THE CLOCK STRUCK ONE

(AFTER MRS DALLOWAY BY VIRGINIA WOOLF)     I didn’t know why the men were welding the fence, but my two cats were enjoying watching the sparks fly. The odd-jobbers were oblivious; intent on their task. Four hands working as one, four eyes hidden behind goggles.   The old bat in the flat opposite was […]

DHARMA EXPRESS

When I pull up outside the Dharma Express its shutters are down, but a flat-capped man in his sixties emerges from a white Skoda and encourages me to ‘step into his office’. “I’m here about the driving job,” I say, worried there’s been a misunderstanding. He nods vigorously, chewing on the stem of a Meerschaum […]

SWAN SONG

They had all been so polite, trying to soothe her through their strychnine grins whilst shifting uncomfortably in their seats and avoiding her gaze. It was for the best, they said. She was getting tired, they said. She knew, of course, that they meant getting old. They had evidently thought everything out carefully, and had […]

SITTING ON A PARK BENCH

Flashes of pink in the frosty sunlight, from the elderly lady with her Precious poodle. She rests from hobbling to watch protective parents force toddlers across metallic monkey bars, whilst a shell-suited imp slurs abuse at his mother, across the graffiti-ridden jungle gym. “No! I don’t wanna fuckin’ go!” “Get ere now, y’little shit, before […]

SAFETY MEASURES

In order to be slowly dying, to be held in that strange unknowable state of decline where the fibres of what makes you whole are beginning to pull themselves apart, strands turning suddenly into ends tearing at the tension beneath them, weakening, flexing, held together only by trust or habit, like a sweater which has […]

ROUTINE

“Bite you???” “Fight me!” You say potato, and all that. “I can’t do this when you fight me. It’s impossible.” I annunciate, slowly and loudly, but there is still no sign that you have any understanding of what I mean. “I can’t take your jumper off when you hold out your elbows to the side […]

ALTERNATIVE JUSTICE

Three damn minutes. The young man moved slowly through the empty fourth floor hallway, hunched with an air of resignation, long uncombed greasy hair covering most of his strained face. He had never needed all night to complete an assignment.  While professors could be harsh, both actively and passively, it was unusual for one to […]