Monday‘s journey to work was proving to be even slower than usual. Gavin sighed, gripping the steering wheel in both hands as he inched along in the traffic queue. He stared at the commuters on foot who passed him in the opposite direction, willing one of them to look up and smile – anything to break the monotony. None did.
It was then that he saw it. The dead fox was sprawled across the pavement in a comedic pose; legs akimbo, gore spattered across the white fur of its belly, tongue lolling. Passersby stopped and stared, confused, before giving it a wide berth.
The woman on her phone saw nothing, until too late. She shot one leg into the air as if dancing the Can-can and span on the toe of her stiletto, narrowly avoiding landing in the oncoming traffic. Gavin caught a glimpse of red underwear and smiled as she met his gaze.
Like a secret.
My lips, sealed, will shroud you in darkness.
Sometimes you’ll move to remind me you’re there
warm tremors on my cheek and tongue.
Sometimes you’ll sleep for months
curled up in the cold corners of my thoughts.
Sometimes you’ll grow and choke me
like a wild thing.
Always I’ll want to spit you out.
The barman’s fat, hairy arse crack opened itself up nicely, poking free from the top of the belted, faded denim.
Bent over, big blue catering roll in hand, the freshly spilled Guinness was mopped up professionally and painlessly by the workman-like barman.
Double apologies ensued between the regular, once brimming cup holder and slightly embarrassed, less regular and younger glass nudger.
A microclimatic dramedy of conflict, revealing sexual body parts, reconciliation and resolution. Early January post Xmas perils are unavoidable but rarely navigated so beautifully.
Making up and moving on… with all of us having a little less black stuff in our vessel and the floor a little more stained than it was before.
Before the first pitch of the game, Savannah asks Nathan whether he’s ever been in love. Mouth full, he shakes his head. Savannah delicately bites into her quesadilla, ponders for a few moments, and decides she’d much rather date somebody who’s never been in love than someone who has.
Nick Lord Lancaster
“He wasn’t an ugly duckling at all. He was an ugly swan!”
It’s so quiet,
You could hear a pen drop.
You died and Facetimed me from Hell.
It’s not so bad, you said. Heat is included in the cost of rent.
That’s nice, I said. One less bill to worry about.
Ravioli is the national food, you tell me.
What kind? I ask. I prefer spinach.
Spinach, you smile. You know it’s my favourite.
So you’re okay? I wonder.
The view from my window is the world on fire but my apartment is warm and I can eat pasta all day. The devil loves carbs.
I’m okay, you tell me, and suddenly I remember you’re gone.
The thing I really like about my cardigan
Without a shadow of a doubt
Is you can’t accidentally put it on
Unlike a jumper
The woman sitting opposite me is sobbing and I didn’t even notice for the first half of my journey. Hunched over her phone she’s in a text conversation with someone and, while she waits for a reply, she dabs her nose with damp tissue and absently wipes tears from her cheeks.
The other passengers in the carriage are staring everywhere but at her.
I move forward, gently patting her knee and she looks up at me with dark ringed, bloodshot eyes. I offer an expression that says, ‘I don’t know what the problem is but it’ll be ok.’ She half smiles as I hand over the tissues I’ve managed to pull from the bottom of my bag. She mouths ‘Thank you’, before returning to her phone.
I move forward and rest my hand on her knee but she flinches and shoots me a look that shouts, ‘What the fuck are you doing?’. I snatch my hand back as she looks to the people around us for help but they’re all cocooned in their own private worlds. I smile awkwardly, trying my best not to look like a sex offender and hold out the tissues I’ve retrieve from my bag as a peace offering. She glares at them and leaves my hand hanging in the space between us. The train carriage closes in around me.
For the remainder of the journey she types furiously on her phone. At one point she tilts the back of her phone up towards me to take my picture. I’m fairly sure I’m now the topic of conversation on social media.
I think about tapping her knee to get her attention. I could catch her eye and smile, maybe tell her that it will be ok. I could give her the packet of tissues from the bottom of my bag and ask if there’s anything I can do. I do none of it. Social acceptance forces me to do nothing and, along with everyone else in the train carriage, I hope that she gets off soon because feigning ignorance is harder to maintain on the longer journeys.
The serviette says
pleasing things with appealing neatness.
It likes having specks of soup on it.
They are its opinions.
In the Great Hall, they held an exhibition
about the Circle People.
Their name came from the part of a
great wheel, and great disk,
found in the river once known as
They used glass and metal, some
stone. Their words were probably spoken,
rather than written. Little else about
them is known.