The Long Lunch

Sam had an extra hour for lunch, so he went home, and he took off all of his clothes and sat on the couch, and he massaged his aching feet. He lay beneath a throw and stared at the ceiling. He managed to think of his life as if it were a thin dark line on a large piece of white paper. At one end was his birth; at the other end, the end. He tried to think to the edges of the paper, and to see how far it went, and what happened at those edges, and it was … Continue reading The Long Lunch


No matter how many ways he tried to look at it it had been an awkward moment. They hadn’t exchanged phone numbers. The boy had said there was no need, that he was usually at the same club. Most nights he was there. ‘In that room downstairs?’ ‘Sometimes in that room.’ ‘I don’t even know what the place is called.’ ‘It’s called Junk.’ ‘Junk?’ ‘It used to be Junked, but two letters fell off the sign.’ He smiled at this. It was hard to tell if the boy was being serious. But Junked or Junk – it really didn’t matter. … Continue reading Junked

Mrs Morelli

  ‘My mother’s coming,’ said Yvonne. ‘Be careful what you say. She’s very perceptive.’ Ben nodded. Mrs Morelli walked in. ‘Hello Ben,’ she said. She lit a cigarette with the large flip-top lighter on the mantelpiece. She clamped the cigarette in her mouth, looked in the mirror, and fixed her hair. Ben watched her discreetly without turning his head. When she was finished, she took the cigarette from her lips, said, ‘There,’ and smiled at him in the mirror, so that he almost jumped. She sat on the arm of the sofa and crossed her legs. ‘Tell me about school … Continue reading Mrs Morelli


I lay awkwardly with Pauline in the tall grass, the side of my face rising and falling steadily on her chest. Henry sat nearby, turned away from us. He was picking at the scab on his knee. His hair, purple-black and straggly at the nape, needed a cut. His neck was the colour of fresh cream. He’d removed his blazer, and the flesh of his back teased through the thin fabric of his white shirt. It was easy to imagine the shirt gone. I held onto Pauline, hoping she understood why I was so still, why my hands weren’t exploring … Continue reading Blazer

Crispin’s Ring

Uncle Crispin, who wasn’t really my uncle, and nor was his real name Crispin, used to wear a large blue ring on his left middle finger. He took it off to show me, but only once. I held it and turned it this way and that, frowning, as if I knew precisely what I was doing. The ring was heavy. When I looked up, he was smiling at me. ‘It’s a beautiful piece,’ he said. ‘Don’t you think?’ ‘It’s beautiful,’ I said, unable to think of an alternative word. I held it up to the light. ‘What’s it made of?’ … Continue reading Crispin’s Ring