Archive for the Stories of a sort category

Winged messenger

Vow, that’s what she calls her­self. She sits in silence, because someone might be listen­ing. Watches the walls, because they could be cast­ing sly glances at her frame, hid­den beneath such unas­sum­ing clothes. Ten o’clock. There is burble and hiss. It seems the news is not good. The drought is worsen­ing; the live­stock are fall­ing […]

The sickly smell of sacrifice

Jesus had been hanging around on the cross for three long days. Frankly, he was get­ting rather tired of it. His arms hurt from all that stretch­ing, the strain was tear­ing them from their sock­ets, and he had bloody great holes in his hands. As for what all this expos­ure to the ele­ments was doing […]

Ed is dead #4

Exhib­it ES 240109/TR-pa Tran­script of voice­mail mes­sage left on Ed Scaramanga’s mobile phone: Tues­day 20 Janu­ary 13:47 Hello sonny boy, dad here. Guess you must be in one of your meet­ings. Listen, can you give me a call about your mother’s grave? Was con­tac­ted by the cemetery and some little thugs have been tear­ing up […]

Methinks it is like a weasel

She saved me from the labor­at­ory exper­i­ments, she and her black-clad com­rades. I had been test­ing vari­ous brands of eye­liner sev­en­teen times a day, and dur­ing my impris­on­ment at the hands of the cos­met­ics industry, I dis­covered that all eye­liner tastes like wax cray­ons (a product I had tested to destruc­tion, naus­ea and copi­ous vomit­ing […]

Ed is dead #3

Fears for miss­ing mar­ket research­er The Isling­ton Loc­al & Her­ald Sunday 1 Feb­ru­ary As a wide­spread search con­tin­ues for Edwin Scara­manga (known as Ed), the Isling­ton man who went miss­ing over a week ago, loc­al police have appealed once again for any inform­a­tion relat­ing to his dis­ap­pear­ance. They have also expressed ser­i­ous con­cerns for his […]

Ed is dead #2

From: Edwin Scara­manga Date: Sun, Jan 25, 2009 at 2:57 AM Sub­ject: Auto-response from Ed Scara­manga Re: hey, you there? To: Hi, Thanks for your email. Apo­lo­gies for the auto­mated response, but I’m cur­rently only check­ing this inbox infre­quently. If your query is con­cern­ing inde­pend­ent mar­ket research advice, please be aware that I am […]

Ed is dead

This is Edwin Scara­manga. To those who know him, those who love him and even those who des­pise him, he is known simply, affec­tion­ately, bluntly, occa­sion­ally with some exas­per­a­tion, as Ed. Ed is 33 years old, and lives in an unre­mark­able side street in Isling­ton, north Lon­don. He works in mar­ket research. He hates hav­ing […]

Drink to me only with thine eyes

You’re going to keep his heart in a cup. In a paper cup. So you can crush it under­foot and smear the dregs of his final pump­ing moments across these unblem­ished sur­faces, tat­too­ing the chalk out­line of him for pos­ter­ity. For forensic ana­lys­is. For the cran­ing gawpers and the chat­ter­ing rub­ber-neck­­ers who will surely come […]

Guest room

If he kid­napped. If he took in, ran through, dis­ap­peared into the night. Drove for miles, chas­ing the head­lights’ cold beam. If he was that mer­cen­ary, that knife-sharp, that undone. If he sent a ransom demand, if he summoned such bravery, it would come post­marked from a one-horse town. He would tear a sheet from […]


Once there was, and once there was not. Stor­ies start, safe in the know­ledge that they must — at some inde­term­in­ate time and some unspe­cified place — end. That’s their way. For every expos­i­tion, there is a denoue­ment. That’s their rais­on d’?tre. In between times, we scrape our heels in a slow tide of human­ity […]


Her apron strings lie limp now. These days, no one comes clat­ter­ing into the room, jump­ing up and scrab­bling for atten­tion. There are no hands ready to be rub­ber-gloved in the moth­erly love kept at the kit­chen sink until the dishes are done. So she care­fully smooths the strings on the gaud­ily pat­terned gar­ment — […]

The World’s Worst Eskimo

The World’s Worst Eskimo was sit­ting in my liv­ing-room, sip­ping from a mug of cocoa clasped between her trem­bling, frozen hands. The chat­ter­ing of her teeth quite drowned out the reas­sur­ingly dull drone of the passing traffic, five floors below, as it headed for the con­sumer­ist bright lights and a fren­zied bout of last gasp […]

Dancing about architecture

Here begins an urb­an fairytale. Stay­ing in is the new going out. It’s the new black. It’s what everyone’s wear­ing this sea­son. I don’t get out much, as a rule. Out is over­rated. Too much of a much­ness. I prefer stay­ing in, care­fully tend­ing to small out­crops of dead skin cells as if they were […]

A brief history of timekeeping

“At the third stroke, it will be one thir­teen and thirty seconds. Beep beep beep.” I should sleep. I should be asleep. I remem­ber the exact — or should that be the pre­cise? — details of where and when my rela­tion­ship with the Speak­ing Clock began. Of course I do. It hardly requires the sci­entif­ic […]

Lost souls

“Sit down, Mr. Wit­ness. Your pic­tures are back from the X-ray depart­ment. I’ll be with you in one wee moment.” This is wrong. All wrong. A doctor’s tone is not sup­posed to be this psychot­ic­ally cheery. The addi­tion of a sing-song Scot­tish accent only serves to add to the impres­sion that I am about to […]

Cloud chasers

Life unfolds on this round­about. The driver is unsure of his exit, so as he explores the myri­ad options avail­able to him, curs­ing under his breath and becom­ing increas­ingly diz­zied by his own con­fu­sion, I turn inwards to the grass island at our centre. A man in an unne­ces­sar­ily thick winter over­coat sits slumped against […]

Packed, wrapped and folded

Listen. I need to tell you this before I’m too word­less and power­less to go on, because I’m fad­ing fast. Lit­er­ally fad­ing. Gone before dawn, I’m told. So. Listen­ing? Are you? Don’t close your ears for even the blink of an eye. You will no doubt have seen the card­board box in the hall­way. It […]

See you on rooftops

A bell woke me. A bell brought me to my senses each time the day felt as if it was unrav­el­ling. And a final bell lulled me into dust particles of sleep that night. Dis­solve and dis­ap­pear with me now. When my eyes fall open, the sound of the lazy dull hub­bub of a Sunday […]

This boot was made for hiding

I don’t wish to worry you, but I have spent the last three days locked in the boot of your car, trav­el­ling with you cross-coun­­try. You are now at your des­tin­a­tion. I am cur­rently parked (as I ima­gine it) under the shade of a tree, try­ing to breathe in cool air amidst the swel­ter­ing tem­per­at­ures. […]

Stranger strange

Someone stu­pid asked if we were friends. There was a chilly silence from the assembled drunk­en masses, until the moment when you revealed an iron crow­bar kept in the lin­ing of your jack­et. Over there, a jaw loosened. Over here, a hand seized. “Did you come armed for trouble?” I asked, pulling on your sleeve […]