August 2013

  “I think the Conservatives are going to pinch it,” said Frank.  He took a swig from his pint. “You’ve got to be joking!  Those guys couldn’t organise the proverbial piss-up!  UKIP’s going steal their vote and they’ll all disappear up their own backsides.  Good night and good riddance to the lot of them,” said John.  He stared into the bottom of his empty glass, anger in his eyes. “What do you reckon, Mo?” asked Frank. Mo was on his third Coca-Cola.  “Pleased you asked, man.  I think the Liberals will win with a big majority.” John’s eyes flashed at him.  “Only kidding,” Mo conceded.  “Cool down, man.  You know we share the faith.  Don’t worry; Labour will win.” The muscles in John’s neck relaxed. “And Michael: do you deign …

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  The electric tea kettle gave off its sharp whistle in the quiet apartment as a sharp omen, unnoticed by the sole present human tenant of the place, who merely stepped over the two meowing cats and poured out the vessel. The stairs leading to this serene place shook and trembled, the sounds and vibrations drawing ever close to the thin, almost fragile door frame, unbeknownst to J, who merely sipped their tea and scrolled through the news online. Finally, the door burst open, sent swinging practically through the wall and the absent other made their presence known. J barely reacted and remained a picturesque, pajama-clad and sleepy-eyed figure munching on toast and sipping tea. “You know what J? I am sick of your elitist hobnobbery!” screeched a bearded girl …

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Daisy thought that four was the right amount of times to knock, but when there was no answer, she pulled the small notepad out of her purse and double-checked the list she always kept on hand.  Five, she read, seeing that four was the right amount of times to hit a boiled egg on the counter before peeling away the shell, it was the right amount of times to shake a pillow when putting it into a new case, and it was the right amount of celery stick halves to serve with peanut butter, but it was not the right amount of times to knock.  She tucked the notepad away, cleared her throat, and tried again.  This would be the first time she’d seen Hamish since going on vacation two …

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It was Exodus. Seth Cavill spat more bloody spittle-shit to stain his Sunday best, dirt thick wind hastening to bury the sordid affair. Toes wandered the floor with ballerina grace, loosening splinters in the support arm that held his soul, now more frayed than the noose that bore his neck. Reverend Luis was middle aged, weary, on the trail to Minnesota yet now bogged to reside himself in this arid frontier backwater where men escaped to excavate fortune, dig or die. His ward today was Cavill. His last rites, last moments were to be enacted by Luis alone. His thoroughfare flock observed with passing indifference. ‘The man before you today has transgressed.’ Luis fumbled at something in his corduroy, perhaps the jacket itself, damp hands. ‘He has transgressed openly, in …

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“But that’s ridiculous!” Martha scoffed, tossing her highlighter-pink hair over her shoulder. “How come she’s not allowed in?” “I’m sorry, Martha. I’m just playing by the rules. It might be an all-school thing, but at the end of the day, it’s the Harpers who are hosting it. They can really let in who they want and keep out who they want.” “And you’re okay with that? Neill, this is the last time we’re ever going to be together as a grade. You can’t just leave someone out like that – it’s not right. If they hate her, let them, they’ll never have to see her again after this. But refusing her entrance to the school graduation? C’mon, Neill. It’s just…heartless!” I put my hand gently on the seething girl’s shoulder. …

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The diner rang with noise; clinking and tinny smashes of knives and forks, the scraping of chairs on a red and white checked floor, the background murmur of an old snowy TV set mounted high on the wall in the back corner, the occasional bark of laughter from the watching patrons. A single waitress, tall with an old-fashioned apron and a book of sticky notes was flitting around the tables, taking orders and serving food as it was slid from the kitchen onto the counter with a shout from the cook. “Look at you,” said Adrian. He fixed Philip with an unimpressed look, leaned back in his chair, and folded his arms across his chest. “What’s that on there that you’re eating? It looks like some mix between spam and …

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Before we begin I wish to set a few rules. Rule 1: No making up words. Rule 2: No getting carried away with metaphors. Rule 3: No clichés. Rule 4: No redundant tautologies. Preface: Most people believe that moths are attracted to light in the same way a pubescent boy is attracted to Nigella Lawson. This is not true. Moths rely on the light of the moon for navigation, as soon as anything brighter than the moon gets in the way, they’re lost. They do not bat themselves against window panes due to some petty attraction, they are blind, rudderless and don’t know what else to do. If the artificial light is switched off, they simply move on as if nothing ever happened. Now that this overarching metaphor has been …

