short short story

Evil you! You make me a nudger too …

She didn’t like being told what to do.  She hated it, in fact.  And he’d known her all her life: from face-to-face; from her blogging outpourings over a decade or more; more recently, via social networks and other stuff she blithely went and put out there.

So this was why, when he got her to do things, he got her to do other things she was happy with, which went and meant she actually ended up doing the things she would never have done if he’d asked her straight off.

And the latest wizard wheeze really was bewitching: he managed to get her into a position where with her very own offspring she was gladly nudging them into decisions and behaviours and attitudes and results wherein she absolutely, totally, refused to take the ownership she’d always been so demonstrably in favour of.  She had sworn by such ownership, in fact; and this evil universe was laughing its socks off every time it managed to convince her to do something she’d claimed she’d never do: something, even, she had balled out family and friends for having committed foully against her very being.

She was a fraud, that was clear – and this was exactly what the universe was aiming to demonstrate.

And it made her feel sad to be made a laughing-stock.  And she even knew, for sure it was, that even her feeling a laughing-stock was something they’d nudged her into feeling.

Nothing she did was unknown by them.

Nothing at all.  Not even who she’d fuck next.

What a horrible universe, you are!” she said.  “What a perfectly horrible universe!”


Her former experience of mental ill-health became now as clear as ever.  Her reaction of paranoia to an environment around her hadn’t been a result of an illness itself, but far more a consequence of detecting in some strange way a connecting of actions which was on full view for everyone to detect – or not (and that was not the problem …).  Maybe she had fallen ill if one’s definition of illness is circumscribed by the idea of dysfunctionality – but if it was defined by one’s relationship to reality instead, and that reality was truly as perceived, then this paranoia she had manifested was more an accurate adaptation than a deformation.

And this is why inside she wept tears of rage.

And this is why inside she occupied a cage.

And this is why her face-to-face outside never managed to properly connect with all that cage she had inside, and all that rage she now barely stomached.


short short story

Spe[aking] (on the purpose of writing)

By speaking he realised he could live, after all, without the physical affection he still would have clearly flourished round; even so, despite all, what hurt him the most was to talk about futures and find himself with people who found it so hard to do anything but look to the past that had haunted the ghosts of their ghosts.

It hurt him to think he could have another life, and maybe that life would not be just different but actually, objectively, better than now: but he had to limit himself to living in the real world where dreams cannot always fly as we’d like, and perhaps it was as well that this be the case: he had, in any case, hurt as much as he had been hurt, and the balance and credit of life could not be any other than this might indicate.

And speaking ameliorated in a way that ached slightly, for all his needs and the things he valued most disappeared in an understanding that people were worth more than the wants he had placed to that date at the centre of his life.  And if he could help others to realise themselves, in a sense he’d be realising himself.

And this was clear, and this was right.  And finally he realised, absolutely too, that he wasn’t half the man he had ever striven to be.

And this was clear, and this was wrong.  He still wished he could do far more than he had done.  But this wanting and then the doing traversed such an abyss that he felt to himself there was little he could do if it meant he was alone: without the support of someone, he really knew not where to turn.

And if his writing righted no wrongs at all, what was the purpose of writing anything?

short short story

The voice-male (NOT a choir)

The number may have been write or rong – he was unclear.  What’s absolutely certain is whoever the number did belong to, it didn’t have a voicemail.

And so the mad pursuit finally ended as it always would: with an appropriately damp whimper, not a joyous bang of … whatever bangs should reasonably consist of.

As it had always been likely to end, he now felt.

No fences to mend; no love to chew over; no neighbourly thoughts on the past.

And it was all for the best, in the end he considered.  For whilst the beautiful photo he’d stumbled across today of the beautiful woman he’d stumbled across over a decade ago had captured a beauty he assumed was still out there, his own sorry reality would attract absolutely no one.

His beauty had once figured so clearly.

Now it was time to say goodbye to the illusion of love, that was true.  Amongst the photos were photos of him.  And truly he was a man of some merit.  That was then.  This was now.

