My work has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize as well as the Flash 500 Novel Opening & Synopsis, among several others. The three stories below all won 1st Prizes in the UK magazine Writers' Forum (which I've won four times, come 2nd once, and been shortlisted twice). I hope you enjoy them.
THE TALE OF THE SALENG
They’ve found many bodies in these waters, but they’ve never found hers. Lovers and adulterers, drowned children and murdered gamblers; jealousies, drugs, suicides; floating, weighted, bloated. They’ve found many bodies in these waters, but not hers. And the saleng knows why.
(1st Prize Winner, Writer's Forum, Published in Issue #218)
JESUS AND THE ICE CREAMS
(1st Prize Winner, Writer's Forum, Published in Issue #229)
‘What? Every dog shit and Hitler?’
‘Or Jesus and all the ice creams, depending on how you want to look at it,’ says his brother, typing code upon the television screen:
10 PRINT “I am skill”
‘That can’t be true.’
‘No, it’s true. Everything will become one. The universe will shrink and meet in a pinpoint.’
‘What? Everything?’ James knows his brother. He’s watched something, one of those Horizon science programs again, probably. Or his friend who told him did. The wording – especially the pinpoint – isn’t his.
Tim looks at him, as though enjoying the gradual, fearful enlightenment only an older brother can induce, while relishing the delusion that he himself is stoic enough to take the truth, the idea of everything ending.
‘Everything,’ he affirms, eyebrows all raised as he finishes typing.
20 GOTO 10
A PAST LIFE, SOMETIME IN THE MORNING
This is the moment I realise I have fully learnt the truths of my previous life, in which I had failed to learn the truths of the lives that came before. I let the sense of ease, the near-wisdom, gently settle within me as I sip my tea, its heat rising to warm my cheeks. I recline in my favourite chair and watch my beautiful wife who I have both kept happy and refrained from strangling. And so I turn now to look upon you – you, my next incarnation – with quiet satisfaction, with a smile that says, ‘Is this not the life?’
And listen, I’m not saying that nirvana is only one lifespan away. And I realise that it’d take more than just one more existence to move on from murder to make it right, but you see the thing is, we overlap.
(1st Prize Winner, Writer's Forum, Published in Issue #224)
A KNOCK ON A GARLIC FARMER'S DOOR
(1st Prize Winner, Writer's Forum, Published in Issue #240)
He readies his papers upon the kitchen counter as his wife guzzles down her coffee, grabs her keys, and says, ‘Let’s go.’ Mark huffs, not particularly wanting to go to work, never particularly wanting to go to work, as he places his blue transparent plastic file into an off-white 2012 conference tote, folded dot-matrix printout paper sticking out, its tear-away side strips of holes curling yet still intact, the ink fading yet still legible. Reading it in bed last night he’d had to suppress his laughter, his wife’s response as normal, touchy: ‘I’m trying to sleep!’ These alternate multiverses infiltrating his dreams, waking him to the thought that he should’ve considered them more seriously at the time. That things’d be different. Such questionnaires are of course more prevalent today, even if of different format, they’re online, everywhere. But not then. This mid-80s computer paper, akin to papyrus, how ancient but visionary its algorithm and methodology must once have been.