:: Fiction archive ( 2000-2005, click for articles pre-2006)

Hungry Young Man published 29/01/2013

Another distraction. Another in-mind movie competing for attention with the thing that’s heart of focus for him now. He shoos it away. Holds finger to lips and attempts to becalm it to gag it to make it sod off. It doesn’t. They don’t, those white-coated fuckers. They stand there, not hearing nor heeding his outcries for silence, faces growing instead in consternation at the ink-marks that spool out on the seismograph page. Over their shoulders he peers, and can see same thing they do. The epicentre is far nearer than any of them dared think. The noise – the rumble, grumble, sonic jumble – it levitates, it rises, but sinks deeper at the selfsame time. The needle-scratch is barely audible beneath it. Still swinging his fists at all thoughts of mealtime, he has only his feet left free to try and trample this scientific worry with now. He does not need these distractions. He does not want these distractions.

By Dan Micklethwaite.

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The Aarspeth Imbroglio published 17/01/2013

It’s true that I worked for them during the second purge. It’s not my intention to excuse what I’ve done, though God knows my crimes, if crimes is even the proper word, are far less grievous than those committed by others, the ones now called patriots. As for those maimed by our activities, they will have to speak, if they are still capable of speaking, for themselves. I’m responsible for my actions, and my actions alone. I’ve been promised immunity. But from what? And by whom?

By Nicholas Rombes

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Beckett was my Big Dog published

The young man abandoned what could but have been a watery soup and sidled, wriggling towards the lavatory – the frankly disgraceful state of which Mark wished away in favour of Miranda’s fingers playing music – “Miranda’s fingers,” Philip thought to distract himself from the inevitable flowing forth – and if he’d noticed the bespectacled gentleman’s entrance he did so withoutany sign of recognition. Upon the young man’s table sat a book that Mark strained himself to see. Endgame, it said. He made a memorandum to read Endgame, surmising that the raggedy fellow needed a decent conversation as much as he needed a good meal.

By Terry Andrew Craven.

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Adios Puerto Lempira published 18/12/2012

And then you think you’ll write a poem to the soldiers, but you remember that you gave up poetry even before you gave up childhood, and besides the only poem a soldier knows is the poem of a bed offering sleep. And then you think, what is all this for anyway, the incandescence and phosphor light within, the unquenchable macabre inventory of entangling urgency, and you remember a woman dancing last night on the Rio Coco, drinking from the can and spitting every third gulp into the fire, like an offering to the god, the flames flaring up, her eyes nearly insensate with the pure joy of being alive.

By Peter Vilbig.

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Over Again Until We’re Finished published 13/12/2012

We sure were something then. Shuffle step kick turn smile turn shuffle shuffle step smile. Whenever they’d announce us, they’d say “double trouble” “two’s better than one” “the more the merrier.” Smile step shuffle shuffle turn smile step land smile. We travelled the country, the world, before we hit twenty. We lived more before anyone else had gotten around to it, so settling always seemed nice. I didn’t mind receding from the lights and the sounds and the crowds. I never belonged there, but I waited ’til my sister was good and ready to leave. She couldn’t have done it without me.

By Jaime Fountaine.

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Sky Up published 11/12/2012

Some parties are forgettable, Alyssa says, how many parties have we had this week. She turns on the bathroom faucet but does not wash her hands or look down, staring at herself casually in the mirror, listening to the water. Her big lips crack as they smile. If you’ve been through hell, keep going, she says. Alyssa feels the edge of the sharp blade of her pocket knife with her thumb, and winces just before it breaks the skin, before she hears a knock on the door. She walks outside still holding the knife. She walks a straight line in one direction, because direction is consoling, softening her focus, rubbing the bridge of her nose with her other hand before descending downstairs. The person in the front of the line, waiting for the bathroom, a girl wearing a bikini, says, Winston Churchill. The girl in a bikini says, That girl walking away holding the knife is quoting Winston Churchill.

By Richard Chiem.

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Turkish Delight​​​​​ published 05/12/2012

We walked towards Portobello Road. The Turkish Delight started to wear off by Ladbroke Grove. I realised that was the case when I tried to speak to Nick and felt my tongue tied. I was pretty drunk. I think he felt it wearing off too because he made a passing remark about how soon we would reach that pub down Portobello Road and look for Dennis Ahmed, this estate agent and pusher he knew, that would surely sort out some T.D. for us. It was sunny but there were dark clouds lingering above. It was clear it was going to rain. It was just a matter of time.

By Fernando Sdrigotti.

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Gig published 01/12/2012

He squinted his eyes at the stage in the glare of the lights, as if he were searching for something. For some reason it made Dan think of The Clash’s Rude Boy, the moment where Ray Gange seems to have an epiphany while the Clash plays ‘Police and Thieves’. Dan used to try and collect gig epiphanies as if piecing them together could form some sort of grand idea and would guide him through life. When he first watched the film he felt an affinity with the wannabe roadie. Now if he were to watch Rude Boy, he’d want to smack Ray and tell him to get up, get a job, get a life, do something. That’s when Dan had the sad realisation that not everyone can grow up to be an astronaut or rockstar.

By Allie Moh.

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The Plane Riot published 15/11/2012

There was a riot on the plane. The passengers simply could not take orders anymore. From the steward, stewardesses, or that fucking captain who they couldn’t even see, but occasionally crackled in over the tiny speakers wired overhead, first with his bullshit about why they were still taxiing around the runway semi-aimlessly after hours grounded, how they still needed to remain strapped into their seats, and remain so during take-off, during whatever that so-called turbulence supposedly was, please, remain seated, remain seated, observe the lighted seatbelt sign, and continue not smoking, continue keeping off all electronic devices, continue to obey, wait, and obey, seated, strapped, trapped, etc.

By Zack Wentz.

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Burying the Dead published 08/11/2012

Three consecutive works confirmed Rick Rank as a dog whose day had come: Sniff, Groundswell, and Blockage. Akin to syllable-points of an imploding pentagram, it was Blockage, the last and some say most revealing disyllabic that was the breakthrough, a compacted tour-de-force diatribe of dissonance, choc-a-bloc with malcontent and mal au coeur, a shot in the forehead for a generation unplugged from the literary forefront, unable to clear their throats in either jest or earnest. But now that his untimely death (at the tender age of ninety-two) has put paid to any semblance of a unified counterculture, it seems apposite that we return to the enduring conflict that divided and defined its protagonists, laying waste to their careers, consigning the best parts of their lives to profligacy.

By Benjamin Robinson.

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