Brain Candy

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She’s back out the front door in her nighty again.

"Just taking out the recycling, love’" she chirps on her way  out the door carrying a solitary can of coke, careful not to smear her freshly painted nails.

Oh, you’ve noticed her sudden enthusiasm for recycling recently. Especially when that new neighbour is around. What’s his name? Simon. Hmmph. Even his name sounds like a sneer. Slimy Simon with his tight little cycle shorts, and his twinkly blue eyes.

Silly old trollop, making a show of herself in front the whole neighbourhood. She must think you’re blind. Oh, but you see her. It’s been like this ever since Slimy Simon moved in last month. He came round to introduce himself one night. Brought wine and cupcakes. Cupcakes, I ask you! 

The moment she saw him, she was  oozing all over him like rancid butter, tongue hanging so far out of her mouth you thought you’d have to scrape it off the floor and poke it back into her mouth with a stick. He wasn’t exactly discouraging her either; staying to share the bottle, talking about all his foreign travels and fancy, extreme sports.

You can hear their idle chatter now, her too-harsh, girlie giggles floating through the ajar door. What is she doing?

You’ve had murder fantasies about him. How you’d like to tie him up and kill him slow. How you’d like to hang him from his toes, slice him all over with a very sharp knife, watch him bleed to death…

She’s coming back in, and for a moment you have a guilty urge to hide, to become inconspicuous in some way, pick up the paper from the chair and pretend to read it. But you don’t, because you remember she’ll just look right through you same as always. These days, she doesn’t even seem to notice you’re there.

She wouldn’t have got away with that in the old days. You wouldn’t have let her. But there’s nothing you can do now. All you can do is stand and watch as your Irene goes about her business. If only you were still alive, you’d have given her what for. She knows that only too well. Has a few scars to prove it. Not on the face though. Never on the face.

Face of an angel, she has, even now ten years later. Always so meek and simple. You never thought she’d have the strength to fight back. Never thought she’d be the type. You should’ve known she’d not stand for you hurting the boy. The first time you raised a hand to him you could see her eyes burn with something hot-coal white. There wasn’t a second.

You’ll never know how she managed to clean up all that blood. Where she found the strength to drag you down the cellar, bury you, but she did. Stronger than she looks, the old girl.

You look at the boy now, your son. 15 years old. Strapping lad. He looks nothing like you, and you wonder again if he was really yours.

"That Simon one seems nice, mum",  he says and she smiles widely, ruffling his hair as she looks off into the distance.

"He’s not bad I suppose", she says, walking towards the kitchen. "Fancy a brew, love?" She calls back over her shoulder, the sun through the doorway hitting her just right, so it looks like she’s shining.

photo credit: kamshots

Filed under halloween fiction short fiction story

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Funny you should ask really because I do happen to know a story that’s glasses-related. It’s weird sometimes, isn’t it, when these things happen? When you just happen to be in the right place at the right time and some memory shakes loose from your head like that and it just fits in with the general flow of an evening’s conversation? Call it conversational serendipity if you will.

So a long time ago now, I used to know this guy. let’s call him Guy for the sake of his privacy. Well this guy, Guy, he was a real hottie. Very, very, pretty. Tall and well built. Could’ve been a model, really. Thick, messy curly brown hair, a perfect nose, cheekbones like sushi knives, and this mouth… Ooh la la! A mouth that seemed moulded by angels. Beautiful lips that curved and plumped like a michaelangelo cherub. 

The seemed to mesmerize and call to you like a forbidden apple ripe for… Uh, yeah. Sorry, got carried away there…

Like I was saying, Guy was gorgeous. One of those Hoxton types, always dressed in skinny jeans and beaten up converse high tops and outre, tight t-shirts that stopped just above his low slung hipline, so that when he moved just so, you’d got a glimpse of tanned hip bone. 

Guy also wore these glasses, right?  The kind that had the thick black frames. Like the dorky ones you see all the cool kids wearing these days, only the shades were tinted so you couldn’t quite see his eyes. And he never took them off, indoors or out. No one knew why. Everyone assumed it was an affectation, the kind of thing you do when you’re a young wannabe sex god. You know?

Now I used to run with a pretty wild crowd back then and one of the guys I knew - his name was Kev. Crazy Kev. Real meat head. Hot headed too. Would as soon spit at you as look at you. Or worse. 

First time Kev clapped eyes on Guy he hated him.

"Oi Mel" said Kev one night at some club Kev was bouncing at.  We were sharing an illicit joint and making fun of the punters. What’s with the knobhead in the shades. How can he see with those fucking things on?"

"Be nice Kev," I said, "he’s a friend".

"What you doin’ with him? He’s fucking tosser," spat Kev. "Next time I see him with those stupid shades on, I’m gonna do ‘im" 

"Aww c’mon Kev, that’s hardly fair. Just leave him alone."

"Nah, just a friendly warning, yeah?"

And that was that. I knew Kev had it in for Guy. I thought it was only fair that he knew what was coming. I went off to find him. He was in the middle of the dance floor surrounded by a gaggle of women per usual. Like flies on fresh shit they were. I elbowed past them and dragged him off by the belt-waist. “I have to talk to you now,” I half shouted in his ear. He had the glasses on.

I told him what Kev had said. “Can you not just take them off? Just for tonight?” 

"Can’t," he said, his mouth all sulky and pouty.

"Why not?" I asked. "What are you hiding behind them anyway?" I realised I had never actually ever seen his eyes.

