.”

“No,” my sister hissed, eyes locked on the television screen. “Game of two halves.”

“Fuck that! They’ll suspect something.”

“They’ll suspect nothing. You don’t know enough about football.”

That was the first time she was wrong.

I knew full well it was a game of two halves. I knew what was a corner and what was a goal kick; I knew the offside rule and I knew that many people don’t – and if you’re a woman they assume you don’t. I knew that because Chelsea scored one last week and Liverpool scored one here, if no one breaks the overall draw then this whole sorry match is going to extra time and then penalties. My sister had taught me that much.

I also knew it was a man’s game, no matter how much Elaine may have wanted to make it otherwise. I knew that when I watched her playing on the pitches in Everton Park the lads tackling her were lads on her own side, trying everything to get her to give up and run home. Bonus points if they could make her cry. I knew she was a nuisance, that she wasn’t very good, that she threw a spanner into every kickabout. I don’t know if she knew, but I did, I knew very well. I knew that these hard men get hurt, they get bloodied, they get maimed. And they get paid loads, more than we would ever see even in a lifetime of bets. I knew I wanted nothing of it if it wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to go.

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