24 April 2016



She said that no one could fuck the way we had unless they were in love. I remained silent. We’d already got our signals crossed and I was anxious not to add to the confusion, but more than that I was unsettled by where this conversation was going. I’d given it my best; I lost myself in the moment and surrendered to the passion. The sex between us was good, it was terrific, and if we could spend our lives in bed everything would be rosy, but I did not love her.

  “What’s wrong?” she asked, “Don’t you fancy me?”

I fancied her alright – at least physically. She was very attractive, she was desirable, but she was complex and emotional. Life with Susan would be a series of emergencies and I was settled into my conflict free zone. I prized my independence and would not relinquish it for convenience sake – not again. I couldn’t say the words she wanted to hear. I did not love her and I never would.

  “Of course I fancy you” I replied. “You’re beautiful.”

  “Then let’s move in together” she responded.

I felt the blood drain from my face and my insides squirm with embarrassment. I wished that the bed would just swallow me up and I could disappear without a trace.

  “Aren’t you going to say anything?”

I was definitely not going to say anything. She left in a flurry of clothing and muttered curses. It was the last time I ever saw her, but not the last I was to hear from her.

  “I feel sorry for you Johnny. You’re gonna end up a sad lonely old man because you just can’t commit to anyone or anything. You’re a machine – a cold heartless machine.”

She left slamming the door at her heels. I thought that was the end of the matter but she took to calling me in the middle of the night – both tearful and angry. I took to leaving the phone off the hook. On those occasions when she caught me in I’d hang up on her as soon as I recognised the voice. I thought about changing my number, but there were my customers to think about and the all the hassle that entailed.

She’d leave me alone for a few days and just when I thought it was all over she’d start calling again. Things came to a head though when she dragged my mother into it. That really pissed me off.

  “Susan was just here – she was in an awfy state. She told me that you two are having problems. Are you alright? She says she’s awfy worried about you – that you huvnae been yourself and you won’t answer her calls. I don’t want to be sticking my nose in darlin’ and it’s no for me to say, but there’s something no quite right about that lassie...”

I knew it was a mistake to introduce Susan to my mother. She got entirely the wrong end of the stick and that was my fault. Now she was using my mum as a piece in whatever game she was playing with me. Power is a crucial dynamic in every relationship – the struggle to gain power, or to keep it, has been the preoccupation of lovers since Adam and Eve. I couldn’t be arsed with all that nonsense – whenever I settled down it would be on equal terms and unconditionally. I’d know when I met the right woman and wasn’t Susan. All she had achieved with her hysteria was to reinforce that conviction. Some things once said can never be retracted; they are steps that cannot be retraced. We had reached the end of our road and there was no going back. It was over for us and we both knew it, but she was angry and, looking back, I don’t blame her.

This depressing scenario went on for months and I was at a loss for a solution to the situation. It was Susan who gave me the idea; she wrote me a letter. It contained a confused mishmash of pleas and threats with declarations of love and hate thrown in. It was as I held the letter in my hands that I stumbled on the answer. She had drawn a heart on the envelope – a torn heart. It was the kind of gesture you’d expect from a heartbroken teenager, not a mature woman.

Susan was one of those people who care too much about appearances. She fixated over imagined slights and the opinions of total strangers. I used this knowledge to great effect. I bought some blank postcards and wrote to her...

“Dear Susan, will you please stop harassing my mother and I. My mother has been very kind to you in the past and I have been patient with you, but that patience is wearing thin. If you don’t stop calling us I shall be forced to seek legal advice. Yours sincerely - Johnny.”

It worked a treat. Susan never called again and there was no more schoolgirl correspondence. I later heard from a mutual friend that she was totally bent out of shape by the thought of Bert the postman or the good folks at the sorting office reading my postcard and perhaps forming an unfavourable impression of her. She left me alone because she dared not risk another postcard.

At the time I told myself that I never made any promises – so I hadn’t broken any. I even cast myself as the victim and Susan the villain of this sad chapter. I told myself that I was honest in my dealings with women, but now I know that the worst of lies are often the ones you conceal from yourself.


21 April 2016


The consumption of dates with my Cocteau filaments triggered my gag reflex and I filled the scheme with opiated bile. Smell that? That’s the stench of crazy. I reek of crazy. That acid burn on the mucous membrane screams obscene in my oesophagus. Each wretched convulsion produces another phase of scatological diatribe. But the words; the words are mystic. I savour the words as truffles exhumed from excrement. Each syllable is a laurel leaf in the crown of creation. Every honed consonant and soft rolling vowel that passes my lips is a hymnal. The song of ages issues from the depths of my bowels in a lullaby creamy smooth as baby skin and I am liberated in the ointment of meaning and confusion.
How do you like them words? They are the expensive kind – the kind you buy with toil. They’re new and they fit me like gloves – patent leather gloves, slick and shiny as wet pavements. Tight as a virgin’s snatch; they form a second skin, decorous yet purposeful. I found them in the street when I expected them least – they started as a trickle and ended as a torrent and I had to run home to inscribe them before the breeze carried them off. I’m not even sure that these were the words I’d intended; words after all are as malleable as smoke.

19 April 2016



Edgar had a genuine penchant for the product; which is why he could not resist a wee snort before his guests were due to arrive. The charley did nothing to steady his nerves. If anything it actually made matters worse. Edgar was shaking when he opened the door and felt like he might actually cry for the first time since he was a boy. He’d expected a couple of gorillas, but found a little woman in a charcoal grey business suit. He was about to shoo her away when she said;

“Good morning Edgar, my name is Nancy – I’m your collections agent.”