"Cause," he said and motioned to me to follow him. We got round a corner and he whipped them off. "See?"

"Oh," I said, trying to stifle a giggle fit from the weed and my suprise.


Here’s the thing. Here’s what I can tell you. Guy had very pretty eyes. Of course he did. They were a lovely deep blue, almost indigo, large and limpid, exactly the eyes you’d expect him to have. He was also severly cross-eyed. Severely. Like he was permanently trying to look at his nose.

"Well… I can see why you’d want to keep the glasses on…" I didn’t say anything more. There wasn’t much else to say really. We headed back inside.

Of course, as is the law of sod, just as we were coming round the corner we ran into Kev. “Oi, you ponce,” he shouted at Guy before I could even get a word in edgeways. Two minutes later Guy’s out cold on the floor, forehead and nose bleeding from the headbutt Kev’s given him, the glasses are on the floor being pounded into the tarmac by Kev, and I’m kneeling on the floor next to Guy, shouting. 

"You filthy animal Kev, what the hell have you done that for?" Kev just grunts and stalks back inside.

I slap Guy gently but firmly across the cheek and that seems to bring him round and that’s when I notice. Guys eyes. Kev has actually head butted him so hard that his eyes have actually corrected themselves. And fuck me, if he didn’t look perfect, sitting there all bloody and concussed.

"Where am I?" He slurred, just like on tv.

"Mate," I grinned, "you won’t believe this but I think Kevin just did you a huge favour. "

Guy hasn’t worn glasses since, but his nose is a little crooked. Kev still hates him.

Photo credit: Graham Blackall

Filed under Fiction story Nightlife

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Everyday by Saltpeter

A little slice of laid-back loveliness. Makes my heart smile.

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Patience is an old cottage crumbling

I’m not afraid anymore. This is my home now. I’ve seen the sun dapple golden through the rotting roof onto the leaves below. I’ve watched the roots strangle the last of the walls.

The seasons change and I watch them unaffected. It’s only nature. The wind howls, the rains fall, sometimes there is snow -  shimmering pretty in the moonlight, a white lullaby shushing everything it covers.

I know things. I know him. I know he brought me here and I know why. Why only he comes here. I’ve seen his nightmares - tiny arms reaching for him out of the darkness, disembodied eyes, wide, wet and pleading, the soft pitiful sobbing, the screams. I’ve seen the way his body thrashes in the strangling sheets, have smelt hot sweat and piss. He never dreams.

He is afraid. I am not. I am patient. He will return here, someday. I will be waiting. Here among the golden leaves. Guarding my shallow grave.

NOTE: The lovely Anna or @ruanna3 if you tweet, has been running a competition called Faerytaleish on her blog. Basically she’s pinned a whole load of very inspirational images in Pinterest. All you have to do is pick one (or more) and write a story (or two). 300 words or less. Ends midnight tonight. Click here for more details about Faerytaleish.

Image via Matt Sloane

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Five Sentence Fiction: Silence

Driving home from church that Sunday, packed into the car like only a family of seven can be. Even with the aircon on, the heat singes my shoulder jammed up against the window.

Daddy’s having a go at Kemi again, while she sits stony faced, body drumskin tense: “You’re no child of mine why can’t you just be like everyone else what have I done deserve such a useless child why is God punishing me…”

"Enough!" The word explodes from Kemi’s mouth stopping Daddy mid-sentence. We all sit there shell-shocked, and all I can hear is the sound of my own heart beating in my ears.

NOTE: I thought I’d give this intriguing little writing exercise from the Lillie McFerrin Writes blog a go. You can join in the fun here: Five Minute Fiction: Silence

Filed under writing writing exercise fiction short fiction flash fiction

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10 Ways To Lose Love

[I wrote this in November last year and I actually still love it, so I thought I’d share. I really want to make something more of it, maybe an animation or get it illustrated or both. My friend Graeme did do this one illustration for me, which I think is awesome. Maybe he’ll get round to doing the rest eventually.]

1. On a night out with the girls, you absentmindedly leave it by the sink, in the loos. Some other girl finds it, takes it home.

2. You leave it between the covers of a book - you can’t remember which. Maybe it’ll turn up again when you find the book, reread it.

3. You give it to a good friend for safe-keeping. She loses it.

4. You meet it at a party, you have a good chat, you exchange numbers, it never returns your calls.

5. You miss the boat. You miss the train. You miss the bus. You miss the plane.

6. It’s languishing down the back of the sofa you sold on Ebay when you moved house.

7.You have one of those dreams where you’re holding it in your hands and everything is perfect. Then you wake up.

8. A fortune teller tells you exactly where to find it. You don’t believe her.

9. It’s right there in front of you but it doesn’t look anything like you’d expected, so you don’t notice till it’s gone.

10. You have it and decide to set it free. It does not come back.

Illustration by Graeme McGregor

Filed under poetry love loss

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We should care more about our craft because we’re granted an opportunity to contribute to the world. We should care more about what we say because each time we speak, there’s someone there to listen. We should care more about our audiences because they are the ones who give our work value. We might think that design work is about you or about me or anyone else who makes it, or maybe about the things that we make and the artifacts we produce, but don’t let this way of thinking fool you. The things we make are all just excuses to speak with one another and to help one another. We are all linked, and the things that we make for each other strengthen the invisible threads that tie us all together.
Frank Chimero - The Particle

Filed under Creativity Creative thinking