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I looked at her slathering paint over the wall. She knew how to draw, the antelopes running over the cave wall in formation was enough to make me hungry. The hunt had gone well, we had cornered a boar in the woods. I had missed the honour of the kill; Grok had thrown the spear into the beast’s heart. I told her, “I want to eat.” I guess told isn’t entirely accurate. I was pounding on the floor and making an eating gesture and emitting some guttural growls, but that’s as close at talking as we have. She ignored me and kept ignoring me. Finally she looked at me when my groans got too loud to pretend not to hear. “What,” she gestured at me casually. The cave had gone …

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Maya had succeeded in avoiding her for several days. The first days were easy, of course. But then the phone calls had started, followed by the visits at the door. Maya had managed to ignore them all. But today, her luck had finally turned and Kara had trapped her in the alley that Maya always took on her way home from her office. Kara had known her route, of course, and must have been waiting for her. Maya cursed herself for being this sloppy. Maya looked around, searching for possible ways out. The alley was small and obscure, the walls of the buildings towering high above them. Fire escapes were hanging above their heads and the walls were covered in graffiti.  A big puddle of water, probably caused by a …

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  Warmth. Light. That sweet, milky smell. Softness. His skin against her skin. Mama. Playing in the garden. Sunshine on his bare bottom. Mama says, “No one can see us here. Your Dada likes his privacy. I like my sunshine. It’s good for you, Terry.” *** The phone shrills out in the garden where she lies in the hammock reading. “Mrs Jones, you need to collect Terry from kindergarten. He can’t stay here today. He’s done it again! The other parents don’t like it so I have to exclude him for the rest of the week. I’m sure you understand.” Agneta brings him home. “Terry, I told you. Other people don’t do what we do. You can only do it when Mama says it’s OK. Now run along into the …

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‘Forward!’ yelled a soldier amongst the mass of red cloaks crammed together on the Campus Martius. The sound of a legion of feet marching in unison rumbled through the ground and rattled up the metal bars the boy was clutching. It made his heart beat faster and as the procession began to move, he stared at the city looming closer. The cheers of the Roman mob increased as the general in his chariot passed through the Porta Triumphalis. Mixed with the soldiers was the vast wealth of Spain that included mounds of gold, jewels, statues and slaves. The boy’s carriage rolled under the marble gate. As the shadow passed he saw thousands of citizens screaming in Bacchanal frenzy. When they saw the slaves some of them threw rotten food. The …

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‘Look,’ said Roger, ‘The Johnsons are doing it again.’ ‘What Roger? What are the Johnsons doing again?’ sighed Karen, not taking her eyes from page 78 of Fifty Shades of Grey. ‘They’re having a barbeque on their front lawn.’ ‘It’s their front lawn. They can do what they want.’ ‘You don’t have barbeques on your front lawn, everybody knows that,’ hissed Roger, his white-knuckled fist clutching the beige curtain. ‘Nobody knows that Roger. You only think it.’ Roger pointed towards the Johnsons. ‘But I can see them!’ ‘Only because you’re looking,’ said Karen, ‘Now get away from that window before they think you’re a pervert.’ ‘Why would they think I’m a pervert?’ Karen put her book down, joined him at the window and looked out at a happy family soaking …

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  “Can Gaaar have a drink, too, please, mummy?” Little Tommy Harris asked his mother, in the kitchen of their smart and efficient executive home. “Who’s Gaaar, honey?” his mother replied, expertly stuffing the chicken for that evening’s roast dinner, not taking her eyes from the task. “He’s my friend,” Tommy said, betraying a socially aware caution where such matters were concerned. He had known his mother all his life and some of her character traits had trained him in selective information giving. “Yes, but use the bottle of orange barley-water that’s already open and the plastic picnic beakers,” she said, while inserting the onion and preparing the foil-lined roasting dish. “Thank you, mummy. I shall.” Tommy answered, doing exactly what he had been told. He added four parts water …

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