Nancy was a diminutive forty something red head who toted a small black attaché case. She affected a breezy but business like demeanour and looked for all the world like an insurance agent – she was not what Edgar had been expecting. He breathed an inward sigh of relief; he would not have his legs broken today. Nevertheless as he led her into the living room he began to anxiously intone the various excuses he had prepared for the occasion.

“I laid a lot of gear out and I’m just waiting on the returns. I should be...”

“I’m not interested in your business Edgar” Nancy interrupted, “I’m simply here to arrange the repayment of your debt.” She pointed at a chair and said, “Sit down.”

She sat opposite Edgar and opened her attaché case. Edgar had expected, rather optimistically, that she would produce some papers for him to sign. Instead she retrieved a small toffee hammer.

“You will not struggle, or in any way impede me Edgar. Do you understand? Under no circumstances will you touch me, or I can have a couple of burly lads come over to hold you down while we do this the hard way. Do you understand?”

Edgar simply nodded numbly. His surprise turned to agonised shock when in one sweeping movement Nancy leapt to her feet and struck his left knee with the tiny hammer; he writhed in pain and nearly left his chair.

“Stay still” she ordered and as soon as he had regained some of his composure she struck the right knee. The pain was searing and Edgar thought he might pass out – he was not to be that lucky. After each practised stroke Nancy gave him time to straighten out before delivering another blow. She struck each knee six times eventually leaving Edgar a crippled heap on the living room floor. Then she returned her toffee hammer to the case and laid out the conditions of their payment schedule.

“I will call by each Monday at this time. You will have one thousand pounds cash ready for me – please do not disappoint me Edgar – things could get nasty. This arrangement will continue for forty weeks – or until you have paid of the balance completely.”

“Forty?” gasped Edgar.

“That is the sum owed” replied Nancy.

“But, but, I only...” he stammered.

“Forty” said Nancy with an air of finality.

“Tell Johnny I...”

“I told you Edgar – I don’t need to know your business. I’m only here to arrange the repayment of a debt.”

“Where will I find forty grand?” he moaned.

“That’s not my problem, but I suggest you do.” answered Nancy in a matter of fact tone. “Don’t get up – I’ll see myself out.”

Edgar lay on the floor nursing his shattered kneecaps and reflecting on the fact that it was he who had turned Johnny on to the cocaine business in the first place. His protégée had become a monster and Edgar one of his victims. It took an age to drag himself to the bedroom where he had a couple of big lines before calling Psycho Peter – it was time to call in his markers and Peter was just the man to apply the necessary pressure. There would be no more mister nice guy – he had seven days to raise a grand – he’d worry about the other thirty nine later. One day he would pay Johnny back in kind – he’d revenge himself on that ungrateful fuck, but right now he was running low on coke and getting sorted was his first priority.


16 April 2016

The Cuckold


It was the usual Friday night slot at Sandra’s house. Her man Archie was at the bowls and would not return until the early hours when the bowling club threw him out. I liked Archie, we were mates and I always felt a tinge of guilt visiting Sandra on the fly. However, Sandra was a real looker with a voracious sexual appetite and I like that in a woman.

She answered the door wearing a flimsy black silk negligee and beckoned me in with a wolfish grin. Forgoing our customary glass of wine we stumbled up the stairs with indecent haste groping and snogging as we went. Once in the bedroom we wasted no time shedding our clothes and getting down to business.

We were on the job for five minutes when I heard an unusual creaking sound and it wasn’t the bedsprings. I paused for a minute and asked Sandra what that sound was.

“What sound?”

“I heard something – it’s stopped now.”

We got back down to it, but a few minutes later I could discern the strange creaking again. Glancing over my shoulder I could see that her wardrobe was rocking. This was surely the source of the mysterious noise. I thought I was tripping – my blood ran cold with fright – the way it does sometimes when you are first confronted with the unknown. I leapt out of bed and opened the wardrobe and low and behold there was Archie crouching with his trousers around his knees.

“Hiya Johnny” he said with a sheepish grin.

“What the fuck is going on here” I enquired angrily.

“He found out about us” chimed in Sandra “and he wanted to watch.”

“That’s disgusting” I retorted “you’re fucking perverse!”

I was hurriedly dressing as Archie and Sandra were trying to explain the situation. Unbelievably they wanted me to stay. I was, ironically, taking the moral high ground.

“It’s just a wee game Johnny – you like to play games” said Sandra.

“I wouldn’t interfere – I’d be quiet as a mouse – you wouldn’t know I was there” said Archie.

“I’d fucking know alright” I replied. “You pair take the biscuit – I want no part in your wee games.”

I left in a great cloud of righteous indignation vowing never to darken their door again. I did though - I met up with Sandra a couple times after that, but although I still found her most alluring the magic was gone. I’d check the wardrobe for passengers each time and though it was always empty I couldn’t stop thinking about Archie. How did he feel knowing his wife was at home with her lover while he was presumably playing bowls? Knowing he knew just ruined the whole thing for me. I’ve never forgotten the spectator in the wardrobe either and whenever I’m in someone else’s bedroom I always do a quick recce before removing my kit – which looks pretty weird; but it’s a participation sport for me and no audience is required.


15 April 2016

Sweet Nothings


In the post coital haze

when you’re fuzzy warm inside

Do you pour sweet nothings

into receptive ears?

What fragrant lies

escape your honeyed lips?

What sugar coated deceptions

slip between the sheets?

And in the morning light

do you cultivate a little distance?

Do you feign casual indifference

amidst stilted words and gestures?

Or do you simply simulate amnesia

with deliberate and practised poise?