“The Rug”

Even now, I can’t bring myself to tell my mother about the rug.

At some stage, every little boy has a fire phase. A fascination with the flame, if you will. It calls out to each of us at some point. And it sang its song, luring me on to the rocks, or on to the hearth, when I was about twelve years of age.

Circumstances aligned each weeknight beautifully while that fascination lasted.

My mother, my very house-proud mother, worked nights, in the bar of a theatre in the city centre. And to make it there on time, she would have to leave and head off into town in her blue Mini City at ten to seven.

Now, my father didn’t arrive home from the factory he worked in as a welder until a quarter past seven, typically. So that gave me roughly twenty, twenty-five minutes to work.

To experiment. To play. With fire.

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“The Hole”

I don’t like dogs.

But that’s not enough to do what I want to do, what I would like to do.

Maybe if it was a cat. I can’t fucking stand cats. It’s their… let’s call it insincerity, their dishonesty, their slyness. Sneaking into your freshly dug flowerbed to have a dump in the clay when they think you’re not looking. But at least cats have a purpose in mind, even if it’s just to take a shit.

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“The Descent”

“You know, pressing the button again and again like that won’t make it get here any faster.”

“What difference does it make to you?” The man didn’t even look back at George. He just kept his eyes glued to the numbered display above the elevator doors, mashing the button like he was playing an arcade game. The car was still ten floors above them, stationary. It was not descending, as George had pointed out, any faster, despite the man’s impatience.

“It makes the difference between me losing my temper. And not losing my temper.”

“Is that right?” said the man, turning around at last. “Well, let’s see.” He put his hand behind his back, reaching for the button, and looked George in the eye. He resumed pressing the button, faster and faster, fast enough that a sheen of sweat formed on his lip.

George took a deep breath.

The man smiled, registering the rise and fall of his shoulders. “Maybe you should try counting to ten.”

“That’s pointless. I lose it way before I get to five,” said George. He took a step forward and grabbed a handful of the man’s long, greasy hair, looping it around his fist until he had himself a good, strong handle. It would have been very painful for the man, George wrenching at his scalp like that. But before he could find the words to replace his screams, George had already started smashing his head into the same button he had been pressing.

By the time the man had lost consciousness, sight in at least one of his eyes, most of his teeth and many years off what was left of his sad, brain-damaged little life, the elevator arrived.

“What do you know?” muttered George, as he let go of the man’s hair and let his bloody head follow his crumpled body to the floor. “Maybe you were on to something after all.”

Photo by Max Muselmann on Unsplash

Flash Fiction: “The Fall of Everything”

“About the only place you’re going to find a smile in this world,” said Paul. “On the giant, decapitated head of a fucking fairground clown.” He slumped back onto the pile of rubble behind and let out a groan of relief. They’d been walking for days. “Lot I have to break down and explain for you in that sentence, Erin. You were too young at the time to cop what was going on.”

The dark sky rumbled and the clouds overhead opened on cue, dumping down another torrent of rain, the water taking only seconds to begin pouring in through the shattered roof of the arcade.

“Fun. Humour. Comedy. That was the first to go. People, well for the most part anyhow, got afraid to laugh at anyone else’s expense. And the best jokes are always at the expense of someone. You’d supress the laugh until you looked around first and checked the coast was clear for anyone who could have been offended, make sure you weren’t sitting near anyone fat, skinny, wearing glasses, or clothes intended for the opposite sex to the one they were born with, before you let rip. At the very least, you waited until a couple of other people were laughing first. Heaven forbid anyone should be offended.

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