Two Red Phone Boxes

A photograph of a couple grinning outside two red phone boxes. A nice but seemingly unremarkable picture. The caption beneath it on Facebook gives it further context: a passing stranger was commandeered by the couple to capture the moment just after the man had proposed and was accepted. The picture goes from ‘nice but unremarkable’…

Spat On In A Bookshop

Bookshop. Morning. The shopgirl wipes the spittle from her face as a man in a long black coat beflecks her with the bitty remains of his Full Monty breakfast. “No. Sorry, sir. Still no date on the new Game of Thrones book.” “Well, can’t you have a word?” “With George R R Martin, the author?”…

Gypsy’s Kiss

I was very cross at the gypsy even before he stole from me and cursed me for life. He was standing sentinel over the Milano Stazione Centrale ticket machines like a gnarled gargoyle over a church door, snarling and pushing at the Romanian women in long skirts who were trying a gentler tack than him…

Being A Little Bit Dirty

Five burnt matches. Some cold candle wax for the picking. Stray poppy seeds on the table from five nights ago, a tissue. Two pint glasses with tepid dregs of tap water, one with a lipbalm smear round the rim. A cushion on the floor just because. Scattered papers, some nail varnish with the lid half…