The Exchange

Deep in his pocket, Marcus twirled the beads of the brooch as he walked towards the Royal Exchange. His thoughts moved to the sensual feel of the beads on his fingertips and what might happen later. He hoped the brooch would do the trick. It hadn’t cost much, but it was the thought that counted. He hadn’t really been thinking… Read it

Dramatic Encounters

“Are you a terrorist?” a thin voice quizzed. “My Daddy says to watch out for black bearded men with heavy rucksacks.” The penetrating wide eyed stare had so far failed to rouse Faizal from his feigned sleep. His legs crooked even more tightly around his rucksack. No longer able to ignore the little girl fidgeting opposite him, Faizal blinked, fumbled… Read it

In The Loop

Heathrow Terminal 4 has an unusual station. It’s only got one platform, and all the trains go in the same direction, round a loop. It’s used by airlines you’ve never heard of, flying to places you wouldn’t want to go. Airport security tends to be more interested in who’s arriving than who’s already here, so as long as you don’t… Read it

Andy

“Mum, don’t stare.” “I’m not, dear.” she said. God. But everyone was looking at the six foot five giant wading through the grey sludge of home-bound commuters. The rain pooled at our feet as we clung to the spindly stem of my black umbrella, it shivering more than us in the wind. A Poundland Christmas present from a girlfriend (now… Read it

A Walk in the Park

The park was not green any more, Doolan considered, as he stepped off the tube train. He headed eagerly for the exit, head full of excitement about the Winter Sales in the hundreds of shops in Retail Park. He didn’t notice his feet being swept from under him until it was too late and he was flat on the grubby… Read it

Sick Rose

Lancaster Gate was a quick way to Paddington, through back streets. There Rose would get a train to Reading and stand beside a grave and not cry. O Rose thou art sick, Mum used to say with her Lancashire accent. Some bit of poem she’d got from somewhere, whispering as she cuddled Rose with meaty arms and the smell of… Read it

The Dedicated Follower

It’s strawberry season again. The Boys’ Final unfolds on the Graveyard Court. The prima donna fist-pumps of these proto-pros mimic what the men will be showing each other now. My lens elucidates the boys’ gestures. If either reaches that real Final someday, these images will prove the swagger that was in him all along. Above, guarded by rust-tipped ivy, Centre… Read it

Under the Arches

She senses him opening the front door, coming in, taking off his shoes. She listens as he removes his clothes, his belt buckle knocking, then silenced in a fist. She hears him padding up the stairs like the cat after waking. He pulls back the covers and when he’s lain back down it’s as if he never left. Every Thursday.… Read it

Wild Awake

We met for lunch, sitting awkwardly on the grass in our suits and eating bought sandwiches. I never considered bought sandwiches to be legitimate picnic food. You seemed edgy, picking out flabby slices of cucumber and tossing them for the pigeons. Afterwards, standing in the shadow of my offices, you tried to tell me something. It seemed important to you,… Read it

In the Snake Pit

Key to staying alive in a snake pit is stillness. People who do it for religion or sport have learned to pare the repertoire of the animated entity down to its basics. They can only allow themselves the motion of breathing. Of seeing: in the snake pit, looking is a luxury. Now and again someone falls into the snake pit… Read it

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