I am waiting. I’m waiting for the bus, at the shelter near the corner where the streets cross. The lights change, the cars stop. Lights change, cars stop, over and over. Passengers stare and I stare back. We size each other up.  The bus is late, but I have to keep waiting, and it’s cold and it’s damp. All the time, more cars. A stream of different colours, but they look the same. They might as well all be grey. Where is everybody going? And why is nobody else waiting for the bus? Just now, someone else arrived at the … Continue reading BUS STOP

line drying

In the end, you do some laundry. You sit outside on the battered chair and watch as the washing dries on the line. While you watch, you smoke cigarettes, and drink coffee. You flick ash on the ground. You remember how you used to drink your coffee black and long because that’s how they drank it in the TV shows. Sharp scents from the laundry reach you. As the fabrics dry, that smell becomes flowers and sweet afternoons. A friend phones. Just for a chat, they say. You tell them you’ve been busy today. Busy, busy, busy. Another friend calls … Continue reading line drying

Jodie’s Party

Handstands man wandered into the kitchen earlier, opening all the cupboards like he owns the place, looking for strong liquor. Jodie didn’t say anything. She melts for a tight body. He’s a bit thin for her, maybe, but I could tell she likes him. He doesn’t shave or sculpt his pubes, and he’s milky-skinned with a line of dark hair trailing down his belly. Boyish and manly at the same time. Me, Jodie, and the surly girls who no one knows, we were all watching him. He smiled at one of the girls. The girl just stared back at him, … Continue reading Jodie’s Party


He returned to footpaths and fields he remembered from his childhood. Once upon a time, they’d played here, where adults never roamed. In those days, they’d paid no heed to the signs, or the warnings, or the fenced-off areas. As children, they’d believed themselves the owners of all of this. And perhaps they hadn’t been wrong. © Barry Lee Thompson and ‘Stories, by Barry Lee Thompson’, 2014 Continue reading Playground

An Elegant Breakfast

I almost ran from the restaurant, dropping my dignity with my napkin, and banging my arm on a metal door-jamb at the front. I managed to catch a taxi quickly at the corner of Fitzroy Street. This, then, must be the lucky part of the evening, as foretold by the cookie. As the cab took me home, over the river, through to the northern edges of the city, the driver tried to cajole me with a light banter, but my artifice failed me. When I paid him, I felt compelled to apologise for my mood, and I overtipped in compensation. … Continue reading An Elegant Breakfast