Who are you? (Or who do you think you are?)
There was a knock at the front door, and Barry went to see who it was. He looked through the peep-hole, and there on the doorstep was a youngish man in a suit, wearing a big red rosette.
Barry opened the door.
“Good morning! Mr. Jenkins?”
“Yeah, that’s me.”
“Hello, Mr. Jenkins, I’m Bob Wilkinson, your Labour candidate in this election, would you mind if I came in for a moment?”
“Dunno,” said Barry, looking up and down the deserted terraced street. “When can I come round your ‘ouse for a cup of tea?”
Mr. Wilkinson looked a little taken aback, but before he could speak Barry continued, “Only joking, mate, course you can come in!”
They went into the little sitting room, and Barry indicated a threadbare grey sofa. “’Ere, ‘ave a seat. Would you like a cup of tea?”
“Thank you, that would be most kind of you.”
Barry went and put the kettle on, and came back a little later carrying a beaten old tin tray with a steaming old teapot, a small jug of milk with no handle, a little plastic sugar bowl, a cracked china cup on a mismatched saucer and a glass of Continue reading A Political Choice by Chris Pollard
by Nick Quantrill
Written by rock and roll legends, Leiber and Stoller, ‘Some Other Guy’ was the obscure Richard Barrett song which helped define the early 1960s Liverpool scene. Released by Atlantic Records, the original version was quickly rearranged from its R&B origins into an all out rocker by Liverpool bands, eager for new sounds. With its heavy beat, savage lead guitar line and rough and ready vocals, it was the perfect raw material from which The Beatles would create their sound. Acknowledged by John Lennon as the song he most wishes he’d written, few Merseybeat bands dared to Continue reading The Beatles perform ‘Some Other Guy’ – The Cavern, Liverpool
But I had never been a writer. That was something I could never be. I didn’t have it in me to create, I could only destroy.
I was Jack Torrace with a nagging little voice inside my head all the time. Telling me to hurt, telling me to run, telling me to fly. But, mostly, it would tell me to block out everyone else from my life.
Sometimes it got so bad that I found myself projecting my face onto everyone I knew and I hated myself for it. That sneering little rat. Grinning like a gawking child, whispering in my ear like a fowl little vermin. I had become so desperately alone.
The voice was like a small black crow that followed me everywhere, that slowly grew into a flock until I couldn’t ignore the batting of wings. A slight murmur behind my back, whispers in the wind that picked up slowly then quickly, gently and then viciously, wrapping around me until the words hammered into my head and I become deaf with rage, fear and depression, murmuring. Hitting me over and over and over and over and over: Fly.
Lakhan knew he wasn’t supposed to fall for monsters anymore. Well, not since that embarrassing incident of 1987, at least. But he couldn’t help lusting after the one in front of him. The beast was, he believed, obviously male, although there was no discernable bulge. He was lusciously dark, the result of deep-chocolatey South Indian genetics, with, of course, long hours toiling in the hot Indian sun, Lakhan assumed. His face was as delicious as his build, with full lips and wide-set black eyes framed by thick charcoal eyebrows. His nine arms were muscular, sexier than the arms of any two-armed man. The horned tail was to die for. With his lengthy nose and prominent chin, both geometric in their sharpness, the beast’s face was as angled as Lakhan’s was round.
Monday. The doctors’ surgery on Bennett Street. The place is heaving with the ill and the frail, the skiving and the mad. The loud-mouthed receptionists keep order, spitting bile at anyone with the temerity to question their authority.
Coming out of one of the doctor’s rooms, inching his way towards the receptionist’s desk, Mr Henderson Flint, leaning on a zimmer. Henderson Flint. Five foot two of crumbling humanity. Henderson bloody Flint.
One of the whip-handed receptionists. Weary. Exasperated.
‘Can I help you, Mr Flint?’
This one, worse than the rest. The Dragon Lady.
‘Busy today?’ Henderson says, cheerily.
‘Yes, Mr Flint. Now what is it you want?’
