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Anything

‘I can do anything’ she said

‘Just put a crown on my head’

‘There’s four growing from my neck’

‘and I think I’m better off dead‘

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Gloves

His dirty hard fingers touch me again. In the ribs, then the back, then they slide down and I’m awake, praying that those little pills kick in. There’s enough in me, and he forced three whiskeys down me to ‘loosen up’ before he took his gloves off. They usually like me tight. He likes me as long as I’m quiet. He pays well and often surprises me with little gifts. I tell him to put his gloves back on and shut my eyes. Tight.

 

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Taught – A Very Short Story

He didn’t appreciate my writing. My speeches were too long. Too dramatic. Too time consuming.

Peck pecked at strangers words while rubbing his own pen. That’s what makes a great teacher, right?

I listened to his play on Radio 4. The characters said nothing. I’d rather listen to a gobby pissed blonde tart on a street corner than that mumbling monotone.

And as he showed me the door I may have articulated that point far too well.

 

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Kebab – A Short Story About Sally

Sally was dying for a kebab, quite literally. Her feet had doubled in size from the cholesterol build up in her veins and there seemed to be a constant thin yellow glaze of sweat across her brow. It was a Sunday night and she and Steve had usually phoned for some cheap take away by now, they had a kitchen drawer dedicated to well thumbed menus of cheap culinary delights. But on Friday she had been forced to use her phone credit calling the dole office to beg for emergency funding and disability benefit. ‘Shit’ she thought and turned to Steve. Steve had passed out on the sofa twenty minutes ago from a concoction of weed and whiskey, dropping fag ash over the cushion and snorting like a pig. She always marvelled how he would clutch a bottle of cheap whiskey like a beloved child but could burn down the house around him when lit cigarettes dribbled out of his mouth. She kicked him hard on the sole of his worn out trainer and the vibrations caused his arse to release the remnants of a dead animal’s soul into the air. Gagging, she squeezed herself out of her chair with all the grace of the Michelin tyre man skidding on oil. She grunted and pushed herself up with her pasty mottled bare hands. The engagement ring Steve bought for her in 2004 had to get cut neatly in two by the hospital last year, she’d lost circulation in her finger from the swelling and her nail had turned black and peeled off. Steve said he’d fix it but came back later in the day pissed with a six pack hanging from his thumb and a guaranteed tip on the outsider in the 4 o’clock race. The horse fell at the first hurdle.

Sally groped her way to the kitchen, her flip flops forcing sweaty mulching sounds as she went. She reached for the bread bin on the kitchen side and took out the money they had saved for rent, it would just have to be late again. She knew the bailiffs from the pub anyway so they never gave her much grief about the arrears. She grabbed her coat from the floor, squeezed into it and slammed the door behind her. The kebab shop was only five minutes round the corner but it had been a few weeks since she’d gone out so the sun began to make her eyes water. Next door’s malnourished terrier started yelping through the fence but before she could bark back Janet, her neighbour, threw open her upstairs window and screamed some incomprehensible Scottish slang at it. Janet glowered at Sally, Sally kissed her middle finger and raised it up in the air. ‘Fucking foreigners’ Sally mumbled as her flip flops slip-slapped down the road. She huffed to the corner and was smacked by the smell of the kebab shop, it was all she needed to make the extra three or so meters to the door. The odor always made her feel warm and content, probably because the paper wrappers from the last take away kebab hadn’t made it out of her front room yet and it reminded her of home. Her flip flop tripped on the step at the entrance and her big toe smeared across a greasy tile. As she balanced herself on the door frame Mani shouted

‘Same as usual Sal’s?’

‘Nah, not today Man, Steve don’t deserve nothing, he’s pissed up on the sofa again, dunno why I bother mate. Gimme a donna with all the trimmings’

Then as she noticed the browning limp lettuce in a tub behind the counter

‘Skip the green shit though, why bother with all that health bullshit now huh?’

‘Sure thing babs, sure thing’

Her mountainous ass wobbled onto a stained plastic chair, causing it to groan and splinter. She picked at her feet, scraping her nail over the grease on her big toe, then absentmindedly rubbing at the sweat on her face and wiping it all over her coat. She watched the kebab meat turn slowly behind the counter, the fat dripping and congealing. Mani started slicing, he always cut her thick pieces. She’d lost her looks over the years but he still remembered the fumble they had down a back alley in ‘96 and held a torch for her. Steve had swapped her engagement ring with Mani for a kebab and a can of coke last year and Mani promised himself when the time was right he would fix it and get down on one knee and propose to her properly. Meanwhile he just watched her from the corner of his eye and stuffed her large warm pita with random meats and chilli sauce.

‘Here ya are babs, my special, just how you like it’

‘You treat me good you do Mani, why can’t all men be like you huh?’

