The Dirty Window: A Short Story
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But you have nothing.
A story any number of women could have told. You had a story. What a story. You could have done something with that. You could have made something special from that. And now all you have is silence. You have one line. The opening line. The soft lift of the wind splayed her hair, distracting the riders. You think of that line in her silence. You think of the disapproval in that quiet.
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You think of what she has told you and what she would not tell you. You think about what that means. You write the line anyway. A day or a week or a month later. You write that line and you write several more. It is silent as you write. You wonder if she will break her promise and speak to you again.
The Dirty Blanket – Short story
Tell you to stop. She does not. She is silent and you write more in that silence.
You take it for complicity. You write a page, a further page. You write line after line. You fill further pages.
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You try to talk to people who knew her, but they will not speak to you. Most are dead anyway.
You save your documents and back them up to a flash drive. You decide to visit the Isle of Man. In the wind and squall, in the rain and temper, you hire a 50cc and an all-black helmet and retrace her tyre-tracks. You stay at the same inn she did. You edit your pages sitting with a pint of beer in the window seat of an unfriendly pub. And she says nothing. Not a word. You write her name and hope to hear her, but you only hear the chatter at the bar, the low tin of the radio. You write the last line there. You have finished. You are elated. If they have any stories, any recollections.
Every one of them does. The barman, the woman drinking gin, the man necking Guinness, the pot-washer and the man with the dog. They tell you stories you have already heard, stories you have already written. And each one of them has your voice. They all talk in your voice. It is your accent, your cadence, your word-order and syntax that you hear.
Your words, even. You listen and hope to hear her voice just one more time, over your voice, correcting the untruths, setting straight the record. You listen but all you hear is your own voice, telling these old, old stories that do not belong to you. You expect that to be a triumph.
Short Story: The long flight to home
You expect that to be the moment of victory. You sit and you listen and you expect to hear her, but only ever hear yourself.
You leave the bar. Every one you pass is telling stories of her.
Every one of them has your voice. Every one of them uses your words. In the wind you walk and hear your voice and know you will only ever hear yourself. You had expected better. Posted by Stuart Evers at No comments:. Wednesday, 27 July Booker Longlist predictions. I think everyone's said that this year is a bit of a mystery; I'm not able to disagree with that.
I think there are some that are givens - Garth Greenwald and Sarah Perry - but even them, with the 'wrong' judges could fall short. I have done very badly over the last few years - I think par would be to get 5 - any more than that is a bonus.
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I still think the book to beat is Edna O'Brien. What Belongs to You - Garth Greenwall. Tuesday, 16 February Another word short story. I called mother and accused her of being a liar. Mother insisted I had it wrong. She drove me to a farm just outside Newhaven. There was Gracie. She looked deliriously happy. She turned away, and I waved goodbye to Gracie, hoping it really was her, nosing at the cloven hooves of ewes and sheep. I received a wide variety of sensible, weird and filthy ideas; but the combination of television and radio superstar Noel Edmonds and a post-Apocalyptic London was irresistible.
Merry Christmas. God help us, everyone. The right kind of tree. The word on his mind is fulsome. The word on his mind is plump. The word on his mind is proportioned. A spruce or grand fir, potted with damp earth, decked with paperchains and popcorn, the fresh blast of pine, the sharp of its needles. At its end, he hit a red button to light up the Norwegian Spruce, the coos and ahs reaching him in waves of childlike delight. What a site, that tree.