A disdainful glare cuts him off at the knees. Henderson feels the tension in the air around him rise. He leans into it, resting on the front bar of his zimmer. Holds the glare of the Dragon Lady with one of his own.
‘I need you to phone me a ride home,’ he says.
Carlos Thornton Williams squired his cherry red 1966 Chevy Impala down the Henry Hudson Parkway. The trip to Manhattan served as his weekly retreat. He was a Bronx baby and the Imp was his Bronx baby. Both were totally fueled. His octane of choice was Muscatel.
Cruising the highway he reserved one eye for the road and one for the cops. It was a fiscally sound principle to find cops before they found you. You didn’t need the Wall Street Journal to tell you that. He savored the last sweet drops of Muscatel licking the rim of the bottle neck as a man crossing the desert would if reduced to the last drops in his canteen. The drive to lower Manhattan was his pilgrimage to the altar of jazz, the Village Vanguard. As he breezed through the Bronx and Manhattan he would often glance at the apartment buildings that formed the urban shrubbery. He thought about the kids his age out there. They would never ever know what they were missing. They had their rock and roll and mod clothes. They had their rebellion. But were they really cool? No. They Continue reading Chevy by Charlie Coleman
Who is my Miss Universe? I once ran product from an office in the Gnash nebula, from Gnash to markets in the systems in the north. We were shipping dollars, packaged with engineering, collateralised by the land rights. There was a bit of a speculative boom going on around then, but not all of it dumb stuff. People were paying enough.
The MI was done by this bored looking gal, who let slip she was the brains. No looker but quite interesting, hair the colour of Mars. We gave it a go in the lunchtimes before she trotted back to her childhood sweetheart who did something boring with funds on the other side of the zone.
Well, I was being bugged by the pricing. We were covering ourselves but boom to bust is like day and night. The MI was a bit dreamy, does not often happen that I do that to someone; so I asked her for a full conjecture on the pricing.
I asked her out of bed, she said nothing. I asked her later in bed. It had been okay, nothing special except she had clung to me a little tighter and looked a little dreamier. So I brought it up, more as something to say. I’m sometimes at a lost when it comes to romance. She nods and says let’s do it. I thought this might involve more action, so I looked encouraging. She unclasped herself; Continue reading My Miss Universe by 2010
The smell of hamburger, onions, and stale cooking oil was everywhere. We, my partner and I, stood in the kitchen of an empty restaurant staring at him in mute silence. Hanging out of the air duct above the fryers—one big bare ass. Glaring white, almost glowing in a neon way, dangling like raw meat in the air above our heads. The idiot tried to rob the till of a restaurant by taking clothes off and rubbing his body with oil so he could slide down an air duct above the deep fryer. I thought I’d seen it all as my partner, Frank, frowned and grunted, “Tough way to order carry-out.”
But there was more.
How do you get a dead stiff out of an air duct?
” … Nessun maggior dolore Che ricordarsi del tempo felice Nella miseria.”
(There is no greater pain than to remember a happy time when one is in misery.)
Dante Alighieri, The Inferno
Richard entered the next room as the door locked behind him. A quick assessment of his surroundings produced two noteworthy observations. First, he could see an exit across the room, and second, he was not alone. In the center of the room an older man stood hunched over a bathtub, cutting into a pale mass with a circular saw. Blood streaked the shower curtain and floor. The resonating wails of the blade and the stale reek of old meat filled the confined space like an animal trapped in too small a cage. The man looked up, stared straight at the newcomer, and turned back to his work.
Richard could feel his resolve beginning to falter, but he had to keep going. Stopping now, even if that were an option, would render meaningless everything he had endured to get this far. He had to press forward. Forgoing fear and further deliberation, he moved. Having to turn sideways in the narrow space to pass behind the man, Richard made sure to avert his eyes from whatever gruesome labors were being performed. The pitch of the saw’s scream dipped sharply as if its blade were struggling through something especially dense. Richard lunged for the door, which upon opening remained ajar. It did not slam and lock behind him, as had all of the others.