Fiction: Fifteen Stories, ≤ Fifteen Words

“I disagree.”
“Yes, he said.”
The cat watched, bemused.
“What should I do?” “Forget.”
“Why are you wearing that hat?”
“Do you think someone died in this?”
“You’re leaving me?” “I was never with you.”
“I used to love this one,” Rebecca said sadly.
He climbed onto the bed and finally closed his eyes.
The flames were so warm, he had to remove his coat.
“For the first time a Venusian artist is the UK Number 1.”
The last time I saw my mother was the day I started nursery.
Suddenly I realised that I was the Monica to his Chandler, not the Joey.
“How can people think that he represents people like us? He’s only got two arms!”

Poetry: All Rights Reserved

It does hurt.
Some fires are great.
But it is not necessary,
Is it possible?

I have almost
Followed the instructions of the

And who,
Killed and captured Warsaw’s Romany
A universal type.

Tell us
Now is the time.

There is anger,
When a court decides that persons notorious,
Sharing in implication.
Publically cleared.
Foolishness as coat of arms

Tell us.
Now is the time

And mark the shift,
A hundred and forty one lives were stolen.
Is it not persecution?

A half rotten pig,
Looking forward to
Scent of Freedom
In the blink of an eye?

Joined and accustomed
Nationally bound
The tears flow in the second half of your life,
Guess this possibility,
Style and grace.

Tell us
Now is the time

The Decemberists’ Shiny, put through a journey of the world’s languages on Bing Translate, edited slightly using MS Word’s synonym tool. Only word endings/plurals changed manually. Original Lyrics here.

Idea for a conceptual work of poetry entitled ‘Day’


The poet rises at 08:00 one morning.
The poet sits down at a computer.
The poet commences automatic writing for 16 solid hours.
Toilet visits of up to 5 minutes are permitted on the hour.
Additionally, 15 minute breaks are set at 08:30, 13:30 and 18:30, so
that the poet may eat.
At all other times the poet must be typing. If a minute elapses without
a key being struck, the work is void.
At 00:00, the poet goes to bed.

The results are published unedited as a book entitled ‘Day’.

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Poetry: Not What You Expected?

Not What You Expected?

(From the Vaccines)

You saw the world, what did it look like?
You had a summer, under some European sun.
When you were my age,
A lifetime ago.

Were you a lot like me?
Young complexion, with your hair grown out?
Were you ready for it?
Was it what you expected?

You say they’re things I’d rather not know
You say I would not understand,
Well brought up
Rich kid, with Mother’s lazy money.
You got me wrong.

A clear blue sky, turning dirty black,
It’s suddenly colder,
You probably weren’t ready.
Killer. Primal. Animal.

Come on,
Friend or foe?
Crazy, Crazy.
Blow it up,
Growing up
Watch out man,
Their dead, all of them, shot.
(Blown up)
You were only seventeen,
You weren’t ready,
But you earned your stripes.

Momma heard it in the Evening News,
Poppa read it in the Morning Herald.
They wished and waited.

Were you gonna come back?
Were you gonna come back, all right?
Were you all right?

They didn’t know, that you’d been found,
That you were okay.

All lines are lyrics (or were lyrics originally) taken from songs from the album What Did You Expect from the Vaccines, and b-sides associated with their singles.

The Last Love Story

She tensed as she heard the sound of a stone skidding across the dusty ground. She looked around wildly, in time to see a second miss her by a few centimetres, and a moment later a third connect with her shoulder. Now certain she was being hunted, the girl turned to run, only to feel her stomach turn to ice at the sight of an eight foot wall.
She cursed herself for being so stupid as to break the cardinal rule of life in Earth’s cities: No matter how hungry, or how desperate, you were, you never strayed anywhere that only had one way out.
Not if you valued your life.
In a panic, she stooped to pick up a few stones, squinted, then hefted it into the sunlight that her attacker had cleverly situated himself in.
There was thud, and a cry, and a couple of seconds later, a boy emerged, hands held up before him.
“All right, all right!” he called.
The girl relaxed, and glared at him. “What do you want?”
“I wanted to show you something.”
She raised her arm, ready to throw the other stone. “You come near me, and I’ll kill you.”
“Relax!” he said, “You’ll thank me forever when you see it.”
She face softened, but she didn’t lower her arm. “I don’t believe you.”
“Please. Look, have you got anything better to do?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she began sarcastically, “find food, shelter…”
“I can give you both of those,”
“A stick to pound you with.” she continued.
“Please, if you’re not happy, you can pound me then, I promise.”
She frowned, looking up at the sky above, which was beginning to darken, making the small, darting lights of the fighter ships above them seem even more numerous. “Fine,” she said, dropping the stone, “but if this is a trick, I’ll make sure you never walk again.”