Sally rolled herself up with a grunt, snatched at the plastic bag protecting her treasure and shoved past another customer who had just stepped through the door.

Her stomach roared and she marched almost horizontally in the rush to get back to her chair. She turned the corner and leaned on the wall, ‘must be the pollution’ she mumbled as her lungs thundered and wheezed. The warmth of her kebab leaning on her thigh pushed her to make the last few centimeters home. Next doors terrier started leaping against the fence again and Sally saw Janet peering through the net curtains. She didn’t have time for finger flicking, her legs were chafing so hard she could have started a fire. As she got to her door she realised she’d left her keys in the ashtray next to the telly. She hammered loudly on the dirty mottled glass, hollering Steve’s name through the letterbox, her hair sticking to her sweaty red puffed face. She slammed at the door a few more times with the palm of her hand and then slowly slid down onto the doorstep. It wasn’t the first time this had happened, and usually Steve wouldn’t surface until at least 8pm. The plastic bag didn’t stand a chance as she tore through it, ripping open the soggy paper wrapped around the kebab, grabbing the meat with her fat fingers and covering her chin with dripping juices and sauce. The terrier stared at her through the fence, salivating and pining. Sally didn’t have a care in the world.

 

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Bed Toe – A Very Short Story

She’s sitting at the end of the bed and washing her toes with baby wipes, she does it every night just after the 10 o’clock news. I think her toenails are rubbing away. The soles of her feet always seem to be covered in some sort of greenish moss. I get a bit freaked out that it might be some sort of contagious fungus, but I never ask, the vinagary smell of the wipes often get me out of the bed and dressed before I can gather up the courage to. I hid the wipes a few weeks ago while she was in the bathroom, just to try and get her out of the habit, or at least in the shower, but she howled like a banshee for twenty minutes and tore the room apart, knocking over the wardrobe and smashing the built in mirror. I didn’t realise she had it in her, she’s such a small thing. She eventually found the wipes under the cat basket in the corner of the room and glared into my eyes as if she was cursing my soul to hell. I lowered my eyes and started to murmur that she must have been drunk and moved them herself but she grabbed a shard of mirror off the floor, splitting open her thumb, and waved it at my face, slightly piercing my left cheek. I called her a crazy butch lesbian in the most unmanly voice I’ve ever mustered and ran out the door half dressed and trying not to cry. I don’t think she’s forgotten, but here I am again, watching her pull out another vinegary wipe from the packet, gently washing her moss coloured toes and humming some tune I vaguely remember from my childhood.

 

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Herpes – A Bitter Love Story

She contracted herpes in 1984, just before the threat of AIDs hit the English shores and everyone still believed in free love like it was the 60’s. It flared up every time she thought of him, a big red sore on the top left hand side of her lip that oozed and bled whenever she touched it. They had divorced in 1987 when she found him balls deep in her best friend, Mandy. Mandy had curly hair and he loved it, he often made his wife wear a wig when they were having sex. She can’t ever remember making love, it was always raw and thrusting and she often got thrush for a few days after. The cold sore was just a lasting reminder of that bastard. Mandy died a few months ago, they’d made up a few years back after her ex husband eventually cheated on Mandy too for a younger curlier model. At least they had something in common and would often share stories well into the night about the bastard who left a mark on both their lips. One night, after three bottles of shared wine, they kissed and grabbed at each others tits in some sort of failed attempt to feel loved. They both remembered what happened in the morning but never talked about it and just got on with their day to day lives wondering what each other were thinking and whether or not they could be lesbian. She decided she couldn’t. She never liked the look of her own cunt, how could she go down on someone else’s. Also she’d found out that herpes could be transmitted that way and she didn’t want anyone else to be cursed with her ex-husband’s sins. That bastard was still alive though, they still lived in the same town they were married in, she couldn’t afford to move out and he had a good job in town and bought a house three streets away. She saw him often but he ignored her by looking down at his shoes, or suddenly turning heel and walking in the other direction. He was the one who did wrong so how come he still made her feel like a piece of shit that had been trodden into the carpet? She’d once tried to turn round quicker than him in an attempt to get the upper hand, but she almost walked into a lamp post and she heard him snort a laugh before walking away. One day she will make him pay, make him realise what he had lost, as soon as she worked out how to get the money that she owed the council for her studio flat in the basement of a decrepted Victorian four story house. Her top lip started stinging again so she walked to the broken bathroom cupboard for some vaseline.

 

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Fag Ash Lil

We called her fag ash lil until they found her

Heart attack they said

But her tits and face had almost been burnt away, there was no hair left and there were holes where her eyes should have been.

We figured it was how she would have liked to have gone. Cremated by the things she loved the most.

Her pet dog had eaten her toes.

 

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