Belly, in Best British Short Stories 2020

Belly, which was published in Ellipsis Zine in 2019, is included in Best British Short Stories 2020 (Salt Publishing). Thanks to Nicholas Royle for selecting it.

Vanessa couldn’t believe her luck when Reggie asked her out. I’ll treat you to a Nando’s, he said. He drove her to the West End in a silver Volkswagen Golf GTi. Vanessa didn’t dare ask where he’d got it. They abandoned the car down a side street off Charing Cross Road and ran laughing towards Trafalgar Square.

Read the rest in the anthology, available from Salt, or online at Ellipsis Zine.

The Maybe Box

The Maybe Box is about Bee, a department store supervisor who is determined to keep making beautifully decorated boxes out of the cardboard she salvages at work, all the while denying that they are works of art:

Jamshed the warehouse supervisor collects the used boxes for me, and if they are partly crushed or torn all the better. He approaches me with a mountainous pile of cardboard, origami-like folds and perforated edges not quite meeting after careless use.

He helps me compress the cardboard so that it fits inside my suitcase.

‘There you go, Bee. Is that enough to keep you going?’ He beams at me.

‘Definitely. Thanks, Jamshed.’

After work I go home, make dinner and feed the cats. Des knows he will have to wash up – I have work to do in the basement.

I open the suitcase and the cardboard springs into life. I close the curtains and turn on the old Anglepoise, directing the light out into the room and onto the sheets of paper pinned to the wall: I’ve sketched out the spaces and angles of the boxes that live in my head.

You can read the whole story in King Ludd’s Rag #2, September 2020. Print copies are available from the Malarkey Books store.

Thanks to Alan Good & Malarkey Books for publishing it.