“Well,” he said, “What do you think?”
“Did you do all this?”
“I told you, I found it. It’s been deserted for a while I think, the owner must have managed to get on one of the last of the launches.”
The bunker was equipped with tinned food and blankets, a heavy duty lock on the already sturdy door. “How many keys are there for this?” she asked.
“Just the one,” he said. “I found it under a floor board upstairs.”
She moved away room the door and sat down on the bed. It was a little hard, but much better than the cold concrete she’d had to make do with since someone stole her last hideyhole.
“Why are you giving it to me?” she asked
His face fell, “I’m not giving it to you. I’m inviting you to share it with me. Wait! Just the bunker, not the bed!”
She scowled at him. “But still, why me?”
He shrugged, “I like you.”
“You threw stones at me!”
Sorry, It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
She shook her head in disbelief. “You’re a strange one.”


He heard her sobbing, and was waiting for her as she stumbled down the staircase. In all the time they had been sharing the basement, enduring several months of uneasy truce, he had never seen her show any signs of weakness. No sorrow for what she had lost, no fear for the future, or even at the fact they were some of last people left living on Earth, rather than orbiting around it.
This made the sight of her almost collapsing down the stairs, blood running down her face, bruises forming on her wrists and her already faded clothes hanging off her in rags all the more shocking
She looked at him with an expression of such helplessness and pain that all he could do was reach forward and pull her into a tight embrace.


“I want to go upstairs,” she said quietly.
The boy looked up at her from the book he was looking at it. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” she said, more firmly now. “Today.”
“It’s dark out,” he said, but he struggled to conceal the excitement in his voice.
“I know,” she said, “Please. I need to.”
He didn’t say, ‘But it’s not safe‘. He didn’t say, ‘But you’ve not left this room in over a year and a half‘, He just smiled, and walked over to where she was standing, and held out an arm for her to take hold of.
They made their way up the stairs; slowly at first, but more naturally as she began to regain her confidence. “I’d forgotten what it looked like,” she said, smiling broadly as she looked around the room. “Can we go up to the balcony?”
He hesitated for a moment, then nodded. They made their way up, and made themselves comfortable on the metal floor of the balcony, looking up at the sky. “Was it always this big?” she asked in awe.
“Yes,” he said with a laughed, “But I think there are more fighters up there tonight,” he added thoughtfully.
She shrugged and turned to smile at him. He smiled back, then something caught their eyes and they turned to look up at the night’s sky. Something had exploded into a bright ball of fire, raining down snakes of light towards the earth.
“I wonder who’s winning.” he said.
“I don’t even know who’s fighting, or what for,” she said.
He thought, then began to laugh. “Me neither.” he said.
She looked at him for a moment before joining in. They sat, laughing in the light of the explosion until they  subsided into silence.
He turned to look at her, and saw she was staring at her.
“What?” he asked.
“Thank you,” she repeated, leaning forward and gently kissing him.

The Good Old Days

Those could have been the good old days:

Cheap Bleach on your hair

We got deep, warm, drunk,

In summertime,

Below the trembling moon as the stars unfurled.

We wrote our names out on the sidewalk,

Something rare was going on,

The world was never going to end.

We did what we could,

While the world waited for an explosion,

With a wink and a wave.

So that’s when we went,

All the way,

heading westwards towards the Sun,

To California,

Where no policeman walks the beat,

Where Hollywood lay, piled up to the sky.

We went fast. We were free,

And we did our best,

Once we contracted American dreams.

Everything we always wanted.

Well, you know,

It just burns me to remember.

Watching you while we dreamt.


Found poem from a Genius playlist of Eels’ The Good Old Days