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Dark Side of the Moon

December 22, 2017

‘It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you …’

It has, and I shouldn’t have, and though several million of you have been hassling me for more stuff, more stuff, more stuff, well, you know it’s important for an artist to step back and give themselves time to create.

There’s probably a little exaggeration in the previous paragraph. It might be more accurate to say that, precisely no one has been hassling me to publish more stuff. But that hasn’t stopped me working at it.

And it’s not gone completely unrewarded. The good people from Tiger Shark have published my short story, Dark Side of the Moon. You can read it (for nothing) in the magnificent Issue 15.

Here’s a little glimpse to keep you going:

At Miss Fulbright’s side was Celia. Celia shook our hands vigorously, one person after another in patrician order – my dad, me, Daniel, my mum, Mary. She offered each of us a scrambled smile that glanced off our shoulders and lingered on our collar bones once the handshake was over. She was smaller than Miss Fulbright, wearing a long hippy skirt that hid her feet, a cheese-cloth shirt with no bra beneath, and a head of hair I’d last seen on Janice Joplin. She wore an assortment of necklaces that featured an assortment of runes. She began talking and never quite stopped the whole evening, addressing everything to the space between us. “What a beautiful house, Mr Ireland. Looks about a hundred years old, am I right? I love to see a well-tended garden. Is that clematis? And a proper compost heap; I bet you get some good soil from that.”

What astounded us was not the stream of chat she came out with but the fact that she was American. All we knew of America was what we’d seen on TV. You could have parachuted Starskey and Hutch onto the lawn, and we’d have been no more surprised.

By this time, Celia had lead the way from the back door, through the porch, into the living room via the kitchen, pointing out how cute she thought our kettle was, loving the folding chairs in the hallway, rapping the door frame to compliment us on how solid it was, bashing the outside wall and saying how secure she felt in a millstone house quarried from local stone. “Do you need us to take our shoes off?” she said to the rarified air between my dad’s ear and the ceiling light. “Ah, man, I love that lampshade. How long have you lived here? This is a home and a half. I bet the kids feel right at home here, right? Do you guys leap over the yard wall and roughhouse in the field? We used to do that back home. There was a field of clover about a hundred yards from the house where I used to play football with my big brothers – that’s American football, obviously, not your British soccer, this was before the real estate moguls carved up the land, I guess you can’t stop progress and people need a place to live, but kids need a place to play, too, otherwise they’ll just goof around the streets sucking on a doobey getting the munchies eating potato chips.”

We definitely understood some of what she said.


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