:: Article

Barking to Woolwich, the River Way

By Alan McCormick & Jonny Voss.


Big taxi mouth, Barney Eggleston, got himself and his pooch kicked out of a London cab for mouthing the dirty. Not only that, but a big tit was dancing on the roof of the cab and taking the St Michael, so he let it have one with a five note concord straight in the beak. A right bloody mess. In the melee, his pooch only went and got himself on the wrong side of the river.

After things had gone down tits up, Barney was straight on the blow to his missus: ‘Andy, listen up; the dog’s bollocks only gone and got himself on the wrong side of the river.’

‘What you bleedin’ on about,’ she screamed.

‘Prince has only gone and got himself …’

‘I heard you the first time, cattle brain. I just don’t know what you’re bleedin’ on about.’

‘Look, Andy, he’s got over south side of things, and I don’t know how he got there.’

‘Well, you’d better get figuring, that dirty pooch cost a cow’s arse lick.’

He wasn’t sure what Andy meant but his brain had bigger beef to fry. He tried to reason out things in a thoughtful way: ‘It’s like that thing about the fox and the chicken and the eggs and the boat.’

‘What you bleedin’ on about now?’

‘I’m meaning, it’s like he’s the chicken and the fox is me, and . . .’

‘Fuck off with all that,’ shouted Andy, throwing her receiver down.

Barney put away his blower and whistled for his pooch to come on over. But then he remembered the pooch couldn’t even swim a doggie.

‘Stay there, Prince, my lad, I’ll come to you,’ he shouted. But too late: Prince had gone off to use his return ticket on the ferry.

Barney was waist deep in Thames pong when he saw the ferry come towards him, and it was then that he remembered that he couldn’t swim either. His phone rung; it was Andy: ‘The fox would eat the chicken, you ponce. But don’t get any fancy pant ideas about cooking up Prince,’ she screamed, before a circling swirl of water sucked her and Barney down.

And then a curious stillness, save a few bubbles popping up on the water’s surface; and the sound of a passing dog howling into the heart of the river.


Alan McCormick’s stories have appeared in many places, including the Bridport Anthology, Matter, Decongested Tales and Litro, and on the net at dogmatika, DeadDrunkDublin, nthposition and Pulp.net. His illustrated work with the artist Jonny Voss can be found at 3:AM and Scumsters.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, January 11th, 2011.