Life turns the page

First rule of comics: short words are better, even if you have to get one from a different language (source)

The river ran oily black beneath the bridge. Above it, the sky was golden, a uniform glow that cast no shadows. Alongside the river and on the bridge, people walked or drove, going about their ordinary business. There seemed nothing untoward about the day; although a disinterested observer with the time to notice might have commented that despite the apparent size and wealth of the city, its inhabitants here at the centre were sparse, not crowding the pavement or queueing at lights.

An enormous BLAAM! filled the air. Only a single citizen happened to be looking that way at the…

Jennifer enhances Leonard’s garment (6,4,8)

Do yourself a favour and listen to this (source)

“Hey, Christine, what size are you?” Molly called from the back room.

I’ve told her often enough, but she never remembers. “Ten, why?”

She held up a raincoat from the pile she was sorting through. “What do you think?”

There were no customers in the shop just then, nor any potentials outside that I could see heading for the door. I left my station at the till to take a closer look at the what Molly was showing me. I could see why it had caught her eye: this was a cut or two above anything we’d expect to come…

Invisible escapement


Davey was nearly four years old when he dismantled his first clock. That is to say, the first time he dismantled a clock: the clock he took apart was not his, not by any means.

And indeed he did not take it so far apart that it would not work. Having opened both the attractive crystal-glass front door and the less promising painted back, he unhooked the pendulum and undid the two screws that held the timekeeping apparatus in its block of decorated slate. …

The teas that bind

A cup of tea, in a mug. And another one with it

“Would you make me a cup of tea, please?”

It’s your own fault for offering, I told myself as I navigated by touch towards the kitchen. I didn’t want to cause further disturbance by turning on a light. A three a.m. feed was hard enough to handle without further wakening the poor blighter. Or the baby.

We were still getting used to our new life as a trio. Life as a duo hadn’t lasted very long: at least, neither of us could remember much of it. We drank coffee, not tea, but I knew there was an opened box at…

Going with the flow

Thirsty workers

Four-fifty a jar, thank you. Pure, unfiltered, pasteurised honey, from the flowers you see around you. I know, not everyone pasteurises their honey, but I do. There are arguments for and against. To me, it seems safer. Maybe I’ll tell you about that.

My name’s Queenie, but I’m more of a worker, ha ha. I thought I’d get that one in first. I’ve heard all the jokes. All of them. My parents liked the name, that’s all. Maybe it’s why I developed my interest in bees, and maybe not. I don’t remember and they’re not around, so nobody knows.


A piece of history

Living on the edge (source)

When I was a kid, I had this big cardboard box. It was my favourite possession; I practically lived in it. Come for a little walk, I’ll tell you about it.

It had been packaging for a television set. This was back when TVs were almost cubical, and heavy too, so the box needed to be big and strong. When it was delivered, I wasn’t interested in television, I just wanted the box. My mother asked the delivery men if we could keep it. Could we? They were overjoyed to have one less piece of rubbish to dispose of. …

Shylock Homes has a premonition

Who are you looking at? (sauce)

“Your eggs have gone cold,” I said as Shylock Homes appeared at the breakfast table. However, a mere glance at his appearance told me that he was not about to eat. His eyes were wild, his hair dishevelled, and he was still clad in his pyjamas. He was muttering something, over and over, that sounded to me like selphy. Sell Fee?

He snatched our copy of The Times from my hands and leafed through it in agitation. “Notebook, Watsup,” he instructed, waving at me. “Dream.”

At once I abandoned my own breakfast and reached for the notebook and pencil that…

Making a hash of things

No sauce (sauce)

“Will there be some meat in it?” Sasha looked hopeful, eager.

I had hoped she would be eager to try my vegetarian fare, but no. “No,” I said, fixing the same grin on my face that I thought I could see on hers, “that’s the point.”

All of my family were out for the day; Sasha and I were alone in the house. She was, in a hesitant fashion on both sides, my girlfriend. That was how I thought of her: in italics, not in quotes. Today I was thinking of where my culinary expertise might lead us. …

How did it come to this?


James looked at the egg. The egg, it seemed to James, looked back at him. Of a sudden, James was not hungry.

How did it come to this? he wondered. There had been a time when he was always ready to eat. In his youth he had been regarded as a trencherman, able to complete any number of courses, any size of serving. Now? He felt outfaced by a single soft-boiled egg. He picked up the slice of thinly-buttered bread from his plate and nibbled a corner. I’ll have this first. Maybe then I’ll feel better.

But he did not…

But I think she knows

A picture of my subject would be intrusive, not to say creepy, so instead here’s a recent production from the same studio

She walks in beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and — No. She’s better than that.

She walks like God took a Barbie doll, boosted it up to human size and down to human proportions, checked its articulation and saw that it was good, breathed His most precious life into it, then turned the job over to some minor angels to dress. The upper-half angel did a good job, adding nothing to spoil her harmony. The unmemorable sweaters or coats always match the weather. No make-up distracts from the infectious warmth of her permanent smile. …

Stuart James

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