Thalidomide Kid – Kate Rigby

Daryl Wainwright is the quirky youngest child of a large family of petty thieves and criminals who calls himself ‘Thalidomide Kid’.

Celia Burkett is the new girl at the local primary school, and the daughter of the deputy head at the local comprehensive where she is bound the following September. With few friends, Celia soon becomes fascinated by ‘the boy with no arms’.

The story of a blossoming romance and sexual awakening between a lonely girl and a disabled boy, and their struggle against adversity and prejudice as they pass from primary to secondary school in 1970s Cirencester. The story deals with themes and issues that are timeless.




I hope you’ll enjoy reading this and be tempted to read the whole story.


Daryl walks in on his parents’ argument

Meanwhile, in Daryl’s house, family relations had been slipping so fast that he’d had little time to focus on school.

He sensed it all about to reach a head one day over the Easter holidays when his mum and dad started fighting over something, which they’d been doing a lot lately. His mum swearing blind that his dad had broken their pact and started thieving again. His dad flatly denying it, but with a shifty look he’d never needed before when they were all in on the pinching.

Of the Wainwright children, only Daryl and Vince were at home on the day in question. Without looking up from his motorbike magazine, Vince gave his youngest brother a signal as if to say, oy, kidder, come out with me. Daryl followed. It was the best thing to do when your folks were having a barney, so they went to the garage where Vince had still got his bikes, though their old man said Vince’d have to shift the bikes when he got ‘the car’. At the moment this car was still very much a concept which was given an airing every week by their dad … When I get the car this will happen, when I get the car that will change. “When you get the car it’ll be a bloody miracle,” their mum said.

Outside the garage, it was a warm sunny day, like a day in summer, and lots of the neighbours had disappeared to Weston-Super-Mare or to the country.

“We’ll take the bike out as soon as I get it fixed,” Vince promised.

But they spent the best part of the afternoon in the black of the garage with the smell of tyres and oil, the moments ticking by. Daryl watched while Vince worked beside a dim light, explaining what he was trying to do. Daryl pulled the chewing gum from his mouth as he watched, tilting his head back to stretch the gum down in a long line, before repeating the performance again and again, trying to beat his best efforts.

“Bugger,” Vince said eventually, at quarter to four. “I ain’t gonna get it fixed in time. Sorry kidder.”

As they emerged into the bright outside, they tried to blink away the after-image of the dim garage light. Even the Red Arrows, when they roared overhead, were speckled with the afterimage. Daryl tried to remember what his physics teacher had said about after-images. Something to do with the make-up of the retina, wasn’t it? But his mind was soon turned to the right old ding-dong escaping through the open windows and doors as he and Vince returned home. Far from having calmed down, the roof was now being raised by their parents.

“I want a divorce, Jimmy! I want a bloody divorce! All you’ve done since you’ve come back is lie, lie, lie. One lie after another.” Their mum held out her left hand and with her right index finger counted off the fingers and thumb on her left with each accusation. “You’ve broken our pact. You’ve stole. You’ve not been down the Labour Exchange. You drink too much. And now you’re not even denying a bit on the side.”

Their dad switched on the racing, oblivious to Vince and Daryl. “All you do is nag and henpeck, like butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth. Like you ain’t to blame for none of it.”

She frowned at him, a new cigarette lit to life. “Blame? What am I to blame for?”

He waved his hand in front of his face. “Forget it.”

Daryl knew she wasn’t about to forget it, she could be like a dog with a bone. In good ways, sometimes. Like the time she’d fought for him to get into the right school. “Come on, Jimmy. What am I to blame for?”

“Well, that lazy bum, for starters.” He pointed at Vince.

Vince told him to piss off, before grabbing his jacket and disappearing out the back door.

Eyes glistening with liquor, Mr Wainwright then turned his attention to Daryl. “And him.” His mum said what about him? “Well, look at him. You made him into a freak just coz you had a bit of morning sickness.”

The emphasis he put on morning sickness was horrid and sarcastic. His mum’s face puckered and contorted, her open palm spread over newly-sodden eyes. After a while she said: “I know. I’m sorry, Daryl. I’m sorry. They called it Distaval. They didn’t know what it would do. It was just like taking aspirin.”

There was no-one else here to comfort her now but him. If he’d had his long arms, he could have put them round her like his old man should have been doing. Instead, he stood between them, his back defending his mum, his front fuming at his dad.

“Stop quarrelling, will you? It ain’t her fault. She didn’t know what those pills were gonna do, did she? I don’t care, see. I don’t bloody care. I’d rather have no arms than no legs. And there’s some kids don’t bloody have any, so I don’t care.” His mum stretched out her long arm then, but he pushed through it, out of the room, out of the door, out into the warm sunny evening where the next door neighbour’s cherry blossom quivered, where families returned from their day out, where kids rode their chopper bikes round and round, and the echo of a football scraped along the ground and beat against the wall again and again and again, and Thalidomide Kid – Teekay for short –was off back to Planet Thalidomide where the trees had stunted branches and even the birds had Thalidomide wings and if you flew in a plane on Planet Thalidomide, it looked just like a VC10 but its wings were shorter; and there was a Thalidomide version of Celia Burkett there, with arms that mirrored his, who Teekay would get married to one day and they would have kids just like them, and it’d been a long time since Teekay had fallen off Planet Thalidomide and landed smack bang on the Long Arm Planet.

Thank you, Kate Rigby and RachelsRandomResources.


About the author

Kate Rigby was born near Liverpool and now lives in the south west of England. She’s been writing for nearly forty years. She has been traditionally published, small press published and indie published.

She realized her unhip credentials were mounting so she decided to write about it. Little Guide to Unhip was first published in 2010 and has since been updated.

However she’s not completely unhip. Her punk novel, Fall Of The Flamingo Circus was published by Allison & Busby (1990) and by Villard (American hardback 1990). Skrev Press published her novels Seaview Terrace (2003) Sucka!(2004) and Break Point (2006) and other shorter work has appeared in Skrev’s magazines.

Thalidomide Kid was published by Bewrite Books (2007).

Her novel Savage To Savvy was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) Quarter-Finalist in 2012.

She has had other short stories published and shortlisted including Hard Workers and Headboards, first published in The Diva Book of Short Stories, in an erotic anthology published by Pfoxmoor Publishing and more recently in an anthology of Awkward Sexcapades by Beating Windward Press.

She also received a Southern Arts bursary for her novel Where A Shadow Played (now re-Kindled as Did You Whisper Back?).

She has re-Kindled her backlist and is gradually getting her titles (back) into paperback

More information can be found at her website:

Or her blog:

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