The Son I Raised | Short Story

‘Your first responsibility is here, Charlie.’

Piece of toast in his mouth, Charlie snapped his toolbox shut and reached for his coat. Evelyn stood with their infant son in her arms and a challenge on her face. She waited whilst her husband filled a thermos from the kettle, clingfilmed his sandwiches, and finished chewing.

‘You’re doing just fine with him,’ he answered eventually. ‘Mum’s getting on a bit; she can’t look after herself so well.’

‘She can look after herself a lot better than she makes out.’

Continue reading “The Son I Raised | Short Story”

The Literary Relapse of Arthur Weston | Short Story

Little Arthur Weston had first come to my practice in July of 1811. Eyes downcast, the young lad was dragged loose-limbed into the surgery by his tight-lipped mother. Mrs. Weston struggled to speak at first. She fiddled with the cheap rings on her fingers and mumbled about not wanting to waste anyone’s time. Arthur, however, was all eyes once seated. The boy’s hungry gaze was not directed at me, however, but rather at a point somewhere several inches to the left of my head. A glance to my posterior, where my essential medical texts lay stacked, told me all I needed to know. Continue reading “The Literary Relapse of Arthur Weston | Short Story”

Heavy Lies the Ground | Short Story

There’s worse places t’be security, I’ll grant you that. I could be pushin’ punters around outside some shithole of a nightclub or standin’ in front of the East Upper Block of the New Den getting bottles lobbed at my head. Instead, I start my shift to the sound of choristers warming up for evensong. My first hour is spent sayin’ goodbye to punters as they wind out of the abbey, shafts of sunlight streamin’ through the stained glass and surroundin’ me like I’m Mary Magdalene herself. Not a bad way to earn a living, really.

All things considered, though, Westminster Abbey is an odd place for someone of my political views. Continue reading “Heavy Lies the Ground | Short Story”

Urban Creep | Short Story

It is remarkably difficult to manage a discreet business in modern Britain. Gone are the days of bootlegged whisky, of smothered lanterns and boat keels grinding across beach pebbles. When clandestine activity is not made impossible by CCTV, urban creep, and light pollution it is impinged upon by idiots walking their dogs or morons waving mobile phones. Those of us who wish to avoid attention have had to diversify. Continue reading “Urban Creep | Short Story”

Capturing the Mountain | Short Story

zzzZZZIP.

It is a molar-rattler of a wind that bursts through the tent canvas. It is a wind that makes a person’s eyes run and their cheeks burn, a wind that pulls and shrieks and buffets and tugs and moans. Nevertheless, even the relentless howling commands only the tiniest flicker of attention from my senses. What I hear cannot compete with what I see. Continue reading “Capturing the Mountain | Short Story”

The Old Swanson Place | Short Story

Talk of the town, it was. The old Swanson place had finally sold. Three years it had been on the market, its balconies covered in gull mess and the gardens creeping over the gravel chips in the driveway. Dusty bay windows looked out over the estuary, bulging and blank, as though unable to bear the sight of the cheaper dwellings at the bottom of the steep hill. Then one day the estate agent’s sign was gone, rotten stake heaved out of the ground. Continue reading “The Old Swanson Place | Short Story”

Street Service | Short Story

Difficult to justify my behaviour this evening as the kerb grates against the back of my head. Difficult to keep my dinner down amidst the spinning lights and the belches of warm, yeasty air from the nightclub doors. The coldness of the road is beginning to reach through my jacket as people crowd around.

‘You alright, mate?’

‘He didn’t mean nothing by it…’

‘You ain’t gonna press charges, are ya?’ Continue reading “Street Service | Short Story”

In Bad Taste | Short Story

Dear diner,

It has come to our attention that our small, family-run restaurant was the subject of a review by the renowned food critic and raconteur Jean Bernard last week. Recently opened, we were delighted to have attracted the attention of such a culinary connoisseur. Nonetheless, it should be noted that no soliciting of such a review was made by our humble restaurant and no pretences of grandeur were made on behalf of our food. It was with some surprise then that Monsieur Bernard’s scathing review was read and it is with no small degree of sadness that I must tell you that we are closing our doors as a result of his article. Responsible for the breaking of many a head chef, Bernard is notorious for destroying the reputations of a far higher class of restaurant than ours. As a result the chefs, the cleaning staff, and the serving staff will be looking for work elsewhere.

Nevertheless, do not mourn us. We offer this counter-review as a sweet, a dessert, a cordial if you will. What is a meal, after all, without a satisfying finale? Continue reading “In Bad Taste | Short Story”