In love he was no more: he would proceed, it was clear, to die on his feet, as he clambered across the cadavers of his hopes and years.

short short story

Independence day

The universe spoke.  It was time to ignore the attractions of the past and look to a future, which somewhere might exist.

Memories were just memories: it was so clear by now.  The only real people he could rely on today, the only people who understood his place, the only people who might wish to help out … were the people he all was – and no one else.

short short story

The e-male

“Fuck,” he said.

He’d spent half an hour composing five lines of email.

Then the email address failed permanently.

“I can’t do this shit,” he said to himself.  “It’s not the correct thing to do.”

And so it was that his good angel spoke up.

“Maybe it is.  Maybe the wrong way was to have done nothing all these years.  You’ve lost a lot of your life in this way.  Maybe she did as well.  There’s only one way to find out if it’s so.  You have to call her some time.  You have to call her soon.”

short short story

Cellular lover

She once told him, his caped crusader as she was at the time of telling, that every time she changed lovers, she changed phone numbers.  She’d learnt to her cost that her love was so overwhelming, that her being was so astonishing, that her way of touching the soul of another was so absolutely dumbfounding, that no man she met or ever knew – in almost any way at all – ever forgot the person she was.

Thus it was, they never misplaced her phone number either.

Which, equally, led her to realise – in the inevitable madcap pursuit of a now-ended once upon a time – every old lover meant a discarding of every old phone number.

This also meant, of course, that the story once told – in the main, to lover of current practice – was never to be forgotten, nor unlearned.  And once the recovery process in question, long and arduous (and why not?  Better to have loved in such amazing circumstances than never to have experienced them at all …), found itself properly begun, no way would respectful ex-lover ever find it in themselves to make the call that a loving situation might require.  What was the point, after all, of phoning a number which years down the line only a stranger would end up answering?

That was just dumb.  Actually, very dumb.

As dumb as could be – and not dumb in the sense of geekily, crazily, warmly dumb either.

short short story

Es[caped] crus[ader]!!!

She was a gorgeous wonderful woman of tall slim constitution.  They had once flitted one by the other in languid quick-step along Liverpool Road.  That moment of recognition never left the either of them.  That was the moment they crossed that curiously delicious frontier between knowing each other in mutual respect and wanting to know each other in total abandon.

She was the kind of woman you never would mistake for the kind of woman you’d mistake for anything.  She was firm in her thoughts, her way of thinking; she was firm in her hold, almost manly in its power; she was firm in her opinions, but never opinionated; in the end she was firm, as were all her family, in taking life and meeting it head-on, and never forgetting the knowledge and wisdom it might offer.

And for a few intimate days – and then far more distant months – she was the caped crusader he’d never heard of: almost a woman of unearthly superpowers: at least, with him; at least, on him.  And maybe it was magic; and maybe it was more a weird latterday chemistry; and maybe it was something he’d still not worked out.

Then it collapsed under the weight of his indecision.  And things like that do not get remade unless both parties remain under the heady parasols of love’s summertime haze.

After eleven years or so, for him it was the case.  He did remain, every day of his life, in the haze that were the ways they had lived.

And although he could see he was moving on slowly, his life moved on much faster than he’d liked.

He realised now, for sure, that home and love would need separating.  It was a curious thing to suddenly believe in: he’d been brought up by a mother of devout Catholic belief.  He couldn’t quite rid himself of certain spasmodic actions, which temporarily incapacitated him for broader and braver and more coherent behaviours.

It didn’t happen so often these days, mind.

Nor did he really mind either, any more.

And like some DC fan, he imagined her sinking one day from the sky, her cape fluttering around him and embracing his frozen soul: and then warming him up until within his very core an explosion of light might bring to him some semblance of the roar of victory he felt that time they walked together, arm in arm along Liverpool Road, as they found themselves crossing that curiously delicious frontier between knowing each other with mutual respect and wanting each other in total abandon.