Evie and I live on floor 43 of Tower Three on the south side of Central Square. We share our room with a couple called Amy and Graeme. Graeme used to be a fitness instructor and DJ. He still talks about football as if it exists.
‘She’s chatting shit mate, she loves you.’
‘I ain’t chatting shit, it’s over.’
‘She is chatting shit.’
‘I ain’t chatting shit. I’m movin’ on.’
She seems a nice woman. Her kids are well-behaved, and he feels a little ashamed this is the first time he has spoken to his neighbour in the two years since she moved in.
George recalls exploring his father’s musty old study, whereupon I realise these characters are developing far quicker in my head than I anticipated. Time for a rethink…
Today I made the decision to expand The Last of Logan to a full 52-card deck. I have been tinkering with with a view to turning it into a novella for the last couple of weeks, but I realised today its USP, and soul, is as a Pokemon card deck.
Margaret doesn’t want George to come home, tail between legs. He knows that now. She wants him to find whatever it is he is looking for and come home so they can grow old together.
The Jubilee Line sways. George steels himself.
George’s room is on the basement level of the Golden Guest House. Outside his rotting sash window is a shabby courtyard, walled in by the rest of the U-shaped building and the street above. There is a broken bench and child’s bucket, bathed in the dirty orange of a street light.
Off the 171, George unfolds his map, searching for Russell Square and the sanctuary of his bed & breakfast. Distracted, he is joined by a young girl in a branded t-shirt.
Eye-contact, a smile, a quick step and she is in, walking alongside him with promises of redemption if only he will give sixteen pence a day.
The town is abandoned inside an hour. Sixteen thousand people, gone. I sit on the pavement and watch a family cram as much as they can into their car.
Dad looks worried.
‘We absolutely have to leave in five minutes.’
The 171 grumbles north towards the city centre. George’s thoughts turn to the bed & breakfast. The lady on the phone sounded friendly, if distracted. He hopes it’s on a quiet street.
I’m really sorry, but this week’s Spread the Word is a bit skimpy. My wife has been away for work all week, so it’s just been me and the kids and I’ve not had as […]
The 199 tracks the river west until Greenwich, whereupon it peels off south to Catford. George likes the look of Greenwich. He imagines it the sort of place Adam might be living had he succumbed to family life.
The end of the route takes George by surprise. He has a sense of having travelled south-east, but the scale of the city is yet to avail itself.
George starts at the beginning. Route 1. Every route from start to finish, a sticker on the window of each bus.
Come Home Adam.
There is only one Adam back home.
The bus snakes away from Tottenham Court Road, but he is nervous.
George spends much of the tube journey trying to work out why the train is moving left while the stations on the Northern Line map above the seat opposite seem to be moving right. And isn’t he supposed to be going south anyway?
Look out, I’ve thought of something.
Back in 2009, I began a quest to travel on every London bus route from start to finish and write about my adventures.
Ralf watches from the steps of the clubhouse as Sylvia squats over the ball like a sumo wrestler. She has new clubs, but is wholly unsuited to the treacherous demands of the prestigious Lesser Frampton Links.
His blue blazer confirms he is a Soldier of Christ, boarding the 139 to Waterloo. He stays downstairs – those upstairs already condemned
His camera has become an external memory device, a means to document – and fictionalise – every event in his life. Its very presence taints the purity of experience
On Saturday morning I was set a challenge on Twitter – write a short story that involved no living thing. So I had a go…
I have added another six cards to The Last of Logan, an experimental story of childhood grief told through a series of Pokemon cards, which takes us to the halfway point of the piece.
Thought it might be nice on a Saturday to spread the love a bit and post up links to some of my favourite short fiction of the last week.
In a nondescript outhouse in the joint security area of Panmunjom, Joo-won watches as the enemy completes its theatrical changing of the guard.
One of my stories – The Great Weight of Ordeals – has been featured on The Drabble today, which is a lovely old thing to happen.
Losing again. He stands and shuffles, avoids eye-contact. A deserter avoiding the rush.
We can see you sneaking out!
Through the turnstile, he hears those left behind bellow their futile chants, demanding one final effort.
Vicarious Jones was given a wonderful send-off before leaving to sprint for just under 10 seconds for his country.
There was bunting, a street party and the primary school headteacher presented him with a messy collage of the Union flag.
At half-time I ask Graham if he’s Graeme with an ‘e’ or Graham with an ‘h’. He looks at me odd.
‘What does it matter?’ he says.
‘I was just wondering, you know, if I send you a card or something.’
‘Why would you send me a card?’
When forced to work within a strict framework the imagination is taxed to its utmost - and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom the work is likely to sprawl. TS EliotFound this quote from TS Eliot this morning and it speaks to exactly what I was writing about here. Anyway, as you were...
Thought I’d practice some dialogue. It began as a 100-worder and grew. I quite like these three characters, might work on them some more. Strong language.
I hover on the pavement, waiting for my new workmates to follow me out of the building. Home is left, but I think Amy goes right. I point right.
He checks the clock. 2.34am.
He listens to the rolling tide of her breathing, and sighs. His bedside clock ticks. The boiler stirs briefly, whirring for a few seconds before clicking off into silence.