Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

Mercy’s Corner

Posted: May 13, 2012 in Short Stories

The smell is disgusting.  The mixture of piss and decaying meat is how I imagine a month-old corpse to smell. You know, a corpse that’s been left to bloat and fester undiscovered, like that chap in Brixton I read about last week.  They only found him when a cat was spotted playing with a gnawed-off finger. When they got in his flat, he was just a nameless lump of rotting flesh.  His eye sockets were writhing with maggots.

I stare at my father slumped in his faded Queen Anne chair.  A bottle of Bells lies abandoned by his side, its backwashed contents seeping into the carpet, staining old stains.  I paid £12.99 for the whiskey at the Polish shop down the road, it’s cheaper at Tesco but the walk is too dangerous. It’s never worth getting dog shit encrusted on your soles, just to save £1.50.

How easy it would be for me to hold my hand over his mouth, to pinch his nose and watch him struggle with his alcohol-numbed limbs.  That would put us both out of our misery. That would mean I’d have to touch him, though, and I’d only do that if armed with a gas mask and industrial Marigolds.

He never eats, just glugs his poison before pissing it out into his trousers.  Sometimes I wonder if when the cirrhosis does finally finish him off, whether his body will decay like a normal corpse. I’m sure that all the booze he’s drunk will embalm him from the inside-out, and preserve him for evermore. I could keep him then. I’d wash and shave him and dress him in his smartest suit, the one he wore to Mum’s funeral. I’d play his Bobby Darin LPs on Grandma’s old gramophone whilst we played dominoes. Just like we used to.

Joan Collins winks at us from the TV screen. The foam pads in her gold Lamé make her look deformed. Her lips are stained with L’Oreal’s Cherry Passion; she looks like a whore.  My Dad’s had a soft spot for Joan ever since he saw her on the cover of Tit-Bits back in ‘51.  That’s why he married my mother; he always said that with her hair up, she looked like Joan, only with chunkier ankles.

I’ve laddered Mum’s stockings again. She wouldn’t be happy with me.  As a child, I would sit on the floor and watch her as she put her tip-toe up on her dressing table stool. The stocking would be crumpled around her ankle, as though her leg had discarded it like a snake skin. She’d pull on baby blue cotton gloves and delicately slide the nude silk up her leg, before securing it with straps at her thigh.  I loved how these stockings changed her skin; all her blemishes vanished under a silken illusion of perfection.

I always try to be as careful as her when I put on stockings, but I guess men’s hands will never have the delicate touch of a woman’s. My fingers are calloused and rough from years picking litter and cleaning the cobbled streets. I’ve got an old pot of Mum’s Ponds Cold Cream locked in my bedside draw that I put on my hands every Friday. There’s hardly any left now, though, so I use it sparingly.

Dad saw me once, dressed in Mum’s Sunday best. It was a blue viscose tea dress, sprinkled with small white flowers. I remember her wearing it the Easter before she died.  All the men stared at her as we walked to church. I didn’t like them looking at her like that. I spat at them when her back was turned.  I wonder if I look as beautiful in it as she did.

I was getting the meatloaf out of the oven when I felt his hands on me.  He cupped the curve of my buttocks as I bent over, murmuring her name. I’m not sure if he knew it was me and not her. Either way, he didn’t seem to care. I heard him fumbling with his zip. I stayed bent over and clung tightly to the hob. Maybe my plan would work after all. If he thought Mum was still alive, maybe he’d stop drinking. Maybe he’d get better.

 

I am the flash

Posted: February 5, 2012 in Short Stories

As she chewed her lank hair, I thought how child-like she looked. If it hadn’t have been for her full breasts, their nipples hard from the breeze lapping over her naked torso, I would’ve reckoned she was no more than twelve years old. There was a child’s vulnerability behind those watery eyes. It made me want to hold her, and yet something was holding me back. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the gun she held nonchalantly in her hand that stopped me, but her defiant look. It was then that it struck me; this pitiful creature believed that she was in control. Laid bare to the elements her body was free for whoever wanted to look, yet she felt empowered.

Crouched inside her freeze-frame, she embodied both the urge to nurture and to destroy. Her posture was one of power and control, yet her eyes showed a wormhole of weakness. “Who are you trying to fool?” I asked her. My voice roused her from her hypnotic state of denial, “You’re not in control. You’re not the flash.”

She rolled over on top of me, pinning me down. I didn’t resist her frustration; it meant she was listening. Her mouth snarled, but her grip didn’t embody the same aggression. She looked like a ferret – her teeth bared ready to bite and her neck ready to be effortlessly snapped. She fell onto me, her breasts pushing against mine.  Her skin was soft to the touch but, instead of feeling any sense of eroticism, I was disgusted. She was no more in control now than she was as a child, cowering behind the school bins as punches were thrown and her face was spat upon.

She abandoned the gun and held my arms above my head. She pressed her mouth against mine and ran her tongue over my lips. I opened my mouth and let her explore me. She tasted of blueberries. Her grip around my wrists was weak. Her legs straddling my waist were trembling. She pulled away from me. Her chest was covered in goosebumps. I stared her in the eye. She coquettishly hid behind her fringe as it fell across her face. I smiled at her. She bit her lip. She stroked her fingers down the side of my face.

The ferret was beginning to trust me. Silly mistake.  I reached for the gun.

I am the camera.

I am the flash.