A selection of short stories I’ve had published…


Double Debra


A stressed young father complains so much to his girlfriend that she clones herself… [first published in ABCTales 12]

When Deborah walked out on him on Thursday afternoon, Joseph guessed her parting words just before she said them.’Things are going to be different when I come back,’ she told him.

She said the same when she left the last time, except this time she added the word ‘things’.

She said it sweetly, like a promise. Joseph took it as a threat. He had no defence against Deborah’s promises. Sometimes, midway through an argument, she bit her lip and laughed. This ought to have made him angrier, but always calmed him down.

On Friday morning, Deborah returned home to Joseph.

On Friday afternoon, Deborah returned home to Joseph and Deborah.

(read the whole story)


Drunk, Polite, Lazy, Scared


A boy meets a girl at a party – their indifferent feelings towards each other are not enough to prevent them becoming a couple… [first published in Aesthetica magazine Feb 2007]

A boy meets a girl at a party. He is not timid, but like all boys, timid or otherwise, he doesn’t find the seduction of girls an easy task. He has slept with a number of girls before, but that’s not what he wants now. He wants a girlfriend. But if the girls at the party are not what he considers girlfriend material then he’ll settle just for sex, if he can get it. There’ll be plenty of parties and plenty of opportunities to meet the right girl.

The girl wants a boyfriend. Some of her friends have boyfriends, some of them don’t, and the ones with boyfriends are no happier than the ones without – but at least, she thinks, everyone looks up to them. And anyway this girl isn’t going to settle for just any boy as a boyfriend. He needs to be a boy who will treat her well. The girl is not a prude, she’s not waiting around for the perfect boy before she’ll sleep with anyone – that moment has long passed. She doesn’t consider random sex with a boy to be a shameful thing, not if you’re just testing him out, working out if he’s one of the nice ones.

(read the whole story)


A Gangster Smile


A father’s desire to appear young and hip puts him in danger with a gang of drug dealers… [first published in in an anthology for Earlyworks Press, 2009]

The first time I see Archie, waiting in the playground, I hate him. Of course I hate him. He is fat with the weight of regular restaurant dinners. He has tight, dyed blond curls, and a complementary perma-tan. City boy, almost certainly. And he smiles, all the time – the joke’s on the rest of the world.I’ve never spoken to Archie before, but I know who he is. Who they are. Archie and Talia. I’m not going to talk to him now, but I’m watching him. Through the classroom window the children are fetching their coats – I can see his reflection. I’m watching those constant smiles. What’s there to smile about? We’re waiting for our children to come out of school.

‘Hi,’ I say. I’ve walked over to Archie. ‘Which one’s yours here then?’ I’m a friendly guy, I could have picked anyone to talk to. Archie tells me he’s Maxine’s father – he uses the word ‘father’ – and, after a moment’s hesitation, deigns to introduce Talia. I shake hands with her as though we haven’t already met, though we have. And I know who his daughter Maxine is – she’s the one wearing ridiculously fancy suede boots, even though she’s six, same as Lily.

‘Haven’t seen you at collecting time before,’ I say.

‘No, I’m usually working,’ Archie replies.

‘I’m here most days. My girlfriend and I, we kind of share the childcare.’

Why am I talking like this?

Archie just grins at me. I silently curse myself.

(read the whole story)