In That Place


Our mothers arrived to collect us as school was to close early. I don’t know how the message was transmitted, as there was no mobile technology then, but there was my mother at the door with the others, their headscarves tied tightly around their ears against the wind. The storm was building on the tail of some hurricane from the Mexican gulf and lashed stinging rain against our faces.


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Something Coils

My Eccentric Friend

What Story Would You Write?

What does he have in the bag? Sculpture on exhibition at Hotel Tylösand, Sweden.

This sculpture chilled me. The man or boy seems to have emerged from the ocean. He is pale and holds something in a bag at arm’s length. The sculptor must have had a particular story in mind. Here is mine.

The man ascends the steep bank rising from the shoreline. His head appears first over the grassy embankment. His hair is short and pressed damply to his skull, so his ears seem unusually large and stand out from his head. You note that although his nose is not quite straight, no features are striking. Nor is his body distinctive. He is slim but not muscular and you can see that his upper torso is smooth and hairless, because he wears no shirt. You are not alarmed by his partially dressed state, for although it is late, at this time…

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The dogs woke us last night to tell us that our recalcitrant cat Sebastian was back.

Picture this – we are in the bedroom – door closed. The dogs are in the hall outside the bedroom – door to the kitchen closed. Sebastian and Sascha, our cats, are in the kitchen where the cat-flap opens to the outside world.

Seb, in the dead of night sneaks off to the cats’night club at the corner. Some stray tom shares a few snorts of catnip. Rolling home, Seb fancies a takeaway, grabs one from the colony at the corner of the street and carries it home.

Sascha catches him sneaking through the cat-flap and gives him what-for for being out so late, hanging out with his good-for-nothing mates and bringing home a stinking, greasy takeaway. She snatches it from him but drops it. The takeaway blinks and scoots away across the kitchen floor.

This wakes the dogs who want to join the kerfuffle, but frustrated by the closed kitchen door they scratch and howl outside our bedroom. I play dead to the world. Jimmy gets up.

He opens the door to see Sebastian tearing his supper away from Sascha while muttering – claws off – go out and get your own takeaway you good-for-nothing, lazy wee scumbag.

Jimmy grabs the now cold, and half eaten takeaway, and drops it into the toilet. Still high, Seb protests sheepishly, Sascha smirks, the dogs giggle behind their paws, and convincingly, I snore.

Morning comes and I get up to find the dogs sniffing around the kitchen – pointing their noses accusingly at Sebastian, now sober and sulking, and Sascha nonchalantly licking her paws. Jimmy is awake and grumpy. In the toilet I spot the floating remains of a dead mouse.

James, I shriek, can you never remember to put the lid down.