“See? It just doesn’t work! No matter what I try, it’s a failure.” The young designer pushed his glasses higher on his nose, and sat back on his chair. On the table in front of him lay a model of the Sistine Chapel.

“I don’t really see the problem, Harvey.” Across the table from him was a much larger man squeezed into a identically sized chair. He picked up the model and held it in his pudgy hands, examining it from multiple angles. “I mean, look at it. It’s fantastic. A perfect model.” Continue reading “Inspiration”



“You paint the wall. Three coats, no more no less.” He holds up three stubby fingers in front of me, to emphasise the point. “Always the same colour – ‘Business Blue’, number 20211 in the warehouse. Never any other colour. It’s special paint – never dries properly, so the kids can’t do their graffiti on it.”

I nod. It’s not hard to understand.

“Three coats on this wall, then you move the rig round to the next one, and do the same thing. No changes. No exceptions. Every building in the plaza, the same. It’s a, you know, corporate style.”

I nod again, seriously, showing him that I’m ready to do the job. Mostly, I want him to stop talking, to stop droning on nasally.

“I don’t want any funny stuff, right? No patterns or colours or deviations from the plan. Stick to the plan. We don’t need your fancy art school nonsense here. This is a serious place. Serious people.” Continue reading “Paint”

Today and Every Day

Every day the same.

The same routine. His mother leaning over him as he wakes up in the racing car bed. The same two slices of toast, crusts cut off, and covered in strawberry jam. Today, and every day he still remembers, the jam pot is emptied, and he gets to sit there in his chair a little longer, scooping up the last traces from inside the jar and tasting the sweetness. His mother sits at the table opposite him, swirling the ice in her glass, and they talk about what he’ll do at school. She laughs at how decided he is. Continue reading “Today and Every Day”

Into the Dark

We have a good response time. Really good, in fact. We can be on the road within five minutes after getting the call, and can reach anywhere in the county within half an hour. Average response time is only fifteen minutes. There aren’t many teams, anywhere in the country, who can say that.

It’s still not enough. Fifteen minutes, for a kid trapped with one of them, is a long time. We get there fast, but rarely fast enough. Continue reading “Into the Dark”


I control the kiss-cam. That’s my job. That’s what I do.

It might not sound like a very important job, something that could be done by a bored intern with no training. But it’s not like that. It’s more than that. It’s a calling. Continue reading “Kiss-cam”


I’m not a monster.

Not really. I don’t hide under your bed, grabbing at your foot as you run for the safety of the covers. I don’t crush cities with a scaled tail. I don’t lay eggs in your sternum.

I’m just hungry. All the time. Continue reading “Hunger”


It started off simply. Anonymous matching, no chat window – we just played. My first word was “frost” – not brilliant, only twenty-four points, but not bad for a first try. She hit back with “rough”.

It was the best game I’d ever played. Not just because it was my highest score to date, but because of the competition. Normally, in Scrabble, one person pulls ahead. By about half way through, you know who’s going to win. They hit a few triples early on, and then it’s hard to catch up. That wasn’t the case this time.

It was neck-and-neck, right up until the end. She was good – the best I’d ever played – but I was on fire as well. Word after word slammed down: “zeugma”, “entrails”, “basenji”. I ended up two points ahead, but didn’t celebrate. I just clicked “rematch” Continue reading “Scrabble”