There hadn’t been a dog in our family in my living memory. When I was a baby, there was Johnny – a pure bred bitser, a beast of the most patchwork genealogy possible, a hotchpotch of canine genetics that tested the limits of hybrid vigour. But he was a myth, a legend, a story drawn from the mists of time. As far as I was concerned, we were devout cat people.Read More
“We tried to warn you,” they said. “A year ago. More.”
‘Unprecedented’, the lone beacon among weasel words that shift the blame.
Will outrage stay lit another two years?
“Good morning!” The man hailing me adjusted his hearing aid with one hand and waved with the other. His neatly pressed shorts stood to stiff attention around his thin legs — more a cordon than clothing. His short-sleeved shirt and sturdy leather sandals completed the image of a man who took pride in his appearance and valued how he was viewed. Thinning white hair parted with each gust of wind to reveal the pink of his scalp. I noticed his hands as he released his small, wiry-haired dog from its leash to complete its morning ablutions — speckled with sunspots on almost translucent skin, a railway track of criss-crossing veins bulging at the surface, knuckles bent and gnarled and probably arthritic.Read More
Yet another rejection email has hit my inbox. Yet another chip has been eroded from my soul. I don’t know how rejections affect everyone else, but I assume it’s similar. There’s a level of deeply intimate, deeply personal critique in the sharp hidden edges of an email thanking me for my work, noting the large number of high quality entries, and wishing me luck elsewhere. Those words morph and reshape themselves into cheery proclamations of my fears.Read More
CN: graphic description (no image) of burned animal
I fill my glass to the brim with ice. So much ice that the water I pour in has to jostle and squeeze past, hugging corners, slipping salaciously past curves and furrows like it’s making a run for the bar in a crowded nightclub, arms high, eyes on the prize, ‘excuse me’ and ’sorry’ and ‘pardon me’ flung in every direction. I check my phone as a slow stream hisses from the fridge. Twitter and Facebook flick images of leaping flames, and singed landscapes so barren they look otherworldly, and animals, caught fleeing the conflagration, trapped in fencing wire, their faces contorted by fear and fire.Read More
Buy the finest roast coffee beans you can afford. Do not buy ground coffee, it’ll only go stale before you get to the bottom of the bag. Don’t think about the thick murky Indonesian coffee you sipped on humid mornings on the porch of a Sumatran hotel till your tongue recoiled at the muddy sludge lurking at the bottom of the cup. You’ll only long for a time before the complications that beleaguer children who inhabit the liminal space between childhood and adulthood.Read More
“Internet friends are real friends!”
We’ve all heard the claims and counter claims. Most people have picked a side. Which is inherently weird since nobody has bothered to define what friendship is, or what constitutes real friendship.Read More
He flicked the butt, still glowing, out of the car’s open window. A jogger or dog walker would stamp it out in due course.
He filled his lungs, checking his bank account with a smile. He expected more ceremony, more import to his last ciggie.
Image credit: El Caminante/Pixabay
Breathy whistles of calliope music swallowed his words.
“Come,” a silken voice commanded from the darkness. Swirling, slithering white-gloved hands led him forward. An impuissant marionette, he followed.
Behind him, a closing door’s click ushered a silence so complete his ears ached.
Released, he clawed at slippery surfaces searching for an exit, mocked by grotesque reflections of himself.