Sam stares up at the giant letters above him, lit in neon. XLR8. He looks at the scrote who took his money, leaning back with a girl on his lap as he chews gum and waits for a man of about 60, with mutton-chop sideburns and tired, mean eyes, to pull down the safety bar.
Tonight I sleep in shallow waves, like telephone wires alongside a motorway, never quite letting go. I briefly dream of Evie and then wake with a start as Norris starts hurling abuse at an arguing couple one aisle down.
I just noticed I passed 2,000 likes today, exactly three months after starting this nonsense. Thank you so much to everyone who reads. There are far more of you than I ever imagined.
Alexander slurps on his Pepsi as he waits for the call, his van idling with a rhythmic grumble in the dark lay-by.
‘Who the hell are you people?’
Laura suspects she blacked out, but cannot be sure, or at least cannot be sure she is awake again.
I hear the accusation, though it is never spoken, never actually presented to me. It is evident enough though, obvious in your involuntary glance away. The eyes tell a thousand truths the mouth dare not.
This has been coming. I feel like I’ve been running on empty for a few days and so, after 86 consecutive days of new fiction, I have to bring the run to an end.
He pauses at top of the stairs and takes a deep breath before descending. As usual, he has forgotten something, but if he is quick, retrieves the stool from the kitchen without delay, his nerve should hold.
Brent Overton looks out of his window for two hours at the same time every day. The view is nothing special; a quiet residential street in north London, and if only the houses on the […]
We watch other people’s children
Mourn their futile endeavour,
As feeble dams break and the tide
Takes their cherished castles.
It’s taken ten years,
my status as father
Jess spins the globe on Alfie Twitch’s desk and stops it at random with her little finger.
‘Huh, Luxor,’ she says, peering at the tiny writing. ‘Ever been there Alfie?’
‘Where’s Luxor?’ he says, still staring at the painting of London At Night above his desk. He has found himself counting the stars.
‘Egypt, you twonk.’
Part 2 of today’s Oupilo Special and this is from last week and the day Article 50 was triggered by ‘Prime Misadventure’ Theresa May.
An Oulipo double-header today. Part 1 – Trump’s latest tweets rounded up so you can see what’s been falling out of his brain in the last seven days.
Ed isn’t entirely sure quite how they arrived at Sainsbury’s Local. He assumes there was walking involved, and before that preparations will have been made, such as getting dressed and cleaning teeth, but exhausted, the world swirls ethereally in front of him
Laura doesn’t even need her nails doing. After yesterday’s encounter with the furious Chinese man, she took a bus into Morden and had them filed and polished by a young lady with a stud in her temple and the words ‘anti-fascist’ tattooed above her top lip.
There isn’t the terror in his eyes that I was expecting. It’s more pathetic than that, like he can’t decide whether to plead for my help or ask why I pushed him in the first place.
‘I don’t usually do this sort of thing,’ smiles Jess.
‘What, kill people?’
‘Oh no, I do that all the time. I just don’t usually tell them beforehand.’
Susan’s Nail Bar is sandwiched between a bridal shop and a defunct Blockbuster in a scruffy parade of shops set back from the A24. Walking past Abra Kebabra, Laura notices she is alone and now that she thinks about it, she was alone yesterday too.
It’s taken two stops on the 5.12pm from Waterloo, but Alfie Twitch finally catches the eye of the girl sitting opposite. He smiles and asks what she is reading.
‘The Girl On The Train,’ she says.
‘Oh, the irony.’
She smiles a wan smile and returns to her book.
Keith is smart, quits the 4am starts and high-stakes gambling with the nation’s mortgages for a country reboot before the breakdown. He buys a van, a ladder and a squeegee. Life will be simple.
You can tell when there’s real trouble because Morrisons goes quiet. People stop hollering and fighting and for a few blissful moments silence blankets the cold, metallic shell. Then, there is the unmistakeable click-clack of boot heels marching up the frozen foods aisle. Someone’s getting it today.
Jarrod calls me over to his desk. Jarrod writes Game of Thrones fan fiction and since seeing me read Vonnegut in the canteen, has me pegged as his literary friend.
Alfie Twitch is always switched on, never offline. Out-of-office makes him sick. Alfie Twitch is always moving, always manoeuvring, invades personal space, is handsy, your best friend, really wants to hear about your weekend.
Oscar stands on the landing for a few seconds, staring at the blue wall, his breathing heavy with a hint of drool. His four squat legs threaten to buckle under his barrel torso. Climbing the stairs is gruelling these days.
I walk back down the 86 flights of steps and look for Tyke in the basement of Tower One. Tyke’s name isn’t really Tyke, but he’s from Yorkshire and I can barely understand a word he says. He’s carved out a niche in this Brave New World by acquiring knowledge
Although this site has existed since 2015, I barely touched it before this year and only figured out what to use it for in January.
Steve: Where’s Eric?
Dave: Floating in a paddling pool three gardens down.
Steve: What? Why?
Dave: The kid was flailing his arms around like a lunatic, so he bum-dropped him.
My second attempt at Whiteout Wednesdays. Thank you to Black Cat Alley for this week’s text. I’m going to call this one ‘Donald Trump’ and is redacted from a poem called February Elegy by Mary Jo Bang. You should have a go. It’s fun taking words away rather than putting them on the page once a week.
The reassuring aroma of freshly-cut grass and freshly-baked pies wafts across the ground. George watches on from square leg as the spinner stands at the end of his mark, tossing the ball from hand to hand, a reflex as natural as breathing, contemplating his next move.