fire risk

‘Hi, Jim. Doctor Solway. Is this a good time to talk? ‘Absolutely.’ ‘It’s about Bill Mason. D’you remember? We talked about him last week.’ ‘Bill. Yes. How can I help?’ ‘I take it you heard?’ ‘No?’ ‘I’m afraid he died.’ ‘He died? Blimey! I’m sorry to hear that.’ ‘I thought you knew. Sorry to break … Continue reading fire risk


The old house is set in a hollow below the level of the road, at the bottom of half a dozen precipitous concrete steps. Either side of the steps, a great tangle of brambles and clematis and honeysuckle wrestle down the slope together, like a green slo-mo wave crashing over the side of a sinking … Continue reading rose

respect my authoritah

Sometimes it’s exactly the wrong time to knock on a door. You turn up with the best intentions, only to find yourself blundering into a fraught domestic scene, the inappropriately smiling representative of a system that’s catastrophically failed. Sometimes it works the other way, though. Sometimes you knock on a door at exactly the right time. … Continue reading respect my authoritah

buster the butler

Samuel has been given his diagnosis. The consultant told him all about it a couple of days ago, what the blood results indicated, how the chest x-ray illustrated with dreadful clarity the cancerous mass occupying a full third of his right lung and metastasising through his body, fully accounting for the shortness of breath, the … Continue reading buster the butler

a tale of two cats

The supermarket orchid: a conspiracy theorist’s dream. You seem them everywhere, those twin, fleshy leaves, the long, flowering stalks, indestructible, scarcely needing soil, let alone water, silently keeping an eye on things from a million kitchen windowsills. The only plant on earth with a chance of survival in Stanley’s flat. So it’s certainly a measure … Continue reading a tale of two cats

clooney & mutley

Jason closes the front door behind me, one hand on the handle and one hand flat against the scratchplate to make sure it clicks-to with the least possible noise. He doesn’t say anything, but waggles a finger for me to follow him down the hall and into the lounge, where he turns to face me … Continue reading clooney & mutley


Mrs Khachaturian keeps the chain on the door and peers through the crack. ‘Leave me alone!’ she screams. ‘Just go away, will you? Why can’t I be left in peace?’ ‘That’s fine, Mrs Khachaturian. I’m so sorry to disturb you. It’s just – people are worried and I’ve come round to see you’re okay.’ ‘What … Continue reading dinosaurs