Category: Fiction

The Lady at Table Nine

It’s not a bad life playing piano in a smart restaurant. That is if you like playing the piano better than working in an office. You need to be tolerant. Public taste is predictable but your repertoire has to cover a wide range of mood and sentiment; especially if you take requests. Also, you have to balance being impressive enough to command respect and unobtrusive enough not to fuck up the conversations.

I’d fetched up in Savannah after my concert career led me to near starvation. In a classy eatery with a decent piano, I was guaranteed at least one square meal a day and time out mornings and afternoons to give music lessons or stay in bed. I liked Savannah. It had enough tourists and well-heeled locals to support a clientele year round.

Take What You Want

It was never too late for a first time. That’s what Lacy thought.

After a few days in Montreal, the strangeness of this new, foreign city no longer overwhelmed her. She loved hearing people speak in French as they drank espresso and nibbled chocolate croissants in cafes. Even the parking signs were a glorious challenge that made her double-check if she was following the city rules or not. Promoted at work six months earlier, she traveled one week every month. Conferences in Boston, advertising pitches in Seattle, or now in Montreal, as part of a special digital media panel at McGill College.

As I Lie

Her body wobbles next to mine as I lie, awake in the dark, pondering the miracle of my being here with her. Her thunderous breathing regulates my thoughts, the heavy intake and expiration of breath like a train crashing through the night. Her side of the bed leans dangerously close to the floor, while I lie light as a feather on mine, trying a funambulist’s act not to roll down against her. I think irrelevantly of Power Plates, the micro-muscular structure solicited as people balance precariously on the machine, pretending to be astronauts. I am like them, but my balance is fragile and my body is now weary. It is the winter of my life and she lies beside me, the most unlikely mound of flesh I have ever considered and the one I love most.

Happy New Year, Jack

Just when all seemed well with the world, once Jack and Jill have fallen in love, have moved in together, have bought their first apartment, have decided to marry and have a baby – or two, have moved gently up the jobs and housing ladder, have established a circle of good friends and a dinner-party-giving social life, have holidayed in Cuba or other cool middle-class destinations, have swapped their left-leaning politics for more centrist ones, have organised their granddaughter’s naming day, have reached the extraordinarily ripe age of fifty-two and forty-nine respectively and are, indeed, a ‘perfect couple’, Jack and Jill, at the top of their hill, just then, when everything seems just peachy, then things… oh dear… then that’s when things can go awfully wrong.

And here’s how they did.

This is a demo store for testing purposes — no orders shall be fulfilled. Dismiss