Echo

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When she ordered books she gave one name, when she ordered food she gave another. She gave a different name again when meeting friends, and had another reserved for family. There was one she used only for book clubs, but many for when she went dancing. And one or two, slotted between, which she gave only to police.

She always paid cash; she possessed no credit card.

It was not easy to keep track of so many identities, but she managed. She did not see that she had a choice.

The list grew longer and longer, like a scroll in her head, and on her deathbed there was great confusion as everyone remembered somebody different, somebody more like themselves.

Preclusions

I would like to spend more time studying drunken dialogue but the problem is, in these situations where there is drunken dialogue to be witnessed, I myself am always too drunk to study it soberly and with the necessary detachment.

The Master Class

Feel like one last sweet treat to farewell Easter?

Try listening to my short story, The Master Class, read by Holly Myers, as part of Quart Short Literary Reading Nights.

Something is not quite right at this bakery…

 

Novelties

She wanted to grow up so she could eat Milo straight from the packet, stay awake till 3am, and decorate her room with stars.

She wanted to put monkey bars on the ceiling throughout her entire house and flood the hallways with water – her own jungle gym.

But now that she’s done it, she is ready to grow down again.

Oh, Lordy!

Even with the door shut I can smell the overpowering fragrance.

It resembles frangipani, only it is repulsive.

I have trouble getting to the door because of the smell, and when I grab the handle it flies open, propelled by the force of the vile stench within. I enter the room, moving through the still air like it is, in fact, a hurricane.

I locate the air freshener.

It’s a new device, in the shape of a Ferris wheel, with a big handle protruding from the centre. Around the sides are different holes, allowing for varying strengths of smell, and each strength has a label. I can now see why it smells so strongly: it is set to Oh, Lordy!

Germane to the Head

The first bust lost its nose and had another nose affixed to it.

Or, rather, the nose of a second bust lost its face and so was affixed to the face of the first bust.

Therefore there is both a nose without its face and a face without its nose somewhere in the world, and no matter how much each piece longs for it, they will never again be reunited.

Additionally, there is a nose and a face that will be wedded together for all of time, whether they like it or not.

On Drinking Wine: A Revelation

The nice thing about sharing a bottle of wine with five people is that you can drink a bottle of wine without getting drunk.

The bad thing about sharing a bottle of wine with five people is that you drink a bottle of wine without getting drunk.

Containment

She didn’t like to talk about herself unless she trusted the person she was talking to, and even if she did trust them she still didn’t like to talk about herself because she didn’t know how long she would continue to trust this person, and the thought of someone she didn’t trust carrying around pieces of her, moving further and further away from her (as they invariably would if she decided she didn’t trust them), terrified her into silence.

The Error of Repetitions

It is strange how things repeat themselves, especially when you’re so certain that they won’t.

Like when you go to the fish and chip shop on a Monday night and find it closed.

‘We’ll remember next time,’ you say to each other, thinking you’ll never forget standing out in the cold, peering through the windows into the empty displays that usually house fresh fish. Your stomach growls as if in confirmation: it is as angry as your brain at your stupidity.

Because this isn’t the first time you’ve done this.

Six months ago, you found yourself outside the fish and chip shop on a Monday. It was late, and you were hungry. ‘We’ll remember next time,’ you all said, ‘for sure.’

But you didn’t.