November 9, 2012 at 3:58pm
"A dead-on depiction of early 21st Century life that soon gives way to something much wilder and stranger. The best collection of short stories I’ve read in years." - Matt Thorne (Cherry, 8 Minutes Idle, Prince)
"Funny, smart, playful, twisted and devastatingly precise" - Peter Hobbs (The Short Day Dying, I Could Ride All Day In My Cool Blue Train)
Out now for iPhones, iPods, iPads and so on:
July 12, 2012 at 9:46am
Bobo laid the parcel flat on the table and began to cut at the string with a kitchen knife, sawing gently, carefully, not wanting to shake it. The package had arrived a fortnight earlier and hadn’t left his thoughts since. It wasn’t the first. The last one exploded, spraying him head to foot in custard. The one before shot forth a boxing glove and whacked him on the nose. Why would anyone do this to him? What had he done to deserve it? He placed this one in a cupboard and tried to forget it but, day or night, he couldn’t get loose. He imagined horrors in it which he couldn’t tame. Its presence in his home adulterated every room with the damp aura of defeat. This morning, walking to work, his too-big shoes flapping, Bobo realised he had to face his fears, that this wasn’t harassment but a challenge. The string cut, the tape peeled back, gingerly he tugged at the flap.
June 13, 2012 at 9:49am
As a child, Martha was so beautiful that a slightly mournful atmosphere seemed to hang in the air around her. The sight of her forced parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, passing acquaintances, visiting tradesmen and so on to imagine and fear the many and varied ways in which this beauty would be lost or marred or disfigured: by the unpredictable stretchings of adolescence, the disappointments of adulthood, unforeseen accidents, alcoholism, bulimia, obesity, a club in the face, paedophile interference, a broken heart, car crashes, burns – the possible disasters as varied as the beholders. The one thing each person secretly agreed on was this – Martha would never again, could never again, be as beautiful as she was right now, at this precise moment. A depressing thought, the girl a walking reminder of the transience of life. One evening, no one knows how, Martha got locked in the meat freezer at her father’s abbatoir and wasn’t found until the next morning. No one said it but they thought it: perhaps it was for the best.
April 20, 2012 at 10:01am
Eventually there was an argument, but it felt like a culmination rather than a beginning. Martha had introduced her new girlfriend to her parents eighteen months before. At first they all seemed to get on well, but with each subsequent meeting their greetings were more forced, their jollity increasingly false. Martha’s sister eventually told her that her parents thought Martha’s girlfriend wasn’t right for her, somehow – that she was too aggressive and controlling and disrespectful of Martha’s dreams and ambitions. Martha smelt something else, something darker and less respectable. She severed all ties with her family. She refused to see them and she wouldn’t take their calls. Birthdays and anniversies passed unmarked. Successes and achievements as well as problems and illnesses remained unshared. With time the rancour grew rather than dispersing. That’s what rancour does. Martha, of course, knew her family were right. Why else would she take it so hard?
March 5, 2012 at 10:00am
Terry’s car was so old and cheap and shitty he never bothered to lock it. After all, there was nothing to steal, and if someone were going to break in, it was better they didn’t break any glass, which his cheap and shitty vehicle insurance didn’t cover. At some point, Terry noticed that an old homelesss man had begun to sleep in the car. He’d seen him around begging for change. His hair had congealed into a lump. His teeth were bad. His hands were deep-down dirty, the kind which wouldn’t scrub off. He looked like he probably smelt. But then the car smelt terrible, anyway, and no one was going to steal it or even break in with a tramp sleeping in it. So Terry let it go. He even felt good about himself in a cheap and shitty way. It was winter. It was really cold outside. Without having to do anything, he was doing something good.
He was less pleased with himself when he got to his car one morning and found the man still sleeping there. Terry had to go to work. He was already running late. He couldn’t wait for a homeless guy. He told him to get out, to get lost, but the tramp just ignored him. He’d either have to call the police or beat the shit out of him. Terry drove to work with the homeless guy in the car. It was true, he did stink, but when Terry opened the window his passenger said it was cold and made him wind it back up. After that, the homeless guy drove to work with Terry every day and was always there in the car waiting for Terry when he went to drive home. Terry didn’t know if he stayed inside the vehicle all day or got out and went for a stroll. At weekends they fell into the habit of driving out to the country. The homeless guy brought sandwiches. Terry was too polite and maybe too scared to ask him where they came from.